Saturday, February 15, 2020

Friday, February 7, 2020

The LGB Diesel "Switcher"

The first American Diesel locomotives were built in the early 1920's. Little believe in their usefulness ended their first test engines. Then in the early 1930s  a Diesel Switcher was built by EMD (a General Motors Division) and later by ALCO and GE that was accepted by the market. All these switchers were 4-axle switchers from the start and later developed into 6- and 8-axle switcher Diesel locos.  LGB never took on any of those real American Diesel switchers. Instead LGB focused on the German type of the switcher, that was also developed in the 1930s and was consistently a 3-axle engine. Those were first offered in 1991 as the LGB 2062 which was more a compilation of the idea of a narrow gauge Diesel switcher than the model of a consisting prototype.
LGB 2062 - Courtesy of Only Trains
Some of the early American Diesel switchers were narrow gauge locos like the little 25-tonner #1 of the Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company in Florida which are 2-axle engines and often still fulfill local duties.
Courtesy of
Another fine example of a light narrow gauge Diesel switcher is the historic 30-ton Davenport Diesel.
This is a quote from hardhatMAK at (see original article at
"D&RGW 50, a tiny 2-axle, 30-ton Davenport diesel, was the only narrow gauge diesel locomotive that the Rio Grande actually owned. (They tried several Army diesel on the narrow gauge lines, but never owned any of them.) The unit, purchased from the Sumpter Valley in 1963, produced 160hp from its Caterpillar D17000 engine, with power coupled to the wheels through a mechanical transmission.
The unit was used to switch the Durango yard from its purchase in 1963 until the abandonment of the San Juan Extension in 1970. At that point, it was sold to the Roaring Camp & Big Trees near Santa Cruz, California. Last running in the early 1970s, the engine was eventually sold to the Colorado Railroad Museum in 1984.
The engine is preserved at the Colorado Railroad Museum today, and was returned to operation in June 2009." Quote end.
The Davenport in front of the Colorado Railroad Museum

This little Davenport was LGB's prototype for the LGB #2063 which was developed and manufactured starting in 1991. It reached the markets in 1994 but was not advertised in any brochure, flyer or magazine.
LGB #2063 - Courtesy of Only Trains
The LGB #2063 series  went quite beyond the - often already 'stretched' - LGB scope of model locos modeled after  real world prototypes. Six 2063 types were made and they all stray remarkably from any reality prototypes available. Follow Klaus on this journey.........
+++++++++++++++++++to be continued

Thursday, January 30, 2020

LGB Alco Diesel White Pass -- Conclusion

1998 marked the 30 year anniversary for LGB. Lehman had opened its business gates for the Lehmann Garten Bahn (Lehmann G-Scale) in 1968 with the Stainz engine # 2010 (for details look into our LGB Yarner blog from June 27, 2013 at about the very beginnings of LGB ) and 30 years later was the leading expert and manufacturer in all things G-Scale in model trains.
 A good reason to celebrate. 13 different catalogs and brochures were published by LGB in 1998 either differing in language, type or subject. Again, special focus was put on the offer for the American market with a slew of  freight cars, a few engines - some of them hidden within the freight car offers - maybe it was Easter and the egg hunt was on.....Enough already...
Here are the important news: Another White Pass loco was offered, exclusively for the US LGB customer:  The #22552 together with identical Alco Diesel engines in Canadian-Pacific coloring, LGB # 23552 and a "Christmas" Alco Diesel (which according to LGB's own lingo would be a "Queen Mary"- type coloring), the LGB # 24552. All three engines were limited editions.

LGB # 22552
from the 1998 LGB brochure "Exclusively for America"
Above is the engine as advertised in the 1998 LGB brochure celebrating the 30th anniversary "Exclusively for America". However, the engine the customer would receive upon ordering was this one:
LGB 22552 - Courtesy of Only Trains
This one truly was a limited edition with only 450 manufactured, it came with the newly digital sound, recorded by Klaus in Skagway/AK and a 'proper' price tag of approx. US$ 895.00.

The CP engine in red had an even smaller edition volume of only 400!!
LGB # 23552 -- 1998 LGB brochure 'Exclusively for America"
One just came onto the market this January at auction site and was auctioned off for US$ 623.00. A very good price for the buyer!! It also came with digital sound. And still another is currently (Jan 23,2020) on offer on ebay for US$ 1,000.00...

