JLM Trains Reproduction
of Lionel Standard Gauge #17 Caboose
Review by Bradley Kaplan
Lionel 10 Series Standard
Guage freight cars are common pieces seen at most train shows
and on E-bay. They were manufactured for 20 years from 1906 through
1926. Few of these pieces command an investment over $150. A caboose
seldom sells for more then $75.00.
However, what some
people may not realize is that in 1911 Lionel completely redesigned
pieces like the 17 Caboose. From 1906-1910, the caboose was hand
made. Each wall was soldered in place. Rain guards were soldered
to each window. As production increased Lionel improved the design
to reduce hand labor. In 1911 this meant a complete redesign of
almost the entire Standard Gauge line.
This early version
of the Caboose, or any freight car, from 1906-1910 is almost impossible
for collectors to find. In the York April 2001 meet I did not
see any of the early freight cars. If you find one of the early
10 series freight cars they can command over
$500 in "good" condition. The early caboose is completely
different then the latter design. The only part that may be shared
between the early #17 Cabooses and the ones manufactured after
1910 are the wheels and coupler. The trucks were even simplified
in design in 1911 changing from 3 rivets to 1 rivet on each side.
This is were Joe Mania
with his company JLM Trains steps in. Joe makes a reproduction
of the 1906-1910 Standard Gauge line. JLM Trains' #17 Caboose
is a 100% reproduction of the original. No detail was spared.
Joe told me before he made the caboose that the body detail (stripes,
number and "NYCHRR" stamp) would not be perfect. It
is a huge rubber stamp, and Lionel never stamped them perfect
so he was not going to make his perfect.
The inside and bottom
of the original #17 Caboose was painted a cream color. Joe painted
his caboose in the same manner with proper colors. The original
#17 had two benches and a pin for one of the early "trolley
people" to sit on. Joe reproduces this detail perfectly and
provides a reproduction trolley person that he cast from a mold.
Joe made the mold from an original Lionel trolley person.
This freight car was
the second piece of my reproduction of an early Lionel Standard
Gauge set ordered from JLM Trains. My first piece was the #7 Brass
Engine. I am just as satisfied with the caboose as I was with
the engine. (Click here
to read the review of the engine.) I am now waiting for my #14
box car and #12 Gondola to finish the set. That is another thing.
JLM Trains does not mass produce the pieces. Every piece is hand
built just like the originals. Joe does not maintain an inventory.
Everything is built to order. You will receive your order as each
piece is built. You do not pay for a piece until it is finished.
If you want reproductions
of Lionels 2 7/8 inch line, you are in luck. In the same
style that Joe makes the reproduction Standard Gauge pieces he
also makes the 2 7/8 inch line. Everything is 100% authentic.
For ordering details
or more information, visit Joes web site at www.jlmtrains.com.
E-mail Joe Mania at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (732) 303-8299.