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EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Classic Toy Trains

Classic Toy Trains January 2020

CLASSIC TOY TRAINS BRINGS YOU O AND S GAUGE FOR THE OPERATOR AND COLLECTOR. SEE THE NEWEST TRAINS FROM LIONEL, MTH, ATLAS O AND OTHERS; LEARN ABOUT TRACK PLANNING, WIRING AND LAYOUT CONSTRUCTION; IDENTIFY AND REPAIR OLD LIONEL AND AMERICAN FLYER TRAINS; AND VISIT THE MOST INSPIRING TOY TRAIN LAYOUTS EVER BUILT.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Frequency:
Bimonthly
$12.08
$53.75
8 Issues

in this issue

3 min
after some confusion, clarity

After a seven-year stint at Classic Toy Trains’ sister magazine Model Railroader, I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read that begin with “My introduction to the model railroad hobby came with a Lionel train set my parents got me one Christmas.” That’s how I got started in the hobby, except it was a Lionel HO scale starter set that I later learned was made by either Atlas or Athearn. To compound the confusion, it was called The American Flyer. So in truth, I really didn’t know much about toy trains until my 20s when I sort of stumbled onto them. I recall exactly how it happened, too. A friend asked me, “Hey you like trains, right?” I replied in the affirmative “Do you know anything about old electric trains?” I told him yes,…

7 min
be a kid again!

I missed the whole LEGO “thing” when I was a kid. LEGO blocks were building toys back in the 1970s. I bought a small set for making bunkers, hard points, and obstacles for my 1:32 toy soldiers to fight over. They were the wrong size for my Lionel trains. Before long, I had passed my LEGO set to a young niece. What I missed entirely was the development of countless structure kits, movie and TV tie-ins, specialty items (Imperial Star destroyer, anyone?), motion pictures and YouTube videos, and of course, the rise of a model railroading segment catering to kids as well as adults. Some LEGO structure kits would look outstanding on a model railroad! LEGO originated as a line of construction toys in Denmark in 1932. Originally made of wood, the…

9 min
christmas gift of lifetime

Electric toy trains have always been a part of my family’s Christmas celebration. I remember them from my earliest years and have continued to make them central to our holiday fun. Like many families who observed the holidays any time from the 1920s to the ’60s, Lionel trains circled endlessly around our Christmas trees. They sparked their way through miniature villages under the decorated tree, along with the requisite Nativity scene complete with oxen, camels, sheep, shepherds, angels, the Three Wise Men, and Mary and Joseph. The straw-filled manger would lay unoccupied until Christmas morning, when the tiny figure of the Christ child was gently placed in the manger to become the centerpiece of the scene. Slightly careless I came along in April of 1953, and by Christmas of that year I seemed…

3 min
lionel’s no. 394 automatic rotary beacon

For 1949, a few items new to the Lionel line featured bright lamps, either mobile or stationary. Those lights, engineers and sales executives likely agreed, were sure to catch the attention of youngsters and heighten demand for the brand-new rolling stock and accessories. The no. 6520 searchlight car was a shining example of that trend. There were the nos. 70 yard light and 71 lamp post. More impressive were two accessories modelers were sure to want to install in rail yards, on mountaintops, or near stations and freight loaders: the nos. 394 automatic rotary beacon and 395 floodlight tower. A detailed profile of the 395 appeared in Lionel Trains: Accessories, the special-interest publication put out by Classic Toy Trains in 2014. For the first time, CTT will look at the 394. OUTSIDER’S…

2 min
product news

BRUTE STRENGTH: The O gauge Premier line General Electric AC4400CW locomotive from MTH features a well-detailed plastic shell, metal chassis and handrails, two flywheelequipped motors, and coil couplers. The locomotive costs $519.95. See your MTH retailer or go to www.MTHTrains.comfor more information. THE LIGHTER SIDE: Off the Rails: Toy Train Humor by Larry W. Poland is a collection of the author’s humor columns originally published in the Train Collectors Quarterly magazine with additional new content. The 80-page softcover book costs $7 with free shipping. To order, contact the author at larry@larrypoland.com. A BATCH OF BOXCARS: Menards has a new series of boxcars in O gauge, including the nos. 279-5257 Great Northern and 279-5259 Grand Trunk Western. The boxcars are 11 inches long and operate on curves of O-27 or larger. The cars cost $19.99 each…

9 min
the lehigh lives again!

George Donald’s O gauge display captures the Lehigh Valley RR in on a 16 x 32-foot neatly landscaped layout. George brings the coal-hauling fallen flag to life! Ready to travel back, a decade or so before Conrail emerged from the ashes of the Lehigh Valley and a few other railroads? Let George take over as he uses his railroad to strengthen the legacy of an unforgettable regional line. Lionel favorite The model railroaders who remember the Lehigh Valley best tend to be O gauge operators who grew up during the postwar period. Not necessarily because they lived in Pennsylvania or New York, where that line had built its network of tracks. But for the basic reason they ran Lionel. Lionel plastered the name of the Lehigh Valley across the sides of hundreds of…