The edition volume of the LGB # 24552 was also just 400. 
LGB # 24552 - LGB brochure 1998 "Exclusively for America"
One LGB 24552 is currently (Jan 23, 2020) on offer on for - low and behold - US$ 1,899.99.......

It wasn't until 2002 that another version entered the LGB series, the LGB # 25552, also with digital sound.
LGB 25552 - Courtesy of
If you're scratching your ear right now wondering if Yours Truly had mixed up the photos today... no my dearest reader friend. It is exactly what it looks like, the green anniversary engine from 1998. And here is the real question; did delivery of the anniversary loco took so long that not only the edition volume of previously 450 was well meant but never came to fruition. Order numbers might have steamrolled that intention. Or were times getting gritty on Rolf Richter by now the one in charge at the LGB helm; big order and production numbers of allegedly new locos would make a fine cosmetic fit for the banks and new credit lines...That is all in the past now.

2005 saw the last Alco Diesel offer, the LGB# 26552
LGB 26552 - Courtesy of
This Cocal Cola Alco Diesel loco was NOT advertised (exclusively) in the USA. The American customer had the same chance as the European or German customer to order and receive one of the 500 engines that were available from this limited edition. One such engine is currently available on for US$ 1,499.99, another on - a trusted dealer north of Atlanta (YT knows very well) is for sale for $ 1,485.11 + shipping on ebay (as of Jan 24).

Monday, January 20, 2020

LGB Alco Diesel White Pass -- Part 4

In 1995 LGB published their annual new items brochure. That year the title was "1995 News".  The front page promised 70 new items that year and on page 7 the LGB # 72850 and the LGB # 72855 were introduced.
clip from LGB "1995 NEWS"
This set included the original 2055 Alco Diesel White Pass engine, no sound, no frills and the then newly manufactured caboose LGB# 44710. This caboose was only sold in this set with the WP engine and it was only available to US customers.
LGB# 44710 - Courtesy of
 Deriving from the edition volume of the caboose the set had a volume of 1,500 and was sold for approx. US$ 500.00. It came in a specialty carton:
Set box for LGB 72850- Courtesy of Only Trains
This #72850 set was reintroduced by LGB for -again- LGBoA only as the # 72550 Super set (which did not include track or power pack). As usual, advertising an engine, train or train set was way easier than actually manufacture and then deliver it to dealer stores or LGBoA...
It seems that the set didn't make it through the times. The market today shows either the engine or the caboose offered by itself.

The second White Pass set advertised was the LGB# 72855
This set came with three 'White Pass' freight cars, the # 40850
LGB 4085(0) - Courtesy of ebay/
The 4085 was on the market since 1991 and was simply added to this set.

The # 4080-W01 was around since 1990 at least in catalogs and brochures. Delivery to dealers seemed not to have started until 1993. It was sold as 'limited' edition with an edition volume of 3,000. And in 1995/96 Wolfgang Richter himself sold it as '1995 NEWS' to LGBoA with the words:" We want to be the class leader in G-Scale for years to come. So we can't stand still..Our customers ask for more each year and we are working day and night to give them what they want". 

LGB 4080 W01- courtesy of
the # 4086
LGB 4086(0)- courtesy of ebay
When Klaus was recording the sounds for the digital sound decoder for the White Pass the President of the WP&Y RR handed Klaus technical information about the original ore container car. Gunter Ruhland was already desperately waiting for that information so he could finalize the molds on this new model. So, with this almost 'blank' WP container car you actually have a 'true' White Pass container car model on your tracks.
And last but not least the # 40710
LGB 40710 - Courtesy of
Manufacturing started in 1991, first catalog appearance was in the 1993/94 catalog.

As with the 72550 this set seemed to have been unable to make it through the years as a set.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued...........

Monday, January 13, 2020

LGB Alco Diesel White Pass -- Part 3

After the success of the first Alco Diesel White Pass # 2055 LGB wanted to continue that route. The # 2055 had no sound or any other 'lively' features. LGB had put analog sound in two other Diesel locos already, the #2051, the LGB Ruegen or BR 251, a German Diesel loco from the island of Ruegen and the # 2096, the Austrian OBB in beige and red. To have an American Diesel loco with sound would be a first.

As it turned out it was going to be the first ever digital sound in an LGB loco. And your Famous Klaus would be the one to record it. Here is how: 

Wolfgang Richter had been in Alaska and had recorded White Pass sound in the roundhouse in Skagway. But it turned out not to be usable at all. This is what Mr. Massoth Sr. told Klaus when they met at the booth/stand of LGB at the 1991 International Toy Fair in Nuremberg. Klaus was listening carefully. Klaus had since established a very tight and well working relationship with LGB and Mr. Massoth Sr. and knew how to do it right. Right then and there he went to talk to Wolfgang Richter and suggested he himself would fly to Alaska and do the sound recordings. This time versions that could be utilized.

