Sunday, October 31, 2004

Another Pic from the Crossover Catalog

This is a heck of a neat layout, again though, I have to wonder what Lionel was thinking! Actually, they were probably blowing out some stock, I just think it is unusual to see it in catalog form.

M Posted by Hello

Model Railroader (Trucks)

Just looking through a Model Railroader from January, 1938 and I saw this article on trucks for toy train layouts. I know the scan isn't good for reading, however if everyone is interested I can try some high-res scans. I remember quite a few questions on the Yahoo forum on cars and trucks.

They'll take a while to upload but they may be helpful. I could also pubish the text but the pics in the article are kind of nice (black and white, not color).

Let me know, please post if you are interested - it is kind of time consuming to do the high quality scans and text recognition.

M Posted by Hello

Lionel Crossover Years

I was perusing this old Lionel catalog last week (I forgot which year it was). I noticed something interesting though. Lots of classic standard gauge and lots of early standard gauge in the same catalog (I will post another pic with the year of the catalog). What's interesting to me is that Lionel seemed to successfully market both old and new in the same catalog and more or less on the same page (the bottom cars were pulled by many early locos like the 42, etc.)

"What's your point Marc?" I haven't seen many of these mixed up sets. And I have seen a few collections/collectors that would consider mixing the above as heresey.

Also, what caught my eye was how totally goofy the red engine (I think it is a 318, I have to look at the catalog again) with the green passenger cars. I'd love to know what Lionel was thinking. Maybe they were just getting rid of some old stock?

I'll publish some additional pics from the catalog and I'd love to hear from everyone!

M Posted by Hello

Ives 1 Gauge (I love this stuff!)

Just burrowing through some old Ives catalogs. I was curious, does anyone have a 1 Gauge set up or layout they could send me a pic of? I bid on a 1 Gauge item once at a live auction. The only 1 Gauge stuff I have seen was in Ward Kimball's collection.

It isn't standard gauge but it would look great on a layout!

M Posted by Hello

eBay Blue Comets

Did I miss a meeting or something? There are four Blue Comet sets out on eBay. 3 of them are "original" and 1 is MTH. Did everyone decide to sell their Comet sets last week? I know people decide to buy and sell trains daily if not hourly. There is also an O gauge Comet set (prewar) out there as well.

What kind of concerns me is that I have seen the Comet on eBay at least 10 times in the last year. It seldom comes from someone that knows trains; always a person that bought it from the owner at a rare estate sale. Funny as that may seem, I have heard similar tales at train shows as well from train dealers that also happen to belong to quite a few clubs.

Enough said.Posted by Hello

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Who says standard gauge doesn't work with Halloween?!?! Check out this page from an Ives Catalog; The Tiger is a really beautiful little train with minimal graphics. Just two colors mixed together; black and orange.

It really works well. Honestly, I am not a big fan of the color orange on trains. Yes, I know some of the most beautiful real trains and toy trains have orange in them (Hiawatha, The Tiger, etc.). I was never a big fan of an all orange 9E, I know a few collectors have paid 4 and 5 digit numbers for them and I could never get understand why. But the Tiger really pulls it off.

Yes, I know, much of my BLOG is a wish list. I really wish I could make this stuff myself. Check out the other gorgeous toys on this page. There are a ton of Ives items that have yet to see the light of modern day, let's hope these toy ghosts come back to life....

Happy Halloween!

M Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Polar Express

Ok, I know you have been inundated into the ground with stuff on the Polar Express Movie. The link above takes you to a great flash site that has some details on the movie. I don't want to belabor this too much, I can't post any pictures of this thing on my blog; Warner Bros will make short order of me.

Us train folks just don't get major blockbuster movies that are actually true to a story, timeframe and nostalgia. This should be a great flick, I am very anxious to see it. Somehow though, I don't think we'll ever see the Polar Express in standard gauge.....


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Another Ives Goodie

Another Ives goodie. I'd love to see a layout like this. Speaking of which, I have never seen a bridge like one in the picture (at least all strung together like that).

M Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Blogger Posting....

Hi All,

Sorry for the lack of posts. Blogger posting has been slow and the tools that I use to post pictures have not been working properly (they (Google) need to check their upload servers). Getting the pictures right (either via scan or via photos) takes a while and then to not be able to upload.... Just eats my time up. I do have a ton of posts to get out though. Look for them this weekend.....

By the way, I posted the above pic just because I like it! The funny thing is, if Flyer trains were really as big as shown in the picture, I'd still probably have at least one or two in my collection! That track does remind of Gargraves track and not Lionel or Flyer.

By the way, I am a member of Yahoo groups so I do see messages. One thing though, don't use the group to send me email notes, use the email link on this webpage. I consider the groups email list as a source of information (how do I build mountains, where's the best place to get an armature for a bild-a-loco motor from a #10 engine, that kind of thing). I also get so much mail in my day job that I'd rather see topics exclusive to trains. I hope I get to see some folks on Nov 6 in PA at the Maurerail Auction!

MPosted by Hello

Notice the Voltamp in the Back

I scanned in this pic from one of my reference books (Toy Train Treasury Vol 1, The Vickers Collection). Click on the pic and blow it up - that Voltamp set in the back is really something. I'd love to see something like this reproduced.

I also kind of like this layout. Seems like there is a tremendous amount of track in a relatively small amount of space. If anyone has a layout or collection like this, please feel free to send the pics. I'd love to post them!

M Posted by Hello

The McCoy Story

Pretty cool book and very nice trolley. I seem to remember someone (Gilbert Ives I think)mentioning this in another disucssion. Not a really deep read but very interesting nonetheless. I definitely miss Bob McCoy and his talent for making some great trains.

What's your favorite McCoy item? Mine is the handcar and the cascade.

Has anyone seen any further reference on McCoy Trains? I haven't seen a single website with anything definitive on McCoy or his trains. I have a nice McCoy protoype that was built with Jim Cohen I will be posting a pic of soon. I'd really like to see or find some experts on McCoy.

Marc Posted by Hello

PS The link above will take you to one for sale on eBay from a reputable seller.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I need some posters!

I need some posters; not just comments but folks contributing posts and pictures. I am thinking about running a contest of who can get me the most posts from Mid November to Jan 1, 2005. I need some feedback though, would anyone be interested if I did this? I have a few tempting items like a nice little piece of standard gauge (nothing spectacular but very cool if it is free) or an iPaq Pocket PC H1940 (new in box).

If there's no interest, I won't waste anyone's time. But if there is, drop a comment down and I will officially announce the contest around Thanksgiving.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Holy Moly!

Check out the above link. It is to Ted Maurer's upcoming standard gauge auction in PA. Let's just say I am definitely going. There are some very exciting items I'd just like to see (forget about bidding on). I am anxiously counting down to Nov. 6....

Also, Stout has posted their Nov. 5 & 6 auction. Some pretty nice standard gauge including two President's Special sets. One of them is very nice. Some really nice Wide Gauge Flyer as well.

Makes eBay look kind of cheesy (and yes, I am tired of all of the "rare" sets, people thinking a typical postwar O gauge loco is "rare" standard gauge and of the nuts that keep posting blueprints to real trains).

I am looking forward to the real, live auctions!!


Monday, October 18, 2004

Gorgeous Flyer

I'd love to see the above reproduced. The colors in these two sets are just beautiful. The shine really hasn't left these sets, even after almost 75 years. I've seen both of these sets at shows in the $4k range. I'd actually like to get these with newer electronics in the engine (like a Pittman motor).

Any thoughts? Posted by Hello

A Lone Scout

Haven't seen too many Lone Scouts on tables at train shows. Nor have I seen many in private collections. I think this might be something that needs to get reproduced.... This is one of those great sets that isn't a gigantic, majestic set (like a Comet or State Set) yet looks really cool in person. Color seems to effect size. The colors on this train are bold and stark and they leave a lasting impression. I really like some of the chances American Flyer took on their wide gauge trains.

