Color scheme details for EMD's "E" and "F" units : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I collect and restore antique Lionel toy trains. Since they neglected to produce an ACL painted F3 set in the postwar era, I am trying to duplicate the purple and silver scheme on my own. I have several specific questions: Did ACL own any F3's? For either E or F units, I have seen pictures of engines with the roofs painted black and others with solid purple roofs. Which is correct? What color are the ends of the "B" engines and the backs of the "A" engines suposed to be? Where can I find O guage decals for the nose emblem, side lettering, and lettering for the passenger cars? What is the correct shade of purple for the paint and where can it be purchaced? Thanks for whatever help you may be able to provide. Doug

-- Douglas Hank (, February 24, 1998


Microscale does (or did) manufacture O-scale decals for E and F units. You can get them either for the purple/aluminum or black/yellow schemes, and they also offer them for GP-7s and switchers in purple/aluminum.

Microscale No. 48-302 for purple/aluminum E/Fs, No. 48-296 for black/yellow E/Fs, and 48-303 for purple/aluminum GP-7s and other switchers. I ordered mine from Leon Butler's hobby shop Creative Pastime Hobbies in Conway, SC.

-- David Wiggs (, November 22, 1998.

Doug, I saw today at a train store in Virginia Beach a complete set of Lionel O scale Atlantic Coast Line A-B-A F-3 units with a set of three to four silver ACL passenger cars bringing up the rear. Judging from your letter, you seem to be alot like me in prefering the satisfaction of decorating your trains yourself rather than buying them pre-painted. If however, you cannot find the right decals and the right shades of paint, I would strongly recommend you to consider purchasing this Lionel set. I examined the purple and silver scheme of the locomotives and to my knowledge, the color shades appear to be accurate. I forgot to look closely at the roof and the ends but I believe the roof was black and the ends silver (those are details you could easily fix later with an airbrush if incorrect). The dealer told me Lionel calls the locomotives F-3's but so-called experts visiting his establishment claim they are really F-7's. I personally cannot distinguish between the two so you would have to see a set yourself (I'm more proficient at U-boats).The set has been on the market for barely over a year and goes for about $900.00. For more info, call THE ROUNDHOUSE 3845 Bonney Road Virginia Beach VA 23452 (757)340-7980 FAX (757) 340-7821. Ask for ED BROOKS. There is no E-mail connection yet. Maybe by the summer. Oh, and by the way Micro-Scale's number is 1-800-722-5306. They may be able to assist in your quest for Oscale ACL decals. It helps to order more than one set; multiple orders are given priority. I've called them before looking for specific HO decals and found them to be most helpful. Good luck in your quest for realism.

-- Andrew Callo (, March 19, 1998.

If you are looking for the ACL purple paint mentioned by Larry, you can find a few bottles at The Hobby Shop in Raleigh, NC. Telephone 919-833-1123.

-- Craig Zeni (, March 15, 1998.

Several alert Society members pointed out that my earlier answer contained an error -- ACL DID own F3s, but they were the late phase and so "looked like" F7s. The point of my original answer is that ACL's F2s were the ones that "look like" the Lionel F3s. The moral of this story is, as I mentioned in the original answer, check the Calloway back to get all these details straight!

-- Larry Goolsby (, March 13, 1998.

I recently saw an ABA set of Lionel F3s in the purple and silver scheme in a hobby shop in Warrenton, VA (TSG Hobbies on the web). They were factory fresh so I suggest you take a look at the current Lionel catalog to see how they painted them.

-- Larry Puckett (, March 13, 1998.

ACL owned F2s, not F3s, but they were similar (I think) to some of the early-phase F3s. I am not a diesel "phase" expert so don't take this to the bank. Anyway, the number series was 324 to 335, A and B, and they were built in 1946. I know their roofs were black in later years although it is possible they could have been delivered with purple roofs, as some of the early E units were. Warren Calloway's book "ACL--The Diesel Years" (Withers Publishing) should answer all this in detail.

I am fairly sure the ends were purple as well, again, check the Calloway book.

I am not up on O scale decals. Microscale put out some terrific HO decals for all ACL diesel variations a couple of years ago, but I don't recall if they did these in O or not.

The correct shade of purple was called ACL Royal Purple, and the ACL & SAL HS sells the only correct model paint. Ours is formulated from the original ACL color chip. Unfortunately we are out of stock at the moment but hope to have it back in stock soon. Watch the web page for an announcement.

-- Larry Goolsby (, February 25, 1998.

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