Top 6 Vintage Lionel Trains

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Vintage Lionel trains are popular among vintage railroad collectors and model hobbyists. While Lionel trains can be rare to come by in the UK, collectors can find a wide selection on eBay, where sellers from all over the world list vintage train models. During the 1920s to 1950s, Lionel was the most popular manufacturer of toy trains in the world, and Lionel trains are still popular today as collectors' items. While there are many old and new models available on eBay, collectors can easily pick trains that they do not already own. Anyone starting a collection can benefit from an overview of some of the best vintage Lionel trains.
1 Lionel 400e
Lionel 400e

The Lionel 400e train set is an O-gauge locomotive and train set often available with one or more cars. The locomotive was originally available only as a set in 1931 and was, at the time of launch, the most powerful, and largest, toy steam locomotive. The engine comes in numerous colours although the 'Blue Comet' is the most iconic and popular. However, specials such as the chrome plated 'Presidents Special' are the rarest and most valuable 400e models.


2 Lionel 152 Engine
Lionel 152 Engine

The Lionel 152 was originally available in an 800 series set and is frequently available with matching 602 series cars. The engine is typically available in gunmetal, grey, or dark green. The engine is a type-three electric train set that Lionel manufactured between 1918 and 1927, and most models up for sale show some signs of wear and tear or damage. The original set contains two passenger and three freight cars as well as the 152 engine, and sometimes a crossing gate.


3 Lionel 9700 Series Boxcars

The Lionel 9700 series is the second major Lionel collectible line of boxcars, or enclosed railway wagons, following the 6464 series, and for this reason, it is worth any collector's attention. The line includes 15 models that Lionel produced between 1970 and 1982. The 9700 series includes standard box cars, two cattle cars, and multiple automobile cars. Because the series covers so many different models, collectors class them according to 'Class 1' for the most commonly available cars, 'Class 2' for 9700s only originally available in sets, and 'Class 3' for rare un-catalogued cars.


4 Lionel 402 Engine

The Lionel 402 and 402e locomotives are one of Lionel's most iconic train sets, and for good reason. The 402 engine is a dual motored heavy hauler, was a go-to engine for hauling train-cars during its 1923 to 1929 production, and is the first 'classic' Lionel locomotive. The 402 is Lionel's largest standard gauge locomotive and is available in green, grey, red, and brown. The 402e models come with cast headlights while 403 locomotives come with die cast or steel headlights. The 1928 and 29 models usually feature reverse pulling.


5 Lionel 1666 Prairie Steam Engine

Lionel 400eThe Lionel 1666 Prairie Steam Engine is a post-war train similar to the 224 that Lionel produced at the same time. However, the 224 features roller pickups rather than slide-shoes like the 1666 model. The 1666 marks the start of Lionel's producing a Prairie steam engine with each line, making it an iconic model for any collection. The train is available in gunmetal with 2466W or 2466WX blazons on the side. Both models are rare and highly collectible.


6 Lionel 408e
Lionel 408e

The Lionel 408e is one of Lionel's greatest trains and the most powerful in 1927. The 408e utilises a tinplate electric engine with proto-sound, cast headlights, red drivers, and a ground-breaking twin motor. Because the 408e is the first model train to have a twin motor, it is one of the most collectible Lionel trains. The 408e is available in a number of colours ranging from gunmetal to pink, and is also available with dozens of different types of trim and outfitted accessories. Lionel also sells a 2011 reproduction of the 408e with newer sound technology, modern metal couplers, and locomotive speed control.


How to Buy Vintage Lionel Trains

Vintage Lionel trains are highly collectible and rare to find. However, a great place to find vintage Lionel trains is eBay, where sellers list original models from as far back as 1901 when Lionel first began producing trains. On eBay, it is also possible to purchase international models from overseas, although electric models do require a power converter in order to run in the UK. Buyers can consider which models they prefer and then set a budget to help choose the Lionel train for their collection. Locomotives, wagons, accessories, and even sets are all available for purchase on eBay.
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