LIONEL Type 21 Tank Cars

Rod Miller first brought this to my attention along with some pictures from Rob Adams.   I purchased a car on eBay and subsequently another.   The model has character and does match available drawings for the car.   The tank size will stand out in your train. It differs from the Red Caboose 10,000 gallon and the Intermountain 8,000 gallon cars.

Several questions were asked about the model so.  I decided to dig out the material and add some material to the blog.    This is not the last word.  I will build up my SCCX over the next few months.   So more information is forthcoming.


Protocraft decals

This was a bit of a surprise to me.   I had purchased several of the Lionel scale cars like the PS-1 boxcar, PS-2 covered hopper but was unaware of this car that was released several years ago.  It is an interesting choice if not a fatal one.  AC&F built a lot of tank cars in the Type 27 and Type 21 cars.  The 8,000 gallon was the least popular of the  Type 21 line.   A few operators and lessors bought them    I once spoke with the late, Richard Hendrickson about size popularity.  He believed that the small fuel distributor had storage and product demand that fit this size very well.  This fit a number of lines well.

The world didn’t end with their capacity choices.  Several operators used a fair number of the 8,000 gallon cars.   The one that fit my interest was the Shell SCCX series.    They wore the Shell emblem in the 1950s and later.  Shell had nice color accent on the basic black car body.   Other operators were SHPX, CONOC and others.



The body is well detailed compared the Intermountain Car.  The Type 21 is shorter and larger in diameter than the new Type 27.    The amount of detailing you do is subject to appetite.   The handrail is a bit heavy with oversized stanchion.     You may also want to consider the full boat detail ranging grab iron replacement and a new underframe.   I am going to build up  one of my cars as a SCCX 1496.   The car was part of a series of 1401 to 1550.   Protocraft has the decals.  You can get better stanchions from Wiseman Model Services (eBay retailer.).


This is my first attempt to blog since my recent surgery.    Pain killer drugs can sure twist thing around when you are attempting coherent sentences.




6 thoughts on “LIONEL Type 21 Tank Cars

  1. While this particular car is outside my interest range, I am interested to hear more about the conversion of this car to P:48. I’ve been considering a move to P:48 (from HO) with my new layout project ( and have found myself perplexed by the conversion process, especially in the area of trucks as it seems the process is different for each manufacturer. I know NWSL has drop in wheelsets for most, but to what extent do other chunky details need changing?

      • Thanks Gene, I am looking for a 7′-9″ diameter tank. The late Jack Work’s measurement of a British/American tank car BAOX 671 came up with that diameter. The car was used in fuel service for the CPR on Vancouver and is on my bucket list.

  2. Gene, I used the Lionel two dome tank casting to build my first tank car in O scale. Came out okay in spite of that horrible early plastic Lionel used way back. I then ordered a single dome Lionel tank (tank only) from a authorized Lionel repair hobby shop and was very pleased to find the tank was now cast in a styrene type plastic. I still have that Lionel single dome tank casting somewhere waiting for inspiration/motivation to hit me. Do give us some details on your rebuilding of this car.

    Also, I join Bill in wishing you good luck with your knee. I’ve heard enough tales about knee surgery here in cowboy & football land to know that the post operation physical therapy is very important for successful recovery.


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