model train set on track

Going, Going, Gondolas – Part IV

e*Train Issue: Oct 2002   |   Posted in:

by Mike Stella (Click here to read Pt III)

Lionel used the shorty gondolas in the cheaper 0-27 line and kept the longer style in production to use in the “O” and Super”O” line. In this final Part IV we look at the 11 1/2″ NYC gondolas that appeared after the glorious 1950s.

The Yellow Alaska #6162 was shown in Part II. Now let’s look at a few other #6162s, one of which is very hard to find; almost a legitimate “RARE.”

The blue #6162 is easy to find but the true collector will search for at least three different color variations. It comes with, and without, the built-date.

In addition, the #6162 was produced in an aqua shade that many might assume is simply a regular blue car that has seen too much sun. Finally, the #6162 can be found in red, but you have to look very hard to find one. It is, possibly, the only Lionel gondola that can be called “rare.”

I must digress back to 1957 for the next gondola. It was the well-known year when Lionel Super “O” was introduced and girls were treated to a pastel train. The #6462 pink gondola adds a whimsical touch to the collection. There is no shortage of these cars on the market; the trick is to obtain one by itself.

The final gondolas in this series changed numbers once again to #6562. These are premium pieces and often overlooked hiding among the more numerous #6462s. They come in gray with red letters and gray with maroon letters.

The #6562 was also produced in red and, once in a while, in black. This final black NYC gondola can be hard to find, but it is not at all rare.

I mentioned the #6342 Culvert gondola in Part II. The second “operating” gondola made by Lionel is the #3444 ERIE with a Railroad Cop that chases a Hobo around and around. This is one Lionel operating car that seems to work effortlessly time after time. Those “vibrator” motors weren’t all bad!

In the Epilogue to follow, I will reveal the one gondola that belongs in this series and which I forgot to take a photograph. I will also discuss the operating barrel cars #3562-xx which, when you think about it, are also gondolas. Anybody have a WHITE one?

Please Note: Part of the reason I enjoy writing articles about collecting trains is that I learn new things about the hobby from readers like you. If you would like to share your experiences, or notice any errors or omissions in any of my posts, please write to me, Mike Stella, directly at: [email protected].