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Customizers Add to the Wealth of Ore Cars

By Joel Fugazzotto
(Winter 2005)

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.

2004 – 3450 Pittsburgh Steel Company, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 3469 Pittsburgh Steel Company, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 6320 Wheeling Pittsburgh , black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 6327 Wheeling Pittsburgh , black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 14520 LNE, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 14531 LNE, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks

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.

2005 – 6725 Bethlehem , black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 6726 Bethlehem , black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 6728 Bethlehem , black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 6729 Bethlehem , black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks

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.

2005 – 6652 PRR, black with gold letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 6653 PRR, black with gold letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 6654 PRR, black with gold letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 6655 PRR, black with gold letters, ASF strong arm trucks

All RGS cars are pad printed on repainted existing or undecorated Lionel ore car bodies. For availability, contact RGS Limited Editions at rgsltded@msn.com 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:

2005 – 274 Bethlehem , Johnstown Plant, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 278 Bethlehem , Grace Mine, gray with black letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 538 Bethlehem , Bethlehem Plant, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 356 Bethlehem , Bethlehem Plant, gray with black letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 368 Bethlehem , Johnston Plant, gray with black letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 356 Bethlehem , Steelton Plant, black with white letters, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 54 U.S. Steel, Edgar Thompson Works, gray with black letters, reddish ore load, ASF strong arm trucks
2005 – 56 U.S. Steel, Cumberland Mine, gray with black letters, reddish ore load, ASF strong arm trucks

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.

2004 – 2938 LIRR, dark gray, orange with white letters, map logo, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 2314 LIRR, light gray, orange with white letters, map logo, black ore load, ASF strong arm trucks
2004 – 3478 LIRR, dark gray, orange with white letters, keystone logo, ASF strong arm trucks

For availability, contact Trotta's Trains & Things at nashnut2000@yahoo.com 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 fuga@aol.com Please write "Customized Ore Car" in the subject line so your message gets through my spam filter.

Second Decade.
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