Rectifier Electric Locomotive
The Rectifier is a unique offering in the Athearn line. The Rectifier is the only electric locomotive
sold by Athearn to date, the company focus being primarily diesel with some steam. According to Dallas Mallerich in "Greenberg's
Guide to Athearn Trains," the Rectifier is one of two pieces tooled by Athearn at the specific request of Lionel. The other
Lionel requested item was the Auto-Loader. Both would be part of the Athearn line, though the Rectifier's existance as an
Athearn release is brief.
The Rectifier appears based on the 027 Lionel model. Lionel reportedly retained the molds to this model, which is the only
Athearn-tooled HO piece that did not remain in Athearn possession. Lionel would produce a drive on its own for powering its
Rectifiers. The Athearn models rode on the GP9 underframe and had EMD Blomberg trucks, a spotting feature for examples found
without a box. Athearn is known only to have cataloged and sold the blue and yellow Virginian Rectifier. Lionel produced
other roadnames, including New Haven and Pennsylvania.
The HO-scale example at the top of the page is perched upon a yellow Athearn box. I have examined Athearn Rectifier models
in the short-lived odd yellow box with the pair of SP GP9's in Black Widow dress on the lid.
As mentioned, the mold for the Rectifier was Lionel property. Matter of fact, the injection molding of the shells was reportedly
done by Lionel, with Athearn doing the painting and lettering only. The Rectifier did not return with the Alco FA and EMD
GP9 in Lionel-HO's 1974 comeback. It is reported that an attempt was made to locate the molds by MPC with no luck. Another
piece of the Rectifier puzzle comes from a statement made by Kader-Bachmann's Lee Riley. Kader did a large portion of Lionel-HO's
1970s production. In "Greenberg's Guide to Lionel HO Volume I 1957-1999," Riley states Kader in 1973 made "a test run of
fifty pieces" from the Rectifier molds. The information is unclear on the outcome stating that, "the tool was damaged while
in use or just worn out." The final word being, "not worth fixing." In the 1990s at the annual Chicago hobby trade show,
I asked an Athearn rep when they would be bringing out a new run of Rectifiers. I received a groan and laugh and was told
they'd tossed that mold years ago.
Please note that this site was created for use by those with an interest in HO-scale model trains and does not necessarily
represent the current Athearn line available today. The author is not affiliated with,
nor representing Athearn and/or Horizon Hobby in any way.
This site is intended for your enjoyment and information only.
Images and information presented on this site comes from a variety of sources including magazines, internet, catalogs, visitor
input, and the author's collection.
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