Friday, December 21, 2012

Youtube Neatness....

Happy Holidays for 2012 everyone!

I know it is rainy here on the East Coast and snowing thru the Mid-West right now.  I'll start doing some holiday posting of trains running.  First though, I thought I would post up the Youtube Channel for the LCCA.  There isn't much up the way of standard gauge on the channel, however there are some very nice interviews, my favorites are with Jerry Calabrese (the current CEO of Lionel Corp.).  I think Jerry is a pretty neat guy and his thoughts and ideas on the toy train business and Lionel are not only interesting but relevant.   It is so easy to look back and say "I wish I'd been alive when..."  But it is a bit harder to say "I need to manage production schedules for 2014 and 2015.".  This guy has his work cut for him.  Check it out...


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Update - Grand Central/Jerni "Collection"

Ok, a brief update from my last post.  Two words come to mind on the Jerni Collection at the NY Historical Society and the toy trains this year at Grand Central.

Don't bother.

The trains at Grand Central require a very long wait on a weekend visit (which most of us do).  They took out the old trains on display (they aren't there) and put in just the MTH layout with huge paintings everywhere.  I like the MTH layout but it isn't worth waiting around in Grand Central for an hour to see.  Not gonna happen, especially for a layout I've already seen more than once.

The Jerni "Collection" was a solid waste of time and money.  Let's remember how much it cost to get into NYC, either via train or via car.  Cars are more expensive than trains but suffice to say, either way you are going to get dinged.  In my case, I drove.  That's $40 for gas and $30 to park (no street parking in that area unless you want to pay an inevitable ticket or impound fee), at least $100 for food if you bring your family (which I did) and so on.  NYC is expensive and that's all there is to it.  Even if you are cheap, NYC isn't.

To put it plainly, the collection wasn't a collection.  It was a small one room show of the European/Marklin stations and some of the trains and more unique items from his collection.  I'd say something to the effect of 1% to 1 1/2% of the collection.  Were they beautiful/stunning works of art?  Yes, absolutely.  The items were gorgeous and probably so rare we'll never see them all at once again. Were they behind sheets of solid 3 inch plexiglass with a guard watching you and a thousand little kids running around?  Yes.  Was photography allowed?  No.  Was it a particularly enjoyable experience?  Not at all.  Was this good for kids?  Nope.  Oh yes and it costs $10 to get into the museum for grown ups.  It just wasn't worth it.  And more importantly, while the trains were beautiful, they held my attention for about 15 minutes.  The Tiffany lamps in the museum were hugely interesting but not worth an expensive trip into NYC.

There are quite a few clubs and club members that have fantastic collections and layouts.  Go make a friend or friends of those folks and go see their collections and layouts.  It's cheaper, probably easier to get to and will be substantially more rewarding in the end.  If you are in the neighborhood of the NY Historical Society and have 10 bucks you want to fry, go on up.  I'd recommend you take your money next door to the American Museum of Natural History though.  It doesn't have any trains but it is easily one of the best museums I've ever been to and it is ridiculously fun.

I know some of you that have gone to this will disagree with me.  That's fine, if you like static, one room museum displays, I'm good with that. I'd still rather go to the TCA Museum in PA.  That's a train museum that is just done right....

Here are a few of the pictures I could take before I was told photography wasn't allowed....


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tis the season....

I jumped on the Metro North today at 6:40 am.  Normally I am a little groggy although I am a morning person (yes, I know, eww).  As I jumped on the MTA, I noticed a sign and it was AWESOME.  At 6:40 am on a Grand Central bound train I saw the wondrous graphics for the New York Botanical Garden Train Show.  

This isn't a show to buy or trade stuff, this is just a show to see probably one of the best garden rail layouts in the world.  In one of the best settings in the world.  The show starts on November 17th and runs thru January 13th, 2013.  I am absolutely going with camera!

On a side note, I stopped by the MTA Museum store in Grand Central (in NYC) and they were setting up the holiday train exhibition!!!  The guard told me that the full launch is right after Thanksgiving.  Yes, I know it is a time for train shows, sharpening up layouts and so on.  But these two items plus the Jerni collection make NYC a must go for train nuts this year!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Part of Jerni Collection on Display

This is one of those "once in a lifetime" deals.... I have seen a few "once in a lifetime" collections.  And frankly, I have just been persistent and downright lucky.  

