Holiday Train Set


model train on ho gauge track

All About Standard Gauge Model Trains


Collecting toy trains is a very popular hobby among many people. Some collect them because they are reminded of their childhood, or because they had one or two of these realistic toys passed down to them through the generations. Standard gauge toy trains are one of the most popular collectible toy trains. There are many replicas and styles to choose from, and some of these toy trains are quite hard to come by. If you’re new to collecting toy trains or are just looking for unique pieces to add to your collection, you’re about to find out what makes these mini-locomotives a one-of-a-kind tradition in toy trains.

So what exactly makes a standard gauge toy train more desirable than others? Ask any collector of standard gauge toy trains and they’re likely to explain it in great detail. Standard gauge trains typically tend to model the originals more precisely than other available gauges. Compared to other toy trains, such as replicas of old Lionel, standard gauge trains truly have a unique way of grabbing the attention of a collector. This is probably because the standard gauge toy trains are strikingly identical to the actual trains used in the days of old.

The concept of toy trains has existed for centuries and at one time, was the toy of choice for many youngsters in America. The standard gauge toy train was an idea originally put into motion by the Lionel Corporation, in an effort to boost the sales of toy trains in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. The term “standard gauge’ refers to the size and diameter of railroad tracks for the toy trains. The Lionel Corporation developed a three-rail track of about 54 mm between each outside rail, which in turn did not work very well with gauge 1 productions from Europe. Soon the idea spread to other manufacturers in America, under the name “wide gauge”. Standard gauge was discontinued in 1940 due to the expensive cost of production. It is now a desired collection trait because standard gauge is precisely accurate to its actual larger model version in mean scale.

Standard gauge toy trains remain a popular collection item as it nears its centennial anniversary. It has become the choice of many collectors and is most popular on display around the holidays, seen in several stores and shopping malls. So where can one find these unique pieces? There are several places to locate standard gauge toy trains and for good deals if you know where to look. A simple search of the internet will provide you with several websites that sell standard gauge items, as well as eBay and other online auctions. You can also find some informational websites and places to participate in blogging on standard gauge toy trains.

Children And Trains


Children have always fallen in love with trains, both boys and girls. They seem to have a type of magic about them. Children often get excited when they see and hear a train passing by. It can be fun to have one going over you on a bridge or passing one on the highway as you count the number of train cars on it.

There are many stories and programs that lend trains to the creative minds of children. Most of us can remember reading The Little Engine that Could. This is a timeless story about a train that kept pushing itself to reach the top of the mountain in spite of all the odds being against it. This is a great story to encourage children from a young age to never give up because they can do anything they put their minds to.

Thomas the Train has become a very popular icon for children these days. This fun blue train can be found in books and on TV. Thomas the Train is an interactive program that encourages children to learn valuable skills including counting and reading. There are also informative learning opportunities including oral hygiene and getting along with others.

What may surprise you about Thomas the Train is that he has actually been around since 1946 in Brittan. Yet it wasn’t until the movies and TV shows featuring Thomas the Train in the early 1980’s that it became so well known all around the world. The memorabilia associated with Thomas the Train has resulted in millions of dollars in revenue. They include video games, toy trains, piggy banks, back packs, and lunch boxes.

You will find the market is full of interactive trains for children of various ages to enjoy. Some of them sing songs or play music. Others allow them to push them along or they go by themselves with the touch of a button. Your child will find hours of entertainment with trains from a very early age.


For older children, you may want to invest in a model train set. They can spend hours setting up the track and the train in order to get it to go around and around. There are so many great accessories that they can add to the mix that they can personalize it to fit their style in no time.

Chances are that your child may have a particular style of train in mind that they want. They may have a sentimental reason for wanting it based on books they have watched, movies they have seen, or even their experiences with real trains. This can be a great opportunity to help your child forge lifelong memories that include their love of trains.

It is not uncommon for fathers or grandfathers to pass their trains on to their children or grandchildren. This can be a remarkable family heirloom that your child will always treasure. As time goes by many of these early models of trains will continue to increase in value.

Who knows, this love of trains may result in a very rewarding career for your child when they become an adult. The prices of trains vary depending on the quality and the manufacturer of them. Take a look at any toy store or online to discover what options you have to bring a smile to your child’s face by giving them a train.

