6121 Flatcar w/ Logs or Pipes
Production: 1955 - 1957
The 6111 and 6121 flatcars have caused much confusion over the years. To this day, experienced collectors continue to discuss and research these cars in order to uncover some of the remaining mystery. The main source of confusion is the lack of a printed number appearing on the freight car -- a rarety for Lionel up to this point in its history.
Even today, there remains a niche market of collectors focused on the 6111 and 6121 flatcars. Trying to obtain a complete collection in collectable quality will require patience and time as there are numerous variations and few have survived in collectable condition -- especially with an original box!
An interesting note regarding this style flatcar is its use after production of the flatcars cars ended in 1957. A slightly modified version of the flatcar -- specifically the elimination of one end-railing -- eventually became the frame for all work cabooses manufactured by Lionel after 1957.
This flatcar is popular with operators and children. They enjoy creating their own loads to be carried around a layout. It's not uncommon to see several 6111 or 6121 flatcars, each with a different or unique homemande freight load.
Although catalogued for only three years, there are several variations to the flatcars. Listed below are some of the documented changes:
- Flatcar - Stamped sheetmetal flatcar with an end-railing at each end, metal footsteps at each corner and two blackened-steel racks. The flatcars are always painted.
- Color - There are three basic colors to the flatcar: yellow, red and gray. However, within each color there are numerous shade differences, especially with yellow and gray.
- Lettering - The yellow flatcar was produced with black Lionel lettering while the red and gray cars have white lettering.
- Loads - The 6111 always contained three logs while the 6121 always contained three pipes.
- Trucks - Bar-end trucks -- usually with tab couplers -- were standard in 1955 and 1956. For 1957 all flatcars converted to AAR trucks.
- Couplers - All flatcars had two operating couplers.
- Boxes - It is extremely difficult to locate a box for either the 6111 or 6121. These freight cars were usually included as an unboxed component in starter sets.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
A very common problem with all 6111 and 6121 flatcars is with the corner steps. Quite frequently the corner footsteps are either broken off or the paint has flaked off of the step. Locating a flatcar with intact steps and paint is difficult.
The length of this flatcar is approximately 9" long (coupler to coupler).
Gray - Shown in the photo above - Readily available with minimal effort.
Red - Readily available with minimal effort.
Yellow - The most common color.
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