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Going through a friends large collection of pre-war. He passed and am helping his family as best I can. I know about post was trains but not much about pre-war. Love some help with these. Are they all Lionel or another make I know most are Standard gauge but that's about it. The crossing gate and 50s street light I do know about. Is there a good book I should get about pre-war? There is also a large crossing signal that had to be made for standard gage on the layout. When you turn the layout on all these display signal turn on, should I turn them off? Thank you. Don


Picture will enlarge if that helps. signals


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Last edited by scale rail
Original Post


That's a nice group of lights and signals. Condition looks pretty good from the photo. Turning the lights on won't bother anything, assuming the accessories are wired properly so that they are activated only by the train going by. 

Any chance that Hiawatha car is Pride Lines, not Lionel? They reproduced the Hiawatha and I seem to recall their version having a baggage car, where the Lionel prewar version did not. 


Thanks Jon, John, don't know about the Pride lines. There is no lettering on that one car so your most likely right. I do know the rest of the train is original. I remember seeing a early Lionel catalog with a picture of a club layout with a extra long "banana" train and it had a home made baggage car that looked like this car. Wonder if Pride lines got the idea from that catalog. My friend has everything from a #11 Ives train to some of the newer Lionel. A ton of post and prewar. The boxes are endless. Most is in great condition. We found a large box full of boxed cast goose neck lamps. Thanks for your help. Don

@scale rail posted:

Adriatic, unless the car was different on the other side, it isn't Pride Lines. Notice four window on the Hiawatha and two on the City of Portland. Don

I get what you're driving at, but My (non-train side of family) Grandma's 36-37 Marx CV had a 1"(?) long divited side, screw base smoke bulb and 2pc forced air shroud, "never made".

Folks and mfgs alike sometimes make one of a kind things that slip out of the door, or made special for folk.

No way to prove it ,doesn't mean it didn't happen. It just means undocumented. And you never know when, where, or if proof rears it head.

Personally, I'd look close at the styles and grade of craftsmanship to make a decision on how long and hard I'd search for info, then buy/sell/price to suit.

Guides, prices etc. are kinda secondary to my (& others) feelings about what's "real" or not anyhow.  

I came across the same types of gambles in comic book selling every few years. Being right a few times more than paid for the few times I was wrong about it.   In fact , it kinda became a business because of that. 

I don't have a lot of experience in buying and selling trains. Most of what I know are childhood memories of Gramps & Great Gramps, TCA night talks, etc etc.   (I can recall lots from my days in diapers too. But early onset Alzheimer's may get the best of me. I know mines diminished even in the last 5 years, the next 5 might be ugly and I know it too well)

I don't recall anything about the gate,sorry. Nice match for a lot of other things I recall seeing (like Hellgate and bungalow bases) but that's it.


I think I solved the mystery! Looking at my own Hiawatha I noticed the top and bottom are attache to the body with screws. If you look at the City of Portland, every car need a vestibule because it attaches to the diesel electric just like the other cars. But the head end car on the Hiawatha is attached to a tender so it needs an end cap. I'm told all pride line cars have a Pride line stamp on the bottom. This baggage car does not. I think my friend got hold of a Pride Lines Baggage car, switched top, bottom and end cap of a Lionel with the Pride Lines body and only had to paint the body to match the Hiawatha train. He was a good tin plate painter. That would explain why there is no Pride Line stamp on the bottom. The Pride lines baggage does have different window on each side. Maybe that's how it happened, and maybe not. Donpride23DSC_2751


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@scale rail posted:

This is another thing I have never seen. This is a head end car for a pre-war Lionel Hiawatha. Is there a story about these. I alway thought there was an engine, tender and three cars. This set has four cars. DonDSC_2751 copy

I'm looking at Lionel catalogs 1936 to 1938.  No such thing as a baggage car.  The power car of the UP train did have a baggage door and what looks like an RPO section.

BTW, in real life the Milwaukee never had articulated cars like the Q or the UP.

I'm looking at the 1937 catalog right now.  The UP streamliner is a reasonably correct model of the prototype.  The only part of the Hiawatha that looks like the real thing is the locomotive.  Lionel took the three cars of the UP train, changed the front truck and used different paint and lettering to fake a Hiawatha.   

The Milwaukee never had a blind end like the UP train.  Hiawathas all ended in real observation cars.  MILW had no articulated cars.

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