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I love the Lionel Postwar F-3's and have enjoyed many of them for over 53 years in the hobby. For Postwar road names not available,  I took basket cases and repainted them much to my liking.  Budgets were tight in Postwar America at Christmas so Dad added something each year to keep up the tradition of Lionel trains @Christmas.

Self Propelled engines became well liked because they were "different" and doable price wise.. .

So my nod goes to the "self propelled" units- especially the gang car. It took a lot of abuse for years (flat out as fast as you could run it) till the gears gave out. Ours did! Little boys liked them because they were the fastest things you could put on a track when we had the "need for speed". They were also easy to put on the track with little hands..

Others units didn't survive as well because of flimsy window struts( heck that's where a kid picked them by). Survivors in nice condition are so uncommon and desireable!

Glenn Spencer


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  • IMG_4020: the self propelled wonders
  • IMG_4023: special load cars and 6464's
  • IMG_4034: Lionel Postwar F-3's
  • IMG_4017: self propelled under the bridge dispLy
  • IMG_1103: Christmas tree layout Jersey Central  with Post war cars in tow
  • IMG_0028-005: some of Postwar F-3 restoration repaints
  • IMG_0096-001: my most recent Postwar F-3 Restoration repaint- City of  Los Angeles

My top 2 are the early 726 Berkshires and the 2356 Southern F3's but close to them would be the 1950 UP Anniversary set of 1950. I was fortunate to pick up one in a childhood collection locally several years ago, The fella also had the N&W J Super O set with the accessories that was in fine shape plus some other goodies including these shiny Texas Special Alcos with crisp boxes!




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  • IMG_0999
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Last edited by c.sam

It depends on my track loop.

For my 027 curved track, the Lionel 2035 and 2025 are great, strong pullers, quiet, and smoke and look good. And don't derail on switches.

For my 042 track curves, I really like my 746 J class.  Looks great, pulls strong and fantastic smoker, beautiful smoke rings!  Pulling a set of 6 15 inch pass cars is a great treat.

Well I just can't pick so here are a few of my "favorites"

The Lionel 224 with blackened handrails from 1945...first loco out after the war!

Lionel 224 locomotive front quarter

Like many others the mighty Berkshire 736

Lionel 736 Berkshire Loco

The Lionel 2025 my version of the 675 from 1947-1949

Lionel 2025 front quarter

Finally the NYC 2344 / 2344C ABA with screen roof vents. 1950-52

Lionel 2344 NYC F3 nose view

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

Best Wishes



Images (4)
  • Lionel 224 locomotive front quarter
  • Lionel 736 Berkshire Loco
  • Lionel 2025 front quarter
  • Lionel 2344 NYC F3 nose view

I’m a little different. (Just a little!)

I had five Lionel postwar sets growing up. But my absolute favorite was the #60 Trolley. Probably because we had active trolley lines near our neighborhood that I saw more often than moving trains. The #60 ran through Plasticville just like they did near the neighborhood. (The local trolley ran without the lighted bumpers.)

I did not want to miss adding my favorite to this thread, but it took a while to round up the boys, both the 726s and 736s.  They do like to get together over the holidays to talk shop and discuss the good old days, but do consider these days to be the best days ever since everything still works.  There is is a Conventional Classic in there, so he tends to have to do clean up duty since he is low on the seniority list.  He is hoping to move up if a LionChief gets added.

20220316_100624 BW20220316_101212v2 BW



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  • 20220316_100624 BW
  • 20220316_101334
  • 20220316_101212v2 BW

My favorites (in descending order for each category):


675/2025 - had a beat-up 2025 in my first, hand-down train set (around 1960).  It's built like a battleship...runs like a deer...and pulls like Hercules! (now have two 2025s and one 675)

726 (1947) - This engine is just flat-out beautiful (and is enhanced by its high-end tender).  Doesn't have Magnetraction, but will still pull a respectable freight/passenger consist (got it in the Blue Hall in the Fall 2019 York Meet)

2046 - found this in Berlin, Maryland during a Ocean City vacation in 2005, in excellent condition.


Texas Special (A-B)

NH F3 (A-B-A) (checkerboard paint scheme)

NYC F3 (A-A)


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