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Have seen several great childhood train pics of youse guys scattered about in several threads (like Jim Sutter's excellent 'Thanksgiving' post) so how about consolidating them here?

My first shot is Christmas in New Orleans 1949 with my Gilbert Flyer PRR K5 no. 310 freight from a few years prior. Santa was a thrifty shopper in those days!  2nd is probably my last year before discovering Dad was really Santa here with our no. 360 Santa Fe PA plus a later B unit w/ diesel roar and a dummy A. Interesting that I only discovered this pic a few years ago.

Let's see yours!

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Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER
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Great pics...and nice to see the good, old lead/tin tinsel!! Much better than the c**P they sell nowadays.

Actually, my Mom would take it down carefully every year so we could use it again.  I remember getting hollered at if I messed it up.  Best to keep it off your tracks!! Those  were the days!

Ah, yes, we were also a "tinsel" family, and each year, we would open up the rolled-up newspaper pages that protected last year's tinsel. which had been removed piece by piece from the tree and aligned on the newsprint before being rolled up and saved for next year's tree. Some tinsel was always lost in the process, so each year we usually had a box or two of new tinsel to make up for the shortfall (especially if the new tree was bigger than the year before!).

So, the salvaged tinsel ranged from the oldest, mostly very heavy, very flexible (but probably toxic!) lead tinsel, up to the much lighter mylar plastic version. Most of it worked pretty well, and the trimming techniques varied with the type. My favorite was the lead tinsel, since you could hold a strand at one end, and whip the other across the target branch -- the tinsel was heavy enough to lock itself around the branch and hang its full length, while "lesser" tinsel needed to be supported more in the middle. About the only truly awful version was a crinkly and springy aluminum type we bought one year that was too light and too springy to drape in any realistic fashion. Needless to say, not much of that type got salvaged and saved!

Oh, and since we never placed our tree on my childhood layout (which was permanently mounted on a foot or foot and a half high platform), I never had to worry about tinsel shorting out the tracks!

Steve, I forgot about the rolled up newspaper!! We did that too. Easier than trying stuff in the box without getting yelled at. Maybe we were separated at birth....LOL. I do remember having my tracks shorted out. The  magnetic tape junk was full of static. Hard to hang and it followed your hands and clothes.

Did you also get whooped with wooden spoons. Back on the farm, everyone had a burn barrel. We used to burn my mother's wooden spoons though the summer one at a time, and then, lo and behold, wooden spoons  would appear on her Christmas list. Dad would take us shopping and guess what we would have to buy????

Buy, Burn, Repeat! That's what the instructions say...LOL

BTW, (slight topic hijack) I have my Russel plow all weighted down with lead to 25oz and will be ready for a test by sometime soon..watch for updates...

Last edited by endless tracks

Did you also get whooped with wooden spoons. Back on the farm, everyone had a burn barrel. We used to burn my mother's wooden spoons though the summer one at a time, and then, lo and behold, wooden spoons  would appear on her Christmas list. Dad would take us shopping and guess what we would have to buy????

Buy, Burn, Repeat! That's what the instructions say...LOL

Mmm, no, my folks weren't often into actual physical punishment, but we'd sometimes get verbal reminders that switching *was* an option if necessary, and sometimes it was deemed to be so (though there was typically a generational dispute about that!). Unfortunately, we had a willow tree growing in our front yard, so "Burn" wasn't really much of an option, even as a temporary respite . . .

Here is my first train set, still around the Christmas Tree...(Oh Yes...tin tinsel and we saved it!!)  Best I can tell it it was the 1947 brand new offering, outfit 2127WS, which cost $65 in 1947 (my inflation calculator says that is $930 in today's money).  How that my Dad and Mom could have afforded such a thing is really amazing.  (I had just passed my 3rd birthday at the time).

1947 Layout

Best Wishes and Happy Holidays

Don

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I'm the little one with my older brothers.  It says almost 2 yrs on the back of the picture so that makes it Christmas of 1962 making Gregory 7 and Tommy 6. I've still got that 2-4-2 with the whistling tender, and both of those cars along with several others.  That engine needs some work and so does the whistle.

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Here is my first train set, still around the Christmas Tree...(Oh Yes...tin tinsel and we saved it!!)  Best I can tell it it was the 1947 brand new offering, outfit 2127WS, which cost $65 in 1947 (my inflation calculator says that is $930 in today's money).  How that my Dad and Mom could have afforded such a thing is really amazing.  (I had just passed my 3rd birthday at the time).

1947 Layout

Best Wishes and Happy Holidays

Don

That fact that you were just 3 at the time tells me that Dad bought this for HIM - you were the excuse. Would imagine you had difficulty just lifting the locomotive easily/safely at 3 years old Don!  Lol.

Last edited by c.sam

@c.sam - HA!  Think you may be right.  However, from this point on...Lionel was under the tree at Christmas right up to about 1960.  Dad and I ended up with quite a layout although it remained a "Christmas" thing...went up just after Thanksgiving and came down right after New Year's.  Dad had 3 weeks vacation vice Mom who worked for the same company but was more junior and had only 2.  Dad used to "split" his 3rd week to put up and take down / pack away to the attic the trains every year.

Best Wishes

Don

Last edited by Don McErlean
@c.sam posted:

We would painstakingly remove and reuse the tinsel too!

Great topic, Sam. We were a lead tinsel on the tree family too, but we never saved it. My older brother and I were responsible for putting it on and taking it off. My brother would put it on one strand at a time while I would artistically toss small clumps at a time. In taking it off, we’d rush to see who could get the most off and make the biggest ball (which we’d then throw at each other!!!). Although we got our first train sets for Christmas in the early 60’s - our mother thought we should be about 6 or 7 so we could run them on our own - we never ran them under the tree. I’ve got to dig around… I know of at least one Christmas picture from the year I got my set.

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