Electric Toy Trains - A Family Experience Your family has been straining their brains, trying to come up with a hobby that all of you can enjoy. Something that will bring you closer. After some debate and allot of bad ideas you and the rest of your family decide that setting up a toy train would be also of fun. The first thing you need to do is go to your local bookstore or library and pick up a couple of books about toy trains. Maybe locate an informational DVD that your whole family can watch together. The more knowledge you and your family the better idea you all will have about what you want. If you are interested in recreating a real railroad pick up a couple of books both the railroad and the area of the world where it is located. Take a Saturday afternoon, pile your family in the mini-van, and go visit your local hobby shop. Chances are good that they will carry some toy train material. Several hobby shops even offer classes for beginners. Plan to attend a toy train show or exhibit. You'll be able to see how experienced toy train collectors have designed their layouts. You'll start to have some ideas of your own. The exhibitors will be able to help answer any questions you have. Start looking over your house. Decide where you want to start setting up your toy train. As inviting as it might seem, avoid setting it on the floor. Toy trains that are set up on the floor are easy to step on or kick. In addition dangerous feet, toy trains that are dept on the floor are prone to carpet fuzz which gums up their mechanisms. The best plan is to get a large table that you can set arrange your toy train. If you like you can start to create an ambiance to enhance your planned layout. Add some special lighting, really scrub the walls, and install some shelves to display your toy train supplies that you aren't using in your layout. Purchase a tool kit. Don't worry about getting anything elaborate. All you will need in the beginning is a pair of needle nose pliers, a hobby knife, a screwdriver, needle files, a scale rule, and a pair of pliers. Keep the tool kit in a drawer near the place you plan on displaying your toy train. Don't become enthralled with the idea of having a huge layout. Large layouts are very complicated and can quickly intimidate a beginner. The best plan is to buy a small layout. The wonderful thing about toy train sets is that they are designed to be expanded. When you start setting up your layout follow that publishers plans. Once you are comfortable with the project you can start to customize. Now that you are set up, its time to add a train. On form of power you can use for your toy train is a power pack. A power pack is an electrical device that supplies the power to a toy train. The power pack controls the direction of the train as well as the speed at which the train travels. Another power source is the use of a remote control. A train that operates with a remote control requires you to operate the remote, you control the speed and direction of the train. An electric train that operates with a power pack lets you relax while the train quietly runs along its track. While you and your family are enjoying your new electric toy train, shut of the TV and make sure that the entire family is involved in the planning, creating, and enjoying of the latest hobby. All about Standard Gauge Toy 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. The Collectors who Collect Classic Toy Trains 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. Where to Find Antique Toy Trains Toy trains often become family heirlooms, handed down from one generation to the next. This is an especially nice tradition because the nature of toy trains is such that each generation can add something to the toy train, whether it is something for the train, like a new car, or something for the layout like new landscaping. Toy trains are something the family can build on. Sometimes family members want to keep the entire layout looking like it is all from the same era. If the train has been around for a long time that might mean that the family will have to look for antique toy trains. There are a number of ways you can go about looking for an antique toy train. Some people comb estate sales. While some great deals are found here it is not the easiest way to look for an antique toy train. It can be difficult to confirm the age and condition of the train before the estate sale begins. It is not always possible to determine if the train is in good working order until after you have finished bidding on it. It is not uncommon to find a nice antique train set at an antique store. Even if the store doesn't have the antique toy train that you are looking for it doesn't hurt to talk to the proprietor. They might be able to find the train you are looking for. Leave your contact information with them, and write down exactly what you are looking for. Some antique toy train collectors comb the flea markets. While some collectors do stumble upon the rare diamond in the rough, most of the trains that show up at the flea markets are in really rough shape. Lots of toy train collectors go to auctions. Lots of times auctioneers will wait until they have several toy trains and then hold a special toy train auction. Hoping to generate publicity, auctioneers generally mail postcards or post notices, listing the various types of trains they have available. For extremely rare, expensive trains, large corporations hold high end auctions. The Internet is an incredibly useful tool for locating and purchasing antique toy trains. There are loads of toy train dealers who have websites that list the types, and kinds, and prices of toy trains that they have available for purchase. Many of these same dealers also have toy train stores listed on EBay. Buying trains through dealers that specialize in toy trains is a good way to ensure that the toy train will arrive in exactly the condition that was promised. Dealers that are members of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) have a reputation of taking pride in the toy trains they sell. Before you purchase an antique toy train know exactly what you want it for. If you are looking for a train that is just for display then you will want to make sure that it looks like it is in pristine condition, that the paint is scratched or chipped, that there aren't any dents in the casing, if its a wooden toy train make sure that wood hasn't splintered or warped. If you are purchasing the train on-line ask to see several pictures of the toy train from several different angles. If possible try to get the dealer to guarantee the condition of the antique toy train. If you are planning to add the train to an already working layout, make sure the antique toy train you are about to purchase is in good working order. If the antique toy train includes a transformer make sure the transformer works. If you are still having trouble finding an antique toy train consider joining a collectors club, or attending swap meets. Where to Find Antique Toy Trains for Sale Collecting antique toy trains is a hobby and passion for many people. Perhaps they started the hobby on their own, or it all began back in their childhood. Toy trains have long been a popular gift and source of entertainment for many children, going back generations. Toy trains are still a well-liked item among children and adults, whether they're for playtime or collecting. But when you're looking for a specific antique toy train, you can't easily run to Wal-Mart or Toys R Us to find what you need. You have to scout out your options and know where to look to find antique toy trains. The first and most useful place to look for antique toy trains for sale is the internet. While you can't be completely sure what your item will look like until it arrives, there are steps you can take to ensure you are getting the best quality for your money. Start by searching eBay for antique toy trains. eBay is notorious for having unique items for sale and you can typically find