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I am considering purchasing one of the newer released Lionel merchandise cars featured in the 2013 and 2014 catalogs.  Does any member have one of these and do they throw the loads erratically out of the car like the post war version.  Are there any video's of their operation?  Does MTH make a version of this type of operating car?  Thanks for your help.


Steve, Lady and Tex

Original Post
Originally Posted by Barry Broskowitz:


 Does MTH make a version of this type of operating car? 

Yes, MTH makes a line of operating reefer cars that operate smoothly and at a realistic slow speed. The cargo (crates of milk, fruit, etc.) is dispensed along with a flow of "cold air" (smoke).


These are very nice cars. I own several of them.


"Cool" operating twist

I have the latest Lionel Merch. car. It uses a can motor now so the discharge of boxes is much smoother than the postwar version. It doesn't throw them very far. If anything, it could probably stand to fling them a bit further. However, the rate of delivery is still pretty quick and toylike. 

I also have one of the MTH units that Barry mentioned. It too is very smooth in operation. The rate of delivery is much slower. It's a scale sized and detailed car and comes with a plastic ramp that sits trackside to accept the packages. The refrig "smoke" effect is via a seuthe type smoke unit.


Both are good cars. One aimed at the postwar fan and the other at the scale crowd.

Thanks everyone for your replies.  I wish I could find video of the MTH reefer and Lionel Merchandise car but I researched YouTube and I could not find any.


Barry, if I purchase the merchandise car that's what I want to do with mine.  Can you drop me a quick email (in my profile).  I want an operating car which goes along with my Lionel Armory on my new Army base which can deliver crates of Ammo.  I will re-paint the box car shell with drab green and Army markings.


Steve, Lady and Tex

Originally Posted by TexSpecial:

Thanks everyone for your replies.  I wish I could find video of the MTH reefer and Lionel Merchandise car but I researched YouTube and I could not find any.


Steve, Lady and Tex

Tex, here is a pic and short vid I made after receiving my MTH ATSF Reefer.  It does seem to be scale, and dwarfs most of my semi-scale stock...still a very cool operating car. The pic did not capture it well, but the haze to the right of the ramp is some of the smoke lingering after unload.


mth reefer 002


Images (1)
  • mth reefer 002
Videos (1)
mth reefer 001

MTH has a number of the cars, I have the REA 20-94211 version.


Harry Henning did the conversion of these two units with his using Atlas bodies,  When I was down at York, I picked up a couple of old Atlas scale cars, a reefer and a cattle car with the same conversion in mind.  You just make some spacers along the sides to secure it to the car frame.  The only tricky part is getting the fill capability for the hot box reefer, the cattle car doesn't need anything special, all the controls are on the frame.  Of course, the hot box reefer is converted to TMCC as well.

I recently got a new-in-the-box merchandise car from the Lionel 2013 or 2014 catalog as mentioned in this thread.  I'd like to add an ERR Mini-Commander as my layout doesn't have any operating track sections.

I see a couple of you guys have added a Mini-Commander to these cars.  Inside the merchandise car I see a small circuit board that looks like a half-wave rectifier driving a constant voltage regulator for 9v DC output to the small motor.   Which Mini-Commander did you use?   Looks like 3rd Rail is currently offering the ACC, EX, and II versions.  I'm presuming you drove the small motor directly from one of the Mini-Commander's HC outputs (or is an inline diode needed?).  I've installed AC Commanders in various engines, and put Mini-Commanders in my post-war milk cars, so I can probably figure this out, but any tips or hints on the best approach would be appreciated.


You want the ACC version.  As to exactly how to connect it, I'd have to see what's inside the car and exactly how it operates to be sure of how it should be wired.  Typically, for a car that only gets power from the operating track, I just wire the MC to power it, turn it on and it operates, turn it off and it stops.

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