Production: 1954 - 1957 & 1963
The 6446 Covered Quad hopper was introduced in 1954 wearing the N & W roadname and remained in the Lionel catalogue until 1957. During that time it did experience some minor changes. After 1957, it made a brief appearance in 1963, but this time with Lehigh Valley as the roadname of choice by Lionel. The Lehigh Valley version is rare and only lasted for one year.
The 6446 is not an easy item to find in collectable condition. At the same time, general interest in hoppers is minimal. Therefore, this is one of the few scenarios where a hard to find item can be purchased at a reasonable pice.
The 6446 hopper experienced several variations during it production run. The following is an approximation of changes and features on a year-by-year basis:
- 1954 & 1955 - Introduced as an N & W (Norfolk & Western) hopper. Included bar-end trucks, a painted cover plus a single brakewheel. The printed number on the side was always 546446. It's usually found painted gray and without spreader-bar holes. However, there are black versions and those are available with and without the spreader-bar holes.
- 1955 - 1957 - Same as above except the printed number is now 644625. All other features and variations remained the same.
- 1963 - The N & W hopper was re-introduced and now had AAR trucks. In addition to the N & W hopper, a new roadname appeared, Lehigh Valley. Both of the 1963 versions are difficult to locate.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
The Orange Picture version of this box was only produced for one year -- 1963 -- and is a rare box.
N & W, Numbered 546446 - Gray version shown in the photo above - Avaliable in either gray or black.
N & W, Numbered 644625 - Available in either gray or black.
N & W, AAR Trucks - A difficult version to find.
Lehigh Valley, AAR Trucks - A rare version.
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