A small part of the Jerni Toy Train collection is on display at the New York Historical Society.  You can find the information here.

For most toy train enthusiasts, this won't be an optional road trip.  This collection is a "one of a kind" assembling of some of the rarest and most exotic toys anywhere.  And they are more special because they are all together at once.

Please don't miss it.  I will be going with camera in hand.  As I like and enjoy the society no matter what, this should be exciting.  Add to the fact that it is Christmas time.  And this is just fantastic.  Hey, if you let me know when you are going, I know me and a quite a few TCA and TTOS folks might want to accompany!


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Brad's video of the #9

Brad has a wonderful video of one of the items he picked up at the NETTE auction last weekend. I am SO glad it ended up in his capable hands! This was one of the items I bought directly from Jim Cohen and the trolleys meant a lot to me. I was relieved that a class act like Brad managed to snag them! Brad knows his stuff, go take a look at the marvelous Youtube video he put together! Marc

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nov 3rd and Dec 8th 2012 NETTE Auctions

My collection and Pat Rolland's is coming at ya via Live Auctioneers on Nov. 3rd and Dec. 8, 2012.  Here is the URL:

Like I said, watch NETTE for some rare and cool standard gauge....


Monday, October 01, 2012

Inflection and Reflection Point

Hi My Fellow Train Friends,

One of the definitions of inflection is "a bend or an angle" and I think you know what reflection is. I started looking at my huge collection of toys and trains some months ago and couldn't let go of the old Ward Kimball saying "He who dies with the most trains wins." I'm not particularly fond of that saying even though I was very fond of Mr. Kimball.

I have a strong preference not to be dead and not to leave a mess for my family when I do move on. More importantly, I have a very strong need to be able to run and enjoy my trains while I am here. So in essence, the saying does mean something very positive to me, I want to play as many toys as I can with my family as long as I can.

Thus I came to a fork in my road almost a year back. Looking at my collection, I had three, four and five of the same sets, stuff that wasn't working, stuff that was working but was too big to run, stuff that I didn't really like but rounded out a collection and on and on. I decided to pare down the collection significantly.

 My friend Mark Tobias from New England Toy Train Exchange came over and removed over 100 boxes of trains from my place. I dropped off 3 car loads of trains from my collection. And I still have a ridiculous amount of trains left! So on November 3rd 2012, I will be auctioning off much of my collection at NETTE in Connecticut.

I feel lucky because I've had some of these iconic toys for so long. An original Brass 42 (all original, nothing replaced), numerous trolleys, that big Dehanes F3 set and so on. So many of the toys are from my friends that have passed on like Jim Cohen and John Davanzo. As I pulled them out to give to NETTE I almost cried. I remember when I'd pick up some of them from Jim and we'd go have lunch at Katz's in New Haven. It was a solid "train day" for me. We talked about the Ives factory in Bridgeport, talked about Lionel made in Connecticut, talked about the trolley lines all over the Northeast and in NYC. It's a time and a place I'll never be able to replicate. Same for Dick Mayer and John Davanzo; two guys I spoke with extensively over the years and that are now gone.

I noticed a huge drop off in my "acquisitions" in the last two years. Money was a factor but so was just the quality and "kind" of trains that I was seeing. A repro 384e or 1835e or 400e just doesn't do it for me. And the originals are still worthy pieces but they are expensive and so much of the toy train hobby has become an acquisition based investment for dealers and buyers alike that it really robs it of any fun or interest. That's just not why I got into it. I also didn't get into it to have every variation of Blue Comet set either. That might be interesting for some, just not for me. I get just as much pleasure viewing an enthusiastic postwar layout as I do seeing a couple of old standard gauge trains knocking around on someone's attic floor (or better yet around a Christmas tree).

Now I do have room to run the trains I want to run. So look for my Apple Green 408e to pull some 400 series passenger cars out of the station shortly. The angle change or inflection for me is that it is time to run my trains. The reflection will come along with it. By the way, I'll keep posting to this blog as I run them. Don't hesitate to comment or give me your input as well. One of my favorite quotes from the Shawshank Redemption is when Morgan Freeman says "Get busy living, or get busy dying." It's one of of my favorites from Stephen King (yep, he wrote the Shawshank Redemption!) Living for me is being with the people I love and getting to play with my trains!