just about anything by utilizing this online auction. Simply type in "antique toy trains" and you'll be provided with a complete listing of toy trains up for bidding along with pictures and a description of the item. However, before you place a bid on your desired piece, take a look at the description and pictures in detail. Does the seller guarantee the item? (Meaning will you get your money back if the item arrives damaged or doesn't arrive at all?) Next, examine the pictures to determine if there is visible damage to the toy train. Most reputable sellers on eBay will specifically add damage to the item in their description and provide a photograph of the damage. If there are only one or two pictures, ask the seller to email you personally more pictures. Let them know you are not interested in purchasing a damaged or scratched item if that's the case. Also, be sure to look at their seller history and ratings. This will tell you what other buyers had to say about their business transactions with them. Another great place to find antique toy trains for sale is none other than antique stores. The problem with looking here is that you may have difficulty sorting through all of the antiques to find the toy train you are looking for. Consider asking the owner of the store of they have your desired item, and if you have a picture, show it to them. Most owners or workers of antique stores will have a database of the items for sale and can easily tell you if they have it or not. If not, keep in mind antique stores get unique items in on a daily basis. Ask them to let you know if your toy train comes in. Finally, you can do a search on the internet to find antique auctions across the country. More specifically, you'll be able to find auctions held just for antique toy trains. You may have to travel, but if you are able to attend one of these auctions the chances of finding your toy train are very good. Purchasing Trucks, Trains, and Toy Autos on EBay Before there was an Internet, there were only a few ways people could get rid of things like toy trains that they no longer wanted. They could sell them at a yard sale for a couple of dollars. They could place a for sale ad in the classified section of the newspaper. They could auction them at one of two types of live auctions; a high end auction which are held by internationally known firms, or a local auction where both the clientele and merchandise are mostly local. In some cases if an auctioneer has enough trains they will hold a train only auction that is more likely to attract the attention of serious collectors. High end auctions are typically where collectors can find exceptionally rare toy trains, toy trucks, and other collectible automobiles. Shopping at an eBay store carries a degree of protection. Many of the EBay stores are run by reputable dealers who specialize in toy trucks, trains, and automobiles. These dealers are often willing to guarantee the items they are selling on EBay. If you are looking for a collector toy train look for EBay stores that have a TCA (Train Collectors Association) membership. These EBay stores take a special pride in their toy trains. If you are considering purchasing a toy train set from an EBay store make sure that they say the transformer is actually working. With the exception of the "ZW" transformers made from Lionel, transformers are typically unrepairable. Before agreeing to the sale ask the EBay store if the transformers knobs turn smoothly and if the transformer is working corrA huge advantage to purchasing a train through an EBay store is the ability to check the feedback the store has received from past customers. Reading through this feedback should give you a good indication about how honest they are about the product they are selling. If you are simply looking for any type, style and make of toy truck, toy train, or any other miniaturized automobile on EBay all you have to do is go to EBay's handy drop down menu and click on the item you want. You will presented with tons of toy automobile that you can bid on. If you are looking for a ver specific item, go to the search section and type in exactly what you are looking for. The more specific you are the more likely you will be to find the item you are looking for without wasting allot of your time. Once you have selected an item you like contact the merchant, ask lots of questions about the toy train they are selling, does it work, is there any damage, etc.. Ask if they would be willing to send several photos of the item, displaying it at several different angles. Ask the merchant if they would be willing to guarantee the condition of the item. Purchasing trucks, trains, and toy autos at an eBay store allows you to shop whenever it's convenient, night or day. Where to find Photographs of Antique Toy Trains Collecting antique toy trains is a hobby and interest pursued by many. Perhaps the interest began as a small child, when they were given their first toy train set. In a world with much stress and pressure, toy train collectors use their hobby as an escape from the "real world". It gives them an opportunity to go back to their childhood and simply imagine a world full of these tiny replicas. But along with toy train collecting comes photographs of antique toy trains. Some people collect the photographs to add to their walls of the rooms where the toy trains are on display. Others use the photographs as a way of scouting out their next toy train to add to the collection. There are several resources available to find great photographs of antique toy trains. One place to find these pictures is the internet. If you already have an idea of what you are looking for, this is a great method to locate that perfect photograph. (Not to mention it's free of charge!) Start by looking in Google for your photograph. Type in the name, model, or company that makes the toy train you're looking for a picture of. You will be provided with a list of articles, documents, and photographs on the internet of antique toy trains that match your search criteria. Search through the pictures and if you have a printer, simply add photo paper and print the picture. There you have it -- an easy and free way of getting a great picture of your antique toy train. Sometimes things aren't always that simple, especially when trying to locate a photograph of a genuine antique toy train. If you didn't have any luck with the internet, your next step is to locate books with pictures of antique toy trains. An excellent example of a book containing lots of photographs and useful information about antique toy trains is "The American Toy Train" by Gerry Souter. This book contains everything any collector would want to know about antique toy trains, including information on American Flyer, Lionel, and Marx brand toy trains. You'll find incredible photographs of toy trains made by these manufacturers that can easily be made into framed pictures suitable for display. Another great resource for finding photographs if antique toy trains is O'Brien's Collecting Toy Trains: Identification and Value Guide. This book was developed by Richard O'Brien, an expert in antique toy collecting. This book contains the history of antique toy trains, and covers popular manufactures such as those mentioned above along with several others. The book is full of beautiful photographs of numerous antique toy trains along with helpful captions underneath each picture. Finally, you can find photographs of antique toy trains in several magazines that focus on toy train collecting. Classic Toy Trains magazine is a monthly publication that contains the latest news in this old-fashion hobby. You'll find useful information regarding history as well as current auctions, conventions, and shows, as well as an amazing array of bright colored photographs of antique toy trains. Measuring Toy Trains In 1891, Märklin, a toy company in Leipzig, Germany, became eternally connected to toy trains when they developed the standards for toy trains. Over a hundred and ten years have passed and toy train manufactures are still using Märklin's standards to measure toy trains. When it developed the standards for toy trains, Märklin was a company that mainly designed and built accessories for doll houses. In 1891 they expanded the business and started making toy trains. Märklin had always designed its doll house accessories to a gauge (a certain gauge dollhouse corresponded with a certain gauge of furniture). They realized that if they used a similar gauge when building toy trains and railroad tracks consumer's could continue purchasing bits of tracks for years to come. As soon as they realized this Märklin sold rolling and stock tracks that could be used to expand the boxed sets they sold. Trains that run on a G gauge track have little in common but the track they operate on. It is a gauge that has been popular with European toy train makers for years. The G gauge has a width of 1 3/4 inches and a size of 1:32 through 1:30. Measuring at 1 3/8 inches wide, with a size of 1:48 or 1:43 or 1:45 or 1:64, the zero gauge is the most popular toy train gauge. The S gauge became popular in post World War II, when it was used heavily by the American Flyer company. Designing train tracks and trains that ran on the S gauge tracks is one of the things that most consumers think about when they think of the American Flyer toy company. Its measurements were in between an O gauge track and an HO gauge track. It is important not to confuse the S gauge with the wide gauge standard that was introduced by the Lionel Company. The wide gauge was less of a scale model standard that some believe to have been a result of the company misreading the Märklin specifications. Another theory is that the Lionel Company was trying to create a new gauge of track that would lock out competitors. At least four toy train manufactures in the United States used the wide gauge. Sixty years ago, England devised a toy railroad track called the HO gauge. It was suppose to be half the size of an O gauge track. The actual measurements are 1:87. There are .65 inches between the rails. For some reason the trains that were designed to run on the HO tracks did not enjoy a great deal of popularity. Some people believe that they were unable to with hold the wear and tear their young owners put them through. Germany came out with trains that ran on a Z gauge track. The tracks that support these trains measure 1:22. Perhaps because of their small size these trains have not been particularly successful. The OO gauge measured 1:76. It appeared on the market in the 1930's. In the 1950's a train that runs on a track that measures 1:120 came out. It vanished shortly after its inception. Marx Toy Trains At the end of World War I, in 1919, Luis Marx started a toy company. The company was called Marx and Company and was co-founded by Louis brother, David Marx. The company's motto was to, "give the customer more toy for less money." The company enjoyed a long run of success, surviving the both the Great Depression and the second World War, before it closed its doors in 1978, six years after Louis Marx sold the company to Quaker Oats. During the Great Depression the Marx Company had over $500,000 in debt, a debt that was more then covered by its $3.2 million in assets. In addition to several international plants, Marx had three plants in the United States, two in Pennsylvania, and one in West Virginia. One of the places that they sold their toys was in the Sears Roebucks magazine. Some people feel that during its heyday, Marx and Company actually sold more toy trains then any of the other toy companies. The first train they sold was the Joy Line, which they sold on commission for the Girard Company. Shortly after his company started selling the Joy Line, Louis Marx arranged for the Girard Company to design a toy train specifically for Marx and Company. Eventually the Girard Company was purchased by Marx. In the marketplace, Marx trains were noticeable because they were normally smaller and cheaper then the ones made by the Lionel Company and American Flyer. The Marx Company designed electric toy trains that featured an open frame motor, this motor features a gear that is fixed to one end of the axle of the armature. The company seldom varied from this design. Post World War II, Marx and Company started to make trains out of plastic. More expensive versions of Marx toy trains included a smoker that heated smoke fluid to produce smoke. Marx trains typically have a copper shoe pickup. On a Marx motor, the center rail pickup, is typically made out of copper strip. Until the late 1950's Marx made their toy trains with a fat wheel. This fat wheel makes it virtually impossible for Marx toy trains to negotiate the switches and crossovers of Lionel tracks. Older models of Marx trains feature open switches. Marx and Company designed their switches so that the wiring was similar to the wiring in two rail switches. Three wires, red, green, and black, go directly to the the switch. Most of Marx scale freighters featured a a low truck with small wheels. Marx used a dovetail design for their tilt couplers. Marx tilt couplers are incompatible with Lionel couplers. The tilt couplers were one single molded piece. In later years, Marx made one piece knuckle couplers that have to be coupled by hand. Most of the original Marx and Company motors have a metal frame and metal gears. A few of their later designs have frames and gears that are made out of plastic. Some of the cheaper toy trains that Marx designed can't reverse, they can only go forward. HO Toy Trains -- An Antique of Today Collecting toy trains is referred to as the world's greatest hobby; and for some, it isn't just a hobby. It's a passion and a way of life, perhaps beginning in childhood. Several toy train collectors started their hobby as children, when they were given a toy train as a gift. Toy trains, at one time, were a very popular and much desired toy among children. Over time, that concept faded and was replaced by razor scooters, iPods, and webkinz. Most children of today aren't familiar with the classic toy trains from back in the day, so the legacy is left to be carried on by adults who choose to start a collection of their own. One such popular toy train that is desired by many collectors is the HO toy train, developed by Marklin in 1935. So what makes these miniature locomotives so much different than the others? The construction of the HO toy trains is one aspect that makes them stand apart from other toy trains. HO toy trains are jagged and are scaled at 1:87, making them the perfect starter electric train. Appearance is also a major factor in collecting HO toy trains. The flawless detailing gives them a realistic appeal, making them an attractive addition to any toy train system. The Marklin HO toy trains resemble the Z gauge in that they are built from diecast metal. Most of the frames and wheels are constructed from 100% metal. The engineering of HO toy trains is also quite brilliant. The wheels of the freight and passenger cars have a low center of gravity to avoid derailment, making them a reliable addition to electric systems. The third-rail track systems of HO toy trains make them a hassle-free operation. The electrical current is carried by miniature stud contacts found in the middle of the ties. If you don't look closely, chances are you'll miss these clever additions. This helps prevent wiring problems and electrical pickup issues. Given the careful engineering and construction of HO toy trains, most collectors consider HO toy trains part of a scale hobby. At the debut of HO toy trains, they were sold as a toy train rather than a scale model as they are often sold today. Scale model railroading didn't become a popular hobby among collectors until after the 1950's. Until that time, HO toy trains were thought of as just another size of train. Therefore, the Lionel Corporation began to make HO toy trains as smaller versions of the classic freight and passenger cars. It