Gilbert American Flyer Number 283 Locomotive


Cataloged: 1954, 1955, 1956

Pacific type steam locomotive: Wheel arrangement 4-6-2

Prototype: USRA Pacific—curiously, none were owned by either the CNW or Milwaukee Road

Road Name: Chicago North Western – later five digit version has road name Milwaukee Road

Materials and Features: Boiler Shell is one-piece plastic as is the tender which contains the reverse unit and is equipped with a knuckle coupler. The locomotive is equipped with smoke and choo-choo, plus Pull-Mor Power traction wheels.


The C&NW number 283 is among the most popular 1950’s S-Gauge locomotives in the Gilbert American Flyer product line. It is well-proportioned in appearance and operates reliably.

In 1954, it came with two cataloged sets: one passenger and one freight.

In 1955, it also came with two cataloged sets: one passenger and one freight.

In 1956, it came only in a freight set, but it was also available for individual sale.

With the Gilbert conversion to a 5-digit numbering system in 1957, it appears that this locomotive continued to be sold in a freights set and as a separate sale item. However, while the catalog images show a 283, the text refers to a 21015 catalog number.

Actual locomotives also show up with 21084 and 21085 numbering. The 21084 number was likely production mistake caused by the confusion in the number conversions to five digits.

Also, the 21015 number in the catalog is likely a mistake. Eventually it got straightened out, and the subsequent years numbered the locomotives as 21085.

This locomotive was the successor to the similar locomotive—numbered 282—which was equipped with a link coupler. Late number 21085 locomotives have the Milwaukee Road on the tender instead of the Chicago North Western.

Other numbers on this same locomotive body include 285, 287 and 289. The 285 is equipped with the air chime whistle, whereas the 287 is a low-end version that lacks smoke and choo-choo. The 289 is an uncataloged version that lacks smoke and choo-choo, but it did come equipped with the whistle.

Gilbert provided service and parts information in Form 1646.