Lionel Electric Trains Identification Guide Sub-Title
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This Identification Guide for Lionel Electric Trains covers the "Post-war Era" only from 1945 until 1969.

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Lionel Passenger CarsPASSENGER CARS

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During the Post War period for every 10 sets that Lionel sold only one was a passenger set. Despite this fact, and under intense competition from other manufacturers, Lionel produced some of the most classic trains of the period in this category. From the early simulated Madison heavy-weights, to the sleek aluminum channel cars, the brilliance of Lionel’s creative expertise in this area is unquestioned.

No. 2562 Santa Fe Vista-Dome
We’ve listed these by type in chronological numerical order:
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BB WESTERN & ATLANTIC CARS
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BB 2400 SERIES CARS
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BB MADISON COACH CARS
BB 2000 SERIES SHEET METAL CARS
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BB 2500 SERIES CARS
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BB 6000 SERIES SHEET METAL CARS

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THE WESTERN & ATLANTIC COACH AND BAGGAGE CARS

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The Western and Atlantic CarsThe No. 1876 Baggage CarThe Western & Atlantic Coach and Baggage Cars were produced for the General Sets beginning in 1959 and continuing until 1962. These cars had their production number painted on the sides. The No. 1865 and 1866 were produced for "O27" sets and the No. 1875, 1875W, and 1876 for "O" Gauge sets respectively. The No. 1875W came with a whistle unit installed as is indicated by the "W" suffix to this production number.
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Other than the number changes, there were other differences between these cars. The "O27" cars had non-self-centering die cast couplers, where as the "O" Gauge cars have operating couplers. The "O27" coach No. 1865 was not lighted and its "O" Gauge counterparts No. 1875 and 1875W were. The No. 1885 coach was uncataloged and part of the Halloween Set issued in 1960 only. It was BLUE in color and was unlighted.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual cars in this class.


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THE 2000 SERIES SHEET METAL PASSENGER CARS

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Lionel Sheet Metal CarsThe Sheet Metal Cars would carry the pre-war likeness of Lionel’s passenger cars into the early post-war years. These cars were available from 1946 until 1949, by which time Lionel had switched over to injected moulded plastic that would be used on all of their subsequent small passenger cars. With the exception of the 6000 Series cars, all of the sheet-metal cars came with coil couplers.

No. 2442 Pullman

See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual cars in this class.

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THE 2400 SERIES PASSENGER CARS

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The Lionel 2400 Series Passenger Cars
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The 2400 Series Passenger Cars began production in 1948 with No. 2400 and these cars would be in production until 1966. All of these cars have their identification number painted on their sides and all use Type IV die-cast four-wheel passenger trucks.

No. 2400 Maplewood Pullman

Many of the early cars were improperly assembled with the roof on backwards to mate with the interior metal inserts that held the roof to the body. This resulted in many of the interior bulkheads cracking due to the stress placed upon them. The majority of these cars were produced for O27 sets, and were designed to run on this track.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual cars in this class.

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THE 2500 SERIES PASSENGER CARS

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The 2500 Series Passenger Cars
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The 2500 Series Passenger Cars were first seen in the catalogs in 1952. Many variations occurred to these cars, some happening even within the same production run. The early cars had the wires for the interior lights connected directly to the trucks.

No. 2534 Silver Bluff Pullman

This would later be replaced with the more common plate. The name plates on the side would originally be held on by hexagon screws. These screws would later be replaced with small and then larger rivets. Later these plates would be glued on.
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Identification Number located in windowWe are not going to list the sequence in which these variations occurred here, because collectors are still debating exactly what happened at Lionel during the years these cars were in production. Most of these variations result in little or no change in the value of the car. We will, however, show how to identify these cars and the major differences between them.
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These passenger cars were designed strictly for O Gauge track.
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All of these cars had their identification numbers printed on the window inserts. The number is visible through one of the end windows on each side of the car as is shown to the right.

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FLAT CHANNEL CARS

Instead of the normally ribbed extrusions seen previously, Lionel changed portions of this casting to be flat beginning in 1955. This was so that these areas could accept the metallic stripes both above and below the windows. Note the two illustrations to the lower right showing the difference between the castings.

No. 2562 Regal Pass Vista-Dome
NOTE: Collectors should be aware of the fact that very good reproductions exist of the stripes and these are virtually indistinguishable from the originals.

The best way to tell if the stripes are original is to look for excessive glue that Lionel used to adhere the stripes to the body. In the years that all of the flat channeled cars were in production Lionel used a form of carbon tetrachloride (a known carcinogen) to activate a dry adhesive on the stripes. When this happened it usually (but not always) squeezed out along the edge of the stripe. Brown in color, the evidence of the presence of this adhesive is the best indication that the stripe is original.

Ribbed and Channeled Castings of the 2500 Series
At the bottom of this page we’ve listed these cars by their number in the Numerical Index below.
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THE MADISON COACH CARS

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The Madison Passenger Cars
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The Madison Coach Cars were first released in 1946, and aside from the Sheet Metal Cars, they would be the only heavy-weight cars Lionel would offer during post-war years. During the first year of production Lionel would issue this car with only the No. 2625 and the IRVINGTON name painted on the sides.

