All posts tagged lionel

Re-attaching prewar Lionel trucks

This past weekend I scored a poorly repainted Lionel #602 baggage car (made from 1915-1923) and an Ives #71 passenger car (made 1923-25) at an estate sale. The Ives was in good shape and original, but one of the Lionel’s trucks was detached and one of the hook couplers was broken. Fortunately I was able […]

Why you can’t get a $50 replacement sound/control board for your modern Lionel train

Every so often, some people start raging on the train forums, or even in the pages of the magazines, about modern electronics in modern O gauge trains. The modern electronics make the model trains sound just like real trains, but eventually heat and power surges take their toll, the board goes poof, and now that […]

Happy birthday, Rubik’s Cube!

Rubik’s Cube turned 40 this week. In a reflection of how much faster the world moves today than it used to, I remember Rubik’s Cube from the early 1980s, when it was a big, national craze. I had no idea at the time that it was invented in 1974 and took six years to reach […]

Model railroading as fan fiction

Dan Bowman sent me this a couple of weeks ago, and I found myself agreeing with it: Model railroading is a form of fan fiction. It seems like a good way to look at it. Every model railroad is a compromise. By my rough estimations, it’s 4.1 miles from Dupo, Illinois to Cahokia, but even […]

Finding a connection to my Dad in a suburban St. Louis estate

Yesterday I wrote about my greatest estate sale find ever. Well, the very same month as that one, I found another estate sale featuring a Lionel 1110 locomotive, which happened to be my Dad’s first train. So of course I put that sale on my list. The 1110 wasn’t among Lionel’s finest moments, but I’ll […]

How I freshened the paint on a Lionel RW transformer

I have a Lionel RW transformer that I would like to put on Christmas tree duty next year. I had a KW on that duty last year, which is a nice transformer, but it’s overkill, and my sons find it easier to operate the whistle with a button like the RW has than with the […]

The Greenberg Marx saga continues: The case of the side-smoking Marx 666 locomotive

One of the best steam locomotives Marx ever made was its unfortunately-named 666. I have heard, but have no way of verifying, that Marx named it that because the locomotive “smoked like the devil.” And, compared to its contemporary offerings from Lionel and American Flyer, it definitely smoked better than anything Lionel had, and at […]

The high-dollar cardboard box

There was one other interesting quote in the Post-Dispatch’s Top 10 collectibles for value this week: 10. Boxes (yes, simple boxes!) For a starter, wooden boxes of all types with and without locking mechanisms, souvenir boxes, tea boxes, cigar boxes, jewelry, knife boxes and the list goes on for value. If you can put something […]

The Marx connection to Hafner

Hafner was a Chicago-based maker of clockwork-powered O gauge trains during most of the first half of the 20th century. The trains were inexpensive but durable. William Hafner developed the clockwork motor as a hobby around the turn of the previous century and put the motor in toys. Eventually he decided to make a train–perhaps […]

Looking back at Sam Posey’s Playing With Trains

I finally got around to reading Playing With Trains (here’s a Nook link), sportscaster Sam Posey’s 2004 memoir of 50 years as a model railroader. Of course I was mostly interested in the first couple of chapters, where he talks about growing up with Lionel trains. It’s more a personal recollection than a complete history, […]