Trainmaster

When he’s not taking care of a majestic marshaling of toy trains, Graham Claytor gets to play with the real thing

The spare and vigorous gentleman on the opposite page, William Graham Claytor, Jr., superintending the departure of a local out of South Sun-Porch Station, D.C., at his brick house in Georgetown, is the only man in Washington, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, who runs two big passenger railroads. His other layout is the twenty-five thousand miles, more or less, of Amtrak, with headquarters a few miles away at the newly restored Union Station.Read more »

Lionel

For generations the name was as closely associated with Christmas as Santa Claus

Around 1900, when electrified toy trains were in their infancy, a battery-powered railroad car appeared in the show window of Robert Ingersoll’s novelty store on Cortlandt Street in downtown Manhattan. It wasn’t intended as a toy. Rather, the little car that tirelessly circled its loop of track was meant to draw attention to the other items on display.

A rapturous recipient of both freight and passenger sets powered by GG1 locomotives, as pictured in the company’s 1948 catalogue.
 
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Lionel’s 10 Greatest

A roster of the company’s most desirable products

One prominent Lionel enthusiast and collector, Michael Shames, thinks these are the company’s greatest classics.

1. 20th Century Limited set: This set first appeared in the 1931 catalogue with a 400E steam locomotive, tender, and three passenger cars, each of which carried the name of a state. Read more »

How To Catch A Train

You can buy a handsome vintage Lionel car for less than $100 today, but many desirable engines and sets sell for four-figure prices. Occasionally something soars much higher. This past autumn Stout Auctions, which specializes in toy and model trains, sold a superb example of the Lionel 20th Century Limited set characterized by cream trim around the windows of its four green cars, a great rarity. The buyer paid $253,000, in part because the set included not only the box for each piece but also the carton in which they were originally packed.Read more »