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I'm pretty new to the hobby side of Lionel, and whenever I've "googled" a question, it seems an OGR forum post comes up as the answer. So I thought I'd go right to the source since you all are so knowledgeable and helpful.

Several years back I bought the Lionel "The Chief" RTR set (6-30178) with the pre-lionchief FT and the red stripe passenger cars. I also bought the two add in cars, and happily ran these around the floor loop with the kids.

Fast forward to last month, when I fulfilled a childhood dream of owning a full Warbonnet SF F3 ABA set, when I purchased a mint 6-14588 set from 2005. I them bought the essential Legacy units to use the TMCC functions. I love the locos! But when I string those "Chief" passengers cars behind those scale (?) F3s, they look kind of silly. And my internet and ebay searches turn up many many Lionel Santa Fe passenger sets and models, and no easy way of knowing which are the size of the classic traditional models, and which would fit better with the F3s.

So which sets should I look for? Here is my preference list:

1. I'm not looking for a scale model, nor a prototype consist. I would like 4-7 cars to string behind the ABA set. (I actually want to add a 2nd B unit, but that's another WTB post )

2. O36 curve capable since I use Fastrack.

3. I prefer the all-silver cars, but could live with a red stripe.

4. I don't have strong feelings regarding the shadow inserts or full interior. But if I had to choose between two equal options, I'd lean toward the interior and populate it with figures.

5. Not looking to model a "real" consist, but I do like Observation and dome cars, if available.

6. I'd like a set that is realistically obtainable either new or auction sites. 

Thanks for the help and guidance on recommendations.

 

 

Original Post

The 15” Lionel cars will be the same size as your Chief cars only nicer and aluminum. I have an ABBA set of ATSF Legacy F-units from a recent catalog. I run 072 and 063 curves. The 21” cars are too big for 072 (to my eye). To me, 18” cars are the sweet spot. I think Lionel and/or KLine made some in aluminum, but they are hard to find. The MTH 18” cars are nice and have been made in ATSF over and over again. The current releases are “plated stainless” and are really, really nice.  That’s what I bought for my Legacy F units. Steve Nelson (Mr Muffins) usually has them in stock, including the add-on cars. The LEDs in the new MTH cars are also a plus. Having said all of that, you should check to see if they will work on 036. It may be that the 15” cars are your only option unless you are willing to add bigger curves (always a good idea!). Enjoy your new engines. 

The 15” Lionel cars will be the same size as your Chief cars only nicer and aluminum. I have an ABBA set of ATSF Legacy F-units from a recent catalog. I run 072 and 063 curves. The 21” cars are too big for 072 (to my eye). To me, 18” cars are the sweet spot. I think Lionel and/or KLine made some in aluminum, but they are hard to find. The MTH 18” cars are nice and have been made in ATSF over and over again. The current releases are “plated stainless” and are really, really nice.  That’s what I bought for my Legacy F units. Steve Nelson (Mr Muffins) usually has them in stock, including the add-on cars. The LEDs in the new MTH cars are also a plus. Having said all of that, you should check to see if they will work on 036. It may be that the 15” cars are your only option unless you are willing to add bigger curves (always a good idea!). Enjoy your new engines. 

A few comments about the foregoing. First of all, the 15" aluminum Lionel passenger cars are not the same size as the cars in your No. 30178 Ready-to-Run set. Those are plastic cars, smaller and completely different from Lionel's 15" aluminum cars. (As you may know, Santa Fe never had any red-striped passenger cars - all their streamlined passenger cars were unpainted stainless steel.) 18" cars won't work for you, given that you have 36" curves. The plated MTH cars mentioned above, MTH No. 20-64038 (the 4-car set), has 18" cars, and they require 0-42 curves minimum.

MTH has also recently produced a set of Santa Fe cars in the RailKing line, which are 15" cars. These are No. 30-68123 (4-car set) and matching No. 30-68124 (2-car set). There are also a couple of extra single coach cars available. Mr. Muffin Trains has these cars in stock. They will not be as detailed as the 18" MTH cars, but they will work fine on your layout, and look much better with your scale set of F-3s. Note that while they have interiors, they are all molded in the same color, and have no passenger figures, so you'd have to open the cars and add those if you want them. All MTH passenger cars, except some made about 20 + years ago, are made of plastic.

Incidentally, if you're going to run an A-B-A set of engines, you'll want to have at least a 6-car set of passenger cars behind them to look right. You'd mentioned adding another B for an A-B-B-A, but that's going to be too many engines to look right with a 6-car consist, so now you'll need to add more cars to get a more realistic look. It's your railroad, though, so if you want to run 4 engines with 2 cars, or whatever, that's up to you. Be aware that once you get just an A-B-A with six 15" cars, though, you're going to have a nearly 11 1/2 foot-long train, so unless you have a very large layout, having a train longer than that is probably not something that's going to work very well.

The Lionel set TedW pointed out above is what I'd suggest, if you're willing to take the time to look for it. The 4-car set is No. 15312, as shown, and there's also a matching 2-car add-on set of two sleeper cars, No. 29152. I have these cars to run behind my set of Lionel scale Warbonnets, and they look great together. (The prototype F-3s were pretty short engines, incidentally.) The classic Lionel F-3s are scale length as well, and the 15" aluminum passenger cars have been used with those engines on Lionel sets going back to the 50's. 

