Lionel H0 Accessories

A lot of the ďseriousĒ model railroaders have always had an aversion to operating cars and layout accessories.  Theyíll put streetlights in place, and have operating turntables, but when push comes to shove, the operating cars and accessories must never appear on their layout.

The really serious model railroaders canít get past the fact the for all their great details and prototypically accurate paint jobs, the ultimate fact remains that these are still toys and we are playing with them.  And, certainly Lionel accessories such as the 0470 IRBM Missile Launcher and its accompanying 0847 Exploding Box Car were the source of concern for more than one concerned parent.  On the other hand, the 0470 tapped into the psyche of the American boy of that era.

We canít speak to the intellectual motivation of Lionel when they introduced their new products in the 1960ís, but their H0-Scale product line certainly speaks for itself. Where once the 0-Gauge line had been the cast-iron black beauty steam locomotives that Joshua Lionel Cowan loved, the 1960ís began an era of bright colors, rockets, satellites, radioactive waste and plastic. The 0-Gauge line of trains of the late 1950ís and early 1960ís would be the pattern for the H0 line, too.  The accessories of the H0 line echoed the accessories of the 0-Gauge line. 

Lionel was not isolated from our society, and while a space race raged in the real world, Lionel armed up, too.  It got to the point that the President of Lionel was John B. Medaris, Major General (ret.).  Medaris had been in the missile division of the U. S. Army, working at Huntsville with Werner von Braun and the other German rocket scientists.  He appeared on the cover of the 1961 Lionel catalog:

The Presidency of Lionel would prove to be a brief one, with Medaris and Lionel reaching a severance agreement which was effective on March 15, 1962. Lionel would later breach this agreement, resulting in a lawsuit.  Medaris then reportedly became an Episcopal priest, later going to an even more conservative Anglican congregation.

In the meantime, Lionelís operating accessories made the world safe for H0-Scale.

Although not as extensive as the 0-Gauge operating accessory line, Lionelís H0 accessories operated in much the same way as their 0-Gauge relatives.  The Lionel H0 operating accessories, in numerical order:

0114, 0115, 0117, 0118 Engine houses

Based on a small contemporary diesel engine house, this structure provided on through track. The 0114 was equipped with a diesel horn, the 0118 had a whistle and the 0117 was simply an engine house. The 0115 was a kit version of this structure, but did not have the horn feature.

0140 Operating Banjo Signal

The banjo signal was used to protect automobile / railroad crossings at grade. It was especially common in the western United States.

0145 Automatic Gateman

The 0145 was quite similar to its 0-Gauge cousin, the 145 Automatic Gateman.

Both the 0140 Banjo Signal and the 0145 Automatic Gateman were operated by the 0145-200 Track Pressure Switch; the weight of the train closed a contact point, providing electricity to the accessory. A small set screw adjusted the sensitivity of the 0145-200.

0197 Radar Antenna

Powered by 16 volt AC accessory power, the 0197 radar antenna was controlled with an on/off switch such as the Lionel 364C.

0470 I.R.B.M. Missile Launch Platform

The 0470 Missile Launcher included the 0847 Exploding Box Car.

0480 Missile Firing Range

Like the 0470, the 0480 included a target, the 0847 Exploding Box Car.

0494 Rotating Beacon

The 0494 Rotating Beacon was similar to its larger Lionel 0-Gauge cousins. And, like its Lionel relatives, it had red and green lenses, while a similar beacon at the local airport had green and clear lenses. These are toys, after all.

The Lionel H0 accessory line included a number of pier sets, bridges and trestles. Lionel also offered Plasticville Buildings that were in Lionel packaging and had Lionel model numbers.