I wish I could go back 75 years and pack a few warehouses with sets..... But then I'd have to save real Trolleys and the Hiawatha as well as a full Hudson and the Twentieth Century Limited. I'd run out of room in about 72 hours. Posted by Hello

That Sneaky Coal Train

Lionel lobbed that train betwen two regular, low priced sets (although I really love the freight set). This is another one of those sets I have been anxious to get my hands on for years. It is a stunning set in person, partly because it is a pretty simple set. The color does stand out and the contrast between black and red is what sets this movable art away from other trains.

High-railers got diddly on us tinplaters. This is a simple toy with a ton of moxie (see "Lost in Yonkers" if you're wondering what moxie is). I could also say that the coal train has Chutzpah. Anyone have the history of the coal train? Posted by Hello

Ives (the way it's supposed to be)

I just got my new scanner up and rolling. I just saw this picture in one of my old Ives Catalogs and I had to get it out. The artwork in the old catalogs really does a great job of representing true pieces of metal artwork. Artwork to represent artwork - a lost concept. Posted by Hello

Leland Monotrain Parts....

I wish I could have scanned this a little further (I'll figure out my scanner and then watch the posts fly!)

What really is intriguing (to me) about the Monotrain is how accessories started to rear their head and then never seemed to materialize. In all of the high priced Leland sets, I have never seen any of these accessories. Let's hope that MTH carries the products forward (like switches, crossovers, extra track and so on). The potential is there for some great things to happen....

I'd like to see (10 years from now) a TM Video on a monster Monotrain layout. Toys (except trains and maybe Erector Sets) don't get much more innovative than this. Posted by Hello

TCA McCoy Car

I said I would post some of my McCoy stuff. This is a TCA car and graphics don't get much better than this. This is a really nice car and it definitely stands out in a line of boxcars. I actually wish I had bought 5 or 6 of these to make a "Lobster Train". Ok, there's a coal train, the Pocahontas, etc. Why can't there be a Lobster Express?

Please contribute your favorite McCoy pics! I have some other nice McCoy items I will share well.

Any thoughts on McCoy trucks?

Marc Posted by Hello

Friday, October 15, 2004

York This Weekend!

Yes, I know this picture is from the West Coast, not the East Coast. Frankly, I'd go to any TCA Meeting on any coast. But this weekend, my wife told her friend that I would love to go to her Christening instead!! Arrrgggghhhhh!!!!

Torture, plain and simple. My wife can't understand why I am scowling in the morning and while I am eating lunch! One thing is for sure, I will definitely miss seeing a large amount of standard gauge this weekened. For me, I don't have to buy it, I just like seeing it and talking to the folks. If something really catches my fancy, I will leave a card and maybe buy it a few weeks or a month down the line. I just like seeing the trains!

At any rate, I thought this was a neat picture for two reasons.

1) Because it is kind of nostalgic and it reminds everyone where train collecting has been.
2) Because it has some cool McCoy boxcars on the table.

Which brings me to a topic I have been anxious to bring up: McCoy collecting. Bob McCoy sure did make some nice standard gauge items (way back before many of us were born). He had some ideas that he brought to life that were innovative and just plain great. He built Trolleys, Cascades, beautifully painted boxcars, engines of many sizes and shapes, galloping gooses, hand cars (that were really, really nice) and the list goes on. I have a few McCoy catalogs from the early 80's I was thinking about scanning in and sharing in some small way on the Blog.

Are there any McCoy collectors out there? Do you have any pics of your most interesting pieces? How much McCoy do you run? What is the rarest McCoy item? Bob McCoy and his family really produced something special. We'd love to see some of the treasures! I have a few McCoy TCA cars I will definitely share pics of very soon.
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Next thing to bug MTH about....

Another great pic from a fellow TCA member. The next thing I'd like someone to produce: this amazing Flyer station. As I recall, most of them were made from cardboard thus only a few exist in any kind of decent condition.

