History of the Allan Herschell S-16 "1865 model" train

History of the Allan Herschell S-16


"1865 model" train

          The Allan Herschell S-16, named the "1865" model, is a "steam outline" design developed by that company in late 1958 as a response to the popularity of the "Old West" in television shows and movies at the time. It was not live steam, but gave that look of "Americana" so popular with both youngsters and their parents. It utilized the same Wisconsin V-4 engine, transmission, fluid clutch and Blomberg style trucks as its popular older sister the G-16. Initially, sales were brisk with 9 trains sold in 1959 and 10 trains sold in both 1960 and in 1961. The trains were as dependable and easy to operate as the G-16, but had several "challenges" to overcome.

          Some of the challenges could be overcome by the Allan Herschell sales and marketing team of North Tonawanda, New York or their design and mechanical engineers; several other challenges were outside their control.

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June 1961 Catalog

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"1865 Train" Specifications

          The S-16 was available with "western style" coaches which were a slightly modified version of the reliable G-16 coaches and were either right or left side loading or with "surrey style" coaches which were wider, loaded from both sides, had a roof for shade and the seat bottoms were higher making it easier for parents to get in and out...

          As stated earlier, sales of the S-16 were very encouraging in its first three years despite its challenges. In 1962, only 7 units were sold and that number fell farther to 2 units in 1963 and 3 units in 1964. By 1962, the shift of emphasis in park trains was on the larger gauge (24 inch), longer and wider cars and the ability to carry more passengers per trip. Allan Herschell was developing its S-24 "Iron Horse" model to do battle with the C.P. Huntington of Chance Industries and began marketing the "Iron Horse" in late 1962; construction began in 1963. Although S-16 trains were still technically available for order through 1970, the last one was sold in September of 1964. Only 41 of the trains were built during six years of production.

1961 Advertisement

1961 Allan Herschell advertisement featuring the S-16

S16 Advertisement

Early S-16 Allan Herschell advertisement

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