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Author Topic: Mini Review - Williams and Lionel FM Train Masters  (Read 2323 times)

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« on: January 17, 2009, 04:31:14 PM »

A few photos of the the Williams and the recently released Lionel 2331



Both (Lionel is in the middle)

Close up comparison
Photo enhancement courtesy of the DL&W publicity dept.

The real deal

Both are based on the #2331 Fairbanks Morse Train Master Lionel released in 1955,  first in a prototypical black & yellow version and then a more eye catching (but not prototypical)  blue & yellow version.  The 2331's here are based on the black & yellow version.

Williams uses a mustard color on their version with 2331 on the number boards and on the cab. Like the 1955 original, the Lionel "Conventional Classics" 2331 is closer to the correct color and it doesn't have the road number on the cab -  that's prototypical. The protoypes numbers were 50-74.  The Lionel has the gold colored VIRGINIAN lettering on the side, like the original 1955 model.

Lionel changed the truck arrangement;  the same axles are powered but now the center axle is blind and both outside axles have flanges.  The Lionel has both magnatraction and traction tires and had no problems pulling 9 3469 metal dump cars and a caboose around 0-31 curves.

Operationally the Williams is superior; since the Lionel is meant to invoke the 1955 version (it even comes in 1955 style packaging) Lionel used open-frame "pullmor" motors that have a higher starting speed and draw more current.  The Lionel runs fine but the Williams is much smoother at slow speeds, runs much quieter and it draws fewer amps.

The Lionel has a better electronic horn, but there are some problems activating it with non Lionel transformers.   The Williams horn is reliable on everything I've tried as long as there's about 7 volts or more on the track.   

It's nice to have the new issue Lionel 2331 (especially since I can't afford a 1955 original!) but the Williams FM's will remain the workhorses on the tinplate Virginian



« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 03:03:15 PM by Brady » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 08:00:00 PM »

Excellent photos and review, Brady!  Thanks very much!

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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2009, 09:26:19 PM »

Under the hood..

« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 09:30:32 PM by Brady » Logged
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