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3854 Merchandise Car


Production: 1946 & 1947

The 3854 Automatic Merchandise box car -- as well as its smaller cousin, the 3454 Automatic Merchandise box car -- were the first operating box cars offered by Lionel in the postwar era. This large, long box car was based upon the prewar Lionel scale replica freight car. The 3854 Automatic Merchandise car was never included in a set, it was only sold as a separate sale item.

When compared to some of the later operating freight cars -- such as the milk or cattle car -- the 3854 lacks some action, charm and personality. However, it did permit Lionel an opportunity to create an interesting feature for its time -- remote control operation of a freight car.

The 3854 was produced in low quantities and is a difficult freight car to locate. Many long-time collectors still do not own this freight car as they are extremely difficult to find in nice condition. The exterior paint is prone to nicks or simply flaking due to age. Trying to locate a pristine, collector grade example is scarce.

The 3854 box car included the following standard features, several of which were never used on any other postwar freight car:

  • Brown painted bakelite body with white lettering and graphics
  • Unpainted die-cast metal doors, with one door having an actual functional latch
  • Black, separately applied metal corner footsteps
  • Unique staple-end trucks, each having dual slide shoes
  • Sheet-metal opening roof latch
  • Single brakewheel
  • Six crates, each engraved with "Baby Ruth" on the top.
  • 160 dump bin

The six crates were available in either brown, black or red, with brown the most common.

Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information

Brown body, White Lettering - Shown in the photo above - There are no known variations to this operating box car.


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