Friday, December 30, 2005

Forney vs. Jad GG1 part 2

This gives a better idea of size. To the far right is the Rich Art E-2.

For those of you that have spent some time in Lancaster, you have probably seen the real GG1. I think the Forney version really does capture the essence of the prototype.

I actually worked with a guy that worked on the PRR and drove GG1's. He was quite a character. Let's just say, he liked the way the GG1 looked. He said driving them was a whole different matter (he didn't like it, he said it was tough to see out of them). He also hated the ride on concrete ties (too firm and unyielding). He was definitely my kind of guy. He used to irritate our mutual manager to no end but that's another story.....


Forney vs. Jad GG1

Kirk sent me this really intriguing picture. It shows the extraordinariness of standard gauge engines.

The forney engine is just huge and the Tuscan color is really bright.

By contrast, the JAD engine looks small and off color. It's funny, I have seen two of these Forney GG1's and I never thought much of them (except they were big). Now I get it. I wish I had seen them close up. I really like the JAD one's however the motors can be really finicky. I have to speak with Kirk but I would bet that when the Forney runs it probably runs better than the JAD. Kirk, any thoughts?

Did the Forney version pull any cars (did he make any for it)?


A side view of the Engine House

That's a whole lot of tin and windows. Where can I get one of these Kirk? Lionel never had an engine house for standard gauge!


Engine House - Smith Metalworks

This is one heck of nice looking engine house. I could blather endlessly about how I wish it was bigger but I won't.

Instead, what I'll say is this; see those trolley's way down this page? Doesn't this also look like a car barn? Even if your 400E doesn't fit, this looks like the perfect place to park a couple of trolleys in comfort and style.

Kirk, is that Gargraves track? I always read stuff about conductivity in different kinds of track and I always like the way Gargraves looks and works. I wonder how different it really is from Lionel, MTH or any other three rail track? From what I have been told, it is much better... Any thoughts?


Round House - Smith Metalworks II

I must admit, I know exact squat about Smith Metalworks. But damn do they make a nice roundhouse!

Can we get the discussion going on the Yahoo groups or post on the blog about who these folks are and where we can see some more of these?

These roundhouses might be the perfect antidote for over exposure to Lionel prewar accessories.

Yes, I like them but this is something new, shiny and different. I just wish it was big enough for some heavy standard gauge.

Shoot me more info if you have it on Smith Metalworks. What else do they make?


Round House - Smith Metalworks

Kirk sent me this pic of Smith Metalworks Roundhouse and Turntable.

Here is the info Kirk sent me:

The green base of the turntable is 33.75" and the track and rotating red portion are 29.75". Better than a Lionel turntable and roundhouse, but still a little skimpy for Standard Gauge steam locos. A version large enough for the Hiawatha would be a great product!"

Steeple Cab at the end of 2005

I love these friggin engines. They operate on Pittman Can Motors. The low speed on these things is amazing and smooth as glass.


Take a look at that hand made wooden bridge. Jim made it in his "spare time". He showed me a pic from a club he used to belong to in New Haven. Had this incredible all metal bridge that raised and lowered made out of approximately 7000 plus rivets. Incredible.


Pic of the 2 Trolley

I wonder how I can transfer enough from my credit card to my bank account???

How many more chances will any of us have to get brand new trolleys?



Pic of the 101 Trolley

Here's a pic of the 101. Needs a truck and motor added and it will be shipped.

Now how can I scrape together more cash???

Please call Jim before I do!


Speaking of Trolley's....

Speaking of trolley's....

Here are three brand new trolley's Jim just finished that need a home. They are $995 for a brand new Trolley. He has:

101 Trolley (blue)
1 Trolley (blue)
2 Troley (red)

If you are interested you can call him, he's in the TCA directory or drop me a note and I'll get you his phone #.


The Master at Work....

Here's a quickpic of the masterbuilder (James Cohen) fine tuning some trolley motors.

Every time I see this man I learn something I didn't know. Just watching him wind these motors is a lesson in electronics. The man has so many standard gauge parts it's amazing. This guy has forgotten more than I will ever know.

Here's the thing too: I've seen his wheels (for say, 10 series trucks) work and I have seen some replacements on the market as well as gear made by other manufacturers. There is really something to be said for a craftsman.

