Production: 1949 - 1955
Except for the operating milk cars, the 3656 Operating Stockyard Set was Lionel's second most popular operating freight car. Production lasted for seven years and millions of the stockyard sets were produced.
The 3656 Stockyard Set consisted of two main components -- a 3656 stockyard and a 3656 stock car. To this day the stockyard set remains a popular accessory. Trying to obtain perfect operation of both the car and accessory will require a fair amount of patience as both are temperamental items and difficult to obtain perfect operation.
Standard features of the 3565 Stockyard Set include:
- Stockyard - Green painted base with yellow railings and aluminum insert. There was always a separate yellow walkway included with the stockyard. The only variation to the stockyard involves the color of the gates. For the first year or two of production, orange gates were the norm. Sometime in 1950 or 1951, the gates switched to yellow. The orange gates are harder to locate than the yellow gates.
- Cattle - A set of 9 all black rubber cows were always included in their own separate sale box.
- 3656 Cattle Car - The cattle car consisted of an orange painted body with white lettering, two operating doors on one side and a single opening center door on the opposite side, brakewheel plus metal trucks with operating couplers. As production continued from year-to-year, so did the variations. Listed below are some of the more significant changes to the cattle car in year order:
- 1949 - Introduced as an all new accessory.
- Mid-1949 - White lettering soon replaced the black lettering on the cattle car.
- 1950 - both the corner footsteps and 'Armour' sticker on the side door were eliminated.
- 1952 - Bar-end trucks replaced the staple-end trucks.
- 1954 - Plastic sliding door replaced the metal sliding door. Plastic door versions are hard to find.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
Based upon the number of production and variation changes experienced by both the stockyard and car, it is difficult to list all possible combinations. The summary below is a sampling of some of the offerings.
White Lettering, includes Armour Sticker - Shown in first photo above - Estimated production is early 1949.
Black Lettering, Corral with Orange Gates (Second photo above) - Estimated production is for a very brief tie in mid or late 1949.
White Lettering, includes Armour Sticker and Corral with Orange Gates (Third photo above) - Estimated to be early 1949 production.
White Lettering, no sticker; Corral with Yellow Gates (Fourth photo above) - The most common version, produced from late 1949 through 1955.