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Marx "Steamer" Guide ....... 2-4-2 Steamers 666 & 1666 10/15/2006

The purpose of this Marx Electric Train guide is to introduce you to affordable  and available Marx Trains. As a start, this will be done by pointing out the variations of the 666 and 1666 steam locomotive. These locomotives, with a 2-4-2 wheel arrangement, (some of the 1666's come in a 2-4-0 wheel configuration as well) are some of the most reliable and inexpensive electric toy trains on the market. All came with front lights and most came with steam stack smoke. With the 666 a very small number came with steamchest and cylinder smoke (see below explanation). On the other hand, the 1666 was a regular production item but still relatively VERY small number came with smoke from the steamchest, as well as the steam stack.

The reason you see so many pictured is I have focused on collecting these over the years. See the photo directly on the left below which shows the cylinder smoke unit (in gray) and note the rubber traction tire on the right top wheel. The underside of the standard 666 is on the right:


It is fun to look for these cylinder smokers as they are much, much harder to find then the stack smoke only version. Many of the locomotives also have a rubber type traction tire which made these good pullers of the Marx cars for which they were designed to pull. Now, how about double heading these? Well, that is another story...................

The 666 and 1666 locomotives were produced from 1955 through 1974 in several variations. Most importantly these are available at reasonable prices. The below locomotive (on the left) is the diecast 666. The locomotive with tender on the right is the plastic 1666. Overall we will not talk about tenders (which are readily available) though the New York Central tender is quite correct:


As a start lets divide this group of steamers into 2 different categories to which you have already been introduced. The first is the diecast series and secondly are those made of plastic. Remember all those numbered 666's are diecast and all those numbered 1666 are plastic. The models are quite similar but not exact as you can see from the photo's.

Remember that Marx was a toy company and only made toys, not collectibles. My listing of production dates are reasonably accurate but not cast in stone. No one is obsessing about dates. The dates are just to provide a solid frame of reference for perspective and the enjoyement of realizing you have found a piece of toy train history that can be as much as 50 year or more years old.

The 666 Die Cast Steamer was produced from 1955 though 1961. Then it was introduced again in 1967 and was offered through the end of production in 1974. Below are the variations that one can find to run and collect:

1) Black Loco with WHITE STRIPES along the outside of the boiler walkway.  ( Note the white stripe on the upper left photo ) with stack smoke

2) Same as above except with WHITE STRIPES and stack smoke and cylinder and stack smoke as below. Very few of these actually came from the factory that way. Note, gray chamber between the drive wheels and the front trucks is the cylinder smoke unit. You can see the two side exhaust ports:



3) Black loco with NO STRIPES on boiler walkway and with stack smoke.

4) Black loco with NO STRIPES on boiler walkway with stack and cylinder smoke. This is not factory original and the cylinder smoke unit was from a 1666:

5) Army Green with no striping (1957 & 1958 only) and stack smoke only:


6) Gray loco with stack smoke only from 1971. This is very tough to find and I have never owned one but know of at least 2

The 1666 Plastic Steamer was produced from 1959 through 1966. Many came with steel weights as well as traction tires to enhance pulling characteristics: 

1) Black loco with WHITE STRIPE on outside of boiler walkway

2) Black loco with WHITE STRIPE with stack & cylinder smoke

3) Black loco with NO WHITE stripe on outside of boiler walkway

4) Black loco with NO WHITE stripe and cylinder and stack smoke:


5) Black loco with NO WHITE stripe but NO stack or cylinder smoke

6) Gray loco with WHITE STRIPE on outside of boiler walkway with stack smoke from 1971 and 1972. A special tender came with this which was gray and came with "sound of power" sound effects. Marx was a leader here!

You should be able to find most versions for from $15 to $25 including a tender in many cases. The cylinder smokers are more in the $40 to $75 range and the same for the Gray loco with "sound of power" tender. Note the sound of power tender with its distinguishing rotating wheel. Of course, part of the fun is finding a deal so good luck in your search.


The plastic 1666 cylinder smokers came from the factory as a part of regular production sets with white stripes and no white stripes on the side of the running boards. However, it is believed that the diecast 666 only came with the smoke stack smoke except for a small number where the factory ran out of motors with stack smoke and substituted engines with the cylinder smoke units. These sets were the units with white paint on the side of the running boards. All other diecast 666 units with steamchest and cylinder smoke have been made as the units are interchangeable with the plastic 1666. The units came from the 1666's that were damaged or broken. One very common problem is the rear steps tend to be easily broken on the 1666.


There is also a fine Yahoo group devoted to Marx Trains. You can find it by going to Yahoo and put in MarxTrain in the search engine.

Take a look in the July, 2006 issue of Classic Toy Trains on page 30 and you will see a wonderful photo of a good friend. Is it the 666 or 1666? Is it the stack smoke or cylinder smoke version? Have fun with Marx trains!

Very best, Mike (hspanier@aol.com)

PS I would also like to acknowledge John F. and Tasker B. for introducing Marx trains to me. Their continuing willingness to answer my questions and share information is most appreciated. There input has been invaluable and gracious in every instance.

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