Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Mighty Big Auction

One mighty big auction is coming up from NETTE. There are some bargains to be had, especially in the Friday portion of the auction. I will definitely be there for the standard gauge portion.

This Ives set on the left caught my eye. There is also that wonderful 10 Interurban.

MTH please make the 10 and 1010 Interurban set. This is low hanging fruit! It won't take much to build this and you can re-use the tooling for passenger cars. It's one of my favorite pieces of standard gauge and is literally impossible to find in good shape.

Anyway, I got my rant out for today. Check out this auction. I keep driving by my neighbors homes and they all have trees. It still feels really early for a tree but I guess it isn't. Anyone have a couple of decent under tree train shots yet?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Some Tinplate Accessories On Display In Philly

Philadelphia's great Reading Terminal Head House used to serve as the portal to the Reading Railroad's many lines. These days it has been converted to office space with retail shops on the ground floor. There is also a display area. Each year there is an operating toy train layout set up. Some years have been better than others. This year the layout is quite nice and even includes tinplate accessories. It will be a very popular attraction for Philadelphians and visitors during this years holiday season.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Department Store Toy Trains

This did my heart good on Black Friday...to see the return of toy trains to what once was the great John Wanamaker Department Store in downtown Philadelphia. When I was a child, this store had an entire floor devoted to toys, and of course, they had a huge operating layout at the holidays. In recent years, the store was sold and downsized, and for the last several years, under the Lord And Taylor moniker it was basically a woman's apparel and accessories outlet. What was once a great nine or ten full floors of department store now is down to just three selling floors. Recently, Macy's took over the store portion of the great building, and they've broadened the lines as much as space will permit. It's just a pleasure to see trains for sale again in a downtown department store.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Lots of auctions coming up, 2 from Stout and 1 from our friends at NETTE.

Also some decent train meets are coming up here in the Northeast.

Give thanks for great friends, great trains and your family!


Monday, November 19, 2007

More Stout Goodies

Here are five of the six different Dorfan standard gauge freight cars here offered as a single lot in the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Stout auction. The lithography used on these Dorfan cars is just beautiful. They are really spectacular. Another interesting lot consists of an IVES 1134 green "President Washington" loco and tender. That piece doesn't come up that often.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stout Auction is up!

Check out the new Stout Auction - it is out on their website. I noticed a couple of standout items.
The first item would be the #7. I strongly believe it could be a McCoy #7. That would make it rare by Postwar Standard Gauge standards. It's a nice loco too. I am partial to thin rim #7's myself. With these getting rarer and the casting aging, this may be a great loco. I'm pretty sure it isn't a Cohen and there weren't many other folks reproducing these.
The McCoy Circus set caught my eye as well. It says in the description no couplers are mounted on the cars. I know this is a McCoy Circus set and I know that McCoy shipped the set with couplers. So why no couplers on this set? McCoy collectors, maybe you can illuminate me!

Last but not least this little Marklin gem. It is standard gauge. It has some repro stuff on it as well as a new paintjob. Even still, does anyone know the history of this loco? What kind of set was it a part of? Is it standard gauge or #1 gauge?


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Check out this collection....

Check out this toy collection. I found this by chance, I was looking around on eBay and I saw that Bill Hanlon's whole company (American Dimestore) is for sale on eBay. It's basically a collection of really cool little plastic cars. My guess is that sooner or later these little cars will be collectible. They are still for sale out on his website. Go take a look -


Auction Poll

Here is the link for the auction poll. Please vote!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Auction Question...

I was speaking with a professional auction house last week and they posed a very valid question.

"Do we really need to still have paper catalogs for auctions?"

With the internet as prevalent as it is and with the speed of publishing coupled with the agility of putting up pictures; do we still need to kill trees to do auctions?

I think I will post the question on the tinplate forums as well. I don't really think we need paper as much as we used to. Any thoughts?

Paper takes huge amounts of time for auction houses to put together, is static and costs the firms huge sums of cash. It costs me $25 every time I need to buy one of these things. I'm not sure they are necessary anymore.

I'm thinking a poll may be in order.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Allentown, PA. Train Show Tomorrow

I'm headed to Allentown, PA bright and early tomorrow morning to attend the "First Frost" train meet. This show is held twice a year and attracts table holders and train collectors from several surrounding states. It's a pretty big show that has expanded over the years. There is always a good amount of standard gauge at the show. I wrote an article about it a few years ago. You can read it here.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Abandoned Subway Plow

This is a self propelled snow plow! Apparently it was found in a subway that was abandoned for about 40 years! I don't know much about it other than it caught my eye at the museum because of its' unusual shape. I guess there's a prototype for everything. I wonder what kind of sound it made? I have to guess it worked or it wouldn't have stuck around as long as it has!


