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
Cranes Gondolas and Cabooses

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 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 a link to a table listing all the minor trim variations.

NOTE: cars are shown in order of manufacture. Earliest cars are one the top left and later cars are on the lower right.

The 810 and 2810 Cranes

810 Terra cotta, maroon roof, peacock boom.

810 Yellow, red, 45N green. Latch couplers. This crane has a darker 45N green boom. Dates to 1934.

2810 Yellow, red, 45N green. Late dished frame version with cast knobs.

Comparison of turned knobs on left and cast knobs on right. Note the 810 on the left has brass plates on a nickel colored car.

The 810 crane was introduced in 1931. It was produced until 1942. The crane had three knobs: one to raise and lower the boom; one to raise and lower the hook and one to swivel the cab. There was also a clip to attach the crane to the track during operation so it wouldn't fall over. Until 1934 the crane came in the terra cotta color scheme. In 1934 the color was changed to yellow with a red roof. The 2810 crane with automatic couplers was introduced in 1938. The crane received the dished frame in 1940. Also in 1940, the hook was changed to a die cast hook, (Note: prewar hooks are perpendicular to the string while postwar hooks are parallel to the string.) and the knobs changed from turned to cast knobs. The 810 crane is not known to exist with the dished frame and cast knobs. The 1934 810 crane with mixed trim is the hardest to find but the 2810 with the dished frame is the most sought after.

The 812 and 2812 Gondolas

812 Mojave.

812 Dark green.

812 Stephan Girard green.

812 45N green. Darker 45N green from 1935, with brass plates. This is a 1935 notch car.

2812 45N green. Same as 812 45N green except 2812 has automatic couplers.

2812 Flat orange. Nickel plates. This is a 1940 notch car.

2812X flat orange rubber stamped lettering.

Early barrels on left, tools in middle, later barrels on right.

The 812 gondola was introduced in 1926, and was cataloged through 1942. The 2812 with automatic couplers was introduced in 1938 and ran until 1942. All colors are shown above. The 812 can also be found in flat orange with nickel trim. The X in 2812X means the car had a lower coupler height so it could couple with the scale detailed cars. The 2812X came in sets only. The early gondolas came with wine barrels, while after 1935 oil type barrel were used. Prewar barrels open as shown in the photo. Postwar barrels don't. When the gondola came in sets with the crane (work trains) tools were also provided. There were four types of tools: a coal shovel, a pick, a small shovel and a hammer. The tools were die cast then nickel plated. The tools were also sold separately as the 812T tool set. The early set included a metal box, while later sets had no tool box. The hardest gondola to find is the flat orange with nickel plates. It is almost impossible to find. There are probably less than a dozen examples known. The rubber stamped 2812 in orange with the high couplers is probably the next most difficult car to find, but the 2812X is quite common, and the only difference is the trucks (and the box) so no one gets exited about it. The rest of the color variations are quite common. The Notch cars from 1934 and 1935 are kind of difficult to find but few collectors care.

The 817 and 2817 Cabooses

817 Peacock sides, dark green roof, orange windows.

817 Peacock, dark green, brass windows.

817 Red, peacock.

Bottom of caboose to left showing export stamp.

817 Light red, brass plates, nickel windows and railings. Latch couplers. 1934 notch car.

817 light red. All nickel trim. Box couplers.

2817 Light red. Aluminum painted end railings.

2817 flat red, tuscan. RS lettering.

The 817 caboose was introduced in 1926, and was cataloged through 1942. All color variations of the 817 are shown above. You can find the 1934 notch cars with latch or box couplers and a mixture of brass and nickel trim. Cars made after 1936 have painted railings. The 2817 caboose also came in flat red with nickel plates. The 817 in red with peacock roof is an export car. You can tell by the rubber stamped "Made in U.S. of America" on the bottom. We also have a Stephan Gerard green 812 gondola and a yellow 814 box car with these stamps. They go in a set with the export 254. The flat red caboose with nickel plates is the hardest caboose to find. My father and I don't own one so there is no picture. The rest of the cabooses are quite easy to find.

For more pages of these cars select car type below:

Flat, Searchlight and Dump cars

Stock and Refrigerator cars

Tank and Hopper cars



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ã 2000 by Terry Gibbs. All rights reserved.