Lionel Engine Power usage.

There are often questions about how much power is used by various Lionel Post-war engines.  I have a fleet of engines in good repair I used to do some tests. 

For these conventional engine tests, track voltage was 13v.  Unless noted there was a smoke unit active, magnetraction, E-unit engaged and a Incandescent light.   All pulling the same consist of 5 cars. 

There is a weight rating for the engine.

Speed is noted, but an observation.  Gearing also effects the speed. The gearing for the engines varies greatly.

Measuring these items individually at 13volts.  My AC amp gauge only has .25 resolution. 

The mechanical E-unit can draw .5 amps when enabled.

Smoke unit can draw .5 amps

Incandescent light can draw .25 amps


226E , 2-6-4 1.5 amps. No magnetraction,  No smoke unit,  LED light, Incandescent firebox light. Speed Medium-fast  Engine weight Medium


773 4-6-4 scale Hudson. 1950 version original. 2.5 amps.  Speed medium  (low geared) Engine weight Heavy

783  4-6-4 Hudson  2.5 amps  "tuned" High stack motor, Speed medium  (low geared) Engine weight Heavy

2065 4-6-4 Small Hudson. 3 amps LED light, Speed Fast  Engine weight Medium-Light

726 2-8-4 Berkshire, 2 amps 1946 Horizontal motor.  Smoke bulb. Speed Medium  Engine weight Medium 

736 2-8-4 Berkshire 2.5 amps, LED light, Speed Medium  Engine weight Medium 

682 6-8-6 Turbine 2 amps,  LED Light, Speed Fast. Engine weight Medium

2023 4x4 Diesel.  2 amps Single motor , no smoke, LED Light,  Speed Very Fast.  Engine weight Medium Light

2343 4x4 Diesel  3 amps Dual Horizontal motors.  LED Light.   Speed Medium-Fast.  Engine weight Medium heavy


In general I do not see large gaps in power usage from the various motor styles.  Smoke units, E-units and Incandescent bulbs add to the power use.   The large Hudson engines were not worse at power use than any other when you add in their overall weight.  The only one that looked to be using higher amperage was the 2065,  it was running fast using it. 

The newer 783 and the 2343 "growler" motors are the noisiest.    The 1950 773 is nearly silent.   I think the manufacturing tolerances are much tighter for the 1950 engine.  

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Last update Feb 18 2023