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I believe the appropriate word for the #45 and #145 Gateman Accessories is "iconic".  There are relatively few items that achieve "iconic" status.  The ZW, the Santa Fe F3, the Operating Milk Car, a bottle of smoke pellets, and the Operating Gateman all fit that category.

I understand the OP is in England, and may not have as much quick access to the knowledge base that we do, but caveat emptor.

Jon

....and in case you don't remember what fun that guy was/is....read on

By 1981, word of my annual living room train show, which began in earnest in 1977, had been passed around the water cooler at work.  As a result people would start dropping by my desk in the early part of November, first to ask if I was planning to run trains and then, when I answered in the affirmative, to ask if they could be added to the list of possible visitors.

    Close to the end of the third week in December Paul, one of my co-workers, dropped by and asked if it might be possible to bring his son over to see them.  His boy was about 6 years old and had been deaf since birth.  He mentioned that, at the moment, they were having a very difficult time with him at home with respect to behavior but he assured me he thought he could keep his son under control.  Since Paul was built like a tank I figured he could make good on his assurance so we agreed to get together the following evening.

  Paul came over and, after putting their coats in the hall closet, the three of us walked into the living room.  At the first sight of the expanse of trains and track, Paul gave a sharp intake of breath and quickly reached down and clamped his huge arms around his son, effectively immobilizing his arms and legs.  I sat down, looked his son in the eye, and pointed to the train on the outermost loop and started it rolling.  Paul picked his son up and cradled him so that his head was down close to the train so his son could get the sensation of having it rush by.  Before I started up the second one I again pointed to it and then started it rolling.  Paul mentioned that, for the first time ever, his son wasn't squirming.  I told him that, if he thought everything was OK, we could try just letting his son sit next to me.  Paul set his son next to me and positioned himself so that he could grab him if need be - his son didn't move a muscle.

  When I reached the point in the "show" where I turned on the gateman (it was just inside the first loop of track right next to his son)  I pointed to the house just before the train brought him out.  Paul's son was completely entranced at the sight of the man popping out of the shack.  I think it is safe to say that never before or since has that accessory had a more appreciative audience. Every time the train would approach he would lean over just a little and watch intently and every time the gateman popped out, he would give it a little smile.

  We ran trains for a little more than an hour.  I finished the "show' and invited Paul and his son into the kitchen for some Christmas cookies and some punch.  I was just reaching for the cookies when Paul's son reached up and took me by the hand and gently led me back to the living room.  He stood for a second and then made a sweeping gesture with his free hand and looked me in the eye.  I nodded and sat down in front of the transformers.  Paul's son immediately sat down next to me and gestured once again to the layout.  I started everything up and we ran trains. At the end of 3 hours Paul signed to his son that it was time to go.  He got up, put on his coat, and, just before he left,  he walked back to the living room and gave the Carpet Central a long last look. We never did get to those cookies and punch.

... Ever since, every time I pull old #45/145 out and run him, the first thing I think of is Paul's son.

AND THAT is what it is REALLY all about! Pure HAPPINESS!

Personally, I'm stunned that this diatribe managed to generate a thread three pages long!  Gee, it's an inexpensive operating accessory that was designed long before our obsession with "scale" sizes, it was built for kids!  I think Robert's post captured the true essence of the situation.  I hope that given the right context, accessories like this can capture a little of the kid in each of us.

For goodness sake Mannyrock, if it's that disappointing, just get rid of it!  I'm sure there someone that will appreciate it.

John,

I'm not surprised at all.  Folks like discussing, either pro, con or neutral, different opinions on old school, long standing, classic train items.   It is a nice break from the typical,  "Will the new XYZ Engine have a zig/zag blue tooth Apple app."   Or, the "I can't get the Control Command in my new $400 engine to turn the passenger voices on when the engine backs up."

Even though I proposed that the thread be over, people still enjoy commenting and adding their memories about this simple classic item.

Mannyrock

I think your Gateman is from 1969.

I'm no expert but the 6-2145 number got me thinking. It's not the 45N or the 145 but 6-2145. Post war by 1 year. I don't know about your piece but it's common knowledge that the man is huge. and with the 45n or the 145 there's a light that shines from the outside floor giving the effect the lantern is lit. The 45N I think was partly prewar carried over to postwar.

@Scrambler81 posted:

FBB7E03B-1DBE-4FDF-AB80-56CB520E67FC32542535-D1FC-4FA2-BBF5-D41906634AE3This one is an anniversary edition, and the guy is nicely detailed. I was actually hoping to find the Thomas and Friends version, just for something different, but I got a great deal on this one at Allentown.

Do you operate this one? I have this plus a post war version. I understand the new ones with the DC motor drive are fragile with the motor burning out is short order. Looks nice though.

I had to add a full wave bridge and capacitor to tame the hum on my post war version. I had it my Christmas layout one year and the buzz was just too much. Now its much more tolerable.

Pete

@Norton posted:

Do you operate this one? I have this plus a post war version. I understand the new ones with the DC motor drive are fragile with the motor burning out is short order. Looks nice though.

I had to add a full wave bridge and capacitor to tame the hum on my post war version. I had it my Christmas layout one year and the buzz was just too much. Now its much more tolerable.

Pete

Yes, it is on my basement layout, so he gets a lot of work. I think he has been there about 5 years now. I actually had a perfect Marx gateman there originally. Sadly, I was working on something deeper in the layout, and when I stood up I dragged my hand too low. Broke off the danged gate, and about broke my heart.

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