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Dedicated to Standard Gauge toy trains, collecting, operating, discussions and photographs of old and new Standard Gauge production, Standard Gauge manufacturers, engines, rolling stock, transformers, layouts, and accessories.
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"Standard Gauge, as the term applies in model railroading, was conceived in 1906 by an enterprising young inventor and entrepreneur named Joshua Lionel Cohen, founding father of the Lionel Manufacturing Co. - an American institution whose name became synonymous with toy trains. Cowen had launched his electric toy train business in 1900 with large 2-7/8" Gauge powered gondolas and trolleys, but he soon opted to create a 'Standard' size of electric train in an effort to preempt competition from other toy train manufacturers, both in the U.S. and abroad. Lionel's Standard Gauge trains were big , much like their European counterparts, but the track upon which Cowen's trains operated measured a unique 2-1/8" between the running rails, thereby assuring that locmotives and cars produced by competitors would not be compatible unless they were manufactured to conform to his self-proclaimed 'Standard.'...
As Standard Gauge approaches its centennial anniversary, it can truly be said that these beautiful toy trains are not only alive, but that they're doing quite well for their age. And that bodes well for the future of these action-packed playthings from our past and present!"
- Riddle, Peter H. America's Standard Gauge Electric Trains. Forward by Mike Wolf. Introduction by Allan W. Miller. Edited by Allan W. Miller and Gay Riddle. Dubuque: Antique Trader Books, 1998, pp.8-9.
STANDARD GAUGE PHOTO GALLERY
Photos contributed by members of the Standard Gauge mailing list. All photographs are © Copyright by the owners.
Layout Photo #1 - I am about to build a new layout which will feature a standard gauge outer loop with a couple of O gauge inner loops. The focus will be on color, action, and fun, with a slant to prewar, on an approx 12' > x 13' table top. I'm enclosing the very start of the design phase which my 8 year old son David was helping me with. We have the floor marked off as to where the table will go after the room is finished. Needless to say I'm quite excited about it all. Best of luck with the new website. If you're into Hornby at all check out my site at http://web.mit.edu/ldsteve/Public/NAHShome.htm
Layout Photo #1 - A a photo, not small I'm afraid but it is what is scanned, of my Standard Gauge floor layout at Christmas. The photo was taken for my Dec. 97 article in CTT. Have bought another house and moved since photo was taken and trains are packed away while renovating. I'll see if I can locate the box with more train photos sometime soon.
Layout Photo #1 - A mixture of prewar Standard Gauge accessories and "O" gauge. Ron put up an "O" gauge layout for Xmas 99 instead of Standard.
Layout Photo #2 - The elevation is a Lionel #135 Large Elevation ca 1924-28. The large trees, on the elevation, are Lionel's #505 Oaks. None of the pieces are repaints or reproductions, except for the smoke stack on the Ives Power House.
I live in a city rowhouse so my Standard Gauge layout is very small, just 4' X 8!' But this was about the same size as Lionel's #199 "Scenic Railway," a layout package complete with scenery and accessories offered in the 1924 through 1927 Lionel catalogs. My layout theme is an attempt to simulate the #199 scenic railway with home-made scenery and hand-painted backgrounds done for me by my domestic partner Dan Evans, who is an artist and professor of art history. The scenery and backdrops compliment my small but growing collection of original accessories. I focus on acquiring those accessories that would have been included with the original scenic railway package.
Layout Photo#1 - Standard Gauge trains are big and colorful. Featured here is a Lionel 384E stopped at a #134 station.
Layout Photo #2 - Lionel #61,#58 & #59 lamp posts, #60 telegraph poles, #184 & #191 bungalows all were included with the #199 scenic railway.
Layout Photo #3 - In the foreground, a #77 automatic crossing gate and a #69 warning signal. In the backgraound, a #57 "Main & Broadway" lamp post, a #120 painted tunnel, and to the right, a #090 signal tower perched atop my home-made elevation - all a part of the #199 scenic railway.
Elevation Construction Photo #1 - Construction detail of the center elevation of the #199 scenic railway. 1/4" luan plywood makes "cookie-cutting" easy with a jig saw, and the thin plywood and 1" x 3" pine are easy to work with.
Finished Elevation Photo #2 - The finished elevation after plastering and painting. The lamp posts and bungalows are all wired and fixed in place.
402 CAB COLOR
This is a great old engine that I bought on EBAY. It was in rough shape, barely running, when I got it. What I tried to do with it is preservation, not restoration. I completely disassembled, cleaned, and re-wired it. While I was working on it I found some interesting peculiarities. It is an early 402 with hook couplers. It appears that the paint is original Lionel mojave over dark green which might mean that the unit was some sort of early color sample or prototype in dark green later re-painted mojave by the factory. Both super motors needed to be disassembled, cleaned and correctly re-wired. A pendulum e-unit was removed from one super motor. One super motor had its axles re-bushed. All brass and nickel was removed, polished, lacquered, and re-installed. The cab and frame were cleaned of rust and dirt and the cab was lightly waxed thus preserving the likely original factory mojave exterior over dark green (inside and out) paint. The original dual-reverse mechanism which was disabled was re-wired to the motors. What a great running engine!
Roberts' Lines (East Rochester, NY) offers a standard gauge challenger in kit form ($1,549 plus shipping - 1999 catalog price). Per the brochure, the completed locomotive measures nearly 5' in length and weighs almost 65 pounds. Motors are supplied by the purchaser who has the option of gauging to either Standard or #1 gauge, and using two axle BAL motors with a dummy axle or using three axle McCoy motors if they are available I believe this model requires 72" minimum radius, and is designed primarily for the garden railroad followers, or for those indoor folks with large houses. These photos are scans of photos of the Roberts' Lines Challenger, one showing the whole photo and one showing the 5-rail track.. The scans (from Robert's Lines) shows the Challanger running on five rail track. This track is also available from Roberts' Lines and allows one to run either "O" or "STD" gauge on your garden layout. This Challenger will probably be similar to the rumored Lionel Gauge Challenger if it ever materializes. Roberts' Lines also offers a Rich-Art McKeen Gas Motor Car, which is also interesting as well as shorter and less expensive.
Engine Photo #1- This locomotive is an Ives 1134 President Washington from 1927. Modeled after the B&O President class, It was a one year only (cast iron, green 4-4-0). although the top of the line that year it was replaced by Ives new die-cast 1134 in 1928. Actually 1928 was a bad year for Ives, in debt and owing quite a bit of money they didn't get their new die cast locomotives till after the date they needed to ship for Christmas so they borrowed the casting from the 1927 green engine, painted it black and stuck it in several of the sets they shipped out for Christmas 1928, but that's another story and a very rare locomotive.
Here you see the Detroit Leeland monorail, Lionel race cars, Lionel 408 with pass cars going through a Marklin tunnel and over a Lionel Hellgate, and various German steam toy accessories. That's an original Mayflower on the top shelf and my pipe bowl in the lower right hand corner......the pipe is original too! Marklin stations with Ives glass dome platform. I found the Mayflower at York last October. The Monorail was a real find at "Buzz and Norma Ray's auction about three years ago. It was an estate sale from an old guy (that passed away) who got it new when he was a little kid!! Attached is a picture of a little kid in a candy store!
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(Original page 02/08/00, last update 10/20/05)