Jim's wheels work. Now that may sound silly but not all wheels are created equal. Trust me, I watched his on trains and I have watched others and the trains act differently. They sway differently and even make a different noise. It has something to do with the flanging and type of metal. Whatever it is, this guy has the recipe down to a science.


$$Mint Layout Movie

Check out $$mint layout in Quicktime. For those of you that need it go to!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Last of $$Mint's layout

And the chipshot.... Right on the green! Another awesome layout!

Ya gotta send me some some Quicktime movies of this layout so I can get them up on the Blog.

Can you run the Blue Comet and State Set simultaneously (I don't see why not?)?


Another Shot of $$Mint's layout

Just a whole lot of color and great trains chugging away....

Merry New Year ($$Mint's layout)

Here's a couple of quick pics of $$mint (his ebay auctions are in the middle right of your page). He puts up a Christmas layout. There's a whole lot of standard gauge squeezed into a little space.

He's a great guy and I would urge you to keep an eye on his auctions. His SUV finds its' way all over PA to discover some very nice standard gauge gear.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dave's Christmas Card

Mr. Ives sent me a really cool Christmas card. Sorry Dave, I just couldn't resist, this card is just too nice.

Ives is still probably one of the best Christmas gifts an insane train collector can get!


Friday, December 23, 2005

CTT Online Exclusive - McCoy Circus Train

Merry Christmas All,

CTT has a brief but interesting article on the McCoy Circus Train. Go check it out using the link above or the link below:



PS Another shot of James' collection. It's awesome, I can't wait to see the layout!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tinplate Times

The newest Tinplate Times is up! Jim Kelly runs a tight ship; the writing is excellent and every article is a gem.

Get over and get reading!

PS this is another shot of Joe's incredible collection. I like this guy's taste in trains!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Joe's Coal Train

In case you are wondering what it says on the sign in Joe's Train Room:

"My Wife Told Me She Was Going To Leave Me If I Didn't Give Up My Trains. Boy, I'm Sure Going To Miss That Girl".

I frequently remind my wife that I could have other hobbies such as:

Full time customer of a strip club.
Full time bar patron.
Star Trek convention attendee as well as a guy that dresses up to look like Scotty (will never happen).
Collector of rare stock certificates.

Purchaser of food off of eBay that looks like people from history.
Bigfoot hunter (I always like those shows where they have people wandering around in forests with green nightvisition goggles, they never see anything and they always look like they are insane at the end but they vow never to give up).

I know I'm going to agitate someone with this list, there's always a bigfoot hunter that also collects trains and swears Sesquatches stole a pig from his barn (by the way, Sesquatch is Indian for "smelly monkey").

My point (before going off on a tangent) is that Joe has built something really unique. Built being the key word. The reason baby boomers and people that played with trains were and are so successful is that they spend time building things instead of sitting around and whining about how they got "shafted by society".

My wife is growing more tolerant of my collecting, predominantly because she can see that building stuff is a big part of making kids productive parts of the world. Most kids spend their time collecting X-Box crap and not building diddly. That just isn't the way it is in my house.

Ok, I just liked the sign (and the awesome collection and layout). I know, I haven't talked much lately (or at all) about refinishing old toys or Ives and Lionel coupler variations. I'll get there.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Aye Carumba!!!

Wow! I was watching this thing on eBay! I had a bid on it for the last week and I thought it was high - almost 600 bucks. Way more than I should spend during the holidays (and while it's cold in the Northeast and the natural gas companies got me where they want me).

In the last minute this thing almost doubled in price.

Here's the thing, I know and like the bidders, so I could care less about who won the thing. I know who won the item and I am a huge fan. So who cares? Well, when I hear companies like Lionel saying that there is no market for standard gauge, I just can't figure it out. This item is broken, a little dirty and is not that old. Yes, it's still a work of art and way cooler than most of the trains on the market today.

Here's my point: this is a great train. If you make great trains, they will come. McCoy is only one recent standard gauge manufacturer but this isn't an anamoly. Look at the current JAD GG1 set out on eBay right now. That's a nice set. A little dirty, a little blemish. Not terribly old. And the bids are going up and up. It isn't a State Set, it isn't a Blue Comet. It isn't even a mint, boxed original.

