FrontRunners: Rail Realism

<< Back to Robb Report, April 2004

The new offering from Lionel (www.lionel.com)  evokes the past while incorporating the latest digital technology. Far from a toy, the model Southern Pacific AC-9 ($1,500) is an O gauge (one-quarter inch represents a foot) replication of the huge and powerful original built in the 1920s through the 1950s.

The 32¼-inch-long die-cast AC-9 model features detailed piping, builder’s plaques, and operating hatches reminiscent of the original trains. Digital recordings of steam chuffs—which increase in intensity as the train accelerates—and conversations between the engineer and fireman are broadcast through miniature speakers. A flickering firebox and puffing smoke synchronized with the valve gears add to the sense of realism. Though the future promises increasingly sophisticated model trains, it is doubtful any Lionel AC-9s will be scrapped in the name of progress. 

When the air had cleared after the frenzy of New York’s spring art auctions, players and spectators...
This circa-1900 pink-swirl marble is in what Dan Morphy calls “wet mint condition,” or as pristine...
Photo by Bob Tursack
Maya Angelou’s art collection focused on works by African-American masters...
The display is part of a hotel-wide renovation that will be completed by the end of the year...
Heritage Auctions will also offer Mickey Mantle’s rookie card and Mike Ditka’s Super Bowl playbook…
Photo by Cordero Studios⁄corderostudios.com
Charles and Judy Tate assembled a world-class collection of Latin American art—and then gave it all...
Photo by The Strong, Rochester, N.Y.
The American game culture is almost as old as the country itself...
Photograph by Ron Pierson, courtesy of Guernsey's
The bounty from the sunken ship includes 40 tons of silver and gold valued at $450 million…
Photo by Michael Richter
Visitors trekked to Maastricht, the Netherlands, for the March opening day of the European Fine Art...
The 13 new portraits include images of Douglas Cramer, Judy Garland, and Ernesto Esposito…