By the way: file this under "kick yourself afterwards" - I had a chance to buy that bridge in the background at a garage sale for 10 bucks some years ago. Mint condition, no box. Insert foot in mouth, attempt limbo under a hot fire.Posted by Hello

TCA Norcal Site

This is a nice pic and highlites some cars on a standard gauge layout. This pic is courtesy of a TCA Norcal Member and their site.

I also like the fact that aren't a bunch of HUGE accessories on this layout, there are quite a few smaller one's and the layout not only looks great but the buildings that are there seem to stand out more. How about that for a run-on sentence? Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

TCA Gulf Coast Website

If you haven't had a chance to check out some of the TCA websites, this one is definitely worth it. It has some great pics of some really one of a kind collections.

Funny thing about a website like this - you definitely get the lasting impression that these people are seriously fun and are really into their hobby. Makes me wish I could drive to some of these meets!

Check out their site, it is worth a look!


Saturday, October 09, 2004

Lionel Out of Standard Gauge?

Been doing some thinking based on past posts and on the new MTH Tinplate catalog. I keep hearing that the Hiawatha and Vandy were both dead weight for Lionel and are sitting on store shelves. I can't think of a train store in a 100 Mile radius that has these on the shelves (I can only think of one store in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that have one of each).

I have the Vandy and Hiawatha, that's almost $4k worth of trains. I'm confused, how are these sets a failure? I can only find about 6 of each set on the internet. How are these failures? Lionel didn't sell out of these 6 weeks after they shipped? MTH seems to be doing fine - their tinplate catalog is extensive.

What makes me sad is that these are GREAT sets. Some of the best in standard gauge. Lionel shouldn't short change themselves and their customers. You have to stay in a market to make money in the market.

I have seen this about 1000 times as I have worked in big companies for almost 20 years. Dip your toe in the water, if solid gold blocks don't fall at your feet, run in the other direction.

Trust me Lionel, I buy your standard gauge stuff. Make good stuff and I guarantee others will follow. MTH and super high quality/no compromise independent folks like Joe Mania & MEW are keeping the market going, further entry into the market will expand it. A little competition isn't a bad thing.

And let's be realistic, the only competition in the standard gauge market comes at a train meet between two dealers selling the same thing four tables away from each other. And they usually end up trading each other a ton of stuff anyway and walk away happy as clams.

Try making a standard gauge Blue Streak. I promise, I'll buy two.

MPosted by Hello

Best Train Show?

What's the best train show you have ever been to? York? Cal Stewart? A local LCCA or TCA meet?

I remember the show that introduced me to Standard Gauge.

My Dad took me to a huge show when I was a kid. It was in Michigan at the Fairlane Town Center (I think it was in the hotel). I remember my Dad saying it only happened every 30 years or so and that it was just just gigantic. It was sponsored by the NMRA I think. I remember seeing a huge standard gauge set at the show and that's when I caught the bug. I can't remember when I saw more trains at one time.

But then again, when I was a kid in the late 60's and early 70's, I can remember seeing a ton of great Lionel gear at flea markets. Even some garage sales. The postwar and prewar trains seemed expensive at the time but now they look very reasonable (hindsight is 20/20). Just seeing them was kind of a treat.

I also liked some of the people that remembered what it was like to be a kid in the 30's and 40's and seeing some of these things when they were knew. Honestly, I am as glad I got to meet the people as much as I was happy to see the trains. Some of the guys I met (that were friends of my father) actually were in the Battle of the Bulge and landed at the beach in Normandy. Guess that's why quite a few folks seem to think they were one of Americas greatest generations. I know, I am rambling a little.

I kind of miss those days.


Friday, October 08, 2004

TCA E-Train

The new TCA e-Train is out! It's the fall edition and I am very glad to see it! Goes a little heavy on Post War Lionel and the York worship.

By the way, what's the most interesting thing you have seen at a show (York or otherwise)? Believe it or not, some of the best standard gauge I have seen has been at the Atlantique City Show in New Jersey. I have seen a few stellar Comet and State Sets there. The best though was a complete collection of factory colored variations of 42's. There was about 12 of them at about $3.5k to $4k a pop. Still though, really, really nice for someone with a serious chunk of change.

