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Went to my storage spot and took out 4 boxes of Menards Boxcars and decided to Write about what I saw.  If you do not own any of the cars you can look at them by going to the Menards Ad in this Forum.  Click on the Ad and you will have a choice of everything that Mr. Menards makes in his Train Line.  Then click on the ad part  that says boxcars.  By doing this, you will be able to see each and every boxcar that Menards has to sell PLUS there might be a special sale running that if you order the cars on line, you might get a free car or truck worth about $30 each for buying one $20 boxcar.  The truck or car as shown in the special usually matches one of his accessory building, etc.  The Truck or Car has lights that are operated by a Menard Walwart Transformer.   Buy 10 Menards Boxcars and you will get 10 trucks if you order on line. You must order on line and give the special Notation to the order clerk or computer.  Do not order the special extra truck or car at the store unless you tell the clerk to bill the cars on line and not at the cash register.

Frisco SKU# 279-5261 Yellow Painted Boxcar with Black Printing.  All sides of the car have printing.  The roof is gray with a black catwalk.  Each end has printing on it along with a metal brake wheel held on by a small screw.  The car has deluxe metal trucks with operating metal couplers.  The door guides are metal and painted yellow to match the car.  Plus the car has black painted ladders that are molded onto the car.

Tide Soap SKU#279-7104 Orange Painted Boxcar with Blue Printing.  The ladders, metal door guides and roof catwalk are all painted Blue.  It has deluxe metal couplers and trucks.  This car matches the Tide Soap Orange Tank Car and goes with the Tide Soap Accessory that Menards has been selling.  The brake wheel is black metal  and attached with a screw.

Grand Trunk Western SKU#279-4540 Blue Boxcar with White Printing.  The ladders on this car are painted black along with the catwalk.  The trucks are deluxe metal along with metal couplers. Both door guides are painted blue.  It has a metal brake wheel attached with a screw.

Chicago & North Western  SKU#279-5337 Green Boxcar with Yellow Printing and a big beautiful C&NW Serif on the Left Side of the car. The ladders are painted black along with the roof catwalk. The car has deluxe metal trucks, couplers and the brake wheel is metal attached with a screw.

J Shepherd & Sons  SKU#279-5343 Reddish Tuscan Boxcar with White Printing and a Big Portrait of Mr. John Menards German Shepherd with his tongue hanging out on the right side of the boxcar.  Has deluxe metal trucks and couplers with a metal brake wheel attached via a screw.  The roof and ends of the cars, the ladders are black and the cat walk is painted silver. This car matches J Shepherd & Sons Dog Food Company.  Door guides are Reddish Tuscan.   A model of The German Shepherd  Dog appears in every one of Menards Accessories.  A great tribute to John Menards German Shepherd.

Santa Fe SKU#279-5253 Silver, Red and Yellow Paint along with a Large Round Yellow Santa Fe Serif on the left of the car and a large Santa Fe Red Printing plus Santa Fe Indian Serif on the right side of the car.  Door Guides are Silver on the Top and Red on the bottom.  Ladders on the car are painted gray along with a black metal brake wheel.  Truck side Frames are painted silver.  In the terms of people who like Santa Fe, this car is know as the Silver Bonnet Paint Scheme.  I cannot imagine the paint scheme on this car is just $20.  This will be a collector car in years to come.  If you know anything about Santa Fe,  they had a Silver Bonnet, Blue Bonnet, Yellow Bonnet and a strange scheme the Black Bonnet Diesel Engines.  The Black Bonnet paint scheme was created by an artist at Lionel who misinterpreted the silver paint as black in one of there early catalogs.  Of course, MTH, Lionel, K-Line and Williams made copies of the various paint schemes and Wiilliams -- MTH made the Yellow Bonnet.  Some people love these schemes and some do not!  The Black Bonnet never appeared on a real Santa Fe Diesel -- it only appeared on the Toy Train companies diesels.

Santa Fe SKU#279-4558 Black, Red, and Yellow Paint along with a Large Round Yellow Santa Fe Serif on the left of the car and a large Santa Fe White Printing plus Santa Fe Indiana Serif on the right side of the car.  Door Guides are Black on Top and Red on the bottom.  Ladders on the car are painted yellow along with a black metal brake wheel.  Truck side Frames are painted black.  In the terms of people who like Santa Fe, this car is know as the Black Bonnet Paint Scheme.  This car is the sister to the above Santa Fe and Menards has done a fantastic job on both of these cars.  Again I repeat.  Both of these cars will become a collectors item in years to come.

