American Flyer Locomotive 342 Nickel Plate Road 0-8-0 Switcher
The American Flyer Locomotive 342 Nickel Plate Road 0-8-0 switcher was introduced in the 1946 catalog. This is the post war version of the Gilbert O gauge No. 574. In 1946 the tender was lettered “Nickel Plate Road”. Cataloged again in 1947, the tender lettering changes to “American Flyer Lines” and in 1948 the “American Flyer Lines” lettered tender continues. Distinguishing characteristics include brass contact buttons in the center of the bottom of the chassis in the 1946 and some 1947 versions of the No. 342. 1946 and 1947 versions include a smoke unit mounted in the tender and the reverse unit in the boiler with the reverse unit lever extending through the top of the boiler. The 1948 version moves the smoke unit to the boiler and the reverse unit to the tender.
In addition, the link couplers are slightly different among the three years, with the 1946 tender having a thin shank link coupler without a weight, the 1947 tender having a thick shank link coupler without a weight and the 1948 version having a thick shank link coupler with a brass weight. In theory, service stations could purchase weights and add them to the earlier couplers and knuckle coupler conversion kits could remove the link coupler and change over to the knuckle making strict identification by coupler type alone somewhat difficult.
American Flyer stamped the manufacturing date inside the boiler casting of the locomotive so this provides another means of identification of the year of manufacture, however it requires disassembly of the locomotive to see the date. Also American Flyer was manufacturing toys and regularly optimized usage of inventory by using remaining stock parts so the observable characteristics are not always consistent. To add to the confusion, service stations and factory service might substitute more recent parts to repair an older locomotive and thereby confuse the ability to identify the specific year of manufacture.
Train Set Number 4618 Nickel Plate Switcher with “Choo-Choo” and Smoke Unit
Set Number 4618 Nickel Plate Switcher with “Choo-Choo” and Smoke Feature . . . 24 Pieces. 48 ¼” Long
- American Flyer Locomotive 342 Switcher Locomotive and Tender with “Choo-Choo” and smoke. 14 3/4” long
- 715 Automatic Army Unloading Car with Armored Car and Control Box. 7 ¾”
- 634 Floodlight Car. 8 ¾”
- 631 Gondola. 8”
- 630 Caboose with Light. 6”
- Track : 12 No. 702 curved, No. 705 straight with built-in uncoupling device and control box, No. 710 Automatic Track Section, No. 690 Track Terminal.
Train Set Number 4622 Complete Railroad System
- No. 332 Locomotive and Tender with “Choo-Choo” and smoke
- 718-R Automatic Mail Pick-up Car with Control Box
- 650-R Coach
- 652-R Pullman
- 654-R Observation
- 342 Switcher Locomotive and Tender with “Choo-Choo” and X
- 629 Cattle Car
- 633 Box Car
- 715 Army Unloading Car with Armored Car and Control Box
- 634 Floodlight Car
- 630 Caboose with Light
- Track : 16 No. 702 curved, 11 No. 700 Straight, 2 No. 705 straight with built-in uncoupling device and control box, no. 711 Mail Pick-up Track Section, No. 710 Automatic Track Section for Army Unloading Car, 1 pair No. 720 track switches with control box, No 690 Track Terminal.
Other equipment: No. 577 Whistling Billboard with Control Box and Track Trip, 2 579 Single Street Lights with Track Terminals, 2 580 double Arc Lights with Track Terminals, 589 Passenger and Freight Station with Track Terminal, 585 Tool Shed, 750 Trestle Bridge with Track Terminal, 583 Electromatic Crane with Control Box, 581 Girder Gridge, 596 Water Tank with Control Box and Track Terminal, 586-F Wayside Station with Two Figures and Track Terminal, 578 Station Figure Set (9 figures), 591 Crossing Gate Set with Track Trip.
1947 Catalog Description
Set Number 4618 (Same as 1946)
Set Number 4622 (Same as 1946)
1947 Catalog Description
Set Number 4618 (Same as 1946/1947)
The No. 342 Switcher was not cataloged for separate sale.
The 342 style locomotive continued in the American Flyer product line with various numbers; 342 AC, 342 DC, 343, 346, and 21145.