Here's one of the Beatles waiting to do a concert on my soon to be upgraded layout....



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brad's 1911 and #10 series freights

Brad has posted a wonderful Youtube of his 1911 with a newly wound motor and some wonderful #10 series freights trailing. Without any further discussion:


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Steamtown NHS August 2012

Just wrapping up the summer bucket list and this is one of my key to do's: visiting Steamtown in Scranton, PA.  If you haven't been here on one of the many jaunts to York or the like, you really should go.  If you like trains and are interested in how they work (along with Trolleys), Steamtown is a national treasure.  It is one of the few places to get a good, close up look at UP's best loco as well (hint, it is "Big").


PS Check out my Pinterest site for some very close paint and detail shots of the trains.  The textures these 100 year old items produce (and my camera can take) are really something.  You can almost smell the fresh paint!  Click on the pics to blow them up!

 The inside of a mail car (above)...

 (look familiar?  Lionel reproduced these in different gauges)

 Just a way cool little train in front of the Trolley Museum.

The ZW Prototype Grand Daddy of them all (above and below)!

Friday, August 10, 2012

At Rockefeller Center...

Ya I know, we've all seen it before. Never gets boring though, love the signage!!  Especially at Rockefeller Center (was there last night!).


Sunday, August 05, 2012

No more GG1's.

You can't open a toy train magazine these days without at least 5 advertisements and no less than 40 references to the GG1.  In 2012, there ARE actually other trains that do run in the United States that are COOL and unique.  I myself have 4 O gauge GG1's and a few standard gauge flavors so I like the product but enough is enough.

In a nutshell, this thing has been beaten to a pulp.  Can the O gauge train producers and magazine editors please put the breaks on the enthusiasm for this particular engine?  I can count the times I've been excited about the GG1:

#1  Seeing one on a side track in NJ a few years back.
#2  Seeing a very nice one in the museum in PA.
#3  Seeing numerous GG1's on my pike as well as on many club pikes.
#4 Talking to and making friends with an actual engineer that piloted PA GG1's (that should probably be #1)
#5 Watching a standard gauge loco roll around the giant SGMA pike.

And there are a few others.  Suffice to say though, when I open a new catalog or eBay or anything and see yet more GG1's with an exciting modification of more accurate paint and grab railing application, my heart not only doesn't flutter but I actually get irritated.  More of the same made in Asia.   Concentrate on making less of what is already there and focus on quality and (dare I say), exclusivity.  End of rant...


Saturday, August 04, 2012

In Seattle, these should be standard gauge!

While I am not usually a fan of purple trains, this streetcar in Seattle would be a wonderful addition to any standard gauge fleet.  Isn't it time that we move standard gauge into the 21st century with something like this?  And these things do move really nicely as well and they are near silent.  Oh yes, I took this yesterday, I am standing a few feet away.  Very cool streetcar system!  Tried the monorail but there was a line to get on, decided not to.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

What the?

I just saw some of the prices people are asking on eBay.  They still are looking at the books and thinking that  mint in the box for reproductions gets full/list price!  Or that a trashed mess is still worth mint in box/full price!  People, people, people...  Really?  Do you think anyone is really going to buy that MTH 384e for $750?  Are you kidding?  Sheesh.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Restoration Project Completed

This is the Howard set that I posted about below. It needed some heavy duty soldering repairs, cleaning and almost total repainting. Early American 2" gauge electric trains are the cousins of Standard gauge. They were manufactured from the late 1890s until the early 1920s. Electric toy trains from this period have a certain charm that sets them apart from the glossier classic era trains.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TCA Convention Tour (Atlanta Dixie Division) - Arno Baars Collection

Definitely blow these up if you have a good quality monitor (click on the pics).  These are from Arno Baars collection.  These shots were set up for TCA Atlanta Convention (Dixie Division) and they show quite a collection. I WISH ARNO WOULD PUBLISH THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY!

