History Of Lionel

Lionel, LLC, based in Michigan, designs as well as imports model railroads and toy trains. The history of Lionel, LLC can be traced back to 1900 when Lionel Corporation was founded as an electrical novelties company. The erstwhile American toy manufacturer and retailer was a specialist in making toy trains as well as model railroads. Harry C. Grant and Joshua Lionel Owen are the founders of the Lionel Corporation. The company’s first train model, the Electric Express, was intended to be displayed in front of stores and not for sale. Cowen’s intention of displaying the model in stores was to catch and direct public attention to the goods which were kept for sale. Contrary to his expectations, people started enquiring the possibility of buying the trains. This prompted Lionel Corporation to start making toy trains. The Lionel Corporation sold as many as 12 copies of the Electric Express. From 1915 onwards Lionel Corporation started following O gauge standard and by the time the World War I ended, the Lionel Corporation had established itself as a major toy train manufacturer in the U.S.

However, the great depression of the 1930s hurt Lionel Corporation badly and the company went into receivership in 1934. By 1942, the company stopped its toy production in order to manufacture nautical items for the U.S. Navy when World War II was going on. The Lionel Corporation restarted the production of Toy Trains after the World War II ended in 1945. The period from 1946 to 1956 was the golden period in the history of Lionel Corporation. In 1959, Cowen and his son sold off their stake in the company to Roy Cohn, grand nephew of Cowen. Despite Roy Cohn’s efforts to revive the company, the Lionel Corporation had to file for bankruptcy in 1967 despite buying its competitor American Flyer that went bankrupt a few months earlier. The Lionel Corporation sold the train line product dies and the brand name to General Mills, a cereal conglomerate. In 1986, Lionel was sold to Richard P. Kughn, toy-train collector and real estate developer. Lionel changed hands once again in 1995 and came to be known as Lionel, LLC. In November 2004, Lionel, LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company cited the USD 40 million judgments in the MTH lawsuit as the key factor. However, Lionel came out of bankruptcy fully by 2008.

Lionel’s Product Range

Train Sets ranging from ready-to-run to premium.Locomotives that come with headlights, operating whistles and couplers.Freight Cars.Operating Cars ranging from classic reissues to new designs.Passenger Cars including traditional and standard O passenger cars.Accessories such as tunnels, building, lamps, etc.SuperStreets vehicles as well as roadway trackPower & ControlTrack

Train Sets
Freight Promotional Set

This is one among the highly prized promotion sets that was sold through Sears in 1965. This conventional classic being offered by Lionel consists of six freight cars including auto carrier, milk car and culvert car as in the original set.
Anniversary Passenger Set

This set was originally introduced in 1950. The special reissue of this train includes the most popular version of the U.P. Alco that sports a grey nose and truck side frames.

Non-Powered B-Unit U.S. Marine Corps Alco

This is a rare military Alco. The U.S. Marine Corps Alco was originally produced in 1964 for J.C. Penney Co.

Freight Cars
LRRC Mercury Capsule Car (50th Anniversary)

New designs that are inspired by the original post war 1962 50th Anniversary Series.

Operating Cars
Bethlehem Steel Operating Hopper

This toy hopper can be used with the operating coal ramp or as an addition to any consist. The hopper comes with doors at the bottom of the two bays in order to allow falling of coal into a plastic bin that is kept below.

Passenger Cars
Amtrak Acela 2-Pack Add-On Passenger Set

The Amtrak Acela makes a comeback in 2012 into Lionel’s product list, featuring operating doors. This is an exact replica of the Amtrak Acela zooming at 150 miles per hour between Boston and Washington DC.

Railroad Crossing Flasher

When the train passes by, red lights flash.

SuperStreets Vehicles
Chatham Police Van

The Chatham Police Van comes in traditional O gauge and has a length of 4.5 inches.

Power and Control
LEGACY command set

This command set features a CAB-2 remote controller and a command base charger. One layout requires only one command base charger.

This is a 10 inches long straight track section.

Lionel currently markets products for several skill levels as well as those that suit a person’s budget. However, the collectible value is retained by the higher-end limited production as it was in the past. Some such products are the diesel and steam locomotives that are equipped with LEGACY. These are accurate and made-to-scale replicas of real life engines. In March 2012, the company released the first American Flyer exclusive catalog.

Lionel Train Sets

Lionel train sets are the gold standard in train sets. Lionel has a history as rich and diverse as the products that they offer. When you purchase a Lional train set, you are purchasing quality that will last down through the ages.

Lionel train sets have been around since the early 1900s, when they were first produced. The company was started by Joshua Lionel Cowen who was born and raised at the height of the fascination with trains. When this company came into existence trains were the wave of the future. It was how you traveled to get anywhere in a fashionable way. Trains have long been a part of the setting in of old westerns and novels, contributing to America’s love affair with the rails.

