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Life-Like™ C424 - Erie Lackawanna Diesel Locomotive

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TheAmerican Locomotive Company began building the Century 424 in 1963. Equipped with a 251 engine, the locomotive generated 2400 horsepower, impressive output for a four motor unit at the time. The C424 served as an adequate upgrade for the RS27 it was developed to replace. The Century 424 was subsequently improved upon with the introduction of the 2500 horsepower C425.


When the production run concluded in 1967, a total of 98 units had been erected for American railroads. Montreal Locomotive Works built a Canadian version of the C424 under license from ALCo. 92 examples of this version were built. Erie Lackawanna purchased 15 units numbered 2401 to 2415 consecutively. The EL C424’s were subsequently conveyed to Conrail on April 1, 1976. None were repainted Conrail blue although a number of C424 and C425 units continue to soldier on in service on short line and regional railroads.


Life-Like’s N scale rendition of the Erie Lackawanna C424 is superb. EL’s classic color scheme of gray, maroon and yellow is evenly applied with no thick spots or overspray. The handrails are all gray and do not feature yellow trim on the ends as did the railings on the prototype units. I imagine this would be easy enough for a modeler to correct if desired; however, it does not detract from the engine’s overall pleasing appearance, at least for me. Numerals in the correct font are accurately placed in the number boards and a prototypically correct road number of 2413 has been applied to the model. The C424 is delivered from the factory with body mounted Rapido couplers which will be swapped at the earliest opportunity for knuckle couplers. Unlike diesel models dating from the early days of N scale, this engine features a well detailed, full pilot which I consider to be perhaps the greatest improvement in the appearance of diesel locomotives in this scale over the years. Operationally, the C424 delivers performance on a par with its appearance. It is silky smooth and capable of pulling a lengthy freight consist.


The list price of the Life-Like C424 is $80. I purchased mine a few weeks ago at the Model Railroad Shop in Piscataway, NJ at a discount of approximately 10%. Since the release of the C424, Life-Like was acquired by Walthers. The new owner is proceeding to reissue items from the Life-Like catalog. The C424 would be a worthy addition to any N Scale roster.


Happy railroading,



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