Friday, December 31, 2004

It's a...

Happy 2005 all. This is a Jim Cohen specially weathered Trolley. This is one reason I caution everyone to be careful with original product purchases in 2005 and beyond.

This is virtually identical to a real Lionel Trolley. Very, very hard to tell the difference. Trust me though, the magic "Real Lionel Trolley Fairy" isn't waving her wand on this anytime soon (or ever).

M Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 30, 2004

More $$MINT Layout

Ok, so it's a little blurry. I still would love to have a layout like this hanging around my house. By the way, the reason Rob had to take this down so fast is because he needed to get back to testing the trains he's selling on eBay.

I think we've found something (or specifically someone) that's rare on eBay that is doing something 100% right and isn't stuck in the "buy it now" or "shovel it now" mentality.

M Posted by Hello

PS Click on the above link to get to a huge horde of standard gauge for sale (at least the last week of Dec. 2004!)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Jim's Nightview

Jim Kelly likes the nightviews. Here's an anxious 408E wrangling through a nice lit switch. Nothing like these at night, just the sound is great, add in the light and there's just nothing like it.

M Posted by Hello

Tom V's 3D View

  1. Ok, I know it's kind of geeky but I like being able to see this kind of planning pan out. I think it would be a little depressing to do this for myself.

    I would probably hack the software and figure out a way to get a few more feet of track on there as well as more accessories thus having more stuff than is possible in one space and violating a couple of Einstein's laws of Physics. This is still really cool.

    My problem is:

    1) I like wide radius curves.
    2) I have diddly for room.
    3) I want a wide radius oval of standard gauge.
    4) I want a wide radius oval of O gauge.
    5) I want a figure 8 of 2 7/8.
    6) I want an oval for the tinplate race cars.
    7) I want to put some accessories on. Hellgates, Powerstations, tons of signals and lights.
    8) I have to plan for all the Leland Monorails I bought from MTH.
    9) I'm kind of like a hungry dog with a freshly basted thanksgiving Turkey in front of him; I will likely eat until I vomit. How much can I stuff on a layout? Enough said.

    MPosted by Hello

Tom V's Track Plan

This is really cool and check out the 3D view in the next post. Here is a little note from Tom V:

"Does anyone ever really plan Standard Gauge layouts? I am the only person I know who has RRTrack for Standard Gauge. Of course, here in San Diego, I am the only person I know who has a Standard Gauge layout.

I do use the track planning software to plan the layout and to see if future acquisitions can be accommodated or if I am going to end up with a shelf queen. Tonight, I cut in the Weigh Station and retired the Dorfan Crane. It was a tight fit for the Weigh Station."

Any thoughts for Tom?

M Posted by Hello

Ok, just one more pic of Winterfest...

Sorry all, I just couldn't resist one more pic of Winterfest. I know it's O Gauge but this is one nice layout...

Ya gotta realize, I love trains, period. I love standard gauge the most which is why I collect and run prewar standard gauge but if someone gave me an N Gauge, Z Gauge, HO Gauge or O gauge layout, confidence is high I wouldn't say no.....

MPosted by Hello

Winterfest Conductor (in CT)

Quite a site, something quite a few folks haven't seen in about a 55 years. By the way, if you speak to these guys, they will let you know more than you could ever imagine about shoreline trolleys. They are really like walking reference books.

Lots of folks ask me how they can differentiate their layout from the usual standard gauge stuff. Spend half a day at this museum for a ton of ideas.

PS There is also a huge trainshow at the Big E in Springfield, MA.. This might be worth going to along with this museum (they are about 15 minutes from each other. The next show is Jan. 29 and Jan. 30, 2005! Happy New Year!

M Posted by Hello

Winterfest Trolley

Another beautiful trolley getting ready to take some lucky passengers out and down the line. I just wish the line was a little longer (it's only about 2 miles long). These things are really gorgeous, I highly recommend a visit to the museums in Maine or Connecticut.


