How To Timeless Classics Locomotives We Love: Lionel Vision Line Big Boy

Locomotives We Love: Lionel Vision Line Big Boy

By Chris Montagna | July 16, 2023

Contributing Editor Chris Montagna tells why the big engine is dwarfed by the goodness of hobbyists

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Chris Montagna is a Contributing Editor of Classic Toy Trains and operates the Chris’s Trains and Things channel on YouTube.

Chris Montagna
Chris Montagna

What Toy Train Locomotive Means the Most to You?

When I reflect on the locomotives in my collection it’s difficult to pinpoint just one that I love above the rest. I was recently asked this question in a live forum with more than 120 people watching in person or online. Under the immediate pressure I spoke of my K-Line 4-6-6t which my friend Sid (Sid’s Trains on YouTube) upgraded to Lionel Legacy control and added whistle steam and a swinging bell, a true one-of-one model.

However, I think my Lionel Vision Line Big Boy has to be the one we discuss for this series. This may seem like a cliche response, oh, of course the biggest and probably most expensive locomotive, how original! The reason I’m selecting the Big Boy is because of the story behind it.

How did you acquire it?

I was on the hunt for this model in 2016, well after it had been delivered from its initial Vision Line offering in 2014. However, I was not in the financial position to spend over $2,000 on a model, even if it was MSRP-ed at $2,699!

Lionel Vision Line Big Boy
The Lionel Vision Line Big Boy

I happened to be scrolling through an online train forum and saw a posting for one for sale. The member posted it for well under $2,000. Turns out it was a gift from his wife for his mantle and USA Trains had just announced or delivered the large scale Big Boy, which he thought would look better than the O scale version (I had to agree…).

I messaged him and offered a little under the asking price and he countered at a price I was thrilled with; however, I didn’t have the money and I didn’t want to use my credit card. I asked the seller if he could give me a day or two to try and sell some other engines to pay him in full.

Here’s where it gets interesting. He offered to accept installments and would ship it after the first payment. I had more than enough to cover half of the engine, which I promptly sent him. I had a Vision Line Big Boy at my doorstep four days later. The engines I listed sold within a week and he was soon paid in full.

What makes it special?

This story is one of my favorites because it illustrates the type of people in the hobby and therefore makes this model special to me. Folks here support one another and instill a level of trust in each other.

I haven’t seen this model for sale within $800 of what I purchased it for in 2016. I’m fortunate that I happened to be scrolling on the internet at just the right moment. The model reminds me of that story whenever I run it, and that’s what makes it special.

I hope that I am able to model similar personal characteristics to those I interact with through this hobby. Getting this model for a great price is nice, but the story behind the acquisition is worth so much more.

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