Lionel Ambassador Review

by Steve Scagnelli

Lionel Lighted Coaling Tower (6-83490)

Setting the Stage

There are two sides to our involvement in Model Railroading. Expanding and maintaining our stable of motive power and rolling stock is one dimension. The other dimension is building your model railroad. As the late John Armstrong eloquently noted, “a model railroad is a stage and our trains are the actors on that stage” 

When working on your railroad, or enhancing your stage, one product to consider is the Lionel Coaling tower.
This handsome model includes: Exterior illumination, Coal chute, pulley, and chain details, red warning light on top of tower, separately applied walkways and railings, separately applied ladder chutes and steps. Below is the model recently installed on the TMB Model Train Club layout.

Here is the model recently installed on the TMB Model Train club in Farmingdale NY

What must be considered before installation is what type of engines and roiling stock you plan to run through the coaling tower. Basically, there are Height and Width dimensions that that need to be considered before final placement is made.

Height - In testing clearance we ran a Lionel Big Boy pulling some double stack intermodal cars. We found that we needed to raise the tower by one inch to clear the double stack cars. We simply inserted a 1” piece of wood under legs which we covered with some black diamonds to simulate spillage.

Width – The tower base is plenty wide to allow for anything you have including the Big Boy. My suggestion is if you are running any large articulated engines or the longer passenger cars, place the tower on a straight section at least 12” from the curve. This will allow the overhang of the engines to straighten out before passing under the tower.

Overall, our club members are very pleased with this addition to our layout and highly recommend you consider adding this accessory to your railroad.

Gauge: O Gauge
Scale Type: Traditional
Dimensions: 5 ½" x 5 ½" x 19 ½"
Most Recent Catalog: 2016 Lionel Volume 2 Catalog

Link to Lionel product page: