Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Stopped off at New England Toy Train today and took a few pics from the upcoming auction. Goodness for 2011. There's more coming!

Some things we have to look forward to in 2011:

Multiple York Meets
Two new MTH Catalogs
MTH delivering stuff from their 2010 catalog
A couple of awesome SGMA showings

And some of the best prewar auctions in history!

Any thoughts on new and exciting things for 2011?

More pics on the way! Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

New York City Nostalgia Train

Every year around this time New York City does some really fun stuff around the holidays, particularly with the transit system. Yesterday was no exception; NYC Transit ran old subways and buses. No surprise, many of the riders liked the old stuff better (go figure)! Here is a fantastic Youtube...

By the way, here is what driving around New York City in 1928 looked like (not a whole lot different than today...)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simplicity and Electricity

Just checking out the tinplate forums and I came upon this Youtube Gem. The author states his wonderful layout takes him right back to a simpler time (1938). I really like the design and execution of this layout. I could sit for a mighty long time just watching these trains roll around (and I do on my own layout).

Hope everyone is well this holiday season. Don't be bashful, send me some train pics!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another Youtube of Great Trains

Hi All,

Hope your holidays are bringing you some fun with trains and time with your family. 2011 should be an interesting year for toy trains. Check out my second and last video for the Great Trains Return show going on in Wilton, CT. Today is the last day (Dec. 17th) of the show and not coincidentally, my brother's birthday and the day Tron comes out (again). Go figure. I'll try to jump to NYC next week and grab some video of the trains in Grand Central. Marc

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Wilton Pics

Quite a few wonderful toys. Just to be forewarned, it does take some time to get to this place and you aren't going to spend 2 hours hanging out there. This is maybe a 1 hour excursion. It is very good for kids though, the larger layout is very low and easy for them to see. There isn't much interaction though. Still a very worthy little trip, especially if you live in the area.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ives in Mike's Collection

I think if Mike V had been around during the days of Ives, they may not have gone bankrupt! Heck, they might still be there! Is that that a sunset on Mike's shelf? I haven't seen that much orange in any collection!

Mike can you at least do a Youtube or invite me over so I can do a Youtube of a couple of these running? Just gorgeous Mike, what a fantastic collection! Forgetting about the rest of your collection, these alone would be enough for me!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Awesome Trolley Collection

Ya gotta love Mike's collection. From the wonderful way he displays it to the selection he has in it, it is just one of the best. Blow this thing up and take a look. Mike, nothing following that 1010 Interurban yet?


If you happen to be in Wilton, CT....

Wilton is a lovely little town not far from NYC off of Route 7 well into Connecticut (it isn't near the NYC border). Wilton has a ton of history and surprise, some of it is tied to trains! At the historicial society in Wilton there is a wonderful exhibit called "The Great Trains Return". There are several layouts as well as toys from various eras and a substantial amount of information on trains in Wilton. I happened by there last week on Route 7 and I took a few pics....
I'll post some Youtube videos and additional pictures shortly. I'll apologize in advance, I used a phone to snap the shots and videos. And as per usual, even with a good phone camera the pictures still are a far cry from my Nikon SLR or Samsung 12.2 MP camera. I'd urge you to go to the historical museum yourself. It is in a wonderful old home that has a tremendous history all its' own.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jehu in Standard Gauge

My buddy Joe put this together after he saw the latest Jehu Garelick models at the TCA show in PA. Check out a standard gauge model. Manufacturers, please take notice: not every new standard gauge model needs to be a 400e or 408e.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Boucher Standard Gauge Tinplate Double Headed 2100s

Lots of construction going on my layout recently. I'm building a No. 1 gauge level. But I finally got a chance to make a new video. Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Come on, time to get into the spirit!

I just uploaded a quick Youtube video to start to pull us into the holiday spirit. This is my latest acquisition, a 1911. I put a few 10 series cars on it to see how well it will pull. It's really a fantastic little engine, way better than I could have imagined.

The Flying Yankee looks like a snake winding around my layout. I would love to see some more youtubes of layouts. I'll post some pics as well in the next few days.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pics of new MTH Tinplate Station on facebook!