Chugging Along Online Tips For Buying Model Trains On The Internet

model train tressel set

One of the best things about modern times is the ready availability of materials and supplies. Since the advent of the internet you don’t even have to travel to your local mall or distribution center to find that hard to come by toy or model, you can order it delivered right to your door! The only caveat to this plethora of supplies is that you don’t always know exactly what it is you are getting – without being able to see and handle an item before hand it’s possible to be fooled by images or overzealous descriptions. This is perhaps the bane of internet purchases – but don’t fear, with a little foresight and some care you can avoid these and other problems with online purchases.

The rules for buying model railroad supplies online, just as with any other purchase are simple:

1) Buy from a reputable dealer
2) If possible buy only known brand(s) and product lines that you have had experience with
3) Be sure to understand the return policy and costs associated with an exchange
4) Use a credit card or other method of payment that offers you some protection, especially on high-dollar purchases

There are many available online resources with proven track records and finding these by discussion groups and querying other hobbyists is always a good way to weed through the numerous suppliers. The lowest cost should not be the only deciding criteria when making a purchase but the quality of the materials and the friendliness and availability of the store personnel both online and if possible in person should be taken into account. This is especially the case when buying from auction sites or other low cost options be sure to double check the seller to make sure that they are providing a quality productprice isn’t everything.

When it comes to an ongoing hobby like model railroading you need to understand that you will probably be forming a long-term relationship with the vendors you like, and should expect them to act accordingly. With a little research a few bucks and couple of mouse clicks that special locomotive can be headed your way today and who knows what may follow?

Classic Toy Trains

model train set engine

It has been said that collecting classic toy trains in the world’s greatest hobby. Many of today’s collectors received their first toy train set when they were young, often as a Christmas or birthday present. Collectors claim that the toy train set gave them an opportunity to imagine a whole new world, one that revolved around a steaming locomotive. When they become adults, the collectors of classic toy trains claim that working on their model’s layout is a way to relive stress and escape from the pressures of day to day life.


Toy train collectors are an interesting a varied group of individuals. Some of them spend the better part of life, looking for the perfect train set creating model after model, thrilling in seeing the miniature world take shape. This type of collector pours over catalogs, agonizes at toy train auctions, and continually shops at EBay stores that sell toy trains. Others never touch a model train set, they prefer to read books on the construction and collecting of toy trains, they might even attend the toy train shows and auctions This type of collector is happy to sit back and dream about someday building a toy train model. Some collectors spend hours fiddling with the scenery, touching up the paint and designing structures, this collector thinks of their classic toy train model as an art form. Another type of classic toy train collector is fascinated by the mechanical aspect of the toy train, they spend all their time working on the mechanics of their model that they never even bother to add scenery. The thing all these collectors shares is a genuine love of classic toy trains.

Very few collectors start out designing a large layout. The average size of the collectors classic toy train layout is 4X8 feet. This starter layout is typically an HO gauge. They add some scenery and a few buildings as they go, gradually expanding on the layout. Most classic toy train collectors will say that no layout, large or small, is ever complete.

The layout of toy trains and their railroad tracks consists of scenery and landscaping. The structures are commonly made out of plastic or bits of wood. The mountains are made out of painted pieces of plaster or foam, while the rivers are created by plastic resin.


Classic toy rain collectors who are also fans of gardening can combine their hobbies with a garden railroad. A garden railroad is a toy train that runs on a rail road that is routed through your garden. A railway garden is a garden that is planted with miniature plants and landscaped to accommodate a garden railroad. People who design a garden railroad enjoy facing the same types of challenges in landscape and topography that the railroad companies face when they build new rail lines. Most railway gardens are designed with roadbed. A roadbed is a material, most often a ballast created out of rock dust and crushed rocks, that supports the track and allows for drainage. Some people who lack the time, patience, or ability to garden have been able to enjoy a garden railroad by incorporating it directly into their landscaping. Fans of garden railroads say it is a great way for the entire family to bond. Some ambitious railway garden designers have created water features in their gardens that include ornamental fish and live plants.

Classic Toy Trains Magazine


The Ultimate Guide in Toy Train Collections

For some people, collecting toy trains isn’t just another hobby or interest; it’s a way of life. The concept of collecting toy trains has been around for centuries. Nearly everyone has some type of connection to toy trains, whether it is an annual display around the Christmas tree or a daily passion to find and collect unique individual pieces to add to their toy train system. People who collect toy trains are indeed special types of people who have a true connection to these miniature locomotives. Luckily, there’s a magazine to suit their needs – Classic Toy Trains.