wasn't long before the Louis Marx Company began constructing their own version of HO toy trains, and they even started to sell them with complete scenery and in slot car sets. Although finding HO toy trains on the shelf at your local toy store may be a challenge, they aren't all that difficult to come by. A simple search of the internet will provide you with a detailed listing of available HO toy trains for sale as well as places to locate these classic toy trains. Tools you will Need to Build a Wooden Train Toy trains have almost become as much a symbol of Christmas time as reindeer, snowflakes, and hot chocolate. Almost every Christmas movie ever made features the heartwarming shot of a beutifully decorated Christmas tree with an enourmous pile of presents piled under it, and a toy train circling the perimeter. Another gift that people love to give and recieve are the homemade variety. In some households these handmade presents become wooden heirlooms that are handed down from one generation to the next. Designing and making a wooden toy train is a wonderful way to combine two traditions. Your going to have to decide what kind of assembly process your going to use for your wooden train project. A dowel assembly system is the process of using wooden nails and non-toxic glue to hold the peices of wood together. The upside to a using a dowel assembly is that it maintains the purity of the wood. The downside to the system is that regular wear and tear along with changes in weather cause wood to shrink and you will have to periodically have to reglue the wooden train. Many inexperinced woodworkers opt to use nails to hold the peices of wood together. Although experinced woodworkers frown on this method there is nothing wrong with using nails provided you make sure that there aren't any sharp edges. Screws are a secure way to fasten the peices of wood together. If this is the method you prefer make sure that the wooden train is periodically examined to make sure that none of the screws have worked thier way loose. The use of a good strong glue is especally secure. It is also a safe way to create a toy that you are planning to give to a young child. Check the toy from time to time to make sure that the glue is staying stuck. When handleing strong woodworking glue be sure to take precautions, you don't want to have your hand permenatly stuck to a wooden train. What type of wood you are going to use? Hardwood or softwood? The first thing you should know is that just because they are called hardwood and softwood does not mean that the wood you will be using is hard or soft, all the terns do is clarify wether or not they are from coniferous or desidous trees Softwood is descious, it comes from Pine trees. Hardwood is coniferous it comes from trees that shed thier leaves everyfall. You should avoid using Ceder, unless it is really well maintained it can splinter. If you are giving the toy to a young child (one who sticks everything in their mouth) avoid the use of Oak, which is toxic when ingested. If you are considering an exotic hardwood check and make sure it isn't a toxic wood. The wood you are using should be planed into peices of wood that wont break easily, the thicker the wood the less likly it will be to break in the middle of your project. Bear in mind, not all types of wood absorb stains. When you are staining the wood make sure you are using a non-toxic stain that is childsafe. Find a set of instructions that are easy to follow. Keep them in a safe place where they wont get lost and adhere to them. Leave yourself plenty of time. Building a wooden train could be a much larger, and more difficult project then you anticipate. Once you become adept at making wooden trains, you may want to try your hand at creating miniture wooden structues for classic toy train layouts, and garden railroads. Wooden Toy Trains by Community Playthings There's just something special about little wooden toy trains. They've long been a favorite among children and have become an icon for the Christmas season in many countries. They are still a popular gift choice for children and often a collectible among adults. It's nearly impossible to own just one wooden toy train; many people choose to build upon their cherished toy to create their own toy train system. While the wooden toy train is a popular display at Christmas, some people have whole rooms or sections of their house dedicated to displaying their wooden toy trains. Often, it can be tricky to find wooden toy trains in today's society. Most toy trains of today are constructed out of metal and plastic, with decals displayed in order to make the toy look as realistic as possible. Some people turn to the internet to find wooden toy trains, while others scout out live auctions and antique stores in hopes of finding the wooden locomotive they knew and loved as a child. However, it is possible to find new wooden toy trains thanks to a company called Community Playthings. Community Playthings began as a small organization of young fathers in rural Georgia. These men had one thing in mind -- to create safe, durable toys for their children out of wood. The concept soon spread to local schools and teachers began requesting the wooden toys for their classrooms. When childcare became a popular idea among working parents, daycares ordered wooden furniture from Community Playthings. It wasn't long before the company expanded into a well-known name in the toy industry, and thus the creation of wooden toy cars, trucks, and trains. The toy trains you'll find made by Community Playthings are simple and certainly nothing fancy. You won't find exclusive hand-painted detail, battery-operated engines, lights, sounds, or any other bells and whistles. Those are best left for companies who focus on creating state-of-the-art, realistic replicas. The toy trains from Community Playthings are designed for the inquiring child, plain and simple. Without all of the added extras, children are able to use their own imagine and develop motor skills as they push along and play with their wooden toy trains. Along with toy trains, Community Playthings also makes wooden furniture, children's lockers and cubby holes, art and sand tables, classic wooden blocks, and a wide variety of furniture for babies and toddlers. It is very easy to purchase anything wooden from Community Playthings. Their website provides a complete listing of all of their available products, prices, and pictures of every item. Several children's marketing websites also carry items from Community Playthings for reasonable prices. For a trip down memory lane back to your childhood, or to purchase wooden toy trains for your little one, consider getting your next toy train from Community Playthings. In a society where everything has gotten so modern, it's nice to know there's one company out there who can take you back to the "good old days".