Morton Salt SKU#279-4558 Yes, folks this car has the same SKU# as above Santa Fe Black Bonnet Boxcar!  This boxcar has Yellow Sides Paint. and Blue End and Roof Paint.  The Cat Walk on the Roof is Gray. The ladders on the sides of the car are blue and the ladders on the ends of the car are yellow.  The left side of the car has the usual Morton Salt Girl with the Umbrella Pouring Salt in Blue and on the right side of the car is large printing that reads Morton Salt.  Menards made a similar car several years back but I was unable to purchase it.  The car has metal trucks and couplers.  It will go very well with the New Morton Salt Factory that Menards released about 2 years ago.  And if you were lucky enough back in the early 70s, Lionel released a covered quad hopper with the Morton Salt Design on in.     

Southern Pacific SKU#279-4558 Tuscan Boxcar with Yellow Printing (Hydra-Cushion-for Fragile Freight) on the left side and White Printing (Southern Pacific) on the right side.  The door guides are painted Tuscan and the ladders and cat walk are black.  Has deluxe metal trucks with operating couplers.  A simple boxcar but very pretty.

Kansas City Southern Lines SKU#279-4558 Black, Red, and Yellow Side Paint and Black End Paint.  The Roof is Glossy Gray with a Black Catwalk.  The Door Guides are Black for the top and Yellow for the bottom.  The printing on this car is yellow. The ladders are Gray similar to the roof color.  It has Die-cast deluxe metal trucks with operating couplers.  This car and its sister quad hopper in my opinion are one of the most beautiful cars to be offered by Menards.  These will be collectors items one of these day.  And they only cost $19.99 each.

Boston & Maine SKU#279-4540 Blue Color with White Printing.  Roof is Blue Like the ends and sides of the cars and all the ladders are black. Has deluxe metal trucks with operating couplers.  Nothing else to say about this car but the B&M Paint Scheme is plain and simple but very nice.

Delaware and Hudson SKU#279-4540 Yellow Boxcar Sides, Black Painted Ends, and Silver Roof with Black Catwalk.  Black ladders on each side and silver ladders on each end of this car.  Door guides are painted yellow to match the color of the car.  Left side of car has printing of Delaware and Hudson in black.  And on right side of the car there is a beautiful Serif in Black that says D&H, The Bridge Line to New England and Canada.  Again, this is a beautiful car and the $19.99 for this car is a real bargain.

Chicago & Illinois Midland Boxcar (C&IM) SKU#279-4558 Green Boxcar with White Printing and a Red Strip in the center of the sides of the car,  The roof is black with a gray catwalk  The ladders are yellow on the sides and ends of the car.  Has deluxe metal trucks with operating couplers.  A very colorful car.

The Milwaukee Road Boxcar SKU#279-4558 Yellow and Red Color with a Runner Serif on the left side and The Milwaukee Road Decal on the right side of the car.  The roof is silver like the ends of the car and the ladders are black on all sides of the car.  Has deluxe operating metal couplers and metal trucks.  A beautiful car.

Western Pacific Boxcar SKU#279-3886 Orange Color with a Silver Feather and Written in the Feather is Black "Western Pacific".  The sides of the car are orange and the ends/roof  are black.  The catwalk is silver to match the feather.  All ladders are black.  It would of been smarter to paint the ladders on the ends of the car orange.  Black Ladders on the ends of the car cannot be seen as they blend into the black paint on the ends of the car.  Has deluxe metal operating couplers and metal trucks.  This car rivals the name train company brand. This Western Pacific Boxcar is a great bargain for the price of $19.99.  Get one soon as Menards may not make another production run of this car!

New Haven Boxcar SKU#279-5335 Black Color with NH with the N being White and the H being Orange on a White Background. The ends and roof are black with an orange catwalk.  Here is a car with black ends and the orange ladders can be seen on the ends of the car.  Has deluxe metal trucks with operating couplers.

Illinois Central Boxcar SKU#279-4252 Orange Color with Black Ladders and a Black Catwalk.   Has deluxe metal trucks and operating couplers.   Plain and simple, but beautiful

CP Rail Boxcar SKU#279-4540 Red Color with White Printing and a Packman White/Black Design on the left side of the car.  The Cat Walk is black in color.  Has deluxe metal trucks and operating couplers.