The 15312 and 29152 sets were produced in 2004, so you'd need to find them in the secondary market, and while they do show up, it isn't all that often, so you'll need to be patient and monitor auction sites, etc. The 29152 is probably a little harder to find than the 15312, so if you see that by itself, don't hesitate to get it and find the 15312 later. These cars are the best of the best in 15" passenger cars. Really stunning in appearance with their reflective aluminum bodies. These were made with scale features, including diecast detailed sprung trucks, add-on detail parts like antennas, grab handles and roof vents, and have finished detailed painted interiors (even white toilet fixtures), and painted passenger figures. They're worth trying to find.

If you're in more of a hurry, there's the MTH set, and if you look on Ebay for Lionel or MTH Santa Fe passenger sets, you'll find quite a lot more sets to choose from. Lionel made a number of different Santa Fe 15" aluminum passenger sets in the past, although none have been as detailed as the 15312/29152 set. 

Good luck in your search!

@breezinup Great post, and I appreciate all the details and the thorough explanations. You expanded on prior posts quite well, and between with all the replies I’m much better prepared to shop than before.

Regarding adding another B unit, I totally agree with you that running a full ABBA set is not very practical. It’s more that I am a “completist” in nature and NOT having it would bug me! The full set will probably ever be run once just to say I did it, and then put on display. Or run as two AB sets at some point etc. But they get harder to find as each year passes so I figured better to be on the lookout now.

I will share quite the coincidence regarding the 6-24562 F3B unit. I’ve been looking for one online for quite a few weeks now. I tried all of the OGR advertisers, the auction sites, And even the OGR FS forum etc. I concluded that my best hope would be a “want to buy” forum post in the appropriate section. Right after I posted the passenger car question above, I went over to the forum and was about to post my WTB, and then on a lark decided to search the FS posts one more time. Holy cow! An OGR forum member had posted just the day before the B unit for sale in LN condition and at a very fair price. I immediately emailed him, and I’m happy to share that the B unit is in the mail today on its way! Woo hoo!

 

If you are looking at 15" cars also consider K-line. They did 6 cars with interiors and figures. They are the same size as their scale 21" cars save for length. Also for a B units you can use any TMCC one from Train, 16, 17, 18, or 19. They are essentially the same except for the little train number in a corner. I am mixing Train 18 and 19 power.

http://www.legacykline.com/app...mp;p_oem_sku=K-4630B

Pete

Last edited by Norton

Full disclosure would also require us to mention an older 5 car set from the ‘90s.  Lionel cars 19109, 10, 11, 12 and 19113.  These are also 15” and a bit nicer than what you have, with silhouette windows and two incandescent bulbs in each car(no lights in baggage car).  They would be less money also.  
C324F17A-1901-46CB-9B7B-12ADADF1ADA8

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Last edited by TedW

Attached are pics of the aluminum MTH 4 and 2 car sets from the video a few posts back. Unfortunately, my photography skills are really bad and the model numbers didn't come out as readable, so I'll re-post tomorrow. 

The 2 car set looks like they are 16 inches long and the 4 car set is 15 inches long. I believe the boxes state that they will all run down to O-31 and they run fine on my O-36 layout.

 

MTH - 2 CAR SETMTH - 4 CAR SETMTH - SANTA FE PASS CARS

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  • MTH - 2 CAR SET
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@TedW posted:

Full disclosure would also require us to mention an older 5 car set from the ‘90s.  Lionel cars 16109, 10, 11, 12 and 16113.  These are also 15” and a bit nicer than what you have, with silhouette windows and two incandescent bulbs in each car(no lights in baggage car).  They would be less money also.  

Ted, I'm guessing you meant 19109-19113? I just bought the 19109 Baggage Car and considering the 19110 Combi Car. I plan to run them behind my 11711 Santa FE F3 ABA (1991) and ahead of my PW 2531, 32, 33 & 34. I'm not sure how the mix of old and newer(ish) will look, though.

Bill

Last edited by Training Wheels

Ted, I'm guessing you meant 19109-19113? I just bought the 19109 Baggage Car and considering the 19110 Combi Car. I plan to run them behind my 11711 Santa FE F3 ABA (1991) and ahead of my PW 2531, 32, 33 & 34. I'm not sure how the mix of old and newer(ish) will look, though.

Bill

Yes, thx for the correction.  Changed in post also.  Seems to me you may run whatever you like, most do.  👍

Last edited by TedW
@Richie C. posted:

I have a Lionel Legacy ABA set and run it with six (6) MTH aluminum cars in tow, including dome and observation cars, and never had a problem on my O-36 curves.

Those are 15" cars, so you wouldn't have any problem running them on 0-36 curves, as has been mentioned previously. The MTH aluminum cars come up occasionally, although they were made nearly 20 years ago. They have window silhouettes and no interiors, like many of the earlier Lionel aluminum cars. The K-Line aluminum cars mentioned above are very nice cars (though still not as nice as the Lionel cars I'd mentioned - just my opinion), with interiors and figures, but they only come up rarely. If you found some, you'd probably be very happy with them.

Last edited by breezinup

Thanks again all. The Lionel 19109 series cars look very nice and several cars and sets are on eBay right now, so they seem like my best bet. I REALLY like the 15312/29152 sets and I may just set some money aside and be patient for them to come up on eBay or here FS. The 15” MTH cars also look like good choices.

As I expected, you all came through and gave me exactly the help I needed. You also got me to thinking that since my track investment so far is minimal, maybe I should move up to larger radius curves. 

Last edited by ByronB

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