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Hi everyone trainfam here,

As train collectors and operators, it’s natural for us to have favorite locomotives to operate. May it be that the motor runs smooth, or the engine can pull the best cars, or even the steam that comes out of the smokestack. And while that’s great and the locomotives are fun to operate, the cars are just as important. So that being said, what are your favorite cars to look at or run? Weather it’s a passenger car or a freight car, what car really makes you happy and enjoy the hobby?


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My favorite car is any caboose.  This is the one that started it all. My dad took me to see a fellas layout when I was 3 yrs old. He asked me which was my favorite car and I said, “the caboose.”  He reached under the table and hand me this one and I’ve had it for 67 years. The caboose is still my favorite car and I miss them still.



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Malcolm, awesome memory, and the fact you still have that caboose is pretty cool. For me, I’m a boxcar kind of guy. I have quite a few standard gauge boxcars, but I really like the traditional sized ones. MPC, Lti. To Menards cars, I like having them look new, but I also enjoy weathering them, and sometimes even adding graffiti to some. I know, I know, shame on me for defacing those collector items, but I usually have a brand new one as well as a weathered one. Just depends on how I feel that day, makes the decision as to running a weathered consist, or a “new” consist.

Ditto to Brother Love.  I like cabooses...might be hereditary, since my grandfather, furniture-class carpenter, put interiors in L&N cabooses in the Louisville, Ky. shops.  When 8? years old, my dad's buddy gave me a ride on a Southern caboose rear platform as they switched coal hoppers around on a dealer siding.   My favorite would be the two types of Colorado Midland sidedoors, but l have none in O  (just HO). Any sidedoor, combine, or drover caboose l like.  The Missouri Pacific seems to have had the wildest variety, but the CB&Q also warranted a book devoted to cabooses.

Unfortunately I have no photos yet but the Lionel four-truck depressed-center flatcar is a favorite. I have five; one stock as Lionel built it with the transformer (it needs the bushings to be complete although transformers are usually shipped with the bushings packed separately for protection and clearance issues), one with four two-axle trucks (the inner pair Andrews and the outer pair Bettendorf or Dahlman), one with two three-axle sprung Buckeye trucks, one with two four-axle Lobaugh Buckeye trucks, and one with four-axle Lobaugh Commonwealth trucks. All except the stock Lionel are two-rail and have KD couplers.

Note that as a kid I wanted one (every Christmas  put it on my list ) but my parents could not afford one. My Dad worked at Sears hardware and would get my trains after Christmas, either customer returns or unsold stock that Lionel would not take back so my train Christmas would show up around New Years. One major exception was the C&O SW7 switcher, that showed up on Christmas day one year and was a favorite. Still is in a way, I have several All Nation two-rail ones now. Another oddity, one year I got three of the white milk cars and an American Flyer S scale tanker. Dad took one of the milk cars and removed everything from the floor up and mounted the AF tank body on it; it did not look to bad to a twelve year-old and I had a one-of-a-kind car that none of my friends had. Oh, and the road name on it was either GULF or SUNOCO that matched my Lionel tankers.

If we are judging by quantity it looks like this:

1) LTI era 6464 remakes.  I have almost all of them including club cars

2) MTH RailKing cylindrical hoppers in Canadian liveries.  At last count I have 35 of these.

3) Lionel Post War small milk cars both operating and non operating.  I have one of most variations including the first one with the brass mechanism.

The cars I operate most are MTH Premier 18" passenger cars.  I have these in many road names and just love the way they look snaking through the curves.

As usual, judging a "favorite" is not as easy as it sounds.


For me  it's my latest acquisition: these Lionel Heavyweight 18 inch passenger cars (in the video below) that glide through my 031 curves after unscrewing the steps at the ends of each car:

These passenger cars are the correct color and style to be good models, IMO, of the passenger cars that ran on the Put, which is the theme of my layout. They also work for other NY Central divisions and the Boston & Albany, which is another favorite railroad of mine.

I am so pleased that Lionel made these cars so that the steps can be unscrewed; otherwise, I would need 054 curves or wider to run them. Arnold


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