Tuesday, April 27, 2021

TRAIN TIME: I've Joined The 21st Century - New Lionel Lionchief Engine

With the start of a new layout with larger diameter curves which can accomodate bigger engines than the diminutive Edge of Town, I can now play a bit with some new technology. Lionel's Lionchief command and control system has been out for awhile but I saw no need to buy any of their sets or separate-sale engines until the bug hit me quite recently. Fortunately they offer a series of small 'starter' engines - 2-4-2 Columbia's - in several roadnames that are affordable and reliable. Each engine comes with a Lionchief controller and operation is simple. I bought an engine in Southern RR livery because I didn't yet have a Southern engine (or any rolling stock either) and I've always liked that green and gold scheme. The silver smoke box sets it off quite nicely.

There aren't that many controls on the hand-held controller so it's not option intensive and the instructions included with the engine are clear and concise. With these command-&-control set-ups one turns the transformer on all the way so the track is receiving max power. The instructions on how fast to move, direction, etc, are all controlled by the on-board circuitry. I like all the features but for my money the best one is the crew talk. By pressing the "announcements" button (bottom middle button with microphone icon) you get three short announcements. 'Short' is the key word here - you don't wait a half hour for 'crew yammer' to stop before you move on out! The engine smokes but I've noticed this is not a real strong smoker. You should only put four drops of smoke oil in the smoke stack and it'll go strong for a bit then peter off. But overall I'm still happy with the engine. I reall have enjoyed playing with this thing! Enjoy! Opa Fritz

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