Trademark Modern Toy Trains -- Toys of Yesterday Available Today Toy trains have long been a popular choice for gifts among children. For centuries, these tiny locomotives have brought smiles to many faces of children on birthdays and holidays. However, that tiny bit of pleasure faded as the years went by, and have been replaced by video games, computers, cell phones, and other toys of today. But toy trains have continued to keep a place on toy store shelves, even if they're not the same old fashioned ones from generations ago. There are several popular trademarks in modern toy trains. American Flyer toy trains are still a favorite display item at modern toy train conventions and shows, and can usually be found at the center of heated auction bidding. Although finding pieces from American Flyer toy train systems are not complicated, you can expect to pay top dollar for these classic toys. Even American Flyer catalogs are hot items up for sale and bidding at auctions and on the internet. Children still love to play with toy trains made by American Flyer, if you are able to get a hold of these classic yet entertaining toys. Another popular trademark in modern toy trains is Brio. While Brio toy trains are notorious for being made of wood, it certainly doesn't make them any less attractive to children. Brio produces wooden toy trains in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. You can find modern toy trains, complete with all the bells and whistles of other toy trains, but still made of wood. You can also find wooden toy trains that are simple and take you back to your days as a child. This is exactly what makes Brio as popular as other companies -- the old-fashioned twist on a modern appeal. HO toy trains are a top-selling item in the toy train industry. There are several reasons why HO toy trains are desired among modern trademarks. One of the reasons is because of the unique construction and engineering of HO toy trains. HO toy trains are jagged and are scaled at 1:87, making them the perfect starter electric train. Appearance is also a major factor in purchasing HO toy trains. Though this trademark of modern toy trains appeals more to teenagers and adults, they are still a widely popular choice in the toy train industry. The flawless detailing gives them a realistic appeal, making them an attractive addition to any toy train system. The Marklin HO toy trains resemble the Z gauge in that they are built from diecast metal. Most of the frames and wheels are constructed from 100% metal. The engineering of HO toy trains is also quite brilliant. The wheels of the freight and passenger cars have a low center of gravity to avoid derailment, making them a reliable addition to electric systems. These are only a few of the most popular trademark names in modern toy trains. New toy trains are constantly being developed, so keep an eye out for new trademarks looking to make their home in this timeless industry. The Design and History of Woodern Toy Trains In 1936, when he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, the doctors instructed Marshall H. Larrabee to start taking things easy. Marshall Larrabee's response was to create Skaneateles Handicrafters. Skaneateles Handicrafters was a company that later became famous for creating wooden toy trains. Skaneateles Handicrafters was based out of Skaneateles New York. A system of small trains that run on a wooden track are called wooden toy trains. Toy trains and their wooden tracks are over seventy years old. Collectors of old wooden trains know that the trains, cars use to hook together with the aid of small metal hooks, that has since changed. Now manufactures prefer to link the toy trains, cars with magnets, the magnets make them safer for young children who have a tendency to pop the wooden cars into their mouths. Another change toy train manufacturers have made to their wooden train sets is to make some of the parts, like wheels, out of plastic. The large non-mobile pieces, including the layout scenery, are generally crafted from wood. The design of toy trains made from wood is very simple. Once you are past the basic structure the design can be simple or complex. The locomotive and toy trains, wooden cars are made out of carved pieces of wood. The wheels are attached. A few extra pieces of wood are attached to the carving of the locomotive in order to distinguish it from the other cars. The ends of each piece of the track look like the edges of jigsaw puzzle pieces. Most toy train companies who make wooden train tracks conform to the Vario-System. By sticking to this system wooden train tracks made by one company will easily connect to a piece of track made by another company. Most people refer to the Vario-system as the Brio-compatible, after the Biro company who was the most famous wooden train manufacture in the world. Interestingly enough, T.C. Timber, a company that use to be called Skaneateles Handicrafters is one of the few companies who didn't conform to the Vario-system, A rolling stock track is a toy train track that has wooden grooves that guide the trains wheels. Most companies make the their train tracks so each individual piece is reversible, this allows the toy train's owner to reverse the tracks curves. The landscaping that compliments the toy train wooden sets are typically made out plaster, plastic, and plastic resin. Landscapes featuring, deserts, the Pacific Coast, mountain ranges, and many more are available. The worlds most famous wooden train is Thomas. Thomas the Tank Engine was a character in a series of children's books called The Railway Series that first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1945. In 1984 Thomas made his acting debut on a TV program called Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The show first aired in the United States in 1989. The popularity of Thomas the Tank was large enough that manufactures started selling patterned sets, for toy train's wooden layouts. Tools you will Need to Build a Wooden Train Toy trains have almost become as much a symbol of Christmas time as reindeer, snowflakes, and hot chocolate. Almost every Christmas movie ever made features the heartwarming shot of a beutifully decorated Christmas tree with an enourmous pile of presents piled under it, and a toy train circling the perimeter. Another gift that people love to give and recieve are the homemade variety. In some households these handmade presents become wooden heirlooms that are handed down from one generation to the next. Designing and making a wooden toy train is a wonderful way to combine two traditions. Your going to have to decide what kind of assembly process your going to use for your wooden train project. A dowel assembly system is the process of using wooden nails and non-toxic glue to hold the peices of wood together. The upside to a using a dowel assembly is that it maintains the purity of the wood. The downside to the system is that regular wear and tear along with changes in weather cause wood to shrink and you will have to periodically have to reglue the wooden train. Many inexperinced woodworkers opt to use nails to hold the peices of wood together. Although experinced woodworkers frown on this method there is nothing wrong with using nails provided you make sure that there aren't any sharp edges. Screws are a secure way to fasten the peices of wood together. If this is the method you prefer make sure that the wooden train is periodically examined to make sure that none of the screws have worked thier way loose. The use of a good strong glue is especally secure. It is also a safe way to create a toy that you are planning to give to a young child. Check the toy from time to time to make sure that the glue is staying stuck. When handleing strong woodworking glue be sure to take precautions, you don't want to have your hand permenatly stuck to a wooden train. What type of wood you are going to use? Hardwood or softwood? The first thing you should know is that just because they are called hardwood and softwood does not mean that the wood you will be using is hard or soft, all the terns do is clarify wether or not they are from coniferous or desidous trees Softwood is descious, it comes from Pine trees. Hardwood is coniferous it comes from trees that shed thier leaves everyfall. You should avoid using Ceder, unless it is really well maintained it can splinter. If you are giving the toy to a young child (one who sticks everything in their mouth) avoid the use of Oak, which is toxic when ingested. If you are considering an exotic hardwood check and make sure it isn't a toxic wood. The wood you are using should be planed into peices of wood that wont break easily, the thicker the wood the less likly it will be to break in the middle of your project. Bear in mind, not all types of wood absorb stains. When you are staining the wood make sure you are using a non-toxic stain that is childsafe. Find a set of instructions that are easy to follow. Keep them in a safe place where they wont get lost and adhere to them. Leave yourself plenty of time. Building a wooden train could be a much larger, and