Customizers Add to the Wealth of Ore Cars
By Joel Fugazzotto
(Winter 2005, Updated by Bob Mintz Summer 2017)
When I wrote my original article on Lionel® ore cars in March of 2004, I stated, “There are no known variations to these cars nor any non-factory paint schemes or other post-production decorations or additions.” Well, unknown to me at the time, plans were afoot (with apologies to Mr. Sherlock Holmes) to prove that statement wrong. See also.
In little over a year and half, a number of third-party vendors have repainted and lettered various road names on Lionel ore cars using either undecorated or regular production cars. In fact, to date, no less than 30 different customized designs have been produced in varying quantities and sold to collectors and the general public.
RGS Limited Editions
During the last 6 months of 2004, Robert Salerno’s RGS Limited Editions in Old Forge, PA produced a Pittsburgh Steel Company, Wheeling Pittsburgh and LNE ore car with two sets of numbers for each car. Less than 25 of each were made.
In 2005, RGS created, under license from Bethlehem Steel, four fallen flag Bethlehem Steel ore cars. Each car carries an iron red ore load. There were 75 sets of four made.
RGS also created a private issue series of four PRR ore cars. 75 sets of four were produced. Each car carries an iron red ore load.
All RGS cars are pad printed on repainted existing or undecorated Lionel ore car bodies. For availability, contact RGS Limited Editions at [email protected] or call 570-457-6805.
Brian’s Model Trains
For 2005, Brian Saul of Brian’s Model Trains in Wernersville, PA created a series of eight Bethlehem Steel and three U.S. Steel ore cars using regular production Lionel cars for his base. Over 100 cars have been individually repainted and hand-decaled. Cars are painted gray or black and each car carries the name of one of the Bethlehem or U. S. Steel plants or mines as follows:
Not Shown: Bethlehem ore cars: Cornwall Mine, Lebanon Plant, Sparrows Point Plant and Lackawanna Plant; U.S. Steel ore car: Fairless Works.
For availability, contact Brian’s Model Trains at www.briansmodeltrains.com or call 610-678-2169.
Trotta’s Train & Things
In Cortlandt Manor , NY , John Trotta, created three different Long Island Railroad ore cars for 2004. Using available Lionel production cars, each ore car is prepped, sprayed painted, decaled and clear coated individually in the gray, orange and white livery of the LIRR. No two numbers are the same and cars are decorated with either the LIRR map or the LIRR keystone. Production is limited with each car made upon request.
For availability, contact Trotta’s Trains & Things at [email protected] or call 914-737-2919
Author’s Note: Do you know of other third party vendors who are customizing Lionel ore cars? If so, please email me at [email protected] Please write “Customized Ore Car” in the subject line so your message gets through my spam filter.