Lone Star (England) Baldwin 0-8-0

Introduced: 1964

Beginning in the mid to late 1950s, Lone Star (a British company) began building a line of N gauge push toys, and by the early 1960s they had begun motorizing them (marketed under their "Treble-O-Lectric" label) - thus making these some of the very first N scale locomotives ever made. Arnold-Rapido picked up on their popularity and subsequently began work on their own line of similarly sized models and N scale was born (or more accurately, OOO scale - it would be some years before it came to be known as N scale). The Baldwin 0-8-0 was actually the second generation of Lone Star N scale American prototype locomotives (the first being their EMD F7). I have no idea when these primitive locomitives were ultimately discontinued, but I think it's safe to say that they weren't around much past 1970. These are fairly difficult to find in working order, so expect to pay well over $100 for a nice one.

Believe it or not, this thing actually employs a rubber band drive! In fact, it's the same drive that appears in the Lone Star F7 (crammed into the tender rather than the locomotive). And as one would expect, performance is pretty awful - loud enough to wake the dead, supersonic speed, wretched pickup, and an alarming tendancy to go flying off the rails. Truly horrible, and obviously only useful as a collector piece. Still, an important piece of N-scale history. The entire Lone Star line (along with Arnold) get a big writeup in the 2/64 issue of Model Railroader (the first piece in that magazine discussing the new "OOO" scale trains). The first MR advertisement for Lone Star trains appears in the 11/64 issue.

Usually when you get one of these, if the motor works at all it still won't move because the ancient rubber bands are shot. If you have one with a working motor and want to actually get it to run, try swapping in some orthodontic rubber bands. They're small, tough and very elastic. To get at the motor, simply lift the top off the tender. The trucks are actually held to the "mechanism" via the rubber bands.

Grade: F

Here's a dummy 0-8-0 still in its original packaging:

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