more difficult project then you anticipate. Once you become adept at making wooden trains, you may want to try your hand at creating miniture wooden structues for classic toy train layouts, and garden railroads. Thomas the Tank Toy Trains -- Bringing Joy to Children Everywhere! Whatever happened to children playing with little toy trains? In today's society, it seems that toy trains have become a thing of the past. Children these days now ask for iPods, video games, and even cell phones before they're 10 years old. But Thomas the Tank Engine continuously brings smiles and happiness to children all over the world, even in a time where toy trains seem to have been long forgotten. Thomas the Tank Engine started as a children's show and has since grown into a variety of toys and merchandise for children. The show focuses on teaching children as young as toddlers to count, spell, and even history lessons they normally wouldn't learn until elementary school. And because Thomas is a train, children are able to use their imagination and gain an appreciation for the more simple activities that many adults once knew as children. It's no surprise that there are many wonderful toy trains made by Thomas the Tank Engine. The little toy trains are specifically designed for small children and have a unique way of grabbing their attention. You can find wooden toy trains from Thomas the Tank Engine, and these trains are most likely to resemble the basic wooden toy trains played with by many adults when they were children. The cars are painted bright shades of red, blue, green, and yellow, and often come with little wooden blocks to carry as "freight". Thomas the Tank Engine also makes a wide variety of accessories to go along with their toy trains. Little ones will have a blast by adding their own village or town to their Thomas the Tank system! The Deluxe Knapford Station is a very popular addition to Thomas trains. This station closely resembles an actual passenger station with two pieces of authentic switch track. Realistic sounds of whistles and movement help the child's imagination to run free, while the station is brought to life with the built-in microphone. This gives children the opportunity to become a real engineer of their own toy train station! The Lighthouse Bridge allows children to have an imaginary river running through their train and boats can pass through. Thomas the Tank Engine also comes with several friends children love to play with. Max and Monty the dump trucks help teach children the importance of sharing. Max and Monty are twin brothers who think they are experts in construction, but in reality they cause trouble everywhere they go. They have tendency to boss around the smaller machines, but in the end they always learn to share their space. Along with several toys and children's shows, Thomas the Tank Engine makes a variety of merchandise just for children. You can purchase several learning tools such as play mats, art sets, and puzzles to go along with your Thomas toy trains. Children also love Thomas the Tank Engine apparel, bedroom decor, clocks and watches, posters, and furniture. You can purchase Thomas the Tank Engine toys and accessories at nearly any department store or by visiting their website. Marklin Toy Trains -- A Classic in Toy Train Collection People who collect toy trains have a genuine passion for them. Some people prefer to only display them one time of year around the family Christmas tree, while others dedicate entire rooms or sections of their houses to showing off their collection. However, a toy train is not just a toy train. They are not all the same and some are more valuable than others. Anyone who collects toy trains as a hobby is familiar with Marklin toy trains. These trains have been around since 1891 and are a truly unique addition to any toy train collection. Marklin introduced a revolution in the toy train industry by introducing the very first inclusive set of trains in 1891. Marklin provided a fresh appeal to the typical toy train by introducing a series of standard track gauges and a variety of models with matching accessories. What came from this revolution was the ability to build on your initial train set by expanding your miniature railroad. It is thought that Marklin is at the forefront of developing the expanding toy train set. Getting a hold of one of the timeless pieces from Marklin is no easy task and can cost thousands of dollars. In fact, some of the pieces are so rare that they easily run in the six digits. For example, an international auction of toy trains and accessories recently held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania sold a complete Marklin station for $110,000. The station included an exceptionally rare Marklin #2609 locomotive that was built precisely to scale and marvelously painted by hand. The unique toy train set was just as astonishing inside as it was outside. (As most Marklin train sets are, no surprise there!) The station included five interior rooms that were cleverly adorned with tables, chairs, and other furniture you would expect to find aboard passenger cars from back in the day. It was originally thought that this rare Marklin station would sell for around $30,000; that is, until it became the ultimate "bidding brawl" between American and Europe. Two toy train collectors from opposite ends of the world both went to great lengths to snag the priceless item, but in the end America prevailed in taking home the 29-inch long, 19-inch high beauty. That wasn't the only Marklin item that brought in much more money than originally estimated. A Marklin #2609 locomotive was sold for $82,500. The gauge III set boasted a live steam engine and precise hand-painted detail. The original sale estimate was set at $25,000 -- obviously, this goal was blown away when avid collectors from around the world united in hopes of bringing home a classic Marklin station. Several other Marklin items were sold at the auction, but surprisingly not a single Marklin piece sold for less than $25,000. Now that you can see just how valuable these timeless classics are, chances are you won't find them for cheap. Ebay does occasionally place Marklin pieces up for bidding, but the results won't differ much from a live auction. You can purchase certain Marklin sets and accessories through marklin.com, but again, you will pay a pretty penny. American Flyer Toy Trains -- A Tradition in Collecting Toy Trains Ask any avid collector of toy trains about American Flyer, and chances are they'll be able to talk about these classic toy trains for hours. That's because American Flyer is a tradition in the production of toy trains and has been for years. Since the beginning of the 1900's, American Flyer has been producing top-quality toy trains and brought smiles to the faces of millions of people who received them as gifts or heirlooms. A truly unique find in toy train systems, American Flyer continues to be a popular name in toy trains and continues to bring happiness to today's children and collectors. American Flyer toy trains began as an idea to develop a clockwork motor for toy cars in 1901 by a man named William Fredrick Hafner. In 1905, he developed a train that could be operated by a clockwork motor on O gauge track. After receiving several requests and funds for orders, Hafner enlisted the help of his friend, William Coleman, to begin producing these new models of toy trains. At the time, Coleman had taken over control of Edmonds-Metzel Hardware Company, who had experienced financial hardship in 1906. The two friends immediately started to produce toy trains by using the surplus manufacturing potential of Edmonds-Metzel. The production was a success, and by 1910 Edmonds-Metzel left the hardware industry and changed its name to American Flyer. Originally American Flyer toy trains were thought to be generic in comparison to its competitor manufacturer, Ives. During the First World War, American Flyer's business expanded and eventually knocked out the