I also saw a full Mickey Mouse circus set with boxes. Blisteringly high price but it was cool to see the set in near mint condition.


Standard Gauge Vehicle (MTH)

Another idea for scale vehicles. MTH did a nice job on both the flatcar and the vehicle. Posted by Hello

Another Pic of the Leland

Another Pic of the traditional Leland Monorail by MTH. If you have never seen this thing in action, it is absolutely worth a look. Bar none, this is one of the nicest operating accessories I have seen. Makes me wish I could go back to the old days and buy up a pantload of these things.
I have a reproduction of the original instructions - kind of interesting to see some of the options that come for this set. I think I'll publish out a couple of pics of the instructions this weekend. Posted by Hello

MTH Does Leland Detroit!

Well, MTH really does listen to their customers! I have been bugging them for almost 2 years to produce the Monorail and they really did listen. They are producing the Leland Monorail in Proto 2 and traditional versions with a version in traditional red and in the above blue. No other way to put it, I am pretty excited about this. All I can say is Thanks MTH!!!

Getting one of these has been a quest of mine for a little over a decade. Each time I see one, they are ridiculously expensive and sometimes they are not in the kind of shape that I want to run on my layout. Bottom line is that this is one cool accessory. I am not made of cash but at least this will let me have one or two of these without re-mortgaging my house.

By the way, I did take a peak at the new Tinplate Catalog. Pretty nice, there really isn't a whole heck of alot that's new (mostly new colors of existing items) but the product selection is quite good and the catalog looks like a winner.Posted by Hello

Monday, October 04, 2004

Train Show Time

I love October because it is when train shows pick up in the Northeast. Train stores tend to get in some stock and even some standard gauge here and there. I usually check the Classic Toy Trains site for the train show calendar.

In the last two years though finding train shows has been kind of frustrating. Seems like all of the shows are not centrally listed and every time I stop in the train store, the guys say to me "Did you go to XYZ train show? I've never seen that much standard gauge in one place!!". Arrgghh. It wasn't published anywhere!!

Well, I do know there are some amazing auctions coming up (just from looking in CTT). Specifically Ward Kimball's and the Klumpp Collection. There are also some auctions coming from Stout and NETTE. I will post details (yes, I do share information!!) as soon as I see them.Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 02, 2004

York Pics & Ideas?

I'd love to post some of the pics you folks take at York! I'd love to get more people contributing articles and pics to the site. It's the only way to keep it fresh and interesting. I have quite a few ideas and pics stored up. Here are a few:

Standard Gauge Stomping Grounds - I have a favorite place in upstate NY (Putman County) that I have some pics of and some great stories. Definitely a place worth going to and hanging out for a day.

New Standard Gauge on the Pike - Have pics of your new Prosperity Special or latest and greatest from Joe Mania, MEW or Jim Cohen? We'd love to see them!

Standard Gauge Buildings - I've seen a ton of discussion about it on the Yahoo discussion groups, I'd love to see some pics of your favorite buildings, I have some that I definitely will put up and share.

Lionel -- I'd love to see Lionel build more standard gauge. The Hiawatha and Commodore sets are nothing less than beautiful. Maybe we can give them some tips that will really help them blow out standard gauge in the future.

Any ideas? Would love to hear them! I am particularly interested in how I can make mountains that look like the Carrail mountains. They just really capture the spirit of prewar Lionel.

I'd also love to add some moderators to the site. If you would like to be a poster/moderator, drop me a note!


Standard Gauge (concept) Vehicle

Ok, so we're all talking about vehicles we'd love to have on our layouts.... I'd like to have this one!!! This monster is at the Big E in Springfield, MA. It's actually just outside where they keep those giant horses (Clydesdales). I told my son I wasn't sure how I would get this up the stairs to my attic and he said there wasn't enough room anyway (too many trains).
Posted by Hello