Mantua Commemorative State Box Cars

Mantua introduced its first cataloged 50-foot boxcars in its 1980 product catalog. The series appeared as Mantua’s “Commemorative State Box Cars” and carried 711 base-model numbering with a two-digit suffix stock number noting the state. Examining the stock numbers present in 1980’s listing, you’ll see no entry for No. 711-1. The series starts with Pennsylvania (No. 711-2) and tops out with Arizona (No. 711-48). There are many missing stock numbers in the 1980 list, which features 24 releases.

For 1981, Mantua’s catalog takes the original four region series (Eastern, Central, Western, and Southern) and renames those Series 1, 2, 3, and 4. New in 1981, Mantua adds Series 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Series 5 through 8 all included six releases each, while Series 9 possessed only two offerings. When complete in 1981, the series ran from Delaware (No. 711-1) through Hawaii (No. 711-50) and numbering replicated the order states joined the U.S.

The colorful collection of models used the later era tooling for this 50-foot plug-door that featured solid or filled-in stirrup steps. The 50-foot plug-door boxcar saw introduction in the late 1960s in TYCO’s line and the revision to solid stirrups steps appeared in the 1970s from TYCO. Research indicates that broken step complaints ranked high of consumer feedback lists that TYCO was observing by the early 1970s. The result was a number of molds received modification to make the steps more durable. This modification entailed filling in the open frame design of the stirrup steps on a number of freight cars. 

For this series of releases, Mantua divided the offerings into regions of the United States. The 1980 catalog illustrates a dozen examples and lists the full collection across the bottom of the page separated into the four regions: Eastern, Central, Western, and Southern. Dealer packs provided two models each from each region. The model listed for $4.00 and came fully assembled with plastic friction truck sideframes with plastic wheels and plastic X2f couplers mounted to the trucks.

At the time of debut, Mantua had not re-introduced the early 1960s Lindberg rolling stock, which would go on to make up the bulk of the “new” Mantua’s freight car line for the 1980s and beyond. When the Commemorative State Box Cars first appeared, Mantua’s listed rolling stock consisted of the 1860/1890 Vintage Car Kits and Extruded Aluminum Streamliners. By 1983 or 1984, this collection of boxcar models is absent from Mantua’s line. Once out of the package, these releases might easily be confused with TYCO items. TYCO did offer a series of state cars in the mid-1970s as part of its U.S. Bicentennial offerings, which are similar in design and also utilized the 50-foot plug-door boxcar tooling.

Generally, presentation follows an alphabetical approach on the HO-Scale Trains Resource; however, for this set the releases are shown in numeric order using Mantua’s stock numbers.

Delaware

No. 711-1 Series 7 -1981 release

Pennsylvania

No. 711-2 Eastern Series/Series 1 -1980 release

New Jersey

No. 711-3 Eastern Series/Series 1 -1980 release

Georgia

No. 711-4 Southern Series/Series 4 -1980 release

Connecticut

No. 711-5 Eastern Series/Series 1 -1980 release

Massachusetts

No. 711-6 Eastern Series/Series 1 -1980 release

Maryland

No. 711-7 Eastern Series/Series 1 -1980 release

South Carolina

No. 711-8 -Series 6 -1981 release

New Hampshire

No. 711-9 Series 7 -1981 release

Virginia

No. 711-10 Southern Series/Series 4 -1980 release

New York

No. 711-11 Eastern Series/Series 1 -1980 release

North Carolina

No. 711-12 Series 6 -1981 release

Rhode Island

No. 711-13 Series 7 -1981 release

Vermont

No. 711-14 Series 7 -1981 release

Kentucky

No. 711-15 Southern Series/Series 4 -1980 release

Tennessee

No. 711-16 Series 6 -1981 release

Ohio

No. 711-17 Central Series/Series 2 -1980 release

Louisiana

No. 711-18 Southern Series/Series 18 -1980 release

Indiana

No. 711-19 Central Series/Series 2 -1980 release

Mississippi

No. 711-20 Series 6 -1981 release

Illinois

No. 711-21 Central Series/Series 2 -1980 release

Alabama

No. 711-22 Southern Series/Series 4 -1980 release

Maine

No. 711-23 Series 7 -1981 release

Missouri

No. 711-24 Series 5 -1981 release

Arkansas

No. 711-25 Series 6 -1981 release

Michigan

No. 711-26 Central Series/Series 2 -1980 release

Florida

No. 711-27 Southern Series/Series 4 -1980 release

Texas

No. 711-28 Western Series/Series 3 -1980 release

Iowa

No. 711-29 Series 5 -1981 release

Wisconsin

No. 711-30 Central Series/Series 2 -1980 release

California

No. 711-31 Western Series/Series 3 -1980 release

Minnesota

No. 711-32 Central Series/Series 2 -1980 release

Oregon

No. 711-33 Western Series/Series 3 -1980 release

Kansas

No. 711-34 Series 5 -1981 release

West Virginia

No. 711-35 Series 7 -1981 release

Nevada

No. 711-36 Western Series/Series 3 -1980 release

Nebraska

No. 711-37 Series 5 -1981 release

Colorado

No. 711-38 Series 5 -1981 release

North Dakota

No. 711-39 Series 8 -1981 release

South Dakota

No. 711-40 Series 8 -1981 release

Montana

No. 711-41 Series 8 -1981 release

Washington

No. 711-42 Western Series/Series 3 -1980 release

Idaho

No. 711-43 Series 8 -1981 release

Wyoming

No. 711-44 Series 8 -1981 release

Utah

No. 711-45 Series 8 -1981 release

Oklahoma

No. 711-46 Series 5 -1981 release

New Mexico

No. 711-47 Series 6 -1981 release

Arizona

No. 711-48 Western Series/Series 3 -1980 release

Alaska

No. 711-49 Series 9 -1981 release

Hawaii

No. 711-50 Series 9 -1981 release