News & Reviews Product Reviews Lionel The Chessie Legacy Greenbrier

Lionel The Chessie Legacy Greenbrier

By Chris Montagna | July 20, 2023

| Last updated on July 21, 2023

This model of the celebrated 4-8-4 has some new twists and a fantasy paint scheme

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The Lionel The Chessie Legacy Greenbrier is big. It’s colorful. It’s a steam engine.

Should steamers be colorful? Like it or not, fantasy paint schemes on them seem to be an attractive alternative to the prototypical (mostly) black models.

Lionel The Chessie Legacy Greenbrier
It’s big, heavy, and colorful: Lionel’s The Chessie Legacy Greenbrier.

This one was featured in 2022’s Volume 2 catalog. A look back at previous offerings indicates the growing popularity of these liveries. One of the most notable could be the Polar Express locomotive. While based on Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225, it never pulled a train to the North Pole (though we can believe it did). However, it’s safe to say that Berkshire has been exempt from criticism since its initial release to the Lionel scale market over a decade ago.

Lionel Legacy Greenbrier tender
The locomotive is long and so is the tender.

A polarizing paint job has been the Union Pacific 49er passenger train “hot dog” scheme applied to the 4-6-6-4 brass-hybrid Challenger (upcoming). This model features bright yellow, red, and brown and certainly stands out. It has been nearly impossible to find on the second-hand market over the past two years.

Then recently we’ve seen the arrival of the Pacemaker 4-8-2 Mohawk with a striking red boiler to present modelers with a true “What if?” New York Central locomotive. Hobbyists swept it off the shelves of hobby stores and it has been seen for sale online for more than $500 over MSRP.

The Lionel The Chessie Legacy Greenbrier

Perhaps an homage to the early orange Chesapeake & Ohio “Yellowbelly Hudsons,” this Chessie Greenbrier features an all silver locomotive with orange boiler and smoke deflectors. There are traditionally painted offerings of the engine in black as well.

The design features “corrugated” aluminum on the smoke deflectors and tender. However, this is done using a painting technique; the parts are not actually textured.

Lionel Chessie Greenbrier tender detail
Under the hatches on the tender is the switch positions from the MTH DCS controls.

As with the other Greenbrier options in the catalog, the smoke deflectors are removable. Pins mate with two holes on each side of the smokebox. It’s a different approach than the magnetic system they announced for the upcoming Vision Line Big Boys.

The 4-8-4 is a new product for Lionel since it purchased the tooling from MTH a few years ago. The new owners made some minor adjustments, most notably the addition of control switches under the sand dome, a welcome change from the traditional switch location under the locomotive.

Lionel Legacy Greenbrier Chesapeake Ohio top switch detail
The Legacy control switches have been moved to the top of the boiler.

With the swap to Legacy control from DCS, the MTH drawbar was swapped for a wireless infrared unit with Kinematic features on the tender end. This allows the cab and tender to be pulled closer together on straight sections of track but navigate tighter radius curves.

Lionel O gauge Greenbrier front smoke deflectors
This model is one of two that have smoke deflectors. They can be removed if desired. There’s lots to look at up here.

Since Lionel traditionally houses the control boards in the boiler of the model and not the tender like MTH, the old DCS switch access on the tender under the water hatch doors is no longer needed. However, the switch labels can still be read.

More changes

Lionel has kept the forward-facing MTH-style motor mount, unlike on the L1 Mikado (originally MTH tooling), in which the mount was flipped. Presumably, this is due to Lionel using a previously owned 2-8-2 chassis and not the MTH chassis.

Lionel Legacy Greenbrier cab side piping
This engine has a lot of piping; note the area around the cab.

Lionel’s rendition gets the full Legacy package with Railsounds and Bluetooth. Lionel provides an assortment of different whistle and bell options selectable by toggling “Aux 1” on your Legacy remote. The tender features a dual-speaker system which provides ample sound for a locomotive of this size.

Lionel Chessie Greenbrier cab interior
In the office, there’s plenty of backhead detail and a pair of crew figures. Cab curtains and a deck add more visual interest.

The 4-8-4 features fan-driven stack and whistle “steam.” Historically, Lionel has drilled a hole next to the whistle detail for the effect to function. On the Greenbrier the smoke effect comes from directly under the whistle and cowling. This makes it more prototypical, an achievement MTH has mastered in the last few years.

Made to be noticed

The add-on details, subdued in the traditional schemes, pop on the Chessie version. These include the radiator detailing on the pilot, a bell in front of the smokebox, illuminated number boards, and marker lights with bi-color LEDs.

Lionel Greenbrier front
This engine cuts an imposing figure coming at you. Don’t miss the bell, headlight, and radiator.

The model features a copious amount of steam piping and valve linkages. The cab has a drop plate and curtains. Its interior has molded detail s as well as two painted crew figures and details on the backhead. The tender features a full real coal load and truck chains.

Lionel introduced the Greenbrier with 6 different cab numbers, four of which do not have smoke deflectors. This model has some serious heft; the locomotive comes in at about 11 lbs. and the tender is 4 lbs. 12 ounces. It requires O-72 curves. Lionel also offered seven blue-and-yellow 18’’ passenger cars as well as seven aluminum-and-orange 21’’ passenger cars. The price tag is $1699.99.


Legacy Greenbrier 4-8-4 by Lionel

MSRP: $1699.99

Roadnames: Chesapeake & Ohio No. 613 (No. 2331100, The Chessie, aluminum and orange); Chesapeake & Ohio 613 (2331090, with smoke deflectors) Chesapeake & Ohio 614 (2331070); Chesapeake & Ohio 611 (2331080); Chessie System 614 (2331110); Family Lines 614 (2331120)

Get more O gauge action on the Chris’s Trains & Things channel on YouTube.

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