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Lee Lines Trains

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History

Lee Lines was a small upstart manufacturing firm based in Miami, Florida that operated from 1975 to 1982 and was founded by Dana Lee Barlow. In 1976, Lee Lines got into the streamliner game when they advertised a massive GS-4 Daylight 4-8-4 locomotive and tender in Standard gauge initially priced at $500. This was the lone offering from the Lee Lines catalog. The first GS-4 was delivered in spring 1977. The locomotive was available in a number of paint schemes including Southern Pacific Daylight, Southern Pacific Freight (black), Amtrak, Pennsylvania RR and a Bicentennial American Freedom Train. A number of matching streamlined passenger car sets were produced to go with the locos. These extruded aluminum cars were offered as a three-car set with extra cars available. John A. Daniel designed the streamlined passengers cars that shipped with the Lee Lines GS-4. Priced at $850 for a loco and 3 car set.

Lee Lines Standard gauge 4-8-4 SP Daylight GS-4 American Freedom Train Locomotive & Tender The Lee Lines GS-4 was a 4-8-4 Northern type loco with twin motors designed to run on tinplate 3-rail track. It came ready to run with twin motors so powerful it could pull a Lionel #408E. At over 37" long and 6" tall it was the largest Standard gauge locomotive ever built. Its cast aluminum boiler and tender body have a total engine and tender weight of over 17 pounds. This 4-8-4 was the first commercially available steam-type loco with 8-wheel drive built to navigate standard 42" track curves. It was available in AC or DC versions, and was equipped with a forward and reverse switch.

Lee Lines Standard gauge 4-8-4 SP Daylight GS-4 Locomotive & Tender Cleverly made from just a few pieces of cast aluminum, the body was rough, but it fit well with the model toy trains it was meant to run with, standard gauge tinplate production from the 1920's and 30's. It was the largest standard gauge locomotive ever mass produced up until that time. Production was very limited. The Daylight version was available with three matching cars, but the American Freedom Train version had none.

The Lee Lines GS4 was not built to exact scale. It had over 600 simulated rivets and more than 3' of handrails. All 8 drive wheels were nickel rimmed. The loco featured brightly detailed valve gear, twin motors, double worm drive, a cast/aluminum tender body and locomotive boiler. Each hand built loco was serialized.

Lee Lines had ambitious plans for the future that included Standard gauge streamlined passenger cars of extruded aluminum construction similar to Lionel's 'O' gauge #2500 series cars of extruded aluminum construction, as well as a GG-1 loco, a N&W J series loco, F-3 diesels, a B&O Dockside switcher, a box car, caboose, and a limited production run of the UP Big Boy loco. Lee Lines had big hopes to produce many interesting items but the GS-4 was the only one to see the light of day. Only 50 SP Daylight GS-4 Streamlined Standard gauge locomotives were produced by Lee Lines.

In 2017, Jim Waterman built some GS-4's using the parts left over from Lee Lines original production. He planned to build a total of 10 and offer them for sale in sets with matching passenger cars to a few lucky customers.

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