German manufactures that produced the majority of toy trains sold in the United States. American Flyer introduced the first electric train in 1918. A windup device replaced the clockwork motor developed by Hafner and quickly became a popular toy among American children. Even with the growing popularity of American Flyer, the company still took second place to the Lionel Corporation -- a rivalry that continues among toy train collectors today. American Flyer toy trains are a popular display item at modern toy train conventions and shows, and are usually at the center of heated auction bidding. Although finding pieces from American Flyer toy train systems are not difficult, you can expect to pay top dollar for these classic toys. Even American Flyer catalogs are hot items up for sale and bidding at auctions and on the internet. A simple search of the internet will provide you with a complete listing of where to find American Flyer toy trains and accessories. You'll find several options for attending shows and conventions that carry American Flyer trains, and you'll find several items up for bid on eBay. The prices range from $20 for accessories to $500+ for toy trains, box cars, cabooses, and tank cars. Once you find a collectible from American Flyer, it can be a quite addicting hobby to add more pieces and accessories to your collection! 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! Brio Toy Trains Toy trains are one thing that still remains constant in a changing world. They have the ability to make both children and adults smile, as they are a part of nearly everyone's childhood. Today, toy trains are mostly made of metal and plastic, whereas generations ago, wood was the standard for building toy trains. Whatever happened to the old-fashioned wooden toy train? While they are not as easy to come by as they were years ago, there's a company who is dedicated to producing the best quality wooden toy trains available. Brio makes wooden toy trains in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. You can find modern toy trains, complete with all the bells and whistles of other toy trains, but still made of wood. You can also find wooden toy trains that are simple and take you back to your days as a child. An example of the modern wooden toy train made by Brio is the Shinkansen Passenger Train. It is known as the world's first express toy train system and is 390 mm in length. The system is carefully constructed using hardwood materials and is hand-painted to include minor details. For a more classic look, Brio makes the Light and Sound Timber Train. This train closely resembles the classic toy trains several adults enjoyed as a child. The train is a push-along engine complete with sounds only heard from the actual trains from back in the day. The windows glow as if to represent activity inside the passenger cars. This Brio toy train is sure to take you back to your childhood, or set the curiosity for a child wondering what toy trains were like generations ago. You can also purchase engines and all the accessories to add power to your wooden toy trains. The 4-wheel rechargeable engine red is a popular choice from Brio to "soup up" your train system. With this engine, it is easy to refuel as you will no longer need to purchase batteries! It looks strikingly realistic, as it boasts front headlights and buttons you can push to manually stop and start your toy train. If you choose, you can purchase an additional backup battery pack to ensure playtime is never interrupted. (And admit it, who wouldn't want to play with a Brio wooden toy train complete with an engine?) No Brio toy train is complete without a railroad track. You have a variety of tracks to choose from to best accommodate your train and engine. The Expansion Pack Intermediate is a track set available for around $25. This set includes 16 track pieces and 5 different layout suggestions. It's easy to change the direction of your train system to include twists and turns, or whatever your imagination creates. You can even choose to purchase bridges, buildings, and tunnels to add a more realistic touch to your Brio system. Kids will have a blast by adding fire and police stations, engine sheds, and adventure tunnels to their set. You can find Brio toy trains along with hundreds of accessories by visiting the Brio website directly, or shopping around on online auctions to grab deals on their items. Little Toy Trains-Z gauge, HO gauge, and OO gauge In the real world a railway that has a narrower then 1,435 mm is called a narrow gauge railway. Narrow gauge railways accommodate smaller radius curves, and are cheaper to build. They are often found in mountainous communities and in communities that don't have enough traffic to justify the expense of building a standard gauge railway. Narrow gauge railway's are often duplicated by toy trains. The smallest gauge toy train available to toy train collectors is the Z gauge. The Z gauge operates on a track that is only 6.5 mm. The Z gauge was introduced by the Marklin Company in 1972, at the Nuremberg's Toy Fair. The z gauge is so small that a layout can fit inside a standard briefcase. Some Z gauge engines weigh a little as 20 grams. It is very important that a Z gauge track be kept extremely clean, a little spot of dirt can stop the tiny locomotive in its tracks and gum up all the miniature working parts. The most popular size toy train among toy train collectors is the HO scale trains. The train was first introduced to the market in the middle of the 1930's but it did not enjoy immediate popularity. It wasn't until the 1950's that it started to attract the attention of toy train aficionados. Fans of toy trains started to realize that the the HO's small size allowed them to add even more detail to their layouts. HO gauge trains are typically less expensive then some of the other size train sets. It is a large enough scale that parents with small children don't have to worry about the pieces getting swallowed. The typical HO toy train runs on a two rail track that is powered by a direct current. Some collectors have designed HO layouts that have a radius of approximately eighteen inches. The eighteen inch radius models a full scale radius of one hundred and thirty feet. The small radius is so tight that in real life it is only duplicated by streetcars and light rail systems. The casual toy train collector generally uses a track that is made out of prefabricated snap together tracks, the same type of track is often used by exhibitors who move their layout from one show to another. Collectors who have permanent layouts generally prefer to use a track that is constructed of hand laid sections. Some little train enthusiast prefer a flex track that is compatible with a snap together track. The popularity of the HO gauge toy train makes it easy for collectors to locate models and parts for their little train set. The HO gauge is approximately half the size of the O gauge. In the United Kingdom the most popular gauge toy train is the OO gauge. The OO gauge was first introduced in 192 by the Bing company. It was called the Table Runway. A 16.5 mm gauge is used for the OO toy train. Wooden Toy Trains by Community Playthings There's just something special about little wooden toy trains. They've long been a favorite among children and have become an icon for the Christmas season in many countries. They are still a popular gift choice for children and often a collectible among adults. It's nearly impossible to own just one wooden toy train; many people choose to build upon their cherished toy to create their own toy train system. While the wooden toy train is a popular display at Christmas, some people have whole rooms or sections of their house dedicated to displaying their wooden toy trains. Often, it can be tricky to find wooden toy trains in today's society. Most toy trains of today are constructed out of metal and plastic, with decals displayed in order to make the toy look as realistic as possible. Some people turn