Classic Toy Trains magazine is a monthly publication that focuses on the latest news and events in toy train collecting. In it, you will find helpful guides to toy train auctions, events, shows and conventions, as well as articles regarding various antique toy trains. For the true toy train enthusiast, you’ll also find several “how-to” articles, including how to build your on toy trains, how to put together tracks, how to rebuild toy train engines, or how to tune-up your old antique toy trains.

One interesting article from January 2007 discussed the death of two prominent collectors of the toy train industry. Bruce Walthers and Bobbye Hall, both popular in the model railroad industry, passed away and left the toy train community stunned over their loss. Walthers once served as president of William K. Walthers, Inc, a model railroad manufacturing firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The firm became the largest producer of model railroad products in entire world. Hall was known primarily as the first woman to work with Japanese model railroad manufacturers and was the founding person behind Hallmark Models. The recipient of several awards and recognitions within the railroad model industry, her death was a surprise to many avid collectors around the world.

Classic Toy Trains magazine also produced a series of articles entitled “Basics of Toy Trains.” This series covered everything a beginner to the industry would want to know, from the history of popular manufacturers such as Lionel and Marx to the current toy trains sold in today’s market. The series even covered “tricky train terms” that green collectors are not likely to know and understand. You can also explore the questions and answer section, where questions covering a wide variety of topics in toy train collecting are answered. For example, it covers proper toy train storage and display techniques, how to apply decals to your toy train, and how to spot fake “antique” toy trains for sale.

A subscription to Classic Toy Trains magazine varies depending on the length of time you wish to keep your subscription. 9 issues are available for $39.95, 18 issues for $74.95, and 27 issues for $106.95. If you are an enthusiastic toy train collector, or would like to give a gift to someone interested in the hobby, this is the perfect all-inclusive magazine!

Collectible Trains

collectable metal train toys

Children of all ages seem to enjoy playing with trains, but may adults do as well. They may not be playing with them though as much as they are collecting them. There are true train collectors and then there are those who want to simply make a fun hobby out of it. Many of them in either category or current railway workers or they have since retired from the profession.


There are many great layouts you can create as a hobby for your train. With a flat piece of board that is as large as you would like, you can transform it into your own train area. There are train kits that contain smaller scale boxcars, engines, cabooses, train stations, tunnels, and tracks. You can also buy individual pieces in order to personalize your train collection. Many of the tracks even come with controllers so you can switch the tracks and have more than one train on it.

Some of the older Santa Fe train pieces are worth a large amount of money today. This is because it was one of the largest railway companies for decades. In recent years it has merged with Burlington Northern to become Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The pieces of equipment for collecting that say Santa Fe on the sides of them are collectibles that continue to increase in value.

Many of the older collectible trains from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s are extremely valuable. The majority of them are in various train museums all over the world. These early collectibles are quite heavy because they were made from iron. After those came trains made from wood. The majority of the collectible trains offered today are made from various types of durable plastic.

There are two types of gauging used for the tracks with collectible trains. If you are planning to buy separate pieces you really need to make sure you get the right gauge of equipment or it won’t work on the tracks. Your two choices are O or S scaled items. O scale items measure the distance between the outer two rails of the track. The S scale items measure the distance from the two outer rails so it is slightly larger.

Lionel Model Trains continues to be the biggest manufacturer of collectible trains today. Their hottest seller right now is the Harry Potter train that takes him and the other students to their school at the beginning of each movie. The Hogwarts Express is anticipated to sell more than the record holding Polar Express from 2004.

Whether you collect trains just to have or you use them to indulge in one of your favorite hobbies, they are delightful to have. The cost of collectible trains depends on where you purchase them and the condition they are in. You can get new pieces from many retailers but the older items you will have to purchase online, at yard sales, and even from antique stores. You may want to check with your father or grandfather though as there is a good chance they may have a box or two of them stored in the attic or the garage.

If you have old collectible trains in your home, you may want to find out what they are worth. You may be sitting on a goldmine that is just packed up in a box somewhere. There are some collectors out there looking for rare train collectibles as well as museums who are always looking for more materials to add to their displays.

Discover Model Trains

model train engine toy

Model train manufacturers have done a great job of recreating life size trains as realistic models. And they’ve been doing it since the late 19th century when electric model trains first appeared. Take a moment to discover the magic of model trains.


Germany is where it all began when Marklin introduced their full line of model trains back in 1891. Their first trains were based on earlier toy models and were available in three scales.

They were made from tin and were very crude, but they were a great success.

Then, in 1901, Joshua Cowen entered the market with Lionel trains. Lionel would soon come to dominate the model train market in America.

Of course there were other companies that came on board with their own lines of model trains. Ives, American Flyer, and Marx all introduced model trains.

