Cabooses (1 of 5)
Gilbert made 27 distinct cabooses, some of which had numerous variations, and Lionel made 37 more up through 2006.  Because there are so many, I have split them up over five web pages:

Gilbert Cabooses #630 through #930 are on this page
                         #934 through #24627 are on
page 2
                         #24630 through #25052, plus the unnumbered Game Train caboose, are on
page 3
Lionel Cabooses  #9400 through #48715 are on
page 4
                         #48718 and above are on
page 5

Unless otherwise specified, the large pictures on this page are of cars in the collection of The Upstairs Train.

If you have a picture that you would like to share with the world of any of the cars not shown here (or a better picture of one that is shown!), email them to me: theupstairstrain@yahoo.com

#630 unpainted plastic Caboose made from 1946 to1952.
As with other Gilbert cars of the era, there is considerable variation among these cabooses.
This one from 1946 has silver lettering and a red plastic frame (see below).
Note the thin-shank link couplers with no weights.

It was also made with a black plastic frame.
Gilbert had so much trouble with the plastic frames warping and cracking
that they switched to diecast frames in 1947 and sheet metal in 1949.
From 1949 to 1953 some were painted.
(Photo courtesy of an anonymous donor.)
#630 Caboose with the name "American Flyer" made only in 1952.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hasenzahl.)
#630 American Flyer Lines Caboose made only in 1953.
(Photo courtesy of an anonymous donor.)
This picture shows the subtlety of some of the variations:
compare the letter "M" in the two photos; the lower one has straight sides.  And all the letters are wider.
Finally, it doesn't have the two lines to the left saying "NMh BLT.6-51"
(Photo courtesy of Don Hasenzahl.)

Lettering variations like this are amazingly numerous, especially in the link coupler era up to 1952.
But they rarely affect the value of an item, even in the later years.
#638 Caboose made from 1949 to1953.
I also have a different variation (note the lettering) that has been converted to knuckle couplers.
806 Caboose made in 1956 and 1957, one of the two I have.
Dave Dewey tells me it was made in two versions, one with two couplers and another with only one.
Both of mine have two couplers.
There was also a #830 made in 1956 but the TM Guide lists it as very rare, a pre-production prototype, mistake, limited edition, etc.  It's not even listed in Greenberg's Guide.  If you have a picture, I'd sure love to have a copy for this website!  Email it to me: theupstairstrain@yahoo.com
#904 Caboose made only in 1956
The #930 Caboose was made in 1952-1957 in many variations.
This red variation lettered "American Flyer" rather than "American Flyer Lines" was made only in 1952.
The very earliest, hardest to find, of the 1952 #930 Cabooses had a riveted coupler.
Here's a close-up of the riveted coupler.
Each diecast sideframe on those trucks was attacked to the sheet metal truck with two pins.
Look closely and you'll notice two small holes on top of the sideframe.
On this one, they're pretty easy to see, but they're not so easy on the other three trucks of this car.
This tuscan variation of the #930 Caboose was also made only in 1952.
(Photo courtesy of an anonymous donor.)
From 1953-1957, the #930 Caboose was made only in tuscan with the name "American Flyer Lines"
rather than simply "American Flyer".
My first #930 Caboose is the AFL variation made in 1953-1957.  I don't know whether the lettering was deliberately removed or it simply wore off, but you can still dimly see a shadow of "American Flyer Lines" and "930".  Some previous owner jury-rigged lights on the back:
I later got a proper #930 AFL variation tuscan caboose.
Among the rarest Gilbert cabooses is this 1957 tuscan #930 that has a light socket riveted to the floor. You have to take the body off to change the bulb.  If the 930 has black end railings like this (and the 806), it is this scarce variation.
There is a sticker under the chassis that reads:
"To change lamp, remove/screw from end of body."

Show me the rest of the cabooses.

Over the years, Gilbert made four different kinds of couplers, three of which are common and familiar to most American Flyer owners: link, knuckle, and Pike Master.  The fourth, the so-called "solid knuckle coupler," was short-lived and not used on very many cars.  Lionel later came up with its own version of knuckle coupler.  American Flyer has therefore gone through five
generations of couplers.  Because there seem to be a lot of people confused by this, I created a page to show the differences.  Click the picture below for more detail.


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If you or your friends have some American Flyer trains and would like them to go to a nice home where they'll be loved and cared for, this is the place!  Email me: theupstairstrain@yahoo.com.  See my
Wish List for the items I need most.  Thank you very much.

On the other side of the coin, I post pictures from time to time on my
For Sale page of surplus items I have for sale.
This gallery will continue to grow and become more comprehensive as I collect more cars and as visitors like you send me pictures of the cars I don't yet have.  If you have a car that you would like to share with the world, email me a picture:   theupstairstrain@yahoo.com.  Click here for a list of the pictures I need to complete the Gallery.

The books I am using for reference are listed in the
Bibliography page.  All the writing and all the pictures on this website are, however, my own, except where cited.  No copyrighted materials have been included and all pictures provided by others are used by permission.
Now show me:                                                                                                                                    
     
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