More Shoreline Pics

There was a nice Toonerville Trolley exhibit at the Shoreline Museum in East Haven, CT last weekend. I took a few shots (as close as I could). I'd actually never seen some of these materials up close. Unfortunately I didn't get to take as much time as I would have liked with the exhibit. It was getting late in the day and I still wanted to ride the trolley a bit.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bringing It Back

I bought an old tinplate set last week...the kind of stuff that is still coming out of attics 90 years later. The set was poorly over-painted and looked pretty crappy. I started on the caboose. It had enough of its original paint left underneath so that I didn't have to repaint it. I carefully stripped off the over-paint and preserved as much of the original paint as I could. But the tender needed to be repainted. Here's the "before" and "after." I knocked this strip and repaint out today in about four hours. The loco will be much more difficult and will take a lot more time. So who knows what trains I'm working on?


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shoreline Trolley Museum 2007

In a basic hunt for cool things to do on a Sunday besides toss away more cash on trains either at shows or via eBay, I decided to grab my kids and head out to the closest (and one of the greatest) trolley museums. I do feel lucky, there are two within an hour of my house that are both absolutely top notch. If I drive even further I could go to more museums as well as the Brooklyn Transit Museum. 2.5 hours gets me to Steamtown (which is also unbelievable).

What got me this time was that I saw so many prototypes for so many great standard gauge trains. I got an authentic look at a Steeple Cab restoration in progress. Steeple Cabs are really growing on me. I also got a look at the prototypes for 10 series cars (yep, they have them at the Shoreline Museum in CT). What actually really threw me for a loop was the freshly rennovated PCC Streetcar fully brought back in mint/original factory condition. The green paint on this thing was still fresh and it was absolutely gorgeous. Really, standard gauge trains were inspired by real one's and don't give me any of that stuff about how standard gauge colors were "out there to attract female buyers in the 20's". That might have been true however reality is just as interesting; the colors on this PCC car are just phenomenal. They were bright, crisp and something you just don't see ever. Go ahead and click on it, this thing is a absolutely amazing. Here's the front:

Blow it up and take a look at it. It's no suprise that the last one of these rolled off the line in Europe in 1997! I wish American cities had these today. The lines are graceful and they had every convenience plus. Makes our current plastic based buses look like turds.

And speaking of current manufacturing, I was glancing around while I was riding on the streetcar and noticed something. Metal and wood. Tons of it. No plastic. God I love that! Natural materials plus materials that were built to last. Check out this seat:

The bulk of the inside of the trolley was either wood, wicker or metal (probably some kind of iron). The museum stipulates that all internal items must be authentic, no "sort of" reproductions or "good enough". Has to be spot on or it isn't going in the car and the car will sit idle until the real item shows up or is made.
Speaking of real items, here is a Steeple Cab in restoration:

This Steeple was made in Canada. They have two of them at the Shoreline Museum. The other one was out in the yard. This one is undergoing a full restore. I was watching the guys do some work on the pickup. Restoring these old trains is hard work, it looks immensely gratifying though. It seems very expensive, most of the items require custom manufacture although it looks (to me at least) that when a restoration is done, it is as good or better than the original and will last many years longer. Hindsight is one of those funny things in real trains and in toys. I can see why Voltamp cranked out their Steeplecabs. I was about 6 inches from this train because there was no room in the machine shop and it cuts an imposing figure. It is fairly rusty up top and much of the wood still needs to be replaced however it will be something to see when it is complete. I was told that this Steeplecab was for the most part scrapped however one young man had dedicated many hundreds of hours to it and got it running over a period of years. Kind of makes our toy trains seem kind of simple and easy in comparison.

More tomorrow.


Friday, November 02, 2007

So it's November....

I love this little Campbell's boxcar. The graphics are just wonderful.

So what is everyone planning for Christmas layouts? What trains is everyone going to run? Can everyone start sending in the layout pics and Christmas trains? We need some pictures people!!!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

CTT Survey

I call 'em as I see them. CTT has a new survey out and I highly recommend you take it if it is emailed to you or if you follow the link above.

I think it is highly commendable and an excellent business practice for CTT to put this kind of thing out. It shows they are listening to their readers and customers and want to work in the hobby to give people what they want. This is the kind of thing that helps me easily renew my subscription for another three years. Be sure to give them your input, it will help the editors and writers focus on what matters to the hobby and further help give the magazine more diversity and breadth.

There may be some things out there that quite a few tinplate and prewar people didn't or don't know. Likewise with high railers. There's a vast world out there and I guarantee toy trains are getting attention on every continent. Make sure CTT gets your feedback!