From The Archive: Lionel’s Southern Pacific Daylight from 1983

Lionel’s 1983 catalog showing its Daylight set.

From The Archive: Lionel’s Southern Pacific Daylight from 1983

Included in Lionel’s Collector Series 1983 catalog are several interesting releases. Among them you’ll find a pair of O-gauge passenger trains. New York Central’s 20th Century Limited pulled by Lionel’s famous F3 diesels, with matching livery extruded aluminum passenger cars, and a Southern Pacific offering.

Lionel’s Daylight release is shown with a 4-8-4 Northern steam locomotive (6-8307). This locomotive, in prototypical Daylight dress presented with a matching train of aluminum passenger cars, came with the ability to reproduce smoke and simulated emissions from its cylinders. As Chris Raines notes in his “RBP Trains” YouTube video of this set, this era was a challenging time for Lionel, and this Northern includes some compromises (such as more plastic components than classic models and contemporary efforts) but remains a fun collectable from this era. Inside the tender (the early example in the catalog shows a coal tender, versus oil tender as production models possessed) was a circuit board offering the company’s “Mighty Sound of Steam.”

Lionel offered Southern Pacific Daylight streamlined passenger cars (6-9589 through 6-9593), and this 1983 catalog also noted the availability of Southern Pacific F3 diesel locomotives powered (6-8260) and dummy (6-8262) as separately sold releases in this famous and popular livery.

Chris shows the locomotive and compares it with similar prototypes from contemporary Lionel production. You’ll also learn Chris’ tip for protecting the circuit board in the tender from shorting out against the metal frame, to keep the sound ability functional on vintage locomotives of this variety. See Chris’ train room fill with smoke as twin Daylight passenger trains race around his O-gauge pike. There are many good sources for locating vintage model trains; check Trainz ( and you’ll discover a wide selection of new, recent, and vintage items.


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This article was posted on: November 19, 2021