Now imagine what a mint, boxed original Wappid Wabbit is going to go for....

Made in a chicken coop in America and worth every penny!


Check Out Joe's Layout!

Which part of Joe's layout is the best? The backdrop? The really cool vintage plane buzzing the tinplate city? The beautifully placed Gargraves Track (I'm guessing that's what it is)? Or the neat little Rich Art Army train getting ready to go into battle?

I bet this layout is going to see some serious running time in the next few weeks!

More pics from Joe soon!


Joe's Collection and Layout

Here's a great shot of Joe's collection. Joe is a pro pilot so he has some kick-butt planes buzzing his incredible train collection.

Joe is like quite a few of us, Lionel is great but he likes newer standard gauge as well. He definitely has a quality collection.

Wait until you see his spectacular layout.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Circus's are rare....

James and a few other McCoy collectors have told me that the circus set is rare.

No two of these sets is exactly the same. I guess that makes an almost infinite number of combinations to have a unique circus train.

I just like the graphics. It's just one thing for trains to look good, I wonder how these all run?

I've heard the Cascade that pulled the Cirus set really kicked butt. I've never actually seen one on a track though.


Rare McCoy

I asked for it.... Rare McCoy.

James says the black and red Erie hoppers are the only one's he has ever seen. Same with the yellow and orange Great Northern cars.

Actually, all the freight on the wall as well as the E-2's are very rare.

As I look at all this color, I ponder one thing. How the heck did they color all these cars in a paintbooth in a chicken coop? And why do they all look so damn good? Says something about good old American ingenuity.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

James and Giant Collection 2

Aye Carumba! Let's see, if this were my office.... I'd get exactly zero work done.

Couple of questions:

1) Are there rare McCoy freights?
2) Are there McCoy mistakes like the famous Lionel "Katy" feather boxcar?
3) Who has a layout with all of this cool freight running on it?
4) Does anyone have favorite McCoy freights? I like the TCA one's myself.


More of Mr. James' collection

I have a couple more pics but I liked this one. There's so much motive power in this picture, I think that all of these engines together could pull the wall all of one of those Amish barns in PA.

I wonder how much noise these make when they all run? If nothing else, I like the color!


Don't forget people!

I can't remember seeing more great Manoil people at such reasonable prices on eBay.

We (or at least me) tend to get caught up in the thrill of acquiring new motive power and forget that someday, my layout will need actual passengers. That little Lionel prewar box of a couple of passngers won't fill but half a station.

As I said before, it must be the Christmas push or something but there are a ton of inexpensive, very nice Manoil figures as well as vehicles out on eBay right now.

Happy Hunting!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

More of Mike's Collection

Mike just picked up the beautiful Lehman bus. I was never much for these toys because they were so delicate.

But one look at this thing and I have to admit, these toys are really cool. This must have been fun to play with right from the store, look how bright the colors are for its' age. It isn't exactly scale for a standard gauge layout but it still is very appropriate.

I wonder if there was a prototype for this?


Dorfan Christmas Card

Mike V sent me a pic of his new Dorfan loco (ok, it's new to his collection). Mike said this might be his holiday card.

I liked the composition of Mike's picture. It packs a ton of old trains into one little area. Lots of action and color.

Thanks Mike!

Friday, December 09, 2005

More of James' Collection

Here's a great pic from James' collection. The blue trolley is really nice (and rare).

I have mentioned King Trolleys in the Blog before but I've never actually seen one.

This is one very nice trolley and it looks almost scale.


PS I have no idea who made that Steeple Cab. Arno has said that it could be one of several people could have made it including it being an original McCoy. It could be Herb Morley as well. It does look like the one in the catalog though.
We might never know.....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

World's Best McCoy Collection

I never knew McCoy made a girls train. I think this one is much nicer than the Lionel Girls Train.

It's kind of funny, my wife and I used to go to Redbank, NJ and hunt around antique stores. I saw tons of McCoy sets, mint in their original boxes and I never thought anything of it (this was just 10 years ago). I was always hunting for that hidden 408 and 1912.