PS Thanks again for the pics Diane! Posted by Hello

Winterfest Trolley

As I recall, this scratchbuilt trolley is on permanent display at the museum. This thing is really something, even if it doesn't wobble around a layout. It's still one of the nicest handbuilt pieces I have seen.

M Posted by Hello

Winterfest G Gauge Trolleys

Some trolleys rounding the bend at Winterfest! I am desperately wanting to go there tomorrow but I have to be in NYC! Arrrrgggghhh.

M Posted by Hello

Night Scenes Posted by Hello

Connecticut Trolley Museum Winterfest

Here's a great pic a very good friend took (many thanks Diane!!) I was busy racing 1/24 slot cars today with my son or I would have been here! There's nothing like watching an expensive fiberglass slot car barrel into a wall at a scale 120 mph.

Fortunately she was there with her kids and digital camera blazing away. She took some very, very nice pics. As always, there are some great trains there even if they aren't standard gauge.

MPosted by Hello

$$Mint's Layout

On eBay, you know him as $$Mint. Rob L is by far one of the best eBay sellers. He is honest, decent and patient, even with goofballs like me. A rare bird, especially when we put him in perspective with some of the discussions we have been having about eBay on the standard gauge groups.

Probably the reason he is all of the above (good things) (and gets some damn good standard gauge) is because he runs the stuff as well. He's already taken down the above layout but you have to admit it was sweet while it lasted.....

Let's hope there are more Rob L's out there!

M Posted by Hello

A little blurry but....

Ok, it's a little blurry but it is still a nice shot of Tom D's layout.... Posted by Hello

A closeup on Tom's San Diego layout of a 392e and 408e getting ready to pull out of the station.... Posted by Hello

Tom's Night Turn-Outs

These switches never disappoint. I know they can be cranky and finicky but they look great at night and always get the job done (with a little TLC).

M Posted by Hello

West Coast Standard Gauge

Tom V installed some turnouts on his standard gauge layout and boy, do they work and LOOK nice. Tom took a night pic I will post as well. Again, there are some great trains on the left coast, you just gotta look!

M Posted by Hello

Mike's 42

Mike I has a special place in his heart for 42's. He thinks they are way under rated and I have to agree with him.

Most of the 42's we see on eBay have been beat up and go relatively cheap. This was one of Lionel's first big standard gauge engines, as Mike says "the one on the box with Lawrence". The one pictured above is original as well as the cars.

I think I have at least 4 42's myself. I think I'm nuts.

M Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

More Ives... Posted by Hello

Hints of Ives....

Again, here is another hint of the Ives family. No coincidence that this is a couple of hundred feet from the train station and that it is a really beautiful (and old) part of town.

Aint progress great? I'm so glad they (I am not sure who it was, the city or the state or a developer) tore down the Ives factory at 194 Holland Ave (in Bridgeport) in 1997 to make a.... Ummm.... Hmmm, I can't seem to remember!

Another parking lot? Just brilliant. Yet another place of huge historical value (I know it just looked like an old, beat up factory) that could have been turned into something very valuable. Now, it's crap.

The sad part of this is that this place (the Ives Factory and Bridgeport) is chocked full of history and interesting stories that should get told.

The Ives Factory was actually a printing place before they tore it down (McAdams & Sons Printing). There were quite a few folks that made pilgramages to the place before it was torn down and it yielded substantial parts and pieces for Ives Trains.

The watchman (for many, many years, he was actually there when it WAS an Ives Train Factory) was named Adam Pudm. I think he was Russian. Anyway, the stories about the burning catalogs are actually true, albeit slightly different than regularly told.

The actual truth is that Pudm would get to the factory very early, about 5 am. He had stacks and stacks of Prewar catalogs that he would toss in the furnace to get the light going (usually about 10 catalogs a shot). But this was when it was actually Ives.

Here's another interesting tale. After Ives went out of business and Lionel was pulling out of the building, collectors (this was before the TCA, although some of these folks actually founded the TCA) would go there on night runs to fish for parts, trains, whatever. They were locals so they new the guards, as a matter of fact quite a few of the "fishing guys" had long histories with the watchmen, some for generations. That's another story.

