Production: 1945 & 1946
The 224 steam engine is also known as a Prairie-type locomotive. This mid-size steam engine is a dependable locomotive and it shares its boiler casting with the 1666 steam engine.
The 224 was introduced in the first year of Lionel's postwar production era, 1945. Its number and boiler casting were carryover items from the prewar era. Practically all of the updates or modifications centered on the internal components.
An interesting piece of Lionel history surrounds the Prairie steamer. The first and only catalogued postwar set from 1945 -- O gauge set # 463W -- was headed up by the 224 Prairie steamer. Lionel's final catalogued postwar set from 1969 -- set # 11760 -- was pulled by the 2029 Prairie steamer.
The 224 steam locomotive has the following standard features: a black-painted, die-cast boiler with a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement, detailed driving wheel hardware, Baldwin disk drive wheels with nickel rims, die-cast trailing truck, three-position E-unit, headlight, wire handrails plus an ornamental bell and a simulated whistle. The number board can be found on a metal plate under the windows on the cab.
The 224 was initially offered with a 2466W tender, but soon changed to the fancier 2466WX which contained additional deck railings. Both tenders contain a whistle.
A quick way to identify a 1945 model versus its 1946 counterpart is to view the cab floor on the back of the steam engine. The 1945 model has a floor which is 'squared-off' along the back edge -- similar to the prewar version. The 1946 model has a more rounded and elaborate cab floor.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
The length of a 224 is approximately 10 1/4" (pilot to drawbar) while the length of the 224 and 2466W (or 2466WX) tender combined is approximately 18 3/4" long (cowcatcher to rear coupler).
Square Cab Floor - Shown in the photo above. - This is the 1945 production version of the 224. It is significantly harder to locate than the 1946 version.
Rounded Cab Floor - Generally viewed as the 1946 version and is slightly easier to locate than the 1945 model.
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