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Freight Rail Runner
Published 2 months ago
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The inventory is ~96+ exact. Besides all 9V Electric components missing (and listed separately below), most items are correct. The sliding doors are missing, and I had to substitute 5x4 doors in the Locomotive's cab with narrower molds (and added a couple of wall panels to cover the gap). The sliding hook got replaced with a smallscale custom MOC assembly.

=MISSING PARTS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6584/vehicle-base-train-6-x-24/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2874/door-sliding/
3. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3195/door-1-x-5-x-4-left/
4. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3194/door-1-x-5-x-4-right/
5. https://rebrickable.com/parts/4509/slope-33-6-x-6-double-train-roof/
6. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2651/hook-slider-armhook/
7. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2650/hook-slider-arm-base-with-three-finger-hinge/
8. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6015/tyre-21-x-12-with-offset-tread-small-wide/
9. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6556/window-1-x-4-x-3-train/
10. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6546/door-1-x-2-x-3/
11. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6567c01/windscreen-2-x-6-x-2-train-with-trans-clear-glass/
12. https://rebrickable.com/parts/71509/rubber-band-small-13mm-square-cross-section/

=MISSING DECALS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/minifigs/fig-004796/conductor-blue-jacket-blue-legs-red-hat/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/973c28h01pr0019/torso-with-red-chevron-and-train-logo/
3. Sticker Sheet: https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=4564stk01&

=MISSING 'ELECTRIC'=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/70931/electric-adapter-transformer-120v-60hz-9v/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2868b/hub-controller-train-speed-regulator-9v/
3. https://rebrickable.com/parts/70358/motor-train-base-9v-complete-assembly/
4. https://rebrickable.com/parts/5306c01/wire-with-brick-2-x-2-x-23-and-train-track-contacts/
5. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2919/light-prism-train-1-x-4/
6. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2928/light-prism-brick-train-1-x-4-holder/

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=LEGO USA SHOP-AT-HOME DESCRIPTION=
Source: https://images.brickset.com/library/view/?f=catalogues/c95sahHoliday&p=50

"Our biggest freight train ever! Build the bright yellow engine and the three freight cars, load them with supplies, then watch them move along the large oval track. Use the speed regulator to slow down around the curves and go fast on the straightaway! Comes complete with 27" by 33" oval track, freight truck, loading ramp, 3 railroad workers, and speed regulator. 587 pieces. $134.00"

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This set no. 4564 'Freight Rail Runner' (or 'Freight Express' outside North America) came out in 1994 as part of the LEGO "Trains" theme.

The Freight Rail Runner was a direct replacement to the first cargo train in a recently-launched 9V Electric "Trains" program, set no. 4563 'Load-N-Haul Railroad' (or 'Euro Freight Line') from 1991—designed by the same team of Bjarne Juhl Larsen, Claes Runo Järnros, and Torben Plagborg. As a "complete starter set," it came with all 9V Electric components: a railway track (with straight and curved "quick-snap" molds), a new 9V motor bogie, Transformer/Speed Regulator unit with cables, and a pair of Train Light Prisms (illuminating the Locomotive's headlights).

As of 1994, the Freight Rail Runner, indeed, was LEGO's largest cargo train, as the USA Shop-At-Home catalog boldly claimed. (In all fairness, it only surpassed the '91 Load-N-Haul by 100 parts or so.) Two years later, the 1996 "Trains" line-up beat that record, with two Jørn Thomsen's sets (https://brickset.com/sets/designer-J%C3%B8rn-Thomsen), 'Cargo Railway' no. 4559 (842 pieces) and 4565 'Freight and Crane Railway' (over 910 parts).

>>LOCOMOTIVE
As noted on Brickipedia, the Freight Rail Runner's engine is a pretty close replica of real-life German diesel-hydraulic locomotives—the "MaK G 1200" series built by Maschinenbau Kiel since the late 1970s. MaK locomotives shared a similar design, powered by a V12 diesel engine with hydraulic transmission, a 'B-B' four-axle wheels configuration, and an off-center cab.

(The 'B-B,' typically called "four-axle" in the United States, means the locomotive has two identical bogies, or "trucks," each with two powered axles. The B-Bs were widespread in high-speed freight trains around the globe, with some manufacturers reaching up to 3,800 horsepowers (or 950 HP per axle). In recent years, the 'C-C' configuration became more common (with three powered axles in each bogie, up to 4,500 horsepowers at 750 HP per axle.)

