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A Personal Guide to Collecting Postwar 6464 Boxcars – Part 3

e*Train Issue: Jan 2008   |   Posted in: ,

By Mike Stella

In Part Three of my personal look at 6464 boxcars, we will only cover the next four numbers in the 29 number series.  A number of variations exist that are easy to collect, not expensive nor rare, and add to the fun of collecting.

Common 6464-200 Pennsylvania with “Build Date”.

Let’s start with the 6464-200 Pennsylvania.  A common car that is readily available and never too expensive.  I do not know why Lionel left the -200 off this car and simply went with the 6464 designation.  It is the last time they did this.  The 6464-200 was the second car reissued in 1969 and can often be found NEW in the Checkerboard OB.

The 1969 version lacks “New Date”.

A comparison of the two show a few missing rivets in 1969 as well as the lack of a “NEW DATE”.  While I do not care about counting rivets, I do feel any difference in lettering creates a variation worth seeking.  How else does one approach 100 different 6464s?

You have to count “rivets” to find a variation of the Sp Overnight boxcar.

The 6464-225 SP Overnight is next.  I have no variations of this car unless you count the one I put on an operating chassis.  I have a very long term goal to have all 29 cars in the 6464 series on operating chassis with 29 differently painted men in the doors!  The Southern Pacific mainline skirts the Pacific Ocean for a few hundred miles and during WWII, boxcars were painted Black with non reflecting lettering so as not to be seen by enemy submarines.  Did you know that?

The 6464-250 WP was produced near the end of the Postwar era.

From 1954 production, we jump way ahead to 1966 for the 6464-250 Blue Feather WP.  This is a remake of the earlier 6464-100 Blue Feather WP.  This is the only time Lionel produced a copy of an older 6464 boxcar.  Why did they do it?  I could make up a few stories but I think by 1966, Lionel was not in a position to create totally new paint schemes.  Thus in 1969, we had the mass reissue of previous cars.  At least in 1966 they filled in a missing number in the 6464 sequence.  Bravo!  I know of no variations of this car but remember I do not count rivets.

The next 6464 boxcar may be the most colorful car in the entire series.  Red, White, and Blue can only mean the 6464-275 Bangor and Aroostook, better known as The State of Maine.  As with the earlier MP Eagle this car comes both with and without horizontal “grooves,”

An early State of Maine with deep “grooves”.

A very common car with a number of variations, easy to acquire and never that expensive.  It is fun to have a string of these cars on your Lionel layout.

Red door variation is easy to obtain.

The first variation of the State of Maine boxcar is referred to as the RED DOOR car.  It is easy to see the difference.  The Red Door boxcar is not at all hard to find and does not command a big difference in price.  Lionel did run a batch of these car bodies and never stamped the 6464-275 number on them.  Many of these bodies are found on an operating chassis.

No 6464-275 number printed on this car.

I have found them both ways and so include this as a variation to collect.  One of the last 6464 cars I purchased for my collection in 2007 was a nice 6464-275 without the “grooves.”  Later production eliminated the need for them and also changed the trucks from metal to plastic.

Late production car with plastic AAR trucks and lacking any “grooves”.

Other variations of this car include Red Doors missing lettering and cars with such poor lettering as almost not seen.

Solid red doors.

Maybe these are not true collectibles but they look terrific in that long string of Red, White, and Blue cars I have on my Lionel Railroad.

The 10 car of Part Three.

Ten more 6464 cars and another 4 numbers on the quest towards 29 total.  Some of the most expensive Lionel freight cars ever made are coming up soon.  All pictures are from my own collection.  All comments are from my 37 years of collecting Lionel trains.  While I do read various guides I find them filled with errors; guesses; and opinions that may or may not be accurate.  I am THE “expert.”  I know everything!  I am constantly learning new things.  Happy Collecting.