The original Century Club was a phenomenal success for Lionel. If it wasn't, there obviously wouldn't be a Century Club II. Lionel dealers were recently sent the new catalogs featuring five new trains to be produced over the next five years.
The trains are a New York Central Niagara, a re-production of the Union Pacific M-10,000 set, a set of Pennsylvania Sharknose A-As, a set of FM Trainmaster A-As in demonstrator colors, and a New York Central Empire State Hudson.
All five sets feature brand new tooling and are powered by high-torque motors. The membership is structured like the original Century Club. One can join for either $100 (Silver Membership) or $500 (Gold Membership) in which case you would also receive a special gold boxcar. Early enrollment also includes a special Century Club II boxcar. Applications will begin on September 5, the day of Lionel's centennial.
The art of the catalog is just as good as it was for the original Century Club catalog. The features of the sets are all listed on the first page, and pages for each product include a historical background. At first glance the M-10,000 looks like just another reproduction, but the front grillwork is see-through and inside there will be features including moving fans.
The Empire State Hudson is also an interesting item. T.C.A. members may remember a York, PA meet many years ago when Lionel had a prototype of this locomotive on display. At the time, Lionel was trying to fit a 700E chassis in the streamlined design and the result was an out-of-proportion model. The idea was shelved.
This new model looks particularly striking against the nighttime art deco background. Considering the vast fleet of Lionel Hudsons of the past, it's about time Lionel offers this design. The price of this engine is $1200.00.
Now comes the question of who wants to join? When the original Century Club was announced, collectors and dealers weren't sure what to make of it. Those who signed on early were awarded with boxcars that are now worth around $400.00 each. Eventually thousands of people did sign up and Lionel hopes to get some more of that action.
Lionel's Holiday 2000 catalog is already available. It is eight pages featuring holiday styled products. Their 2000 Volume II catalog is due for release on September 5. The Lionel Railroader Club news letter reported that artist Angela Trotta-Thomas has been commissioned to create the art for the cover.
Lionel released a sneak-preview of Volume II products to dealers that includes an Archives set of F3s in Kansas City Southern markings and a set of matching passenger cars. There will be a re-issue their Interurban MU cars in New Haven and Reading roadnames. For the full preview of new products click here.