Arno is an expert on Postwar Standard Gauge, specifically from eclectic sources that weren't Lionel or Flyer.  As you can see, his collection is spectacular and highly unique.  He has been working on a book for some time of these items and I for one would LOVE to see it.

I think I'm probably one of the few behind him that has such a huge yen for these toys.  Although I do like prewar stuff as well.  The Green City Of Denver on top is probably my favorite.  

Devastation collection!  Please send more pics!


PS If you are a TCA member... James Hall's wonderful collection was also in the TCA Magazine this month.  James has one of the nicest collections in the toy train world as well, probably the largest McCoy collection anywhere!  Check out the magazine (which should have arrived world wide by now).

Monday, July 09, 2012

Hanging out in Mystic Yesterday....

Hanging out in Mystic, CT yesterday out on the fishing boat and I happened to have a very good camera with me (not a phone).  Ok, normally boats and fishing don't have much to do with trains.  Except that Mystic has some great bridges (prototypes) and I got to see a couple of Acelas fly by (really cool to see them in action).  Took some pics!!

I uploaded the one of the boat just because I thought it was so cool.  This boat really has some character!


PS These are all of my pictures from yesterday, I forgot to watermark a few of them.  Please don't use them w/o my permission first!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summertime Restoration Projects

These are Howard 2" gauge tinplate cars ca 1910. The Pullman has no paint at all, and several epoxy repairs that have come apart. The clerestory is epoxied to the roof and the whole roof is repainted with a heavy black coat of poor quality. The mail car has <5% paint left and also needs a few solder repairs. Finding colors that are close to originals will be challenge too. Lot 502 from the Ward Kimball auction shows what the cars will look similar too hopefully after I'm done.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It was inevitable....

I thought TMCC and DCS were the fusion of technology and trains.  Not even close.

Check out this article here (click here).

And this Youtube:

In a nutshell, it is a full computer inside of a running steam train.  Ok, it was bound to happen.  No, it isn't standard gauge but at least it is affirmation.  A computer that looks like an early 20th Century toy is just a hoot. Come on, you know you want one!  And if you want to upgrade all you need to do a push up the ZW and your PC will go even faster!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Lionel Study Group Open Invitation

Four examples of Lionel 10s. Top: Department store special 10E in peacock with green frame, orange stripe, red lettering and Bild-A-Loco motor at left. The “E” indicated a two position reverse unit controlled from the transformer. Peacock painted 10 with black frame, Ives plates, and a regular motor at right. This locomotive has a manual reverse. Lionel owned Ives in 1931 and 1932 and took some regular production Lionel items and replaced the Lionel plates with Ives plates. Bottom: Red 10 and Macy's 10E in State Brown. Lionel finished some items for Macy’s in special colors. R. Sullens and T. Riley Collections.
Clem Clement and Bruce Greenberg welcome you to join our study of these locomotives and learn more about them. Date: June 2, 2012: 10 am to 2 pm. Place: 5233 Bessley Place, Alexandria, VA 22304 Please call Bruce Greenberg to RSVP at 703-461-6991. For previous study reports, please write Bruce at

Monday, May 07, 2012

More Trolleys

I do love these things.  I never tire of seeing them.  I can see the romance that is connected with these vehicles. Some interesting lore I found out about these vehicles...

Guess how much they cost after they were decommissioned?   The wood one's were $300, metal was $500!  Can you imagine?  A whole trolley for $300?  It took quite a few years (about 40) to refinish the single truck trolley however I think it was worth it.

Below is the front of a wonderful interurban.  They have a couple.  Wish someone could make these in standard gauge.  Interurbans are unique vehicles, they go up to 70 MPH and can still roam around a city somewhat like a trolley.  Blow up the pic!

Why did the chicken cross the tracks?

Click on this one to blow it up... I took it yesterday.  I've always seen huge train layouts with chickens and roosters.  Here's a few of both next to the trolley tracks.  Guess there is a prototype for everything!  They don't cross the tracks, at least not while my son and I were there.  They do give dirty looks though!


More Shoreline

I know, a little artsy.  I just see pics online and I always want to go closer and can't.  These pictures are off an interurban they have in the car barn.  Blow them up (although these interurbans are just way cooler in person).