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 […]
I wrote a few weeks ago about finding a scarce Marx windup train at an estate sale, but I actually went a good couple of years without finding a train worth buying until recently. The train that broke my slump was at a sale close to home, and I actually didn’t even set out to […]
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 […]
Model electric trains from the 1950s and 1960s (and perhaps 1970s, but no later than 1975) branded “Allstate” are somewhat common, which leads to some further questions. Yes, it’s Allstate, as in the insurance company. What did they have to do with electric trains?
There’s been a fairly spirited discussion lately in the always excellent Yahoo Marx Train group about the merits of Marx tin trains versus plastic ones. Some people like them all, some people prefer one or the other, and almost everyone with a preference is apologizing to the people who prefer the other. That’s part of […]
I missed this bit of collecting wisdom from Rob O’Hara when he first posted it last month, but Rob describes his concept of mini-collections to keep his hobbies from taking over his life.
Two years ago, Jerry Greene made a splash when he attempted to put his huge, one-of-a-kind train collection up for auction. He had quietly amassed 35,000 train items, and only a handful of people knew about it. Transporting the collection to Sotheby’s let that cat out of the bag. It became the subject of a […]
Here’s a good question: Can you use Lionel O or O27 transformers (or, for that matter, American Flyer S transformers) with HO or N scale trains? The answer is, not directly. But you can if you add a $3 bridge rectifier from Radio Shack (part number 276-1146).
Sometimes you want to know how many volts your train transformer is feeding your trains, in order to avoid damaging the motors. And it’s also helpful to know how many amps you’re pulling from your transformer, so you don’t damage the transformer.
On one of the few remaining train forums where I do anything but lurk, the magazine Classic Toy Trains came up in discussion. Someone said, “It ought to call itself Classic Lionel Toys and be done with it,” and the discussion progressed from there. Being that my next published work will be in that particular […]