Lionel Trains of the 1950's

Lionel Trains of the 1950's

Lionel Trains of the 1950's

Filled with nostalgic photos of toy trains and accessories, including some seldom-seen images, this comprehensive 200-page special issue features more than 40 stories in a year-by-year format.

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
90,53 kr(Inkl. moms)

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10 min
spectacular public display

Most of the three-rail layouts that were constructed by the Display Department at Lionel’s factory during the postwar period were standard items shown in the advance or display catalogs. Those O-27 and O gauge railroads ranged in size from 4 x 6 feet up to 8 x 8 feet and contained lots of track, since they were built to show off trains and accessories in hobby shops and other retail outlets. Occasionally, a special request reached the factory. The team making displays might be asked to fashion something unique and maybe larger for a department store, a trade show, or a public facility. Such layouts didn’t last long. So it’s a pleasure to share the tale of an 8 x 16-foot Lionel layout that survived. This spectacular O gauge railroad may well…

19 min
the 0-27 line snazzy streamlined passenger trains

The consumer catalog for 1950, exciting though it was, did not overwhelm children with vivid colors. What did stand out was a pair of diesels: the nos. 2343 Santa Fe Electro-Motive F3s and 2023 Union Pacific Alco FAs. Kids were familiar with the Santa Fe diesels, which had dominated Lionel’s O gauge roster since their debut in the consumer catalog for 1948. The Alcos, however, were something new and bold. Lionel’s leaders used the Union Pacific diesels as the motive power for two outfits in 1950s, notably the no. 1464W three-car passenger train that included O-27 streamlined cars painted yellow and gray with red highlights and lettering to match the diesels. That set served the company well during its 50th anniversary, and its silver-painted successors did even more. Over the next few…

5 min
lionel trains on broadway

Even though the majority of Lionel’s promotional activities were directed towards the television industry in the early 1950s, the company was open to lending its name and equipment to any medium that would generate free publicity. Advertising manager Joseph Hanson’s motto was, “If it will help promote Lionel – and it won’t offend your mother – do it!” So Joe was thrilled when, in March or April 1951, he received a request for a layout with a passenger set to be used in a new Broadway show, Flahooley, written by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy, authors of the hit musical Finian’s Rainbow. Flahooley was supposed to be one of the big hits of the ’51 Broadway season, to rank with Kiss Me Kate and South Pacific. Its cast featured Ernest Truex, Irwin…

11 min
black sheep of the 1958 roster

Designers at Lionel, prodded by the corporation’s sales executives, publicity releases issued by American railroads, and their very own offspring, had guided the train line into the world of diesels in the years following World War II. They had worked with major locomotive manufacturers and prototype rail lines to create outstanding models of Electro-Motive Division cab units, road diesels, and switchers; Alco freight engines; and even Fairbanks-Morse diesels. Members of the Engineering Department working under the direction of Joseph Bonanno at Lionel’s factory also had not shied away from developing O gauge replicas of electric-profile locomotives. Specific models, notably the Pennsylvania RR’s headline-making GG1 and the New Haven’s EP-5 from General Electric, had inspired elegant, smooth-running three-rail versions. The never-ending search for more contemporary diesels and electrics to model for three-rail enthusiasts…

2 min
unique and rare items of 1956

WHEN CONSIDERING unique and rare items associated with 1956, one stands above the rest. The model shown in the lower right-hand corner of this page first appeared as the prototype for the no. 6464-275 State of Maine boxcar in 1955 (the number “2089” matches the photo in Lionel’s advance catalog for 1955). Then it was modified to become an engineering sample for the no. 3424 operating brakeman car released in 1956. Another item that may be one of a kind is a no. 3494-275 State of Maine operating boxcar with only “B.A.R.” stamped on one side of the car and “B.A.R.” and “3494-275” on the other side. That oddball was an engineering mock-up or a stamping error from the Lionel factory. Likewise, no. 6346 Alcoa covered hoppers with red heat-stamped lettering…

5 min
6464 boxcar discovering the earliest known

The development of Lionel’s no. 6464 series of near-scale boxcars has fascinated collectors of postwar toy trains almost as long as those good-looking models have been around. In 1953, Lionel released four boxcars that launched a series that eventually included 30 great cars, all but one of them a cataloged item. Within a decade, toy train enthusiasts were examining the exterior details of those models and identifying collectible variations. How designers employed at Lionel created the first 6464 models and then made modifications to assorted details has received great attention since the 1980s. Most of the emphasis has gone to the rivets on the sides, with collectors analyzing the numbers and patterns of rivets. Other Lionel enthusiasts have concentrated on colors of plastic used to form body shells and variations in…