Now I'm at the "what were you thinking" stage. The really cool stuff was right there.

They weren't dirt cheap but they weren't terribly expensive either. Now that I see this collection, I think I screwed up!


James and Giant Collection

Interurbans... I can't even find one friggin Interurban for my collection!

James has done one heck of a job displaying these toys and creating this amazing collection.

What I like about his collection (and there are more pics coming) is that I'm not overwhelmed by Blue Comet sets or State Sets.

The guy has a very diverse collection without bludgeoning everyone with Lionel. I love Lionel but this collection really says something; people made great trains way after World War II and Korea and the Viet Nam war. Maybe it's time we stop identifying trains by which war they were made after.

More pics coming!


World's Best McCoy Collection

Another great pics of James' trains! I love those Interurbans. And that Steeple Cab!

Yes, I know that some of this stuff was made by Al Merris. I still don't have any o f this stuff so it's all new to me.

I wonder how many years James has been collecting? This shows why standard gauge is the only gauge for the operator and collector. It aint called "Standard Gauge" for nothing!


World's Best McCoy Collection

Happy Holidays everyone! James sent me some pics of his world class McCoy Collection. This is the same collection I posted a few months ago but these are a few rooms James held back.

To say I am dumbfounded is the understatement of the year.

James is a good guy, he knows one heck of alot about trains and his skill at collecting is on display. Frankly I wish I lived closer to someone like him. Most of my neighbors don't collect diddly and when they do it's things like cookie jars.

I just wish I had this kind of room to even display my stuff. If my wife saw a room like this..... All I can say is that I'd need to make sure my disability insurance is paid up!

James has some other cool stuff besides McCoy. I'll post 'em.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Talkin with John Davanzo

I was wondering what was going on with Pridelines so I gave John Davanzo a call. John is a great guy with many, many years in the TCA as well a master builder of toys and trains. He is the owner and primary stakeholder in PRIDELINES in Lindenhurst, NY.

Pridelines is putting out some very cool stuff, as evidenced by the preceding two flyers showing some incredible Voltamp Cars as well as the new Clown Train.

Here goes:

MK: John, I thought you were shutting down, going out of business! What happened?
JD: We are. Marc, I'm 72 years old. This is a 7 day a week deal. My son and son in law have been doing this for almost 25 years. They want to try other things. It's not that I don't like it, somehow I think it is in your blood, especially when you do it right. This is hard work and I just need to slow down.

MK: Then why start on the Voltamp gear? And the new trains?
JD: Well, when I started collecting, Voltamp, Carlisle and Finch and so on was plentiful and very inexpensive. Nobody collected it. At one point I had well over 30 Voltamp sets. They were spectacular.

MK: No doubt about that, from what little Voltamp I have seen it has a ton of personality and quality.
JD: Correct. And that's exactly why I thought it was appropriate for Pridelines to produce it. We produce items that other folks will never produce. Either the quantities are too small or they just aren't realistic for Chinese production. These Voltamp trolleys are a perfect case in point. They are highly unusual to see as a collector. Marc, guess how many people have asked for these in standard gauge? 42. Guess how many folks wanted them in stock Voltamp configurations? 3. We've sold 45 so far.

JD: I just saw some Voltamp go at the Ward Kimball collection for $32k. That's just outrageous. That just isn't what toy trains are all about. Great product should be reasonable for everyone to afford. And with originals, I don't see prices going down anytime soon.

MK: Again, I thought you were retiring (but I do hope you sell many more of these)!
JD: I am. I'm slowing down. That doesn't stop me from liking trains or wanting to build more. I have more Voltamp standard gauge on the burner!

JD: That's right. I am thinking about some very rare Voltamp Steeple Cabs in standard gauge. With a passenger and freight set. I'm considering the project right now, doing a little planning, and some drawing.

MK: Doesn't sound like you're retiring to me. Frankly that's ok, I'd like to keep a standard gauge manufacturer going!
JD: Well, that's not going to happen. We just can't invest the time and make the quality everyone expects. Quality being the key word.

MK: What about this clown train?
JD: That's actually kind of interesting. I like circus trains and I wanted to do something different. You know we actually also proposed and used the 1764 in circus colors and paint for the circus train as well?

