Collecting model trains

I think we all start collecting model trains when start this hobby.

But Brad has taken it to another level as you’ll see:

“My brother is an avid collector of pre-war toy trains, and has a large layout at his home.

Brad lives in Topeka, Kansas. He owns a three story house where he has some layouts going as well as rooms filled with his collection.

I think his wife suggested that he should find another location for his trains or else!

His layout has been featured in a toy train collectors magazine, and recently the local television station featured his “train house “.

He loves to use his extensive collection of rare parts and his vast knowledge of antique trains to repair peoples childhood trains that they find in attics, so they and their grandchildren can enjoy them.

Here are a few pictures, the knowledgeable will recognize that each room (and I am not showing all of them) contains an era or type of toy train.

He showed me a few of his favorites that were very old, rare, and still in their boxes, but I just couldn’t get pictures of everything!


collecting model trains

collecting model trains

collecting model trains

model train collection

model train collection

model train collection

A big thanks to Greg for sharing.

The thing about collecting model trains is I suspect it’s rather infectious, which is why we all have our own ‘mini’ collections.

A lot of us can’t bear to get rid of some locos, carriages and track because of the memories they hold.

I’ve lost count of the posts that use fifty year old engines that are still going strong.

Whenever I see such beautiful old train nostalgia, I always think of Hugh’s post:

“Hi Alastair, Enjoy looking at your site.

I like prewar 0 gauge tin plate mainly. So I built this layout for my Great Northern Railway trains. It is based on the 1956 Marx Rocky Mountain Express set and modified to represent the Glacier National Park area.

Most everything is from 1939 into the WWII era when tin toys stopped being produced. All the buildings are card board or wood.

The trains are custom painted Marx plus a set of wooden kit passenger cars that look like the trains GNR operated circa 1939. It is on a 71” x 40” coffee table.

We live in a Victorian house built in 1890 near Glacier Park. So I built a small table top layout that is like the ones Lionel sold in the 1920s and 30s. It is part of the living room furniture.

I some times run Ives, Hornby and Bing tin plate on it. The blue train is a Dorfan 53 with a Lionel motor, an AF mail car and 2 607 type Lionel coaches.

Some of the buildings are tin copies of German ones. I made them smaller to better fit the overall 0-27 scale.

This is one small loop and works good for clock work trains, too. It started out fairly simple and grew.

Hugh, Montana.”

Vintage O scale

O scale tin model railroad

vintage O scale model railroad

O scale vintage lionel model railroad

O scale collectors lionel model railroad

O scale collectors lionel model railroad

Hope it’s been pleasant trip down memory lane (I adore the poster pic).

Please do leave a comment below if you have a loco you can’t bear to part with.

Back to normal tomorrow!

Keep ’em coming.

And if Hugh has you hankering to dig out your old locos, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

25 Responses to Collecting model trains

  1. Greg Marples says:

    I wanted to clarify that the large layout that has O and Standard gauges together and has all the cars an locomotives displayed on the surrounding walls is at Brad’s home, the unfinished layout, two more nice ones that weren’t included here, and the rooms full of trains are at a separate old house he has just for trains. Brad has devoted himself to learning from the old timers in the hobby, often preserving their collections of parts, tools, manuals, and of course trains, along with their knowledge and expertise that would otherwise have been lost. It is fascinating to listen to him talking about toy trains from the past, his love of them is.infectious.

    Greg Marples

  2. Stephen Hill says:

    That is remarkable ! What an amazing task, hats off indeed . One question … who does the dusting ? Truly an inspiration to younger generations to follow . Am glad to see all those trains restored and beautified . Trains rock .

  3. This IS the BEST display and collection I have ever seen!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!

  4. Rob McCrain says:

    Wow, my mother’s nightmare. 😉

  5. Bob in Michigan says:

    Amazing collection! Perhaps my Lionel stuff is in his collection…sigh!

  6. John says:

    Now that’s what I call a collection!

  7. Old Ben says:

    just wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  8. Richard Boles says:


  9. Erick says:

    Looks great.!!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  10. Allen says:

    I love the vintage O and Standard trains and accessories. This amazing collection really brings back a ton of childhood memories. Thank you for sharing it.

  11. Jim M says:

    Wow what a collection the best I have ever seen it’s like a small museum

  12. Ron Mischke says:

    Awesome collection, the rooms remind me of James N. collection of Marx trains in Leavenworth, Kansas.

  13. ROGER TURNER says:

    Obviously, a labor of love and dedication. Love it when a hobbyist ” goes all in ”
    What a fantastic collection.

    Roger in Kansas

  14. Wow! What a wonderful collection. Seeing everything brings back many great memories of time gone by. Thank you.

  15. Great trains, accompanying structures !! Hope there are younger enthusiasts coming along to keep this gems alive. One question: isn’t it proper storage of engines to store them on their sides to prevent weight off wheels and gears ?

  16. Franny says:

    Wow what a collection, both my brothers and I loved the trains and so did my Dad.Thank you for sharing!

  17. Greg Marples says:

    You may have noticed the lack of dust, Brad is the cleanest person I know, not sure how he does it! They even had a cat for many years. His workshop is dusty from all the grinding and polishing, I suppose. He works on the rusty ones for people, not just pristine collectibles. As for storing them on their sides, you would have to ask him, but I know he runs his trains, and has just about every wheel, gear or other part in stock. You didn’t see those pictures as stacks of trays and bins aren’t pretty to look at. He has presses and original testing stations and a “catalog” of sleeved and bound together technical manuals that must be near seven feet long. You could put it all on an IPad now, but it was a master train repairman’s bible until he passed it on to Brad.

  18. jacin mueller says:

    Pure beauty , like the Ward ad , may have to try that track plan , Thx

  19. My goodness what a wonderful collection! My collection of models and toys of all gauges pales in comparison to this. I do run HO gauge and have nearly 70 grain hopper cars, however.
    Greetings from Milwaukee!

  20. Dewey Reinhard says:

    Fantastic collection, brings back memories of my first Lionel train set.

  21. W. Irwin says:

    If mine, would be sleeping on layout table in the middle. Man, what a collection!

  22. Bob says:

    But the question remains, does he like trains?

  23. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Just outstanding to see O scale, Great collection Just awesome!! Join OGR Forum think you will enjoy, share that on our Forum God Speed All Remember are Fallen This weekend God Speed!

  24. Len Padalino says:

    Great collection. I’m still working on mine.

  25. David Schaffner says:

    I’m a little lost for words after all the kind comments of this fabulous collection of priceless gems..
    I collected Lionel fifty years ago and had a considerable amount of what you see in his collection including some pre-war stuff…
    Love the oil derricks and an array of different trains that I had never saw before.
    When I got married and started having kids, I had to work two jobs, so, there went the trains…I remember selling them for a paltry sum compared to what they would have been worth today………………….Happy mode railroading!

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