Mantua’s 41-foot Steel Boxcar

The second generation Mantua (1978-2001) began with mostly steam locomotives, a few diesels, some passenger cars, and only a few freight cars. In the early 1980s, Mantua brought to market a number of HO-scale rolling stock selections to expand its line. These freight cars came from Lindberg’s train line and date to the early 1960s originally. By the time of their early 1980s return as Mantua offerings, these freight cars had been gone from Lindberg’s catalog for a decade.

Among the former Lindberg toolings was a 41-foot steel boxcar model. This car debuted with Mantua in kit form and carried 734-series numbering. The original Mantua 1980s collection of these boxcar models included 10 road names, as well as an undecorated release. This group appears to remain constant during the early-to-mid 1980s and the models sold under the “Mantua Heavies” series. The original kit release carried a $5.50 suggested retail price and Mantua listed it came with a body-mounted “standard NMRA coupler” meaning X2f or “horn hook” coupler, as well as the manufacturer’s then-new plastic “Easy-Op” knuckle coupler. The kit was also listed as coming with two railroad crew figures. These figures were part of Lindberg’s line in the early 1960s. This boxcar model first shows in Mantua’s 1987 catalog as being offered fully assembled. The ready-to-run versions carried 834-series numbers in the 1987 catalog. According the 1987 catalog the original collection of road names, except for Military, makes the jump to ready-to-run release.

By 1989, the kit version of Mantua’s steel boxcar is gone and only ready-to-run 834-series examples appear in catalogs and carried an $8.00 suggested retail price. Though it was a ready-to-run release, the 1992 Frisco boxcar release included 734-series numbers in Mantua’s catalogs. The Frisco release brings in the 1990s 734-series stock numbers for Mantua’s 41-foot steel boxcar models (other than the NYC and Railbox value packs).

Baltimore & Ohio (“Sentinel” scheme blue-and-silver)

No. 734-184 (RTR) -1993 release

No. 734-585 new road number/revised paint -2001 release

Baltimore & Ohio (“Timesaver” scheme blue-and-orange)

No. 734-250 (RTR) -1995 release

No. 734-251 new road number (RTR) -2000 release

Boston & Maine

No. 734-530 (RTR) -1997 release

Canadian National

No. 734-083 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-083 (RTR) -1987 release

Chicago & North Western

No. 734-064 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-064 (RTR) -1987 release


No. 734-031 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-031 (RTR) -1987 release


No. 734-030 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-030 (RTR) -1987 release

Florida East Coast

No. 734-051 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-051 (RTR) -1987 release


No. 734-012 (RTR) -1989 release

Great Northern

No. 734-061 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-061 (RTR) -1987 release

Lehigh Valley 

No. 734-027 (RTR) -2000 release

No. 734-527 with black ladder (RTR) -2000 release


No. 734-601 (RTR) -1998 release

Mantua 75th Anniversary Commemorative Car

No. 734-775 (RTR) -2001 release


No. 734-127 (kit) -1983 release

New York Central (“Early Bird Service” scheme)

No. 734-175 (RTR) -1993 release

New York Central (“Oval Herald” Jade Green with black roof and ends 1959 scheme)

No. 734-176 (RTR) -1993 release

New York Central (“Pacemaker” scheme)

No. 834-022 (RTR) -1989 release

No. 734-177 (RTR) -1993 release

New York Central (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie)

No. 734-178 (RTR) -1993 release

New York Central System Boxcars Value Pack 

(Boxcar Red Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, red-and-gray NYC “Pacemaker,” Boxcar Red NYC “Early Bird Service” herald, and Jade Green NYC)

No. 632-022 (RTR) -1993 release

Pennsylvania Railroad

No. 734-020 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-020 (RTR) -1987 release

No. 734-020 (RTR) -1993 release

Pennsylvania Railroad (“Merchandise Service” scheme)

No. 734-249 (RTR) -1995 release

No. 734-549 new road number (RTR) -1998 release

Pennsylvania Railroad (“Railway Express Agency”)

No. 734-520 (RTR) -2000 release


No. 734-230 (RTR) -1993 release

Railbox Value Pack (four boxcars with different road numbers)

No. 625-056 (RTR) -1992 release


No. 734-186 (RTR) -1993 release

Rio Grande (silver “Cookie Box”)

No. 734-008 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-008 (RTR) -1987 release

No. 734-008 (RTR) -1998 release


No. 834-140 (RTR) -1989 release

Santa Fe

No. 734-001 (kit) -1983 release

No. 834-001 (RTR) -1987 release

Seaboard Air Line (“Silver Meteor”)

No. 734-302 (RTR) -2000 release

Soo Line

No. 734-590 (RTR) -2000 release


No. 734-305 (RTR) -2001 release

Union Pacific

No. 834-003 (RTR) -1989 release

No. 734-003 (RTR) -1995 release

Western Pacific

No. 734-248 (RTR) -1995 release

No. 734-548 new road  number -2001 release

Mantua included a few examples of its 41-foot steel boxcar in train sets. These boxcar offerings are not known to have been sold outside of the train set release. There is a “Santa’s on his way” red-and-green boxcar in the 1996 “Toy Express” Mantua Collectibles set. At least two Matchbox Railroad boxcars are known to exist, one is black with silver bands and there is a holiday Matchbox train set with a red-and-green boxcar offering.