Sunday, September 30, 2007

A fun links list!

If you click on the above link, you'll jump to the TCA'S Great Lakes Chapter. Check out the TCA Links area. It leads to all of the TCA sites on the web. While not the font of all excitement on the web, it will lead you to the various chapters websites.

It's kind of interesting, if you are anxious to see some really nice trains, train shows and read some interesting articles, give some of them a look. It's web surfing at its' finest.

PS - As I recall, these two pics are from the Desert Division and NETCA. Go jump out to see some more cool pictures.


Stout Auction Yesterday (9/28/07)

I had a few minutes to watch the Stout Auction yesterday. As I recall, these early Lionel cars go with the Brass #7. They went for $5100. I guess these are in great shape but that seemed a bit high.

It's an auction so there were some experts there that must have seen them and thought the price was right. I can't see reselling them plus the engine for that kind of cash.

There were some good deals to be had, the O gauge prewar sets were very reasonable and they looked like they were in great shape. Did anyone pick anything up at this auction? Any thoughts on why the below went so high? I think the State cars went for the same price.


Joe's C&F Mining Train

Here's some Youtube I took of Joe's C&F Mining Train. I did my best to capture the sound it makes. It's really a unique little train, you can see the motor really working to turn those wheels.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

eBay Auction #190157876267

I'm trying to decide whether I like this set or not. I think the idea is good but I am not sure I like the execution. The price seems on the high side. Anyone see this and have any thoughts? Who actually made this set?


Table Shot of Joe's Trains at METCA

Another Youtube Video of Joe's Standard Gauge trains running at METCA -


Friday, September 28, 2007

Mike's Spectacular Collection

I just wanted to put up some shots of Mike's wonderful collection. As you can tell, he's a trolley guy. Like many of us collectors, he does specialize (anything that's a train and standard gauge can probably be part of his collection).

More pics Mike!!!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Some Carlisle & Finch

Check out the pics of Joe Mania's new C&F mining train. It is a very accurate reproduction and the various stages of development Joe has in his display is really something to be seen. What's really neat is the sound this wonderful little train makes when it rolls around the track.

The dry cell batteries are for show, they aren't real and they are there for just looks. And they look really cool.

Joe says he is thinking about selling these as sets (the cars and the little engines). I always wonder what Carlisle and Finch had on their drawing board. I wonder if it they could have continued producing toys for the next 20 or 30 years what they would have looked like. We'll never know but Joe's reproductions are wonderful, accurate and unique.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Super 7 Up Close

The Super 7 is nicer in person than it is on Joe's website. It's one of those locos Lionel definitely should have made. I also think some Day Coaches in Brass and Nickle would look great behind it as well.

This represents some of standard gauge's best. Early Lionel has a charm all its' own. In Lionel's 1907 catalog it says that the #6 "Will operate on 6 good dry batteries on the Lighting Circuit with our arrangement for reducing the voltage". I wonder how many batteries the Super 7 would need? And how long would it run?

The 1906 catalog shows a picture of the #6 that looks more like a Converse pull. The 1907 catalog's picture actually looks like a #6.

What is really interesting about the 1906 Lionel catalog is when you look at the accessories to go along with these trains. There's an "Open Railway Station", a "Passenger Foot Bridge" and a very cool looking little standard gauge bumper.

The reason I am prattling on about 1906 and 1907 is because this was when 2 7/8 gauge was largely retired and the above standard gauge engines made their appearance. Lionel also claimed to have invented a "flexible truck" that made the trains juming the tracks a "thing of the past". Ok, how's that working out, no more trucks jumping tracks anywhere on any standard gauge pike? I don't think so. Nobody seems to have patented a system that completely prevents derailments. None that I have seen at least.

They also introduced the manual standard gauge switch the same year. This stuff was expensive ($3.50 for a full blown #18 passenger car). Still, this was the new iPod of the times. So much new technology in so little space. Lionel claimed they architected motors that used very little battery power (wishful thinking). JLC called it a "Departure Motor". I love the little motors Lionel sold in the catalog by themselves for $2. According to Joe Mania they work great even now. They take a ton of time to make but they work great. Go figure.

Lionel claimed they had a "Good, Better, Best" selection of trains. I wonder where the Super 7 would fall in that equation? Funny how 101 years could push us into everything being best.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Granddaddy #6

I've seen a substantial amount of discussion/chatter about the Granddaddy #6. To buy, not to buy, why would anyone want one, etc, etc..

This is one slick little engine. I saw the early flavor at the METCA show. Joe's booth was broken up into three areas. He had a circle of 2 7/8, an oval of Standard Gauge with a display of 10 series cars and early locos and a circle of C&F 2 inch track with a Carlisle and Finch mining train rolling around. Needless to say I was interested in just about everything.

But this was striking. It made me wonder what the original looked like when it was new. I think that this is a fitting engine to get reproduced for the 100th anniversary of standard gauge.

I also really enjoy (this is going to sound strange) running engines with thin rim wheels. It seems like the process for the wheels to turn makes the motor do more work. The sound thin rims make seems to be a bit different than thick rims as well.