Madison Car No. 2627 Variation C

Collectors have designated these the MADISON cars to distinguish them from their pre-war predecessors. In 1947 Lionel would offer three different names, but they all would bear the No. 2625.

Paint chips on No. 26225 The truck on a Irvington Car The vestibule of the Irvington cars

Starting in 1948, Lionel would assign the No. 2627 to the MADISON car, and No. 2628 to the MANHATTAN car.
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These cars are all made out of BLACK bakelite and would be painted TUSCAN with WHITE lettering. A premium today is paid for paint that is un-marred by chips or flaking paint. The vestibule ends were made out of sheet metal and the doors opened. They had a spring to hold them in the normally closed position. However, these springs are often broken.

As with the majority of the prototype equipment, Lionel equipped these cars with six wheel trucks. The center axle on each truck has the wheel flanges removed to negotiate their tight 31 inch diameter curved O Gauge track.

In their last year of production in 1950, Lionel would install window inserts with people silhouettes. These cars became more desirable than the earlier cars with plain inserts. Reproductions of people silhouetted inserts have been available for many years and collectors have retro-fitted many of the earlier cars with these window inserts.

End View of an Irvington Car Bottom View of a typical Madison Car

What ever window inserts are in these cars, those that have excellent or better paint are highly sought after by collectors today.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual cars in this class.

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THE 6000 SERIES SHEET METAL PASSENGER CARS

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Lionel Sheet Metal CarsThe 6000 Series Sheet Metal Cars would be the last of these cars that were issued in 1948 and 1949. Basically, they are the same as the 2000 Series with the exception that they have magnetic instead of electronic coil couplers.

No. 6440 Pullman

See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual cars in this class.


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Numerical List Title
BB 1865 Western & Atlantic Coach
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BB 1866 Western & Atlantic Baggage
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BB 1875 Western & Atlantic Coach
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BB 1875W Western & Atlantic Coach
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BB 1876 Western & Atlantic Baggage
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BB 1885 Western & Atlantic Coach
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BB 2400 Maplewood Pullman
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BB 2401 Hillside Observation
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BB 2402 Chatham Pullman
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BB 2404 Santa Fe Vista-Dome
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BB 2405 Santa Fe Pullman
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BB 2406 Santa Fe Observation
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BB 2408 Santa Fe Vista-Dome
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BB 2409 Santa Fe Pullman
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BB 2410 Santa Fe Observation
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BB 2412 Santa Fe Vista-Dome
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BB 2414 Santa Fe Pullman
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BB 2416 Santa Fe Observation
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BB 2421 Maplewood Pullman
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BB 2422 Chatham Pullman
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BB 2423 Hillside Observation
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BB 2429 Livingston Pullman
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BB 2430 Pullman
BB 2431 Observation
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BB 2432 Clifton Vista-Dome
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BB 2434 Newark Pullman
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BB 2435 Elizabeth Pullman
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BB 2436 Mooseheart Observation
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BB 2436 Summit Observation
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BB 2440 Pullman
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BB 2441 Observation
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BB 2442 Pullman
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BB 2442 Clifton Vista-Dome
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BB 2443 Observation
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BB 2444 Newark Pullman
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BB 2445 Elizabeth Pullman
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BB 2446 Summit Observation
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BB 2481 Plainfield Pullman
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BB 2482 Westfield Pullman
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BB 2483 Livingston Observation
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BB 2521 President McKinley Observ.
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BB 2522 President Harrison Vista
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BB 2523 President Garfield Pullman
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BB 2530 Railway Express Baggage
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BB 2531 Silver Dawn Observation
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BB 2532 Silver Range Vista-Dome
BB 2533 Silver Cloud Pullman
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BB 2534 Silver Bluff Pullman
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BB 2541 PRR Alexander Hamilton Observation
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BB 2542 PRR Betsy Ross Vista-Dome
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BB 2543 PRR William Penn Pullman
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BB 2544 PRR Molly Pitcher Pullman
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BB 2550 Budd RDC Baggage/Mail
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BB 2551 Canadian Pacific Banff Park Observation
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BB 2552 Canadian Pacific Skyline 500 Vista-Dome
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BB 2553 Canadian Pacific Blair Manor Pullman
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BB 2554 Canadian Pacific Craig Manor Pullman
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BB 2559 Budd RDC Coach
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BB 2561 Santa Fe Vista Valley Observation
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BB 2562 Santa Fe Regal Pass Vista-Dome
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BB 2563 Santa Fe Indian Falls Pullman
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BB 2625 Irvington Coach
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BB 2627 Madison Coach
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BB 2628 Manhattan Coach
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BB 6440 Pullman
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BB 6441 Observation
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BB 6442 Pullman
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BB 6443 Observation

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Canadian Pacific F3s pulling 2500 Series Striped Aluminum Cars
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