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I Like Passenger Cars!

Updated: Nov 2, 2023


While Freight cars have always been my favorites, passenger cars have become close seconds for me.


As I'm a Post War guy (both as respects to my age as well as to the era of trains that I like), I focus on Post War and what I call "post-Post War" (trains made with Post War molds or with a clear Post War flavor as far as size and design. These are also called "traditional" or "selectively compressed" trains).


There is a great variety of Lionel Post War and post-Post War passenger cars. In this post I'll describe this variety based on style and size. The variety of paint schemes, as wonderful as they are, is way too vast for discussion here.


Lionel's first Post War passenger cars were carried over from the Pre War era with just about the only change being the update to knuckle couplers.

These tin passenger cars (#'s 2442 and 2443 from 1946-1947 and #'s 6440, 6441 and 6442 from 1948-1949) were only made in Pullman and Observation car styles. The bodies on these cars are short with only 9 1/2 inch long bodies.

Here is a picture of the Pre War versions of these cars (I don't yet have the Post War versions in my collection):


From 1946 to 1950 Lionel offered "Heavyweight" passenger cars, often referred to as "Madison" cars. These were made of Bakelite (a type of plastic) and came in Pullman and Observation car body styles. These cars have bodies that are 13 3/4 inched long. They came in Lionel Lines and Pennsylvania road names. post-Post War Lionel reproduced these cars in modern plastic, and added a Baggage car to the line up. Southern Pacific, Pennsylvania, Pere Marquette and Reading road names were added. They even produced a clear version with matching F3 diesel engines.

Here are a few examples of these cars:

Below is a pic of PostWar (1948) Madison cars that I recently purchased:


Lionel's true Post War production of passenger cars started later in 1948 with their plastic "2400" series cars. These came in Pullman, Vista Dome and Observation car styles. Road Names were Lionel Lines and Santa Fe. The bodies on these cars measure 11 inches long. Later, post-Post War Lionel reproduced these cars and added Combo and Baggage cars to the line up, as well as additional road names.

Here are a few pictures of these cars:

I have since purchased 3 more of these green beauties to make a "set" of 6. I love running them behind PostWar steamers.


Another set of these cars In Union Pacific silver, also PostWar:


Below, on the layout, is my set of the Lionel re-make Union Pacific cars:


From 1952 to 1960 Lionel stepped up their game and produced streamlined passenger cars with aluminum bodies. These were perfect behind their new F3 diesel engines and their GG1 electrics. Made in Pullman, Observation, Baggage and Vista Dome styles, their car bodies measure 15 inches - the longest of the era. Road names include Lionel Lines, Pennsylvania and Canadian Pacific.

Here are a couple pictures of these beauties:


In the late 1990's and 2000's Lionel made smooth side versions of these aluminum cars.

Below are a couple pics of a set of these I have (I converted them from TCA to Milwaukee Road using decals I printed). Notice the new "Skytop Observation" car:


We must not forget the Passenger and Baggage cars Post War Lionel made for their "General" early steam engine passenger sets. These plastic car bodies cars measure 10 3/4 in length. Post-Post War Lionel also offered these cars.

An example:


Post-Post War Lionel also produced shorter "Heavyweights" known as "Baby Madison" cars.

These cars have plastic bodies that measure 12 inches in length. They came with either 4 or 6 wheel trucks and with body mounted or truck mounted couplers. The 6 wheel truck versions are my favorites. Body styles include Coach, Baggage, Combo and Observation varieties. Road Names include Missouri Pacific Lines, New York Central, Chicago & North Western, Norfolk & Western and Pennsylvania Railroad. A special car was made for the Western Union Telegraph Co.

Here are some examples of these cars:

Most Post War and post-Post War passenger sets came with only 3 or 4 cars and, maybe, an add-on car or two later on. I like to run longer passenger trains so, as you can see from some of the pictures above, I frequently add duplicate cars - the number repeats do not bother me.


All of the cars included in this post can handle O31 or O27 radius curves (although switch cover modifications will be needed to run the streamline aluminum cars on O27 curves).

That said, they all do look and run much better on the 42, 54 and 72 inch curve tracks on the Warrenville Railroad.

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Ken Zalk
Ken Zalk
19 ม.ค.

Very nice thank u for sharing!

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