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First Merry Christmas to all. It may be an age thing, but growing up, after air rifles, my Christmas rush came from model trains. Like many of us, I had my share of train sets and ran them until they fell apart, they were always cheap ones and I of course abused them. I realized years later that my wise parents didn't give me good ones for that very reason.. Several years ago, I began again to covent those top of the line trains I never had. My dreams were rekindled by those great Standard Gauge trains from before WW II. Luckily those extravagant trains were not made very long and by only a very few makers. Thus unlike Colts or Smiths, a complete specialized collection was realistic if not cheap.

These Std Gauge trains are appealing on a number of levels. They were only produced for a short period, essentially during the 1930's. They were very high priced (known as the "Rich Kids Trains") and thus made in limited numbers. Because of this many were pampered and survived in great shape. They were of the highest quality in fit and finish, many were essential handmade.

Best of all, from my stand point, they were not made scale. I know this is heresy by today's standards, but this gave the designer the ability to interpret the actual train or car upon which each piece was based emphasizing some aspects and neglecting others to give a unique result. Each piece is a work of art.

Lionel was the king both because of their innovations and their cut throat practices. But American Flyer and Ives also made some grate contributions.

Below for your consideration are some of my favorites.


Electrics were the big heroes of the day. On the left is the Model 381E, Lionel's Top of the line electric. Unfortunately it had only 4 of its 12 wheels powered by a single motor and Lionel reaped a "S"storm of rage from rich boys when it failed to haul its load of cars around the track. Lionel quickly recovered by introducing the Model 408E which, while not as striking as the 381E, had plant of power with all 8 of its wheels powered by 2 motors.




Next is Lionel's entry model Steam Locomotive, the Model 385E.




Not to be overlooked are Lionel's specialty cars. Here is a working crane car with freight.

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Here is Lionel's big Kahuna. The top of the line steamer, the Model 400E.


[URL="http://s228.photobucket.com/user/rushbgood/media/Model%20Trains/DSC_3265_zps36a1422e.jpg.html"]



American Flyer had a few contenders too. Here is their top of the line steam locomotive. I love the copper side piping.





Lastly for you car guys. Much of what I like about the trains also applies to the tin cars of the day.

 

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I collect 1950's and earlier Lionel Steam Engine sets and a Lionel Train goes around the Christmas Tree every year. The one in the picture is the one that I usually run around the tree; a 1950 Berkshire 736 and 2671WX Tender and the cars are all from 1950, but are some of my favorites from different sets.

 

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Lionel Trains and Colts... My Dad's mid-life crisis involved Lionel Trains. Mine involves Colts. My Dad grew up in eastern KY as did I. His Dad (my Papaw) worked on the L & N when there was work after WWII. Some times it was steady work and some times not. Papaw ultimately worked on the L & N and then the SCL L & N right up until he passed. He was a conductor and had a massive aortic aneurism while walking down the steps from a caboose in Ravenna. My Dad always wanted a Lionel toy train as a child, but they could not afford one. Now my Dad has a few. I have a few Colts. Live is good. Thanks for posting and sharing your photographs. Brings back great memories. I will see my parents and Dad's trains tomorrow. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, & God Bless.
 

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wow , great , I am sorry I did not set my trains this year , give me a reason to set them up next year.
 

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When my brother and I were growing up, my parents would set up the Christmas tree on Christmas eve along with two sets of Lionel trains; one used the steam engine, the other the diesel. We also had some really cool add-ons; the ice house, milk house, barrels and culverts.

Unfortunately we let the trains get away years ago. My uncle still has his.
 

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Great stories guys. I knew I was not alone. That is a nice layout elliotf. Looks like its made cherished memories for 3 generations!
 

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I still have my Lionel train I got for Christmas from the early 50's, and for awhile I got into the newer O guage, mainly by MTH, mostly running them at the local club,But O gauge is expensive.Long ago
my mother bought an S- gauge American Flyer Santa Fe Alco passenger set from a neighbor's garage sale and in those Warbonnet colors it looks nice on the mantel during the c
Christmas season. I mostly watch the real thing,usually on the way to my LGS going by the KCS intermodal yard...

Regards,
Tecolote
 

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I tried to dig out my old train from my parents attic several years ago. Sorry to say a lot of it had gone missing.
Here are the few remaining pieces, along with my cub scout Pinewood Derby cars, Hot Wheels, and my sons Pinewood derbys


My dad worked for the Illinois Central RR as a signalman in the late 60's. My great uncle was head steward on the City of Miami and the City of New Orleans for many years.
 

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I do love trains but my current home has no extra room for a layout. To satisfy my love of trains, I volunteer at a local place, Chi-Town Union Station. It is the world's largest O scale layout. We have about 10,000 ft of track laid. We are open Friday,Saturday & Sunday during the winter so if you are in SE Michigan stop on by. Here is a link:

Home to the world’s largest and longest two rail, O-Scale model railroad.

A few years ago we set a world record for the longest O scale train, 1100' long with 37 engines,1200 cars and 2 cabooses!! It weighed about 1400#'s.
 

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I still have my 'A.C. Gilbert American Flyer' set from the late '50's.

Grandpa went to work for Burlington in 1893 - retired as Yardmaster for the old Riverview Yards.

Lionels were popular, but American Flyers were a bit truer to scale - using two tracks and not three - and I suspect that Grandpa had been influential in its selection.

Now, I have to dig it out, damn it...

Merry Christmas!
 

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A little off thread,I don't own any model trains but have always wanted to,I do have an old "hayshaker" lantern dated 1898 & an old Conger lantern I carried on the Santa Fe when I worked there,an Adelake switch lock & my old switch,caboose & passenger keys as well as my 21 jewel Ball RR watch & I have an old coal shovel off the B&O.For any of u that remember "Death Valley Scotty" he once wanted to see how fast a train could make it between L.A. & Chicago so he rented one & made it in something like 33 hrs.The steam engine that pulled that train was #'d 1010,it was kept in the old ATSF roundhouse @ 9th st in LA.I've been all over that engine many times.Do any of u remember the old western titled "Union Pacific"? The entire work train that was used in that 1939 movie was stored in the Union Pacific East yard in East LA,I've been lucky to have been able to crawl all over that train many times.I've run many of the different locomotives,EMD's Alco's & Baldwins,when I started on the RR it was the very end of the steam days,they were almost all gone,just one still being used on the ATSF LA area.
 

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Jim:
Union Pacific is my favorite western; Joel McCrea carried an original Henry rifle in that movie. Are you familiar with ATSF 3751,which was used in TNT's Mob City?
I'm old enough to remember steam power in Decatur,GA as a little kid. In 2003 during the Louisiana bicentennial the La. Steam group ran thier ex-SP along KCS line through here in Jackson and we had a ball chasing it through the city...

Regards,

Tecolote
 

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I remember steam engines on the tracks; but mostly remember DT&I (Detroit, Toledo, and Ironton) Orange engines pulling freight on a track near my home in Ohio when I was growing up.

My older brother had a beautiful Lionel set, the engine being the New York Central model - made smoke with tablets. My twin brother and I woke up early one Christmas morning, the train was set up around the tree...couldn't find the smoke tablets but....soy sauce worked for a minute! Ooops I think we were all of 4 years old then.
 

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WELL....I SPEKT THIS will not make me too popular here on this topic. I have always been a shooter and toy trains were on my list as among the most high class of targets for my BB pistol, slingshot, or pellet rifle. I still judge everything---EVERYTHING !!!---by it's value as a target. When my wife drags me to those "bric-a-brac" junk shops, THEY ARE ALL TARGETS someday and she knows it !!!
 
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