If you aren't on Facebook, this might be a good reason to join. Just check out this new station from MTH. They really do look different new!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Exciting new track manufacturer

So it looks like there is a new track manufacturer out there! USA Track LLC has launched an authentic line of standard gauge tubular track. Here is the info from USA Track's website:

"USA Track LLC is a new company that bought all of the existing tooling and parts to make Standard Gauge track from EBR Products last year. We recently finished replenishing inventories of rails, ties, insulators and track pins and can supply you with 42, 57, 72, 84 and 87 inch diameter curve track, as well as 14 and 36 inch long straight tracks. All track products are traditional tubular tinplate track made entirely in the USA with components all made in the USA. The other brand of traditional tubular Standard Gauge track currently available is made entirely in China, and is inferior in every way. In addition, our USA made product is 10% cheaper than the Chinese imitation."

If you aren't familiar with Kirk Lindvig, he exemplifies the "can do" attitude. He's also honest as the day is long. It's one of the reasons that this is exciting; honesty,creativity and track.

Check out the website, it is highly likely we'll see some very cool custom stuff out of them. Can't wait to see what's next.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Glenn's Amazing Layout

It's November 1st on Monday and we are getting into the season for trains. How about this layout (it's pretty amazing).


3 Brute Pulling State Cars

Look past the Brutes and check out this layout. I'm going to see if I can find some more video of it. This layout is very impressive. Reminds me of Chuck Brasher's layout. I wish CTT would spend a few minutes writing about this kind of layout...

Great Layout on Youtube

Just checking out some Youtube inbetween pumpkin carving and leaf blowing.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Original Garlick

This is the piece that Mr. Kovacs bought. I think his repro is pretty close.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Garlick Locomotive: A Remarkable Reproduction

"Billy Budd" (Now the Days Inn & Suites) bandit meet, York, Pa. October 13.

This is Paul Kovacs. He is making a beautiful and authentic reproduction of the early Garlick electric locomotive, complete with catenary!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Olson Displays 917B Backdrop

Hit the above link to go Olson Displays and see this new accessory for Prewar layouts. This is absolutely brilliant. This is a prewar backdrop/mountain. It is actually only 4 inches thick and it is made to be place or mounted onto a layout to give that "wide open", mountainous look in a prewar style. This is something Lionel coulda, shoulda, woulda done but didn't. Thanksfully, Olson Displays did it and really whacked the ball out of the park.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Just fiddling with the 2 7/8ths Stuff....

Just moving around some 2 7/8's. I think I am going to make room for an overhead layout on my current layout. I think the Leland Detroit Monorail may have to come off.

By the way, I thought I would drop a pic on of 2 McKeens. Both very different approaches by Dick Mayer to the same car. Either one is really cool (UP or Virginia and Truckee).


Wishing for a Standard Gauge Subway....

Hanging out at Citi Field watching the Mets the other day and I caught some neat shots of subways in Queens. Gotta love these. I wish Lionel or one of the other manufacturers made these in Standard Gauge....


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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rarity Plus Condition!

This beautiful Ives White Set went for $16,500 yesterday at Stout. The condition of the set is remarkable, with the only major flaw being a medium sized flake on the engine cab. Some serious Ives collector has added a beautiful and rare set to his or her collection!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Expensive McKeen on eBay

Hi All,

Yet another gorgeous McKeen on eBay. It's at $1700 now. "Why so much?" you ask. Well, because there's a nice little doggy, dressed to the hilt that's eye'ing that fine prewar light post (and he needs a walk).

No? How about because the above is a very accurate representation of the McKeen motor car and it is the only one. Need some market research MTH? Well, 24 bidders on eBay can't be that far wrong. This is one nice car and it is probably worth $1700. My guess is that it will probably top out at or around $3k. In these economic times, I couldn't justify that expense however I am sure there is some hedge fund manager that wants to give his son a nice train for halloween.

All kidding aside, this is a unique item. There's more pictures of it on eBay. Dick Mayer special built one or two of his own McKeen's and they look very similar. Unfortunately it is likely Dick's tooling is lost virtually forever. The stamping machine and tooling was sold to a serious guy who wanted to build trains and turned out not to be too serious and is actually really not serious at all (and yes, I am being cynical).

Maybe I shouldn't write blog posts after brutal weeks at work. I still like the McKeen. Mike Wolf, can you make one of these for a price that isn't in the stratosphere?


