Welcome to the Work Caboose section of the Lionel Trains Library. The work caboose -- sometimes referred to as a wrecking car by Lionel -- was a totally new design by Lionel in 1946 and not modeled after any prewar model.
The initial work caboose design, which always wore the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western road name, was a premium caboose. With simulated tool boxes, die-cast frame, dual couplers, metal hand rails and much more, anyone receiving this caboose in the late 1940's was truly obtaining a top-of-the-line caboose modeled after its real life counterpart. There were even variations with a functional searchlight!
However, like many items in the Lionel product line, the mid-1950's saw the work caboose undergo a significant manufacturing change. The driving force on the design change was (unfortunately) reducing cost. The redesigned model kept a similar work caboose theme, but lacked many of the premium components such as a die-cast frame, metal ladders, metal hand railings, dual couplers plus a basic tool bin replaced the dual simulated tool boxes. Lastly, road names expanded to include the C & O, military offerings and even bare-bone, unlettered work cabooses.
* Scroll down & click on any item number for more details regarding the work caboose *