to the internet to find wooden toy trains, while others scout out live auctions and antique stores in hopes of finding the wooden locomotive they knew and loved as a child. However, it is possible to find new wooden toy trains thanks to a company called Community Playthings. Community Playthings began as a small organization of young fathers in rural Georgia. These men had one thing in mind -- to create safe, durable toys for their children out of wood. The concept soon spread to local schools and teachers began requesting the wooden toys for their classrooms. When childcare became a popular idea among working parents, daycares ordered wooden furniture from Community Playthings. It wasn't long before the company expanded into a well-known name in the toy industry, and thus the creation of wooden toy cars, trucks, and trains. The toy trains you'll find made by Community Playthings are simple and certainly nothing fancy. You won't find exclusive hand-painted detail, battery-operated engines, lights, sounds, or any other bells and whistles. Those are best left for companies who focus on creating state-of-the-art, realistic replicas. The toy trains from Community Playthings are designed for the inquiring child, plain and simple. Without all of the added extras, children are able to use their own imagine and develop motor skills as they push along and play with their wooden toy trains. Along with toy trains, Community Playthings also makes wooden furniture, children's lockers and cubby holes, art and sand tables, classic wooden blocks, and a wide variety of furniture for babies and toddlers. It is very easy to purchase anything wooden from Community Playthings. Their website provides a complete listing of all of their available products, prices, and pictures of every item. Several children's marketing websites also carry items from Community Playthings for reasonable prices. For a trip down memory lane back to your childhood, or to purchase wooden toy trains for your little one, consider getting your next toy train from Community Playthings. In a society where everything has gotten so modern, it's nice to know there's one company out there who can take you back to the "good old days". 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! Ride-On Toy Trains - Bringing a Classic Childhood Toy to Life Nearly everyone is familiar with the sights and sounds of toy trains. Whether you've seen a toy train system circling underneath a Christmas tree or you have your own little toy train village set up, at one point you've probably thought, "How fun would it be to actually ride on one of those things?" It's no surprise that you are obviously not the only one who's dreamed of that concept. That's why ride-on toy trains were developed! Peg Perego is a top manufacturer of ride-on toy trains designed just for children. These ride-on toy trains are sure to provide hours of fun and entertainment for kids! For example, the Santa Fe Train Set comes with a 76x93 oval track set, making it a perfect addition to the playroom or living room. The train set is operated by push button controls, allowing the child to be the conductor if their magical train rides. And safety remains a priority with the Peg Perego Santa Fe Train Set, as speeds only reach 2mph and all wiring is kept in a small box only accessible by screwdriver. Another popular ride-on toy train from Peg Perego is the Thomas Track Rider 3rd Car. This ride-on toy train is the ultimate adventure for small children and their friends. With this train, kids can take along a friend and stuffed animals, as a third car is provided for just this purpose. The cars come complete with foot and hand rests, providing comfort as the little child chugs along. The Thomas Scootin' Sounds Ride-On Train is also another popular choice for children. This train comes complete with real-working lights and sounds, and is big enough for the child to bring along several of his or her stuffed animal friends. However, this toy isn't operated by the push of a button, but by the child! This method encourages small children to develop their motor skills by pushing or scooting the train around, while the realistic lights and sounds provide an exciting and rewarding addition. With so many choices available to children for ride-on trains, you may be wondering if there's anything available for adults. While it's a harder opportunity to find, it does exist. The Toy Train Depot located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is a store and museum dedicated to the display of scale models and toy trains, as well as ride-on trains big enough for adults to enjoy! At the Toy Train Depot, you'll find America's Park Ride Train Museum, an actual operating sixteen inch gauge train system that anyone can ride. Since the store and museum are non-profit, it will only cost you a minimal fee to attend. Ride-on toy trains are an excellent way of providing fun and entertainment for yourself or your children. You can typically purchase a ride-on toy train set for your children for less than $200 -- imagine your children waking on Christmas morning to find that underneath the tree! The History of Toy Electric Trains Not only do electric toy trains provide allot of fun for the entire family, they have a history that is almost as rich as the one shared by the real railroads. The very first toy trains first appeared on the market in the 1860's. These trains were simple designs that were made out of wood and metal. It is doubtful that the designers had any inkling of what there simple floor toys would evolve into. The Marklin company saw a need for a set of standard gauges for toy trains in 1891. When they first implemented these standard gauges it was for the wind-up (also called clockwork) trains the Marklin Company produced. The same standards are still used for today's electric trains. The very first electric toy train was introduced to the world in 1901. The train was a product of the Lionel toy company. At first this train was only intended to be used as a window display. It wasn't long before consumers were more interested in the window display then in the the merchandise. It was during the 1920's that electric toy trains became really popular. At the time all the kids wanted them, but only the rich kids could afford them. Smaller scaled eclectic toy trains were introduced to the world. These trains were typically O gauge and HO gauge. Most of these trains could only be purchased as kits that were then put together by adults with a great deal of experience. World War II stopped the production of toy eclectic trains from 1941 through 1945. When production of toy electric trains resumed after the war, the popularity of the trains took off. By the 1950's they were the most popular toy among boys in the United States. They had also become more affordable. At this time the biggest toy train manufacturer is Lionel. By the middle of the 1950's there was a clear division between toy electric trains that were designed by adults and toy eclectic trains that were designed with children in mind. The N scale train was introduced in 1965. The N scale train was only one half the size of the O trains. Three years later the G scale train was introduced. The G scale train is still a popular choice among garden railroaders. The G scale train was introduced by Germany's LGB company. The G scale trains allow collectors to add real scenery to their layouts as well as topography. Some people incorporate garden trains directly into their homes landscaping. Marklin created a train that was even smaller then the N scale train in the 1970's. This train was called the Z scale. At this time improvements in technology and electronics could be seen in the toy electric trains. Realistic sounds and digital control systems were added to the electric toy trains in the 1980's. It is estimated that there are over a half million train collectors in the United States and Canada.
InfoBank Intro | Main Page | Usenet Forums | Search The RockSite/The Web