MK: Sign me up? Actually, I'll pass, I have plenty of 1764's. What about all of the amazing Disney stuff you produced?
JD: When Eisner came in, the Disney stuff ended. There's more to it but it doesn't need to get published. Let's just say Disney Stores and Disney proper haven't had a nice train since Pridelines stopped producing them.

MK: I'd have to agree but I would love to see the franchise rekindled some day. The use of the characters with toy trains really seemed appropriate.
JD: Our stuff was the best, no doubt about it. We really did justice to the Disney vision.

MK: I know this is the stuff of many publications, but could you tell me how you got started?
JD: I came out of the Airforce in 1958. Much of my time was at Mitchell Field in Long Island, right by Hofstra University. I went to Hofstra for a while after I left the military but they raised the prices so I left.

MK: I know, they raised the prices right before I left as well. My degree cost an arm and a leg!
JD: Well, I went to Pratt in Brooklyn. That area of Brooklyn has changed but it is still a great school. Then I worked at Grumman for 25 years. At one point after 25 years, I quit. I looked at my boss and he said "You're giving up all this!". I said "I am taking all this with me. If I can do this, putting toy trains together shouldn't be a stretch." I haven't looked back.

MK: That's a good attitude. I wish I could take that attitude in today's world.
JD: Well, I do everything with more than a touch of quality. Look at the new Voltamp motors. They are exactly like they were in the Voltamp originals. Absolutely no compromises at all. No can motors or substitutes. I am not taking any liberties.

MK: What about all of the other stuff you produced? Has eBay had an impact on your business?
JD: I get quite a few repairs and the like from eBay. eBay tends to artificially inflate prices and rarity. People purchase items that need severe repairs; the repairs cost more than the item is worth. I would urge everyone purchasing on eBay to exercise caution, especially when purchasing Pridelines items. We will still sell parts for an extended period of time and very likely support our products in perpetuity. But I get all kinds of calls from people that purchase on eBay. Just exercise some common sense.

MK: Do you see fakes?
JD: Yes, I have. Some stuff has been manufactured to look almost original. Look on the bottom of every Pridelines item. It is abundantly clear who made it.

MK: John, did you ever produce that Boucher Blue Comet?
JD: No. Only about 30% of that project was completed. Again, Boucher was not as collectible in the early days, now it is beyond rare. In the early 70's, we couldn't charge enough to make a decent living....

MK: But now....
JD: Well now is a different story and a Boucher Blue Comet would really be something. I had quite a few original Boucher sets and they were amazing. We just couldn't produce something like that today. It would just be overwhelming.

MK: I'd still love to see it if you ever did produce it.
JD: It really would be something different. That's what's missing in today's toy trains. Everyone is competing to bring out the same thing. One manufacturer brings out a product and then 3 weeks later another manufacturer brings out an identical product made in the same part of China. I really miss the days when everyone was doing different projects.

MK: Well John, I am glad you are still making toys.
JD: Look for that Voltamp soon!

Thanks John and keep up the great work as long as you can! You do one heck of a job and I know I will miss Pridelines!


Thursday, November 24, 2005

New Pride Lines Circus Train

A new standard gauge set? Hold on while I re-adjust my pacemaker!

Ok, I don't have a pacemaker but I will be ordering one of these sets. It's a nice looking set that has just the right amount of whimsy that I need.

I like circus sets and I have always liked K-Lines Circus speeder. The McCoy Circus set is legendary and I don't think this clown set will be any less.

Has anyone ever seen the Pridelines Boucher Blue Comet? Just curious -


Pride Lines Voltamp

What more can I say? I am excited and I don't want these guys to leave this market!

Don't make us beg Pridelines!

When I see trolley's like this, I think of that old song from Schoolhouse Rock (filler inbetween Saturday morning cartoons from 1973 to 1985 that were brilliant and eventually turned into a Broadway Musical). "Interjections (Hey!) show excitement (Yow!) or emotion (Ouch!). They're generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong."

Heck, old Voltamp is hard enough to see so to see something new produced is exciting.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful. I am thankful for your time and your desire to read my scibbling. I am also thankful I have the time and means to even think about having some of these amazing toys.

