Lionel Model Trains – Trains For All Ages

When you talk about model trains one company comes to the forefront of your thoughts, Lionel. Lionel Model Trains have been setting the standard in American made model trains since the early 1900s. With over a century of pleasing children and model enthusiasts alike, Lionel still leads the pack when it comes to American railroading.

Lionel trains come in a variety of styles and designs. If you are looking for something truly unique, Lionel probably has it. You can go from the extremely realistic, like the Santa Fe collection or Pennsylvania Passenger to the more whimsical like taking the Hogwarts Express for a ride or maybe even following the Monopoly train around. You can be modern or historic with their collections as well.

All of Lionel’s engines and cars are detail oriented so you can be sure that you will get the most realistic look and feel to your train, even if your cars are a little unorthodox, say advertising for the Beatles.

The company started out selling strictly HO scale models. As time went on the O scale, which is slightly bigger, started becoming more popular. The O scale helped to get children become interested in the model railroad once again. Today they mainly sell O and the slightly different O-27 scale. The do, however, have a few models that are HO scale.

A Train For Every Skill

One of the things Lionel prides itself in is having many different designs of trains. That means they have trains for just about every level of model railroading. Their Ready-to-Run sets are designed for those who are new to the hobby. These sets come with everything you need, all you have to do is put the track in your favorite location and you are ready to go. These are also great for children who are interested in the hobby.

They also have a level that is called Shake-the-Box. This means it’s not exactly ready to run straight out of the box but it only takes a little work to set it up and get it ready to go. These are for the people who still aren’t ready to detail out everything. But it will give them the satisfaction of setting up their own set. It’s a great transition piece to learn on.

Then there is the Craftsman model. These models of trains will keep the most experienced busy for days while they detail out every little thing. These kits are only for the most advanced enthusiast and shouldn’t be purchased by someone who has little experience setting up your own railway system.

Collector’s Item For All Time

There have been many changes to the Lionel model trains over the years, including the introduction of the O-27 scale. The curves on the O-27 scale tracks are tighter than those of the regular O scale making for an overall smaller diameter track. O-27 scale trains can run on the O scale tracks okay, since they are technically still O scale but the same cannot be said for the O scale trains on the O-27 scale track. The curves are too tight for these trains and they will derail on the first turn.

The untraditional nature of the O-27 is not the only thing that has changed throughout the years, the couplings are some of the most noticeable changes. Vintage pieces, those that were made prior to World War II, will have couplings that look like hooks. Post World War II saw the couplings change to peg couplings and then to electric couplings.

If you are looking to collect some of the wonderful vintage trains you will look to spend anywhere from $100 to over $1,000 depending on the piece. All of the Lionel trains have a 4 digit code stamped on the locomotive undercarriage. If you are unsure of the authenticity of the train ask to see that code, so you know if you’re buying a genuine Lionel. The couplings will help you in determining the age of your prospective buy as well so keep your eyes out for those.

Model Train Manufacturers – Differences That You Should Know

If you are interested in model railroads you have many different manufacturers to choose from whether you are looking to expand your model railway or if you are starting for the first time there are several aspects to consider. With so many different scales, styles and models to choose from, you have to research you option carefully.

Atlas Model Trains

The Atlas Model Train company was founded in the mid 1900s. They specialize in HO and N scale models. They also have an offshoot company, Atlas O, which manufactures O scale model trains. Atlas trains’ founder Stephan Shaffan Jr. made the model train popular in the United States by redesigning them and making a switch kit. He also innovated many of the pieces such as a pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. Today the Atlas Company has everything you need to easily set up your railway system. Beginners and experts alike will find something they enjoy.

Hornby Model Trains

Hornby Trains were founded in 1907 as Meccano Ltd. Until the First World War it sold other types of toys but Frank Hornby decided to introduce the toy train into their line 1920. Originally it was a clockwork train. He introduced the electric train a few years later revising them soon after to make them safer. Today, Hornby is among the top producers of O scale trains. They are also among the leaders in OO scale trains, having debuted it in 1938 under the name Hornby Dublo.
They also produce an N scale line under the name Lyddle End. This company is also known for its replica models such as Thomas the Tank Engine and the Hogwarts Express.
The Skaledale is another popular line that is offered by Hornby Trains. This OO scale line shares many of the same styles of buildings as that of Lyddle End.

K-Line Model Trains

The K-Line Trains were founded in 1975 by Maury D. Klein. With his innovation, K-Line began producing model trains that were compatible with several other major names in model trains. They went on to produce O, O27 and S gauge trains. Today, however, you can’t get K-Line trains manufactured by their original manufacturers. Due to snipping and lawsuits with Lionel Trains their intellectual property is now the sole property of Lionel trains. You can still purchase K-Line by Lionel which is manufactured solely in O and O27 scale.

Life Like Model Trains

The Life Like Model train company manufactures their trains in the HO and N scales. This brand is a geared towards those who are new to the model train experience. They offer you detailed trains at a fraction of the cost of other model trains. You can get them in either an extremely detailed version of the Proto 2000 or the slightly less detailed version of the Proto 1000. If you are interested in just getting started in the model train hobby, then this brand might be the one for you to start with. Their less detailed, but just as nice version, Proto 1000, is robust and able to be handled roughly, perfect for kids and new hobbyists.

Lionel Model Trains

Lionel model trains have been around from the beginning of the 1900s. They started out selling just O scale. Today they sell O, O27 and HO scale. They have anything from realistic models of trains to the more whimsical types. You can get antique models, that look like the trains from the 1800-1900s or you can find one that looks like the Hogwarts or Polar Express. They also have a variety of cars and trains that can suit any taste.

Roco Model Trains

Known for their HO, O and N scales Roco model trains are another good train set for those that are just starting out. They specialize in lower cost trains that look just as good as the more expensive models. They have three levels of trains, the playtime level is for children and beginners, professional is for more experienced hobbyists and the platin is for the hardcore enthusiasts. With its variety of levels Roco appeals to hobbyists of all levels that want to have model railroads on a budget.

LGB Model Trains

LGB model train specializes in only one scale train. The G scale train is the largest scale of all scales of trains. They are a normally used for garden or yard trains. These trains are simple to use and are robust enough for even the most inexperienced hobbyist to handle. You don’t have to wear kid gloves around these trains and many models are designed to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions.

Marklin Model Trains

Probably one of the oldest train companies, Marklin has been in business since 1859. They introduced their first clockwork train in 1891. Today they have HO, O, Z, N and Gauge 1 scale trains. They are also among the leaders in digital controlling of model trains. They have an innovative three track system that allows you to set up all sorts of layouts and still look realistic. This is probably the most complicated of all model trains and might not be ideal for beginners.