Update 9/29/10 - looks like this was pulled off of eBay. Maybe the seller had second thoughts on selling such a wonderful item? Regardless, I am glad I got to see it, I know that it is a one of a kind item and I am glad whoever put it out there let everyone have a look at it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Famous Buses

Apparently the below bus come from none other than the great Harley Earl. This thing was amazing up close.

For more amazing buses, click here.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cool Rig at the Big E

Hi Everyone,
Was hanging out at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) in Springfield, MA. yesterday. I spotted this amazing rig. There really wasn't anything on the inside except some kind of hefty power generator. The outside was really something though. I have to admit, I've never been on a Peter Pan bus but this might get me to ride one someday! I'd love to pull up to a train show in something like this, absolutely more than enough room to load up with cool items and have a comfortable drive back!
Makes me wish for the days of yesteryear... The styling of this little bus really makes an impression.
PS This is the same spot where the Amherst Railroad hobby show is January 29th and 30th (2011).

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Lipson Robotics

Where do old train transformers drop their tusks and go to die? Well, they never really do. Hopefully the old parts find their way to a place like Lipson Robotics. I know that this is a bit off topic, however when I see something this cool and this amazing, my gut tells me to talk about it.

I saw these robots when I was goofing around with Etsy. Etsy is an online store that represents artists and craftsmen from all over the world. It's a virtual store that has many items that can run the gambit of your imagination (at reasonable prices) as well as many more sophisticated and expensive pieces of art. Etsy is a great forum for artists that don't necessarily want to go to galleries and need world wide representation without breaking the bank.

As I was browsing around and looking for stuff that I like (trains, robots, toys) I came across Lipson Robotics. Lipson Robotics is run and owned by David Lipson. I started looking at these robots and I couldn't stop! They are made out of items from yesteryear, culled from many junk shops, flea markets and street vendors in New York City. Testing apparatus, old radios, old clamps, old cameras and tons of other "old stuff" make up a Lipson Robot, including old toy train transformers.
Here's where the art comes in: the way they are assembled is ingenious. All of the parts flow, they look like they were meant to be together. The robot really looks like there was some kind of intelligent organism or living thing that went out and pulled all of the parts together organically. These parts look like they were created to be together; that's what makes these robots an artistic creation. By the way, these aren't tiny little robots either, they average (in height) from 17 to 25 inches tall.

Fortunately for me Lipson Robotics is a New York City based endeavor. I'm in New York City several times a week, so seeing these wasn't a stretch. They are currently at a gallery in Manhattan called "Animazing".

Truthfully, these robots don't cost much more than some of the trains we buy from China (like a Brute or 400E) and they are completely made 100% right here in the good old US of A. They aren't toys and are not made for a 5 year old to be played with. They are truly art, sculpture and each is completely unique. Once you see these things in person, I guarantee it will be hard to get them out of your mind. I'm contemplating one on my train layout (I'm trying to figure out how to get it in). Lipson Robotics recently published a wonderful book on many of the robots they have produced, I believe it sold out however it will go into a second printing shortly.

Yes, I know this is off topic but believe me, if you like the stuff us prewar tinplaters like, this is right up our alley.... These robots only represent a small sampling of the great work Lipson Robotics does. Hit the link up top to go to the website. -Marc

One last thing: putting these robots together, getting them properly photographed and documented is extremely time consuming and (dare I say) expensive. Please don't use any of these pictures or this info without speaking with Lipson Robotics first. PS Let me apologize for the formatting. Blogger is just a pain with getting the formatting correct.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mountain railway gondola Redux

Here is the original Mountain railway that Tucher and Walther used for inspiration. From a German company called Doll and made in the 20's-30's. Lighthouse from the same people.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mountain Railway Gondola

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Picked up this cute little Tucher and Walther Railway Gondola. I thought it looked more like one of those "transfer warehouses" from MTH. Whatever it is, I thought it was kind of neat. Has a little wheel on the other side to hitch up a little steam engine to make the cars go in and out of the buildings. Now I just have to make some layout space...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Erector Type 1 Airport Beacon

I always set this up when we do SGMA displays - it's a unique and very old Erector model that is partially home made. It probably dates from the 1930s based on the type of Erector parts used for the tower. Erector works great with Standard Gauge. I also collect Erector so I really appreciate the way the two work together.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekend Experiment

I wanted a new standard gauge building however I also wanted something DIFFERENT. I've always wanted sky scrapers in standard gauge. So I goofed around on the web, did some research... Voila! I found this at for under $60! This is almost uniquely ideal for any standard gauge layout. It's all metal, it's the right color and style... A perfect weekend project for a budget conscious train nut...