My Dad loved Lionel but he never had the time to actually collect anything. He had 5 kids to feed and still found time to take a precocious 9 year old to some very large train meets in Michigan and at the Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn, Mi.. That had to be the biggest meet I have ever seen in my life (no, not as big as York but close).

I am thankful that I have a family that tolerates my folly with trains and toys (sometimes going broke until the next paycheck) and lives with a train room and office that has been referred to as the "largest petry dish in the world". If you look in the Thesaurus under thankful, you will see "beholden, content, contented, grateful, gratified, indebted, much obliged, obliged, overwhelmed, pleased, relieved, satisfied". I am all of those things with my life, family and hobby. I hope you are too. Happy holidays -


A page from McCoy....

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was really anxious to get up and play with some trains today but about a thousand chores before dinner got in the way.

To the left; a few McCoy items I have been looking for. The Interurbans are especially nice. The Rapid Rabbit is another cool little item I have wanted for some time as well. I just haven't seen this kind of innovation in standard gauge lately. Based on the scarcity and cost of these items, I have to believe there is a market for them. I'd love to test my new MTH switches with the Rapid Rabbit. I tried a McCoy Trolley I have (prototype built with Jim Cohen) on some Gargraves Track the other day and it was absolutely smooth as glass. I have to imagine the Interurbans run the same way. By the way, when I say smooth it runs better than some Pittman motor product I have. I think it's also because McCoy had the flanging on the wheels right. Whatever it is, I'd love to see the above trains!


More McCoy...

My buddy James is looking for more good McCoy. If you have any McCoy to sell, drop me a line or post a message attached to this one and I will get it to him.

Check out the catalog pics to the left. I was perusing an old McCoy catalog last night from 1982. This stuff was unusual and eclectic. I wonder how well these trains worked on a pike?

I've seen some nice McCoy sets going on eBay this week. Some of them for a decent chunk of cash. I've seen a few go at auction for a goodly amount of cash as well. I know these are great toys. I guess from the great collections I have seen like James' they must have passed into the realm of highly collectible. Truth be told, I've never actually seen a fully loaded McCoy Cascade pulling a circus train. It must be quite a sight! Can anyone send me some pics?


Friday, November 18, 2005

Ted Maurer 11/26/05 Auction

This is why I have no decent stock investments. I see auctions like this and I have momentary stoppage of blood to the part of my brain that creates common sense juice (or whatever the thing is called that stops me from acting like an idiot).

This auction is going to be amazing. Not much Lionel but an amazing collection of everything else. Check it out using the link above.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

SGA Journals

This was the beginning of collecting standard gauge trains. I'm not sure (based on all of the Gauge 1 stuff I have seen) this is near the official start of toy train collecting. I do know it is close to the official start of standard gauge train collecting though.

This literature is detoriorating. I'm no paper expert but I can see the paper is breaking down. This isn't good quality printing (probably how they kept the costs down).

Matter of fact, it is mediocre printing at best, the pages were typed and then copied. Copiers just weren't at the top of their game in 1958. I'm not sure how these were printed, the font is courier from start to finish and the whole magazine looked like it was typed on a vintage Underwood (see the picture to get an idea).

The printing is really light and a bit difficult to read.

I don't think I'll be able to scan much of these into the blog although I do know some real paper experts (not train paper but people that are really experts with old documents). I'll see if I can get them scanned in.

So what do these read like? They read like the early days of toy train collecting. The pontification of bi-laws, rules and meeting minutes looks a lot like the early days of the TCA. Most of the folks in the club actually became long standing members in the TCA.

There was a die-hard brilliance to these guys I just can't get over. They were so serious about this stuff, it really floors me. This club and collecting was almost like a way of life for them. I only know one of them. Jim Cohen was a member but he didn't seem terribly enamored with membership. He's not enamored with membership in any organization (but that's a topic for another time).

Reading this stuff is like reading scripture. These guys were really serious about solving any mystery thrown their way. In one article, they look at the origins of the dark green 408E. They asked Irving Shull to take them to the Lionel Factory in Irvington where they spoke to the two guys that ran the paintshop in the 30's. Can you friggin imagine? These guys thought the dark green 408E they borrowed from Doc Robinson was a fake because it had some of the inside grills bent. It turns out the guys in the Lionel paint shop remembered painting some 408E's dark green and when they couldn't get the grills to fit in properly they bent them to get them to fit right. Turns out every dark green 408E they were sitting on was real!