Toledo, Peoria and Western Boxcar SKU#279-4540  Black color with yellow printing .  Yellow Printing on the left side of the car says Links East & West with a Rocket Ship T.P.& W.   Yellow Printing on the Right Side of the Car  says Transcontinental Peoria Way and a Baseball T.P.& W Red Decal.  The Cat Walk is Yellow and so are all of the ladders.  Has deluxe metal trucks and operating couplers.

Leihigh Valley Boxcar  SKU#279-4540 Green Color with White Printing. Lehigh Valley in White Printing on the left side of car and a Black & White LV on a Black Back ground on the right side of the car.  Have deluxe metal trucks and operating couplers.

Menards Boxcar  SKU#279-5345 Green Boxcar with Black Roof.  Has green painted door guides.  Left side of car reads Menards and a picture of John Menards is on the right side of the car.   Has deluxe metal trucks and operating couplers.

I also have all the Menards M&M Boxcars (Red, Blue, Silver, and Yellow.  All of these cars are very colorful and nice. If only Menards would bring out a full size M&M Factory.

These are all of the cars I own and probably will buy more.

Menards has been making very nice freight cars for over 4 years.  I wish they would bring out some passenger cars.  Also a steam locomotive and diesel would be nice.  Unfortunately, if you bring out steam and diesel locos,  you have to have a repair department.  I do not think Menards wants to get into the train repair business.

Please Note:  Many of the SKU Numbers are repeats for different cars.

Added December 9th 2020.  Folks, John Menards loves toy trains.  He has the funds to share his hobby with the public.  He is capable of bringing out some of his best freight cars on the market to sell to you, the buying public.  But in order for him to keep selling these items, he must keep up the integrity of the product.  His best freight cars are the boxcars, flatcar with laser etches wood decks, with or without loads on them.  In 2020, a decision was made to change the trucks from Metal/Couplers to Plastic.  Why did the first 20,000 Gallon Tank Car (Lifesaver) come with metal trucks, wheels and uncoupler.  Then six more tank cars came out with Plastic Trucks on them.  I weighed these Tank Cars and they only weight about 6 ounces.  I added weight to the tank cars and now they weigh 12 ounces.  The couplers should be stored with the knuckle open so that the plastic spring on the knuckle will not loose tension and break.  Certainly, he must make a profit on these items, but to cheapen the trucks in doing that just frustrates the buyer.  Plastic trucks have little weight and do not add weight to cars that are mostly plastic.  I have written that I would be willing to pay more money to obtain a car with metal trucks on them to add weight to them.  Yes, many of his early freight cars came with metal trucks, wheels and couplers.  Although he brings out Hoppers, Gondolas and Ore Cars with plastic trucks, I can easily add metal loads to these cars making them track well.  You cannot buy toy train products as cheap as Menards sells them, so my answer to keep the integrity to the line is to raise the prices. 

Enjoy your Trains        Sincerely yours,    railbear601



       

Last edited by railbear601
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@railbear601 posted:

Why did the first 20,000 gallon tank car (Lifesaver) come with metal trucks, wheels and uncoupler?  Then six more tank cars came out with plastic trucks.   Certainly, he must make a profit on these items, but to cheapen the trucks just frustrates the buyer.  Plastic trucks do not add weight to cars that are mostly plastic.  I would pay more for a car with metal trucks to add weight.  Many of his early freight cars came with metal trucks, wheels and couplers.  Although he brings out hoppers, gondolas and ore cars with plastic trucks, I can easily add metal loads to them to make them track well.  You cannot buy toy train products as cheap as Menards sells them, so my answer to keep the integrity to the line is to raise the prices.

Enjoy your Trains        Sincerely yours,    railbear601

Since the LifeSaver tank car debuted along with about 5 of Menard's other new tankers, it really can't be classified as the "first" tanker.   I believe Menards used die cast trucks on only the LifeSavers tanker because it wanted the truck sides to be silver, matching the LifeSavers tanker.  Such a color combo hasn't been needed on any other of the same style tank cars released to date.    Otherwise perhaps there is cost pressures leading to usage of plastic trucks on these tankers in order to hold the $19.99 price.   All tankers still have metal wheels, obviously.  You say "a decision was made" to change to plastic trucks, indicating this happened on all rolling stock, including boxcars & flatcars.  Trucks on the newest boxcars, however, remain die-cast.

Last edited by RadioRon

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