If anyone has any Erector layout buildings they have pictures of, please send them to me for immediate posting.

Who'd of thought in 2010 I'd find an Erector Empire State building!

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Beautiful AF Pocahontas Cars!

I've actually been downsizing my Standard Guage collection during the past few years. I've sold off some big sets and a lot of single items, locos and cars. My interests have shifted toward early American 2 inch gauge and Marklin gauge 0 and gauge 1. With limited space (and a linited train budget) I have to concentrate on where my interests lie. Last winter I was about to part with my boxed AF "Shasta" locomotive until I took it off the shelf and looked at it again closely. It is such a masterpiece that I couldn't bear to sell it, even though I did not have the "Pocahontas" passenger cars that go with it. So I put the loco back on the shelf. Recently, I purchased three Pocohantas cars on EBAY. Now I'm really glad that I saved the Shasta because these cars are just georgeous. I can't wait to get this set rolling on the layout. The colors are really great.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Trolley Line

Now that Joe Mania is reproducing Carlisle and finch trolley poles I finally have the ability to put an overhead wire on my layout. I chose the elevated line on my layout which is easier to access than the lower line, which has a tunnel. Putting the poles up and stringing the wire was pretty straightforward. But the poles are only half the battle. The other half is getting a sprung trolley pole mounted on a streetcar. This requires drilling a hole in the roof. I wasn't about to do that with any of my original Carlisle and Finch streetcars (note: the trolley pole is what formally makes a streetcar a “trolley”. The streetcars which used underground conduits like in New York, Washington and London really can’t be called trolleys). Fortunately, I have a home made streetcar that was perfect for this purpose. The sprung base and pole came from a 1 gauge brass kit supplied by a company called Light Rail Products ( The kit went together very easily. The wheel, however, was scale and far too small for the large wire that I used. I was able to make a wheel and harp from some brass and a very small tackle pulley bought from a local hardware store. The pulley wheel had to be extensively reshaped with a moto tool to make a trolley wheel that tracked on the overhead wire. The pole was wired into the motor, and after a fair amount of adjustment, the thing runs very reliably around the layout.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ives Discussion

Summer is a slow time for toy trains for me. But there are a few things happening that keep trains on my agenda. On the 0 Gauge RR tinplate forum, there is a great discussion thread about Ives trains. As my friend Rob pointed out, many of of the participants in the discussion are younger collectors, a good thing for the hobby. I've picked up a few treasures over the Spring and Summer monthes including a great Marklin 0 gauge loco, a Voltamp stationary motor in wonderful condition, three AF Wide Gauge Pocohantas cars, and this rare Voltamp 2" gauge 8 wheel trolley, once owned and restored by the famous 2" gauge collector Dick Hopkins:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The inside of a SG Roundhouse

Mike Miller sent me this neat pic of what it looks like to be in a Lionel roundhouse with an idling 408e. It's a rare shot and one with some serious imagination.

I remember (when I was much younger) seeing a fully refurbished GE Electric Loco and cars in Grand Central. The funny thing is that this 408e in a roundhouse looks about the same! Very cool.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Clint's incredible bowling lane layout

Check out Clint Jefferies wonderful layout. This has a really neat story to it and is very unusual. Just click on the title of this post to go to Clint's website. I didn't check with him to see if I could post his pictures, thus I am going to leave all of the pics on his website and let everyone check them out for themselves.

Really nice layout Clint! You are on to something special!


LOTS Show in Cromwell, CT

Went to the Connecticut Yankee Trainshow in Cromwell, CT yesterday. There was a l ittle bit of prewar, a TON of postwar. Couple of neat layouts. I took a few Youtbues if you want to see them. All O gauge stuff. Made me want to see the SGMA layout all the much more. Interestingly, there was NO and I mean NO Lionel Corporation stuff on the tables. Go figure.