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I was recently given some tinplate cars that a family member had found at a yard sale for really cheap. The lot included a 1679 Baby Ruth boxcar, 1680 Sunoco tanker, and a 1682 caboose. While my primary focus is not tinplate, it was very thoughtful and they compliment the tinplate that I have from my grandfather. Of my grandfather's, I have a 296 boxcab electric, 805 boxcar, a different style 1680 Sunoco tanker, and three 600 series cars which he painted blue in the 50s. (The family member who found the cars was the previous owner of the my grandfathers trains hence recognized the tinplate style of trains). I'm fortunate to also have a few other tinplate items from my other grandfather but I digress...

I'm curious as to what Lionel's relationship was with Sunoco and Baby Ruth. I'm aware of the lithographed cars from the prewar era, as well as the post-war 6004 boxcar. Did Lionel have a corporate relation with these companies? How were these companies chosen? I know sunoco was a big corporations/ house-hold-name back in the day; nonetheless why these and not other companies or road-names like prr, nyc, atsf, up, etc? 

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Tinplate Art: When I returned to my native Dallas Texas after a three year hitch with the US Army Transporation Corps (1964-67) I hired out on The Katy as a mudhop (yard clerk).  When I had a chance to fullfill my dream and switch boxcars instead, the SP hired me placing me on the Cotton Belt employee list.  By 67 the SSW had been moved to the SP Miller Yard in Dallas with the SSW downtown yard downgraded to car storage for local industry switching.

With not enough senority to hold any regular job and with too many men holding down the extra board as well, I was cut off.  I quit and went to work for the US Army Air Force Exchange Service which had relocated from New York to Dallas.  I received a telephone call from Kenneth E. Dafft, the SSW station agent in Carrollton (N. of Dallas) informing me the SSW wanted me to come back to work as a switchman albeit in Ft. Worth.  This was in 1968.

So I started working on the Cotton Belt again.  This was great until I was cut off again after three months.  I was told by a couple of SSW men that the Ft. Worth & Denver as well as the Santa Fe were hiring switchmen.  I talked with the ATSF Ft. Worth division personnel chief and he hired me, telling me to report to the E. Dallas General Yardmaster Dale Reynolds, who told me to mark up on the extra board which I did.  I remained with ATSF from 1968 until my move to Germany in 1976.

Having been employed with the M-K-T, SSW, and ATSF, Katy machinest Avery F. Von Blon Jr., who ran a book store on the side in Waco gave me the moniker Trinity River Bottoms Boomer since I hailed from Dallas where the Trinity River runs through.  The name stuck and has til this day.

I made good on the name, hiring out on the Deutsche Bundesbahn in 1979 until retirement in 2010 off Deutsche Bahn.  I worked as a switchman/brakeman, moving to service rep at the Nuremberg main passenger station until I retired.  Visit the Railroad Evangelist Assn. website and go to links where you can read the Summer 2015 issue of All Aboard magazine (the official REA publication) where editor Joe Spooner ran an artical about me on page eight and nine.

The rest is history!  Hope this helps?

Joseph Toth Jr.

Tinplate Art: I learned German while stationed here with the USATC.  I was assigned to the German Army Transport Office Ansbach (Verkehrskommandantuer Ansbach) in Bavaria, Middle Franconia, 44 km from Nuremberg.   I arrived here in January 1965, an 18 year old GI!  It was still a steam locomotive mecca, though I also enjoyed watching the Diesel and electric power as well.  By the time I returned in December 76, steam had been withdrawn from Bavaria other than steam specials of course.  Two major trunk lines crossed here in Ansbach.  Lots and lots of trains ran 24/7 in those days.

I did visit the LGB factory.  I was invited to attend an open house by Rainer Knoch, good friend and owner of Modellbahn Ritzer.  (Note the two l's in modell!)  His shop is in Nuremberg and he offers new, used, vintage, collectable, trains and vehicles.  Take a look at  Rainer speaks English.

Now with Type II Dibetes I pretty much lay off the beer.  I still drink non-alcoholic beer when our son takes us out to eat.  If the guesthouse serves Gutman Bier that's my choice today.  I used to drink "Das Gute Zirndorfer" back in the 80s.  Zirndorf is a village just west of Nuremberg and was once on the Biebertalbahn (Beaver Valley Ry.), a DB branchline, since abandoned by the Dumb A** DB.  Now busses do the honors of polluting the air where V100 Diesel roadswitchers equipped w/steam generators once ran.

Item: We also had a Tucher brewery here in Ansbach but when it shut down a number of years ago, some dude in the U.S.A. bought the "guts" of the factory and it was shipped somewhere in America, unknown to me.  I never did a Google search.  Guess the history is somewhere to be found on the web?

This has made me thursty.  Despite my Type II, I'm going to drink the rest of the Coke (Reg.U.S.Pat.Off.) that I started yesterday.  It's in a REAL honest to goodness GLASS bottle no less!

Guten Tag!



Just reading this has brought back many good memories from my time in Germany... where I was re-bitten by the train bug and have never bothered to find a "cure."  Although I was in the Air Force, I spent quite some time on board the US Army Duty Train that ran between Frankfurt and Berlin on a fairly regular basis.  BTW:  That's also where I developed a fondness for Hefeweizen - something I now brew in my spare time  

Pre-War Steve:  Heim gemachte Hefeweizen?  Sehr gut Herr!  Spitze!

Re: USAF.  My dad joined the Army Air Corps in 1935.  He took part in the Berlin Air Lift.  Also the infamous Nazi war crime trials in Nuremberg since he spoke German and several other languages. 

Did the US Army Duty Train have an on board canteen?  The Canadian Army troop trains did!

Last edited by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

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