Initially I thought that a #6 missing the front trucks would look kind of strange however it doesn't. I seem to remember that Lionel produced some O gauge gear (the 156 engine comes to mind) with sets of trucks and eventually removed them. I seem to recall them not tracking properly, especially through switches. I wonder if that's why the initial Lionel prototype didn't have trucks or if JLC just didn't want to initially spend the extra cash to stamp them out?

If you do order this engine, I would consider dropping Joe a line and see if you can purchase some of his 10 series cars. I'll post some pictures of them. I can't think of anything that would be better to pull behind this engine (feel free to post any ideas).


Monday, September 24, 2007

Treni Elettrici

Someone on the TCA Groups just pointed this out and it is fun; an Italian website dedicated to trains (specifically Lionel). It has some wonderful old pics on it as well as some nice Youtube. My Italian is a little rusty, I think it was updated in July.

If anyone sees any other toy train blogs, let me know. There's a whole world out there of people that must get a kick out of this stuff.....

PS Click on the link to make the jump.


PS To my friend John.... BIG E! (The Eastern States Expo).

Sky and Trains Website

This gentleman has an engaging blog; I guess he lives in Yonkers and is a METCA member. Go explore his website. He was at METCA yesterday and I bet he has some better pics than I took. He's going to post some on the METCA website as well.

His website also has some really nice photography on it of Yonkers, Spuyten Duyvil and a few other places I drive by all the time but give no thought to. I'm glad they put this site together; it helps me appreciate some of the great things that everyone takes for granted.

One thing I do have to admit though, I love the Hudson Valley. I definitely share this with Mr. Rapp. The history of the Hudson Valley is very rich and the beauty of the valley is always new and different. I know folks from all over the country read this blog. Check out this wonderful website and consider a visit to the Hudson Valley. Especially if you like trains, you won't be disappointed. You'll see some history here you just can't see anywhere else.


Joe Mania at METCA

Boy was I glad to see Joe at METCA. It was great to see his amazing set up of the toys he builds so well. If you ever want affirmation that you've picked the right hobby, go spend 5 minutes with Joe at his table.

He's a true craftsman when it comes to toy trains. I'm going to break up Joe's area into different parts. There were a few new arrivals there that I hadn't thought I would see at the METCA meet. Let's start with the best and brightest 2 7/8 gauge made in the USA!

It was great seeing all of these models in one place at a show. The Converse Trolley on the table is just the nicest version of the 2 7/8 models I have ever seen. These trains really do attract people of all ages. Joe's gear was in a room with other layouts and the circle of 2 7/8 track demanded much of the attention. I couldn't take my eyes off of the trolley as it smoothly moved over the track that was designed over 100 years ago.....


Sunday, September 23, 2007


Most of METCA looked like this:

Not bad but acres of orange or purple boxes can get kind of boring.....

I'd rather see this:

A rather large and well preserved prewar Erector Hudson. There's much more. And here's a Youtube vid to get us started:



Ok, I can tell you are all getting bored with no posts. Here comes a whole bunch! I went to the METCA show. As per usual, it was a long trip through Upstate New York down to Jersey. It's about an hour and a half and I got there way late. As per usual, the dealers were packing up at about 1 pm (when I got there).

I know the usual thoughts: why didn't you wake up at 7 am on a Sunday morning and go down to the train show? Because I was way up in Springfield, MA the day before and getting my rear back in the car was a huge hassle. I think dealers should really stay until the show closes but that's just my humble opinion.

But I did get to see my favorite sign:

And another sign (that's one of my favorites):

At this TCA show you CAN take pictures. And eventhough it is relatively tiny in comparison to York, it is still fun and sort of the kickoff of the train season.

More posts coming...


Friday, September 14, 2007

Slightly off topic

This is slightly off topic but it's worth it. I like model planes (hey, I gotta have something to fly above my pike!). Ok, mine are either Steelcraft or American Flyer. You have got to run this video. I've never seen an RC plane like this one. I know, I know. It isn't standard gauge. But tell me you wouldn't put aside that benchwork for 10 minutes to go see this thing fly?


Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Original Standard Gauge Train?

Well, maybe not. This is an unknown set, but best guesses are either Mason and Parker, Converse and Parker, or Reed, sometime between 1880 and 1900. Noel Barrett auctioned off a somewhat similar Converse and Parker set from the Ward Kimball collection that has almost exactly the same flanged wheels and truck bolsters as this set. In that auction, Noel said it was the only antique (pre 1900) wooden passenger toy train set known to have flanged wheels (there is a wooden train set from Shepard that has flanged wheels and wood track but it has coal cars). Actually I know of one other wooden passenger train set with flanged wheels, very much like the Shepard set, but in any event they aren't very common compared to the wood floor runners with simple wheels from Reed, Bliss, Milton Bradley etc...

So I asked myself what gauge the set might be so I can build some track for it. 2" gauge would have been the obvious guess because that is a nice round number. But when I measured it out, it was a bit larger than that. You can see in the pic how it measured out. Coincidence, or did JLC have one of these when he was a kid?



Wednesday, September 05, 2007

JLC's Blog?

An interesting looking blog...too bad it hasn't been updated in over a year:

hat tip: Paul Olekson on the TCA Yahoogroups mailing list