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Hi all, in reference to pre-war 0 gauge Lionel can anyone speak a little about latch and box couplers. Although most of the equipment I have seen has latch couplers, I know that box couplers are also out there. What years and models were built with each? Is there a rule of thumb to go by? I would like to buy some 800 sized freights to go with my 226e but am now thinking about coupler differences. thanks

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Lionel O-gauge transitioned from latch to box couplers in the mid to late 1930's. I find that the box couplers are much handier to couple and uncouple, and look somewhat better IMO. I've converted some of my latch couplers to box couplers on my small fleet of prewar Lionel.

The different series of prewar Lionel trains don't necessarily look good when intermixed, even though they may run OK in the same train.

Last edited by Ace

Thanks, I have a 600 series baggage cars with box couplers onboth ends. The coupler on one end came off. There is what I would call a rivet in the round hole of the truck that goes into the correspondinground home on the coupler shank. That is what came off. What parts do I need to fix that and where can I get them? Can this repair be made without removing the truck from the baggage car?


Box couplers came into use in 1936. the 2 rib box was in use to 1938+/-, then a simulated knuckle cast box was used until the end of prewar.

Frank, best to try to buy a junk car with the coupler/truck assembly intact.  You are missing the coupler shank, a circle clip to attach the shank to the truck. It can be fixed without removing truck.

A lot would depend on the tender coupler. They came with low and high couples. Most had high couplers, but like sets that had 2600 series cars Madison passenger cars and semi scale freight cars would have a low coupler. All 800 ( and 2800 ) series had high latch or box couplers. Low couplers were 40-42 vintage. Train Tender has them. CP-43 the horseshoe clip.

Last edited by Chuck Sartor

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