The Lionel state cars are truly the ultimate prewar tinplate passenger cars for several reasons. They are unsurpassed in interior detailing with the full restrooms including opening doors and movable commode seats. The swiveling parlor car style seats finish out the interior. The hinged roofs with opening latches are substancial and convenient. Twin lights provide adequate illumination. Exterior details include brass handrails beside each door plus brass steps, name and number plates. The underbody detailing includes a "fishbelly" and four tanks plus a classy brass ID plate and heavy duty six-wheel trucks. The heavy steel stampings include the clerestory roof, vestibules and simulated diaphraghms. These cars are 21 1/2" in length and weigh about 6 1/2 pounds. They are necessarily foreshortened for the 42" diameter curves of their day, but still are a sight to behold! They really have no equal and are the very best Lionel made in the prewar period!
The Lionel Blue Comet cars come in second with only one working restroom door and with roofs that have squeeze clamps instead of the better fitting hinged state car roofs. Their big plus is better proportioned bodies for their length compared to the more compressed state cars.
The Lionel 431 dining car with its full interior detailing was also a top tier contender in the detail department, though it lacked a restroom like the state cars.
Would love to see some photos for us non tinplate folks. Thanks Mike
Fair enough, but at the moment I cannnot safely climb the stairs to get to my train room due to a broken wrist which occurred from a bad fall four weeks ago. Perhaps another forum member can provide some interior shots of the state car, BC car and the 431 dining car.
Although the American Flyer and later Ives passenger cars were nicely proportioned and were done in very attractive liveries such as the Presidential and Milwaukee schemes, none had the superior interior detailing of the Lionel premium SG passenger cars, which remain the "gold standard".