One night, they went fishing in the old Ives Factory and the watchmen told them they could go ANYWHERE except the 2nd floor engineering room. Guess which room they went to first? The second floor engineering room. Apparently that is where the ultra-rare Ives Interurban came from. Only one in existence and I have never seen but I have heard from one of the guys that had his hands on it that there was nothing like it anywhere, period. Remember, these guys are all 75 years old plus, so they have seen some things that us youngsters couldn't touch.

Here's another interesting story: briefly after Lionel pulled out of the factory, many of the folks that were left were burning excess inventory they found in the factory (feel free to grip your heart and cry at this point). They had huge stacks of stuff on fire in front of the factory and they found some additional items, specifically the Ives TreasureChest!!!!!

Now let's hold on a minute. Lionel 2 7/8 is rare. The Harmony Creamery Car is rare. The Ives Tomato Soup car is rare and so are Lionel and Ives Interurbans are ridculously rare. The Ives Treasure Chest is the top of the heap. As I recall (and I don't profess to be a pro at this), the Treasure Chest was basically a complete train layout and everything needed in one box. This wasn't just a couple of licks of track and a transformer, this was a complete setup (trains, accessories, everything) in one box. This was really something.

The guy that owned the service station across the street (now they're called gas stations, service is only a happy memory) walked over and asked if he could have it. They gave it to him because it was more convenient than burning it! Just think about that kind of luck. A guy was standing at the right place and at the right time and acquired an incredibly rare piece of history. As I recall, one was recently sold at a Ralston Auction (I don't know for how much), if anyone has the pictures or links please let me know, I can assure you that it didn't go on the cheap. I would bet that the Treasure Chest that was auctioned off was the same one that was saved from fire after the plant was shuttered.

M Posted by Hello

Ives Impact

It's hard to tell what kind of impact the Ives' had on Connecticut, however I don't think I'd be out of line if I said it was fairly profound. I don't live anywhere near Bridgeport and you can see quite a few hints of the Ives family in my town.

I like it. Most people probably don't have a clue as to why these folks were important unless they are train buffs or are history professors. I wish I could see more hints of their toys and trains in my town as well... I'll try to grab the pics as I see them.

Matter of fact, I just made a small decision. I am going to go to Bridgeport and snap a pantload of Ives pics for history. I am also going to truck up to New Haven and grab some shots of the old Lionel Factory. I have heard (from a good source) that on the top of the Lionel Factory, you can still see the outlines of the words "Lionel Corp." on the top of the factory. Time to fire up my digital camera and grab some history. Get ready for some unseen (or at least very rare) stuff. I also know a guy that is very familiar with the old AC Gilbert Factory. I'll see how many stops I can make in a day.

MPosted by Hello

Movies for the Blog


I am kicking around the idea of adding movies to the BLOG. I am not looking at doing anything as sophisticated as a T&M Video, just some very short standard gauge flicks. Remember, these things suck up a ton of bandwidth and you would need to have Windows Media Player 9 on your PC. Is this something I should pursue or stick to my picture posts?

I haven't had any requests but it does add another dimension that might be interesting.

MPosted by Hello

Barrels Galore!

Must be feed for the animals on the Ives Circus Train.

M Posted by Hello

A busy day on the pike...

More of Tom's museum layout. Yet again, this pike is amazing for a floor based set. I think that this is one of the reasons all of us train nuts go for this stuff.

Unlike G Gauge (which is nice but can really only be used outside) and O gauge which is starting to feel too much like HO (probably because of the nutty attention to detail).

Yes, I know, I am going to rankle the rhubarb of so O gaugers. The Challengers in O gauge are gorgeous but nobody can dispute the beauty of the majestic Ives Circus Train getting ready to pull into a station near a Victorian Fireplace....

MPosted by Hello

Nice Closeup Shot

A nice closeup of Tom D's museum layout.

M Posted by Hello