There are Lionel train sets for every time period from the 1900s on until present day. Each set of each time period depicts what trains were like at that time in very accurate detail. The amount of choices you have when you purchase one of these Lionel train sets is almost staggering. They have something for everyone. You will be able to find exactly what you want when you shop with this company because they offer it all.

Lionel train sets make wonderful gifts to give. They are a gift that the recipient will undoubtedly be able to pass down to their own children due to the superb quality of this brand. Many families have had these beloved train sets being passed down for years and years through the many different decades of time.

Lionel train sets also give a good opportunity for fathers and sons to bond while working on this activity. Mothers and daughters could enjoy it as well, or any combination of family members. Many a Sunday afternoon has been whittled away in part working on and in part admiring these train sets.

Many families have made it a tradition to use these trains as part of the decoration of their homes, especially around Christmas time. There is just nothing quite like a train at Christmas time, displayed around the tree.

These trains have a very technical aspect to them that will keep you learning as you go. You do not have to be an advanced learner to use them; the website for Lionel train sets has wonderful instructional videos for your convenience and also detailed written instructions to help you get the most out of your set. You can also personalize it any way you wish.

There are operating manuals for new Lionel train sets all the way back to the early editions. If you need repair done beyond your scope of expertise there are authorized service stations that are ready and willing to help you. After all, this is something you want to be able to treasure all your life so Lionel does it’s best to help you reach that goal. Every Lionel train set comes with a warranty to insure the product. Lionel knows the quality of it’s product and is ready and willing to back it.

You can’t choose a better gift than this.

Simple Lionel Train Layouts

A big part of the fun of owning a Lionel train set is in creating the miniature world within which your toy trains will travel. Lionel train layouts can be as simple as using what comes right out of the box, or they may be as complex as your imagination allows. They are like tiny slices of life that reflect your individual personality and your view of the world.

The first step to creating a layout for your model train set is to have a vision of what you want your world to look like. When you have this mental model of your planned track, the next step is to find the space for it. If you have a huge, relatively unused basement where you can build in, then good for you. But if you don’t, then you will have to find an ideal spot within your home — preferably one where there is not much foot traffic — that can accommodate a layout of at least 4 x 6 1/2 feet. That means you can build virtually anywhere — on the living room floor, in a den, in an unused part of the kitchen, even on a platform that slides out from under your bed.

Laying out the track comes next, and even within a small space there are a number of imaginative ways you can do this. The simplest layout consists of two concentric oval tracks, with the outer track using 42-inch diameter curves and the inner track using 31 or 36 inch diameter curves. This setup can run two trains simultaneously, and can easily fit into a 4 x 6 1/2 feet area, and may also be expanded to include double crossover switches later on.

Another fun layout consists of a 54-inch oval with a figure eight track of 42s and four 54s, and a 31-inch diameter circle within one of the loops of the figure eight. This layout can run three trains and fits in a five x nine feet space. You can also create a double figure eight layout that is perfect to begin with on the floor. The main loop consists of 42-inch curves while both the smaller loops can be made from 31s.

If you own the large Lionel locomotives and have at least six x nine feet of space, you can build a 72-inch oval with a 72-inch extension arc and two smaller inner ovals, one 54 and the other one a 42. You will be able to run the largest Lionel trains on this track.

There is no end to the variety and functionality of the track layouts you build. Whatever you imagine, you can build. Just make sure you have available space and access to electrical power. From these basic layouts, you can scale up to build more sophisticated and challenging tracks for your trains to run. You can also think about decorating your layout with the appropriate buildings and landscapes.

The rewards of building a world for your Lionel train set is unbelievable. The challenge of designing the layout and the creative fun of building and decorating the tracks can mean endless hours of fun for you and your visitors.

Lionel Polar Express Train Set

The Lionel Polar Express Train Set is an enchanting replica inspired by the award winning book and popular animated film, The Polar Express. As you would expect from the Lionel company, who have been crafting train sets since the first world war, the attention to detail is quite remarkable. They have managed to combine expert craftsmanship and beautiful styling in a precision made, engineering marvel, that evokes a lifelike experience of a bygone era. Ideal for children and adults alike, this magnificent train set is an ideal gift that will provide many hours of fun and excitement. It is available in two distinct versions, the G-Gauge and the O-Gauge.

