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Discussion Starter #1
I see the two Western Pacific Lionel TCA convention cars are "Made in USA." I assume Lionel no longer has any manufacturing facilities? If so, does anyone know who is making these for Lionel? The pictures are interesting. They show the boxcar sides with no rivets, just like the Fundimensions ones. Also, looks like a plastic door guide on the top, and none on the bottom, again harking back to Fundimensions days. Makes me wonder if someone bought that tooling at the Michigan factory sale, and is now making the cars for Lionel? Just curious who's making them.
 

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Lionel bought some of the Weaver tooling. Supposedly these are made in North Carolina. Cars made here are called Lionscale.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lionel bought some of the Weaver tooling. Supposedly these are made in North Carolina. Cars made here are called Lionscale.

Pete
Interesting, I didn't know Lionel had any manufacturing facilities any more. I was aware they had some "made in USA" items, but never looked closely at them and assumed that was just contracted out work.
 

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Out of curiosity, I just looked at Lionel's 2020 catalogs. Two things strike me. It appears they are only producing "made in USA" boxcars", and those are pretty specialized with lots of graphics/pictures on the sides. Second, the "made in USA" cars are a tiny fraction of their current offerings.

I did read an article about Weaver that stated Lionel bought all the tooling for the USA made Weaver products. Wonder when they will use it to make something other than a boxcar?
 

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I thought they also made hopper cars but don't pay much attention to rolling stock as I have plenty already. The 60' head end passenger cars are based on Weaver tooling but not sure where those are made. Lionel makes no reference to made in the USA with those.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I thought they also made hopper cars but don't pay much attention to rolling stock as I have plenty already. The 60' head end passenger cars are based on Weaver tooling but not sure where those are made. Lionel makes no reference to made in the USA with those.
Pete
Yes, Pete, I was just looking for the "made in USA" symbol, and only the boxcars with picture graphics on the sides are designated as such.

Apparently the Weaver tooling included all of the O scale items they made all the way back to the start and included the shells for several diesels. Somehow I don't think they'll be making diesels here, but who knows? Kind of sad, though that they've had all that tooling for about 5 years now just sitting idle.
 

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Tell me about it. They have the TOFC tooling too. Weaver TOFCs sold for half what Lionel's do. Lionel won't even make parts for guys that have the Weaver cars. Now that MTH is gone Lionel is the only game in town for TOFCs.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Doing some investigating on e-bay shows Lionel "made in USA" cars that pre-date Weaver shutting down, so logic says Lionel contracted with Weaver for its "made in USA" line before buying the tooling?

Lionel catalog states the cars are made in USA with domestic and imported parts. The trucks certainly look like their standard sprung trucks, and so I assume are imported. So, one could guess that the car shells, doors and door guides are made here, painted/decorated, and then assembled. From what I can tell the boxcar base is metal, so unclear whether that is made here or imported?

I didn't know much about Weaver, but after reading a brief history, seems like it was an interesting company worth supporting. I did have the Weaver Milwaukee Road Hiawatha "beaver tail" set at one point, but sold that some years ago. It was a really nice model.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The vast majority of my collection is postwar Lionel. I have maybe 30 non-postwar items. I'm on the fence about buying the orange WP TCA convention boxcar. $85 seems a stretch for a modern boxcar, but the orange WP car numbered 1954 is pretty iconic. I know TCA is getting their cut and shipping is included, but the 6464 cars in 1954 listed at $5.95. Today that would be $52.71. Makes me wonder what TCA's cut is? When I was a member of the Milwaukee Lionel Railroad Club, we sold a car every year starting in 1997. I think the club cleared about $20 per car, so maybe $85 is reasonable?

TCA WP 1954.png
 

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I collect WP traditional size feather cars but was put off by the price too. I might have considered them if they were 6464s.
Pete
 

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Lionel offers a custom graphics car - Thanks for Your Service - in various fields. They are special order. You upload a picture and add text online One may presume that these cars do not come from China (lead time issues). That implies custom printing in the US. Take another "Leap of Faith" and presume that all the printing for standard and customer order box cars have their graphics printed here. That may make sense as some road names may sell well while others do not. The underlying cars are all the same. The ability to print the graphics in in a timely fashion would allow Lionel to offer many schemes while maintaining economies of scale with the basic car/parts coming from China..
 

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A few months ago a guy with a youtube channel about trains did a video featuring the Lionel facility in Charlotte. Ryan Kunkle demonstrated a pair of paintjet printers they had on site for doing these custom graphics. Its fast with very high resolution. Much better than pad printing.

Pete
 
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