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Discussion Starter #1
I just acquired a full Southern Pacific Daylight passenger train in three separate eBay purchases:
- ABA F7s (2000 era, both A's powered & QS1 electronics);
- 5 car Crown Edition Aluminum passenger cars (later '80's); and
- 2 car Crown Edition add-on cars .

At over 13' long, these should look good on my yet to be started large layout.

Then I saw a Southern Pacific Daylight YouTube video with Lionel F3s pulling Williams passenger cars. One car was the full vista dome. I was unaware that Williams made that car, but I knew Lionel did. In my searching for the William's version (which doesn't exist), I noticed too many similarities between Lionel and Williams aluminum passenger cars.

In the pic below taken from eBay, you can see many similarities:
(1) The end caps and their attachment to the chassis with two black screws;
(2) The silhouettes in the windows have some of the same figures and match better in other instances of these cars;
(3) The chassis; and
(4) The aluminum body and details.

And while the trucks / couplers look different on the two models in this pic, on my actual cars' they are identical to the Lionel's.

Williams Lionel Aluminum Passaenger Cars.png
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting. Are the parts interchangeable between them?
I don't own any of the Lionel cars so I can't say. And I haven't yet run my Williams or even given them "newly acquired maintenance".

But what I see in photos (and my own Williams cars) is so similar, they seem to have come from the same manufacturer.

And I've seen the same design in later Lionel and Williams aluminum passenger cars: the 2016 Williams catalog and recent Lionel cars (they're on the Lionel replacement parts web site with 6-xxxxx product codes). So I'm guessing those are fairly recent production.

So is there a manufacturer that supplies both Lionel and Williams? For several decades?
 
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I think that all the trains made in China are made in only one or two factories so it's possible that they are exactly the same.
 

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Until around 2000 Lionel was making trains in the US. I don't think they made trains for their competitors.
Just about every manufacturer including K-Line and MTH have made those 15" aluminum cars. The body is a simple extrusion.
The best of those cars were made by K-Line with interiors and figures. MTH made a few like that but most have sillohuettes like the Lionel cars.
I made up a Canadian Pacific train with Williams and Lionel cars even using some Lionel Santa Fe cars and replacing the name strips with repro strips from Jeff Kane.

Pete
 
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Similar, but not the same. But, they should all look good together. Th Daylight is one of the most popular passenger trains among our numbers.
 
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