After 57 years of being in the model train business, Lionel entered the growing H0-Scale model train market. While the other trains which Lionel produced were considered to be toys, there was a growing market for “scale” representations. Lionel, theoretically, was in the best position to address this market, for it had both name recognition and market distribution. There were established Lionel dealers in almost all corners of the United States, along with strong presences in the export markets.
To get into the market quickly, Lionel first went to Rivarossi of Italy. In 1957, it fielded five train sets (which Lionel called “outfits”); unlike subsequent years, these sets did not include a power pack:
5700 - Steam Work Train