G-Gauge Version

This version of the train set is made from plastic and is recommended for ages four and upwards. Quick and easy to setup, it can be operated using a 9.6v rechargeable battery, or with the six C batteries included in the set. It comes with a specially designed remote control for small hands, making it easy for kids to operate the forward and backwards controls and the realistic sound effects. The track consists of 16 pieces, 4 straight and 12 curved that are easily assembled to create an oval of 72 inches by 55 inches. The train itself is a finely detailed Berkshire steam locomotive with a red and blue passenger coach and an observation car. It has fixed knuckle couplers, full working headlight and authentic sounding whistles and bell rings. There are several characters included with this set, including a conductor and a boy, plus a hobo that is fixed on the observation car but will disappear for added fun.

O-Gauge Version

This is a die-cast metal version of Berkshire steam locomotive that is recommended for ages eight and upwards. While this model is also quick and easy to setup, it comes with a transformer to control forward, neutral and backward operations, with the train requiring to be charged up before use. The track size when assembled is oval in shape and measures in at 60 inches by 40 inches. The locomotive engine and tender have a dark matte finish and are followed by two blue and red lighted coach cars, with silhouettes used in the windows to give the impression of passengers. Four figures are included that have been modeled from characters from the film, complete with moveable heads and arms, as well as bendable joints and waists, allowing them to be positioned in a variety of different locations across the set. One impressive feature of this version is the smoke fluid that can be added, so that the locomotive puffs out smoke as it chugs along the track. Another nice touch is the realistic steam whistle sounds that omit from the air whistle in the tender. Additional track pieces can be purchased and added on, allowing for the imagination to expand and personalize this set into something truly spectacular over the years to come.

Both versions of this remarkeable train set offer hours of endless fun and imaginative play from well crafted parts and detailed design, that has been built to last. When a limited budget may dictate the set you purchase, the G-Gauge version may well be the choice that meets your requirements. However, if you are looking for the feel and realism of the actual Berkshire steam locomotive, that is the Polar Express, then the O-Gauge version both delivers and exceeds all expectations.

Lionel Christmas Train Set

Lionel produces a new Lionel Christmas Train Set occasionally, like every few years. This is one reason why they are so cherished. In addition to the quality parts and the beauty that they emanate at Christmas time, a Lionel Christmas Train Set means “holiday train fun” at Christmas. The splendor of imagination combined with a Lionel train around a Christmas tree summons nostalgia, and Lionel has never disappointed. They have continued to offer loads of great time-honored Christmas train sets for years.

Lionel has not earned such a well-established reputation by sitting on their laurels; they have managed to sustain an up-to-date image while maintaining excellence. For example, in 2004 Lionel introduced the stimulating Polar Express train inspired by the movie of the same title. This set consists of a huge, sturdy, superb-quality locomotive that whistles along with double-lighted commuter cars with illuminating shadows highlighting settings from the actual movie! For additional realism, posing characters are part of the complete milieu. In 2005, a Lionel Christmas Train Set called the White Wonderland was featured to be replaced by the Holiday Tradition set around 2007. A Lionel Christmas Train Set is also magnificent fun because many of the various trains and cars are compatible as well.

A Christmas Story is not complete without a Lionel Christmas Train Set. Imagine a play village animated with a moving Lionel steam locomotive puffing-smoke pulling vibrantly colored freight cars, all in the beauty of your own home. Take pleasure in blasting the whistle to warn the village that a train is rolling down the tracks. It is all aboard for holiday fun with your Lionel Christmas Train Set.

Lionel Christmas Train Sets have everything you need to make your Christmas Holiday memorable. From vivid die-cast locomotives circling your Christmas tree, accompanied by a boxcar playing your much-loved Christmas carols, to a cable-car tugging snow covered pine trees chugging along to the spirit of Christmas, that’s what a Lionel Christmas Train Set is all about. It’s the ideal way to announce “Merry Christmas” to your loved ones.

For most of the 20th century, a Lionel Christmas Train Set has been the best Christmas locomotive a kid or adult could ask for. A Lionel Christmas Train Set offers oodles of fun for the whole family. Certainly, Lionel trains can be displayed the whole year. However, with the tradition of many people presenting Lionel train sets around Christmas time, a well-loved Christmas tradition has been established. Therefore, a Lionel Christmas Train Set is as popular as ever and touches the heart of any train collector or hobbyist.

That said, the exquisiteness of a Lionel Christmas Train Set has prevailed because of the quality, uniqueness, and dedication a company like Lionel has sustained. Lionel train sets invoke a magnitude of vision while embracing the magnificence of practicality. If you love to have a train set circling your tree at Christmas time, a Lionel Christmas Train Set is it! When the founder of Lionel, Joshua Lionel Cowen, inaugurated the company in 1900, he witnessed the vibrancy of American technology and sophistication. Is there any wonder why a Lionel Christmas Train Set has become a hallmark of the American Christmas season?