Because model trains are so interactive they are a great choice for children and adults. Even the youngest children can enjoy them. It’s not uncommon for adults to recall their first train when talking about their fondest childhood memories.

Lionel was quick to recognize the importance of starting train collectors at a young age and that’s why they’ve got wooden train sets for ages 4 to 6. By the age of 8, kids are ready to be introduced to S scale, G scale, and the ever popular HO scale electric trains. And the hobby continues into adult life.

Of course expanding on your model trains is just a matter of time, money, creativity, and space.

There are several different scales of model trains to choose from to fit your space, budget, and personal preferences. For example, if you are limited by space you can choose one of the smaller scales. Here are some of the most popular scale choices you have.

1. Z Scale is a 1:220 ratio. It is tiny and highly detailed, and is an excellent choice if you have limited space.

2. N Scale is a 1:160 ratio. It is the second smallest scale available and it’s a great choice for the hobbyist that want to be able to incorporate scenery and longer trains.

3. HO Scale is a 1:87 ratio. It is probably the most popular scale of model train. There is an endless supply of trains, cars, tracks, buildings, and scenery. The detail on HO is good and a fabulous setup can be put together in a reasonable amount of space.

4. S Scale is a 1:64 ratio.

It is larger than the HO and is popular among those with plenty of room. It is the scale of American Flyer products.

5. O Scale is a 1:48 ratio. It is a popular choice for young children because they are able to easily handle them. Lionel carries a full line of O scale for the young ones.

6. G Scale is a 1:22.5 ratio. It is the perfect choice for the garden set up. Bachmann, L.G.B, and Aristo-Craft all make G scale trains.

To put together your model train you will need at least one engine along with some train cars. You can decide whether you want passenger cars or freight cars. And of course you will need train track. The type of track and how much track you’ll need is a personal choice.

You’ll also need a transformer to provide the electricity to your train. Then all that’s left is the scenery you want. Choose trees, tunnels, people, signals, or a host of other items.

If you are looking for a fun and rewarding hobby, why not discover the magic of model trains?

Outdoor Toy Trains Bringing The Fun Outside


Toy trains are typically seen indoors in a variety of settings. The most popular display is around a Christmas tree, circling the perimeter around all the gifts. Some people choose to set up their own unique display for year-round viewing inside their home. But rarely will you find a toy train display outdoors; mainly due to the fear of damaging the toy train system. However, there are several toy trains and toy train systems that are meant just for outdoors, and you’re about to get a glimpse of some of the most popular outdoor toy trains!

First of all, you need to know how to set up a good outdoor train system. Outdoor model trains should always be placed in a secure location, and should be as level as possible. You might want to consider adding your outdoor train system to your garden, or designing a garden around your toy train. You will only need a single track railway, one locomotive and three or four pieces of rolling rock to get started. Dig a trench about two or three inches deep that your train track route will follow. Fill it with sand and set your track in place, then place more sand in the track to make it even with the ground. This will help provide you with a level ground to operate your train system. Now that you’ve got the construction aspect complete, it’s time to choose your outdoor toy train!

The Lionel Silver Bell Express by the Lionel Corporation is a beautiful addition to your outdoor Christmas display. This gorgeous locomotive is sure to be the center of attention at your next holiday party or gathering. The toy trains shimmers in a frosty blue and silver color, and is complete with a musical caboose that plays a pleasant version of “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night”, and “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”. The Silver Bell Express is controlled by a transformer that allows you to move the locomotive forward or reverse. Hand-painted detail and realistic decals make this outdoor toy train look like it just came from Santa’s Workshop! The gauge is large scale and 51″ in diameter, making it large enough to complete any outdoor decoration. The Silver Bell Express can be purchased new for around $200 or you could try your luck at an auction to try to snag this beauty for a cheaper price.

The LGB Trains G Scale Hooker Modern Tank Car is an excellent choice for your outdoor toy train system. This outdoor train is a modern version of the classic toy train familiar to many adults. The powerful locomotive can easily pull several freight or passenger cars and you can actually fill the tank with water to create an old-fashioned steam engine effect. The Hooker Modern Tank Car sells for around $85.

These are only a few of the many choices available for the outdoor toy train display. With proper construction and smart shopping, you can create a toy train wonderland right in your own backyard!