They mention that at their meets many of the participants actually date the motors, parts and pieces so they can collect variations like stamp collectors. Price didn't really even enter into the picture because there was so much stuff and so few collecting. This access gave these folks something interesting; time to really compare and study the items. Plus it seems like they had access to a tremendous amount of high quality pieces at almost no cost (or what we would consider no cost). They also talked about fakes, which I found fascinating because the payoff for a fake was diddly (or at least what I think is diddly now; $10 then but a ton of fresh trains).

And if you are interested in Ives, I gotta tell ya, I know some Ives collectors and these guys have everyone beat. I have never seen so much detail about Ives production, especially by people like Hertz. Many of these folks had substantial amounts of experience in both the Ives and Lionel factories during production and they were interested even when they were kids.

I haven't counted them yet but I think I have six or seven of these. Not many were published. How do you think I should try and get these out on to the blog? I've only read about 6 pages and the stuff is fascinating. I know everyone will enjoy it.


Doyle Book Info 2

Here is all the info to purchase the Doyle Book. I refer to it ("The Doyle Book") because whenever I think of standard gauge literature I always think of the author (Peter Riddle, Tom McComas, etc).


Doyle Book Info

Here is the flyer I just received for the Doyle book. Looks good, I'll definitely be grabbing more standard gauge literature.

It's friggin freezing here in the Northeast! I'm going to be eyeballing some standard gauge literature this weekend.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Some neet catalogs on eBay

I just spotted a seller with some really cool catalogs on eBay. I have purchased some items from him before and he's been consistently excellent.

Check out the Dorfan catalogs he has out there.


NETTE Dec. 3 2005 Train Auction

The New England Toy Train Exchange auction is up for Dec. 3! Looks like a nice auction, lots of selection and very good quality.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Biggest Layout - Pictures and Contest

Everybody seemed to like the article on E. Carl Pieper. Kirk dropped me a note (he had an a neat idea; he'd like to see everyone's biggest layouts).

Here's my spin on that idea -

I have an extra MTH Standard Gauge boxcar (NIB). It's just sitting in my closet. If I were to get a whole bunch of really great pictures and some stories in my inbox, the "said" boxcar could get Fed Ex'ed to a lucky story teller.

I got an MTH 500 series freight, new in the box. The best pictures and stories about the largest layouts you have seen will win the boxcar. I get decide which story is the best (with a little reader feedback) and I get to decide who gets the freight. Rules and regulations? Solely my discretion and decision. Compensation for stories I don't use??? No.

Please send in any stories and pics you have of the biggest layouts you have ever seen. Even if they are of your own layout. You could win a free freight car (Standard Gauge, MTH).


Thursday, November 10, 2005

World's Largest Model Railroad Housed In Home Of LPIU Family - 6

E. Carl Pieper instructs Michael Bartoli of the "work crew" on how to determine how much trock and signal wiring will be needed to set up a new track area. The amount of track in use at the time exceeded one half mile, valued at more than $1,000.

"We never know," Pieper said, "when the phone is going to ring and someone will say: 'Mr. Pieper, I hear you have a fabulous railroad and my son is going to celebrate his birthday next week. I'd like to bring a group over with him to see the railroad.' "

He added that they always ar­range to accommodate their visitors. The home of this LPIU family at 12 Hunters Lane is always open to visitors on Sundays.

They never charge admission.

In addition to the railroad, this charming New England house has its own "game" room upstairs, which includes, among other hospitality divertissements, its own pool table and its own outdoor swimming pool that is part of the "back of the house" and not "out there" in the backyard.
The Piepers always hope that some of their guests have trains they don't want, or will spread the word to others who have old unwanted trains, to give or sell them for their line.
In addition to the railroad itself visitors see a maze of bridges, cross­ing gates, floodlights, water towers, loading stations, electric plants, towns, trees, rivers, animals - and even an operating ski lift complex complete with tiny figures zooming down a mountain slope.