In April of 1991 Klaus flew via Toronto and Seattle to Juneau. From there a single-engine airplane (Skagway Airways) took him to Skagway, AK. The then president of the White Pass Railway, Paul Taylor, was already expecting him and welcomed Klaus to the WP&Y RR.

Klaus operated a brand new, latest technology digital Sony tape recorder as well as a state of the art SONY video camera. The recordings were made with the 90 series loco because she has the same engine as the 100' series and it was the only engine operable and not winterized at the WP&Y RR. The season would only start in May and the 100 series was still in winter storage.
The 93 of the WP&Y RR
Klaus spent 2 days recording with Mr. Taylor, the engineer Mr. Hunt and a workshop mechanic present. You can tell it was of great fun for Klaus since he remembers all the tiny details as if it happened yesterday. The 93 back then was painted in blue.
Klaus stayed at the Golden North Hotel
Golden North Hotel,Skagway -- Courtesy of the National Park Service
A national treasure today, the hotel was built as a trading store in 1898 and became a hotel in 1908. It functioned as a hotel until 2002 when it was turned into a museum with parts rented to a tourist company. It was rumored to have ghosts appearances. Klaus however remembers best the shower stall in his room that featured steel walls.....

Back in Germany Klaus found out that the engine sound recordings worked very well but the whistle sound revealed an echo. The whistle sound though Wolfgang Richter had recorded was fine. And so the sound engineers went to work and created the first ever digital LGB sound. It was a big step for LGB to go into the digital age and it seemed even more fitting to do so with an American loco.
LGB 21552 with first ever digital sound for an LGB loco -
photo courtesy of Only Trains

The LGB 21552 was revealed in the 1993/1994 catalog for all LGB customers worldwide. A new age was dawning not only in sound technology but soon also in driving technology and in decoder technology that would open up a new world of operating model trains.
The price for the first digital sound engine was a whopping DM 1,490.00 or about US$ 650.00 which would translate into about US$ 1,200.00 today.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued

Monday, January 6, 2020

LGB Alco Diesel White Pass --- Part 2

The White Pass and Yukon Alco Diesel was the first American Diesel engine for LGB and only the second American loco (after the Mogul) to be offered. First presented (as hand model?) in the New Item brochure of 1989 and then again in the 1990 catalog it entered the market via dealer stores more towards 1991.
LGB 2055 - Courtesy of Only Train
The first 2055 featured 2 Buehler motors, loco lights, signal lights and lighted loco number plates as well as a cow catcher/rail sweeper. The introductory price was around US$ 450.00
After a long introduction without real merchandise to show in dealer stores LGB upped the ante by offering three limited edition cars along with the White Pass engine introduction in their 1990/91 brochure. The offer was made to US customers only: The LGB # 4065 W 03:
LGB 4065 W 03 - Courtesy of Only Trains
This White Pass caboose had a limited edition volume of 2,800 and was priced at around US$ 100.00

LGB 4076 W 02 -- Courtesy of Worthpoint

This black/red self unloader with a 4 axle truck was a limited edition as well at 3,000 and also limited to the American customer. And the 3rd car on offer with the new LGB 2055 engine was the LGB 4080 W 01
LGB 4080 W01-- Courtesy of Worthpoint
Again, this was also a limited edition of 3,000 and sold at about US$ 75.00 in 1990. All 3 cars were sold separately. The limited series for American customers only was soon discovered by German die-hard LGB fans. The club magazines by German LGB clubs (i.e. NOT the  LGB owned club magazine "Telegram") were humming with news about the new LGB 2055 engine and these new freight cars. 'Re-import' was the name most often used by German LGB fans with a knack for US wares. Savings on the very high German VAT (value-added- tax) would level the costs for shipping. There was a whole bunch of US LGB dealers in and around Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey who benefited from that interest.

The 2055 eventually got sound and was launched in 1993 as the LGB 2155 (LGB 21552 since late 1993)
LGB 2155/21552 - Courtesy of

This was the first digital sound in ANY LGB engine. Klaus himself did the sound recordings. He was travelling to Alaska............... Let's start at the beginning of this truly amazing LGB story in part 3 of this blog................+++++++++++++++++++to be continued.........