Modern Era Lionel 6-14065 Nuclear Reactor. Produced in 2000.
Perhaps inspired by the space race and continuing research into the use and merits of nuclear power, Lionel produced a prototype of a nuclear reactor some time in the late 1950's to early 1960's. Featured as a background illustration in the 1958 catalog, the Nuclear Reactor had a large dome with a control center in front. While the eventual prototype did not duplicate the artist's rendition, there are enough similarities to suggest that the catalog drawing provided its inspiration.
Inspection of the non-operating prototype led the Lionel product team to envision the initial intent of the Reactor. The magnetized side arm was certainly intended for removing metal objects from a waiting car. Once raised, the objects were loaded into a bin inside the dome where they awaited release down a chute on the front of the Reactor. Two lights on the interior added a final enhancement.
For the most part, the 463 is true to the original prototype in both aesthetics and functionality. However, a few enhancements have been made. Where the prototype has one bin to accept material, the 463 has two to allow raw steel material to enter the dome, and spent glow-in-the-dark nuclear isotopes to exit. Lighting has been upgraded as well, with a circular sequential light unit, and a super bright LED to give the appearance of nuclear reactions firing inside. The option of operating the arm with a controller or mechanical crank is true to the original.
From its mysterious origins to its current form, the 463 Nuclear Reactor is uniquely Lionel.
All new tooling, Single can motor, Die-cast crane arm, Stamped metal base and upper dome, Detailed molded lower dome, Manual or remote operation, Interior sequential lighting, Interior strobing LED, 1 bag of steel pellets, 1 bag of glow-in-the-dark "isotope" material, Inner dome is plated for maximum reflection of light. WITH BOX.