The Freight Rail Runner is particularly reminiscent of Maschinenbau Kiel's later generations, MaK G 1204 BB (1981-1991) and MaK G 1205 (1991-'97)—down to minute details, such as an exhaust pipe partially blocking the cab's windshield. These engines saw widespread adoption by multiple German private railway carriers and government-funded public transport in Austria and Sweden. (Thus, the "Mak G 1200" series, indeed, could've been a direct source of inspiration for Torben Plagborg's team.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MaK_G_1205
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:MaK_locomotives

>>FREIGHT CARS
The build included three cargo carriages, all on the same 6x16 chassis without rotatable bogies, just train wheels fixed in place.

The flatbed platform had a rotating middle section for unloading 4x8 open containers on and off the truck. Both containers, curiously, had a tiny "Postal Service" sticker on one of the sideboards.

Next, the red hopper car incorporated a neat "sorting" mechanism: twelve 1x4 Technic Beams (part #2825) mounted at 90° along an axle, with a small Technic Steering Wheel (#2819) rotating the hopper to unload the loose cargo. (Actually, included in the set as eight 1x1 round black bricks).

Finally, the enclosed "Mail Carrier" wagon in blue, with a cargo hull split in two: the same "hopper" on one side (except shorter, designated for sorting mail parcels) and a spare compartment for a Hand Cart. The defining element, 5x7⅓ Sliding Doors, is a rare and exclusive LEGO piece—part #2874 that debuted in the '91 'Load-N-Haul' train, and after the 'Freight Rail Runner,' was only reused once, as part of the short-lived "World City" 2003 train collection. (Sadly, it's absent on Mecabricks).

The set's inventory had four additional 1x2 yellow bricks (with corresponding "envelope" stickers on a sheet)—to load the Mail Carrier's hopper.

>>FLATBED TRUCK
Despite an elegant and lightweight chassis, the Flatbed Truck featured a somewhat unusual crane arm mechanism. This "Hook Slider" assembly #2651c01, despite an excellent construction, somehow was scarcely used in the '90s LEGO System, only appearing in a 'Coastal Cutter' boat and a tiny '92 'Recycle Truck' (see Mecabricks links below), plus one of DACTA's educational megapacks, 'Community Vehicles.'

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=THE AUTHOR=
https://brickset.com/sets/designer-Torben-Plagborg

Torben Plagborg joined LEGO in the mid-80s, and after creating a few excellent LEGOLAND "Construction" sets, he co-authored the new 9V "Trains" program—including the entire electrical infrastructure (Transformer and Speed Regulator unit, new railway tracks, etc.) and most memorable models.

Plagborg also designed some of the most common and functional LEGO System individual parts, which are still widely used:

☒ 2x2 Corner Brick (Part #2357) and Plate (#2420)
Since 1987

☒ 1x2 Profile Brick (Part #2877)
Debuted in '91

☒ 1x2 "Grille" Flat Tile (Part #2412a/b)
From 1987 till '97 (first version, without a bottom lip)
Since 1990 (current generation)

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=MORE "TRAINS" BY TORBEN PLAGBORG=

4549: Container Double Stack (1993)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/PkaJR31ZaxM

4547: Metroliner's Club Car ('93)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/7l2BPrOqv0N

4537: Octan Twin Tank Rail Tanker ('93)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Vyvnk6y4al3

4558: Metroliner ('91)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/b82xKmJ1a1z

4543: Railroad Tractor Flatbed ('91)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/VzvM7b9V2Jp

4536: Blue Hopper Car ('91)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/1k2q10n12E0

4544: Car Transport Wagon with Car ('94)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/79a8nKRrj8w

========================================

4512: World City > Cargo Train (2003)
Designed by Henrik Andersen, the World City's freight train also featured 5x7⅓ sliding doors:
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/JV2ywxn0vyQ

6353: Town > Nautica > Coastal Cutter ('91)
A floating boat that had the same "Hook Slider" mechanism:
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/9P2kAoWevon

6668: Town > Recycle Truck ('92)
The second appearance of the notoriously rare "Hook Slider:"
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/r0DvYq6Qv9e
by @Batka
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