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I was recently offered an original Lionel 400E work train set and was wondering if this was a correct, cataloged set or an assembly of items.

It contains:

400E in gunmetal gray with black wheels and copper trim and a matching 400T with what looks like brass journals (maybe the journals are nickel, hard to tell from the photo).

218 dump car in mohave with nickel journals

219 crane car with yellow body and red roof and nickel journals

212 gondola in burgundy with nickel journals

220 searchlight in terra cotta/black with nickel journals

216 hopper in dark green with nickel journals

217 caboose in red with peacock roof and nickel journals.

This is coming from an old estate, not a collector.

I am currently traveling so I do not have access to my catalogs and books.

Thanks in advance. I appreciate it.

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According to Greenberg's Guide to Lionel Trains, Vol. 4, Prewar Sets (pg. 49) the 358E Work Train Outfit normally includes:

400E in dark gunmetal gray with black wheels and copper trim and a matching 400T with brass journals (1934 only)

219 crane car with Peacock body, dark green roof and red boom with brass plates and journals.

212 gondola in maroon (i.e., burgundy) with barrels and tool box and with brass plates and journals.

220 searchlight in terra cotta/black with brass plates and journals

217 caboose in red with peacock roof and brass journals.

This description matches the two complete examples that I have observed at two recent York meets. Interestingly, the illustrative art in the catalogs from 1931-34 are pretty close to what the set actually contained.  Nickel trim and journals are not 'correct'. It appears from your description that someone put together a work train of logically chosen items, but the trains do not strictly constitute a 358E outfit.

Hope this helps.

Bob

Thanks for the information.

I did get to see the train. The 400E engine and tender were repainted over the original paint years ago and the frame had been glued together in a few places. I was mainly interested in the engine as I have a good group of 200 series freight cars already.  And it was priced as if it were a great original. So I passed.

I have a nice original 390E work train set already, but it would be nice to have a 400E at some point. I know the gray is rare, but I prefer the earlier black and copper variant.

Thanks again for the information. Much appreciated.

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