model train set on track

MYSTERY ORIGIN SOLVED: a saga of a Lionel Outfit 70

e*Train Issue: Oct 2021   |   Posted in:

By Mike Vitale, TCA 81-16812

Auctioned to the highest bidder, quarantined for 18 days, relegated to an attic for 30 years, handed down from father to son to grandson and given as a Christmas gift 106 years ago. This is the history of the Lionel Outfit 70 which I now possess.

This is another jewel of a discovery on eBay. The grandson of the original owner brought this into a pawn shop. The pawn shop had to hold it for 18 days while a police check was done to make sure it wasn’t stolen goods.

Lionel Outfit #70

Lionel Outfit 70 was produced in 1915 and 1916. It contained a 700 electric outline locomotive, 2 – 600 passenger cars, a circle of track and a #88 rheostat. The one I have is almost complete. The only item missing is one of the 600 Pullmans. Ah, but THAT leads to a story within the story.

Rheostat and track connectors

The 1915, 1st version 700 is in EX+ condition. The outfit contains a Lionel Manufacturing 88 rheostat and a circle of early track. Also included are 8 rarely seen early Lionel track connectors. The paper the trains were wrapped in reside in the bottom of each compartment in the box. The hookup wire is 16 AWG!

Olive Green pullman car

And then there is the Olive Green 600 Pullman. Yes, an Olive Green Pullman! It has wide wheels, no lettering above the windows and no 600 or Lionel Lines stamp. The common 600 Pullman in these early sets is Dark Green. I know of only 3 other Olive Green Pullmans. This is definitive proof that that some of the earliest Lionel 70 Outfits contained Olive green Pullmans. Oh, and did I mention that the original owners 1915 Lionel catalog was inside the box?!

Original box

For as much complaining as I hear about eBay, nothing I know of turns up the amount of quality items from non-train collectors that adds to our knowledge base.