Encyclopedia of Toy Trains
Lionel Prewar Trains
Freight Cars

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Lionel's Classic Period Freight Cars.

800 Series Large Eight Wheel Cars
Flat, Searchlight and Dump Cars

For an introduction to this series of cars follow this link. Underlined car numbers mean the photograph above links to a larger image. Underlined and different colored words are links to descriptive pages that explain the words. You can either open the links in new windows with the right mouse button or use your back button to come back to this page. Because of the number of minor detail variations this page only shows the major color variations. In the future I will add tables listing all the minor trim variations.

The 811, 2811, and 3811 Flatcars

811 Maroon.

811 Aluminum.

2811 Aluminum.

3811 Black.

The 811 flat car was introduced in 1926 and cataloged through 1940. The 811 was made in maroon with gold lettering and in aluminum with black lettering. The maroon cars have brass or nickel (harder to find) stakes. The aluminum cars have nickel trim and can have either latch or box couplers. Until 1934 the flatcar came with a solid load of lumber; after 1934 the flat car came with 8 pieces of cut lumber. The 2811 was only made in aluminum with black lettering. The 3811 is an automatic car that dumps logs at the push of a button. The 3811 came in black only. Note: the 3811's logs are unstained. Postwar logs are stained. The flat car can be found with the brake wheels on either side when you look at the end. The flat car did not come in sets after 1931, and is one of the harder to find cars in the series. All variations except the maroon with nickel stakes and the aluminum with latch couplers are quite easy to find. The operating flat car is even more common.

The 820 and 2820 Searchlight Cars

820 Terra cotta. Brass lights.

820 45N green. Nickel lights. This car has latch couplers and the green is darker than the cars to the right.

2820 45N green. Nickel lights.

2820 45N green. Die cast lights.

The 820 searchlight car was introduced in 1931 and was cataloged through 1942. The earliest cars came with terra cotta platforms and brass lights. In 1934 the color changed to 45N green with nickel lights. The 1934 45N green is darker than the later 45N or accessory green. The darker 1934 color is shown above. All searchlight cars after 1934 have 45N green platforms. The 2820 was introduced in 1938 and ran until 1942. In 1941, Lionel changed the light housing from stamped metal to a newer die cast housing. The die cast housing was developed for the smaller 650 series searchlights. The green platform for the die cast light is not indented like the earlier platforms. The 820 searchlight car in 1934 green is the hardest searchlight car to find followed by the 820 with the die cast light then the 2820 with the die cast light. The other cars are quite easy to find.

The 3859 Dump Car

3859 Red. This car has earlier automatic trucks and box couplers.

3859 Red. This car has later automatic trucks and simulated knuckle couplers.

The 3859 dump was introduced in 1939 and ran through 1942. The car was always red with a black frame. This car dumps its load of simulated coal at the push of a button and is a perfect complement for the 97 coal loader. The only variation is the type of frame and couplers. This car came with either the type 3 frame and automatic box couplers or the type 4 dished frame with solenoid actuated simulated knuckle couplers. Neither variation is difficult to find, but the later car runs better.

For more pages of these cars select car type below:

Crane, Gondola and Cabooses

Stock and Refrigerator cars

Tank and Hopper cars



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ã 2000 by Terry Gibbs. All rights reserved.