2243 Santa Fe
Production: 1955 - 1957
The 2243 Santa Fe F3 AB unit of the mid 1950s is another set of quality F3 diesels produced by Lionel wearing the infamous warbonnet paint scheme of the Santa Fe railroad. The warbonnet paint scheme has become one of the most recognizable paint schemes in all facets of model railroading.
The 2243 was always sold as an AB combination. It is also one of a select few postwar Lionel F3's with only a single motor. Nevertheless, even with a single motor and Magnetraction, it is a powerful locomotive. The 2243 is noteworthy as being the only Lionel diesel to be catalogued both as an 027 gauge item (1955 and 1956) and later as an O gauge item (1957) -- without any internal or external changes!
Standard features of the powered A unit include: red and yellow painted areas over a silver shell, single motor, Magnetraction, functional horn, three-position E-unit, operating front coupler with a non-operating rear coupler, illuminated headlight and number boards, plus dual ornamental horns, rear metal ladder steps and a single Santa Fe decal on the front.
Standard features of the non-powered B unit include: red and yellow painted areas over a silver shell, front and rear non-operating couplers, plus metal ladder steps at each corner. Note that the 2243 A and B units were only available with closed portholes.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
When coupled together as an AB unit, the length of these F3s is approximately 26" long (coupler to coupler).
The B unit of the 2243 set is frequently used with the 2383 Santa Fe F3 AA units. Since Lionel did not produce a B unit for the 2383s -- and the 2243 B unit is an exact match to the 2383s -- collectors and operator often used the 2243 B unit with their 2383s.
Raised Ladder Steps on Cab - For the early part of 1955, each side of the cab had a raised ladder step below the cab door. Unfortunately, the paint on the steps had a tendancy to easily wear off. This version - especially with fully painted steps -- is much harder to locate than the later production version.
Flat Ladder Steps on Cab - Shown in the photo above - For the remainder of the 1955 production cycle and continuing through 1957, the Santa Fe was produced with flush molded cab steps. The flush molded steps easily held the paint and the steps are usually in better condition when compared to the earlier versions.
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