Here are a few photos from our Department 56 Christmas villages with trains.
The first is North Pole Village, then Dickens Village (that’s the John Bull from Lionel Historic Rail) followed by Christmas in the City Village.
The villages are all behind glass (final photo) and over the years nothing has made us happier than having to clear tiny finger and nose smudges left by children (a few over 80) laying on the floor and gazing thru the lowest level of glass (home for the North Pole—Santa’s— Village) to watch the trains and animation.
The collection includes every item Department 56 has made over the years (more than 1,000 ceramic buildings plus many more accessories and residents) plus O gauge trains and has finally outgrown the space we have.
So the entire collection of trains and buildings is moving to the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley, Colorado where, as soon as their fundraising covers construction of an expansion to house the buildings with lots more trains, everything will be on display year-round.
As the Colorado Model Railroad Museum executive director often says, “what goes together better than Christmas and model trains?”
“I don’t have a Christmas layout, but I sure have a Christmas memory.
It was 1956; I was 8 years old. We had opened all our presents, or so I thought. I was quite happy with my “haul”. Then my mother said, “Oh, Bob, I think you missed one…” Well, of course, she had snuck an envelope under the tree with my name on it.
Inside was a bit of doggerel my Dad had written. It directed me to some location in the house (it was a biggish house: two full floors, plus a basement and attic). There was a wrapped box, containing the Lionel “Texas Chief”, along with another bit of doggerel, directing me to another spot. There I found another wrapped box, with the “B” unit for the Texas Chief.
This treasure hunt went on for awhile, until I had a whole train.
I said something like, “All we need now is a layout.” Dad smiled and took me into the dining room. There was a completed 4’x8′ layout he had secretly built in the basement over the past few weeks!
Some might complain that we should have had the experience of building it all together, but I was thrilled with the instant gratification of running trains right then and there. I had many hours of happiness with that layout for many years.
It also instilled a love of model railroading in me. I hung onto that whole set until both my parents passed away, and we cleared out the house. I brought it all back to NYC, where I now live, and eventually sold the Lionel to bankroll my new N scale layout, on which I have been working since I retired a couple of years ago.
Santa Special: There’s a lot of coal in those 5 hoppers, somebody must’ve been bad.
The D&RG is pulling a couple WP boxcars, returning to origin?
The WP is pulling special duty with Rio Grande rolling stock.
Reindeer must be in the stock car, kinda cramped as one car had to be taken out of service with a bad coupler.
A huge thanks to Bob, John and Robert for spreading the Christmas cheer.
Really enjoyed Robert’s story and old black and white picture – really does the capture the joy of Christmas.
Please do leave a comment below if you’d like to add anything.
That’s all for today folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here, if you want to stop dreaming, and start doing.
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