In their living room, to the right of the mantel is a 1903 Lionel train, one of their very first, along with other trains. The dining room fea­tures the oldest model train - ap­proximately 100 years old.

A baggage or emergency lantern can be seen in the hallway. If elec­tric power ever goes out - they can light the candle in the lantern. The den features wallpaper with trains as the pattern.
Marker lanterns can be seen in the playroom, more train models and a large old bronze bell of a Norfolk and Western freight loco­motive that gongs and reverberates.
The cookie jar in the kitchen is a "Puffing belly" done in pottery, and the stairwell to the basement is lined with rosters of maior railroads. Toy train catalogues can be seen back to 1903.
The cost of the locomotives ranges between $15 and $500 and all equip­ment is itemized and insured.

The situation has changed since the Piepers moved to Norwalk. At that time Carl couldn't interest any adu1ts in his railroad. Finally, one neighborhood child became inter­ested, then another, until finally all the youngsters in the neighborhood at one time or another have helped. After that, some of the parents be­came interested and one of them painted a lake scene to be used as a backdrop.
Now, the Friday night "work crew" is drawn from all over Nor­walk.
Since all the trains are at least 30 years old and standard gauge is no longer manufactured, Carl does his own repair work and has a huge supply of spare parts.
To furnish enough electrical power to run the rail line, when he built the house, Carl put in a 200 ampere electrical service - enough for a small factory - and uses 150 for the house and 50 for the railroad.

The youngsters aren't allowed to run the trains when they first join the "crew." "They start out as gandy­ dancers - track walkers - and work up, job by job, to engineer, after which they're allowed to run the trains," Carl explained.

He has a regular "work roster" to keep track of work schedued for his helpers. With a laugh this boss added: "At the wages I pay, I can't afford to fire them." When they report on Friday, they check their duty lists, don their uni­forms (regulation railroad caps with metal badges donated by the Great Northem) and tuck a blue and red bandanna in the back pocket of their jeans.
The boys learn all there is to know about model railroads - wiring, track laying, maintenance and re­pairs.

Carl, who has heen the Union's correspondent for both Locals 90p and 65P and is now Local 90p cor­respondent for the GRAPHIC ARTS UNIONIST, said:

"As much as I like to run these, I get an even bigger kick out of watch­ing these kids learn model railroad­ing."

"That's the real purpose C & E," agreed Emily.

"Work crew" member Christopher "Dusty" Yost ond C & E Railroad Pres. E. Carl Pieper solder a broken wire on the bumper of a train sidetracked in front of the main passenger terminal of the rail line. The all chrome train on the right is on American Flyer display train which was featured at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. LPIU member Pieper says it is the most expensive train in his collection and would probably sell for $3,000. The youngsters learn from Carl all there is to know about model railroods.

Thanks to Mr. Cohen for helping me fill in some of the blanks on this article. Again, my apologies for the typos. This old typset is really nice to read and look at but can be a bear and a half to scan in. Please contribute to the blog, I'd love to hear some RECENT stories like this one.


World's Largest Model Railroad Housed In Home Of LPIU Family - 5

Kenneth Frazier, one of the C & E Railroad's Friday night "work crew." under the watchful eye of LPIU's
E. Carl Pieper, conducts cleaning up operations in the eastbound classification yard. This is the area where freight cars are sidetracked and then selected,
assembled, loaded and put into operation.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

World's Largest Model Railroad Housed In Home Of LPIU Family - 4

This maze of wires is the central operation that runs six trains, in the complex C & E Railroad in E. Carl Pieper's home. On the night that the Graphic Art's Unionist inspected the line, there was a malfunction in this "brain," but it was diagnosed and cor­rected by Pieper after a quick look. The com­plete railroad occupies a total of 2,100 square feet in the basement, which was specially constructed to house the collection and is large enough to con­tain four full size bowling alleys.
TRACING WIRING CIRCUIT. John Bunzick, son of Stamford local 90P cameraman G. leo Bunzick, a shopmate of E. Carl Pieper at Graphic Color Plate, works with Pieper while tracing the wiring circuit on a gate crossing signal to hook it up so that it will operate automatically. The complete wir­ing circuit can keep six trains running simultaneously on a half mile of track.