The Lionel Columbia Type 2-4-2-Locomotive No. 239 was available in 1965 and 1966. Released in Sets No. 11540 and No. 11550, it has a die-cast boiler with a plastic motor that is controled by a two position directional unit whose control lever would protrude through the top of the boiler between the two domes. Equipped with a head light and a liquid smoke unit, this locomotive came with a No. 234W tender that has a whistle, and late AAR trucks with one disc coupler.
Why would Lionel equip a die-cast engine with a plastic motor? In 1965, when this engine was produced, the slot car craze was in full swing and Lionel was forced to reduce their line of train sets that were offered due to lagging sales. The top of the line 027 locomotive for this year was the No. 2029 and this would have been the only die-cast engine produced this year had not Lionel also produced a die-cast boiler for this locomotive. There are two variations:
Variation A: Ribbed motor bottom, traction tire on right rear driving wheel, with thick rubber-stamped number on the cab.
Variation B: Same as Variation A except thin rubber-stamped number on cab.
This locomotive was designed to work on O27 Gauge track and it will also run on O Gauge track.
In 1966, this locomotive headed up uncataloged Set No. 19516 Steam Freight Outfit. We’ve pictured the box top of this set below. The contents of this set were:
No. 239 Scout Steam Engine with a No. 242T Streamlined Tender.
No. 6142 BLUE Gondola Car.
No. 6176 YELLOW Lehigh Valley Hopper Car.
No. 6402 Variation D Flat Car with ORANGE Cable Reels (car is not numbered).
No. 6050-110 RED Swift Box Car.
No. 6017 RED Minneapolis & St. Louis Caboose.
Track and a No. 1073 60 Watt Transformer.
NOTE: Ambiguities exist as to what were the actual contents of this set. If you have further information regarding these contents please use the "Contact" link at the bottom of this page to let us know.