The Collectors Who Collect Classic Toy Trains

electric train set model town

It has been said that collecting classic toy trains in the world’s greatest hobby. Many of today’s collectors received their first toy train set when they were young, often as a Christmas or birthday present. Collectors claim that the toy train set gave them an opportunity to imagine a whole new world, one that revolved around a steaming locomotive. When they become adults, the collectors of classic toy trains claim that working on their model’s layout is a way to relive stress and escape from the pressures of day to day life.

Toy train collectors are an interesting a varied group of individuals. Some of them spend the better part of life, looking for the perfect train set creating model after model, thrilling in seeing the miniature world take shape. This type of collector pours over catalogs, agonizes at toy train auctions, and continually shops at EBay stores that sell toy trains. Others never touch a model train set, they prefer to read books on the construction and collecting of toy trains, they might even attend the toy train shows and auctions This type of collector is happy to sit back and dream about someday building a toy train model. Some collectors spend hours fiddling with the scenery, touching up the paint and designing structures, this collector thinks of their classic toy train model as an art form. Another type of classic toy train collector is fascinated by the mechanical aspect of the toy train, they spend all their time working on the mechanics of their model that they never even bother to add scenery. The thing all these collectors shares is a genuine love of classic toy trains.

Very few collectors start out designing a large layout. The average size of the collectors classic toy train layout is 4X8 feet. This starter layout is typically an HO gauge. They add some scenery and a few buildings as they go, gradually expanding on the layout. Most classic toy train collectors will say that no layout, large or small, is ever complete.

The layout of toy trains and their railroad tracks consists of scenery and landscaping. The structures are commonly made out of plastic or bits of wood. The mountains are made out of painted pieces of plaster or foam, while the rivers are created by plastic resin.

Classic toy rain collectors who are also fans of gardening can combine their hobbies with a garden railroad. A garden railroad is a toy train that runs on a rail road that is routed through your garden. A railway garden is a garden that is planted with miniature plants and landscaped to accommodate a garden railroad. People who design a garden railroad enjoy facing the same types of challenges in landscape and topography that the railroad companies face when they build new rail lines. Most railway gardens are designed with roadbed. A roadbed is a material, most often a ballast created out of rock dust and crushed rocks, that supports the track and allows for drainage. Some people who lack the time, patience, or ability to garden have been able to enjoy a garden railroad by incorporating it directly into their landscaping. Fans of garden railroads say it is a great way for the entire family to bond. Some ambitious railway garden designers have created water features in their gardens that include ornamental fish and live plants.

Track Layout Ideas For Your Model Train


For the model train enthusiast, purchasing the rolling stock is only the start of what will become an extensive, and possibly life changing project maybe very costly, certainly very time consuming, but thoroughly enjoyable.

The major part of establishing a model railroad project is the design and implementation of the layout the diorama with scenery, structures and appropriate scale track for operating the trains.

The size of the layout you can design, build and operate depends on the amount of room in which you have to set it up. Some layouts can be quite small shelf-top designs that can be accommodated in a very small space. Others can fill part of a room, or even a whole room or basement.

For a small, simple layout, a table will usually be adequate but most model railroaders aim to establish larger, permanent layouts. These will usually require construction of suitable benches, often fixed to the walls of the room to provide a high degree of stability.

An important aspect of any model train setup is the arrangement of the track itself. There are at least four basic layout patterns for setting out the track, and countless variations of both track configuration and subsequent station placement. Four of the more common basic patterns are:

• point to point this is merely a straight line of track with a station at each end, with trains going from the station at one end to the other station;

• continuous loop in its simplest form this is either a circle or an oval and the trains move around it continuously, but it could be modified into a ‘dogbone’ shape by pulling two opposite sides of the circle or oval together, giving a double track appearance in the middle with a smaller circular shape at either end;

• out and back where the train leaves the single station, travels around a pear-shaped layout and returns to the original station;

• station yard only where a single station is surrounded by a number of short, interconnected tracks, providing great opportunities for shunting.

From these four basic patterns, there are countless variations. Some possibilities are:

• combining two or more of the four basic patterns, for example adding an ‘out and back’ at one or both ends of a ‘point to point’ layout;

• adding double track to any of the first three basic layouts to allow two or more trains to operate at the same time;

• adding branch lines, allowing an increase in the number of stations;

• arranging a continuous loop as a figure-of-eight, even elevating one track over the other rather than having the crossing at the same level;

• using multiple levels, allowing the use of more track, and thus more activity, in small areas;

• adding station yards, with adequate standing tracks, to any of the configurations.

The number of possible variations you incorporate into your track layout will only be limited by the space you have available, your time [and your patience] and, of course, the size of your wallet.

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