The 2257 -- along with the 2357 -- shared in the introduction of the SP-type caboose into the Lionel family. The SP-type caboose was a dramatic change for Lionel as compared to the tinplate offerings carried over from the prewar era. It was a realistic caboose when compared to the prototype. Arguably, it may have had more detail than any other toy manufacturer's caboose up to this point in time.
Lionel continued to offer more versions and variations of the SP style caboose in the ensuing years. The SP-type caboose -- in various colors and roadnames -- remained in the Lionel family until all production ended in 1969.
Although manufactured for a single year, the 2257 caboose is a relatively common caboose. It was included in some sets as well as being available for separate sale.
Standard features of the 2257 caboose include: painted red body over a clear shell, white lettering, end-railings at each end, brakewheels mounted on the inside of each end-railing, staple-end trucks and a single coil coupler.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
Aside from the 2257 described above, two other variations exist which are extremely difficult to locate. The first is a reddish-orange painted shell and the second is a Tuscan painted shell. In both cases, the shell has a die-cast smokestack painted the same color as the caboose.
The length of this caboose is approximately 7" long (coupler to end).
Painted Red, No Smokestack - Shown in the photo above - The most common version.
Painted Reddish Orange With Matching Smokestack - A very difficult version to locate.
Painted Tuscan With Matching Smokestack - A rare version.