Lionel used the word Scout to denote its entry-level 027 steam locomotives. Generally speaking, Lionel Scout engines had either a 0-4-0 or a 2-4-2 wheel arrangement and were reserved for beginner or starter sets. These locomotives generally had few features and could rarely pull more than a three or four car freight train.
The Scout locomotives manufactured in the late 1940's and throughout most of the 1950's usually headed up a couple or few catalogue sets during their production cycle. Sets usually consisted of a gondola, caboose and either a tank car or box car. However, by late 1950's, this started to change as Lionel was looking to expand their distribution of Lionel trains.
Sometime around 1959, Lionel started to assemble special sets that were only available through their larger distributors -- which collectors refer to as uncatalogued sets. Companies like Sears Roebuck, Firestone, JC Penney's and more were able to have unique sets that did not appear in the annual Lionel consumer catalogue and were only available in their publications. This new avenue was a success and by the early 1960's, Lionel expanded the distribution to now accept orders from smaller distributor as well as promotional sets for nearly any customer.
Therefore by the early 1960's, Lionel's distribution focused had changed compared to simply a few years earlier. Their annual consumer catalogue continued to offer about 20 to 25 outfits across the 027, O gauge and Super-O line. However, their uncatalogued outfits were averaging 200 to 225 outfits per year! These uncatalogued sets -- which in many cases are rather rare -- were unfortunately lead by a Scout steamer or entry level diesel. It was a rare occurrence to have a high quality locomotive included in an uncatalogued set.
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