Lionel 238E Streamliner Loco & 265W Whistle Tender
I was delighted to purchase a beautiful Lionel prewar 238E streamliner loco and matching 265W whistle tender from Leonard / LRB1200 a week or so ago. The set was his father's childhood toy, and I am rather proud to be its new caretaker. The Lionel train dates from 1936 / 1937, and is modeled after Raymond Loewy's Pennsylvania Railroad's K4 Pacifics. (Though this Lionel version is 4-4-2, whereas the real loco was 4-6-2.)
I'm starting this thread to show some of the mechanical details of the loco (and tender), and also to compare the physical size of the 238E to the more-common 1668 and 1688 streamliner locos. The 238E was one of Lionel's larger, higher-end O-gauge locos from that time.
The loco is generally in good mechanical shape. I fiddle a bit to loosen up the gears/axles, and have given the motor a very quick/inital clean and lube. I've had it running on the test track, and the e-unit cycles nicely. I orded from Jeff Kane (ttender.com) today a pair of replacement red marker lights and a boiler-front nose lens (which were missing), along with a couple of repro/replacement front truck wheels (2 were cracked). Other than that, the rest of the parts on the loco are generally OK.
The paint on the loco shows some surface pitting, though just a few tiny scratches. The paint on the tender is a bit more battle-scarred, with some surface rust. I'm not sure yet if I'll consider a strip/repaint restoration on this set. If I do, I would want to purchase true color-matched gunmetal restoration paint. But, to my knowledge, this comes in jars, and must be sprayed with an airbrush (which I don't currently have). There's no true gunmetal rattle-can paint, as far as I know. Can anyone correct me here???
Here's my 238E loco and 265W whistle tender ...
And here's a comparison of the "big brother" 238E loco to the "small brother" 1668E loco. (The 1668E and the 1688E locos share essentially the same shell.)
Finally some photos comparing the 238E to the 1668/1688! I've been aware of the general difference for a long time but never seen a photo with them side by side to get the real idea. Definitely a nice locomotive there, and a nice whistle tender to match. All the coolness of the 1668/1688 but scaled up to an impressive, larger, truer O scale size.
I was excited to put the 238 and the 1668 side-by-side, too, and snap some pics. (I've never seen comparison pics like this on the 'net, either.) It's quite amazing how similar the shells are, yet the size difference really makes the locos very distinct.
Just for fun, I weighed each loco ... about 2.5 lbs for the 1668, and about 4 lbs for the 238.