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@FrankRazz posted:

My first train set was a 1949 Christmas present for my brother and me.  My Mother took us to Madison Hardware in Manhattan and carried the train set, in the subway, back to our apartment in Brooklyn.  The set was a Lionel 224 steam engine with a few freight cars, a Milk Car, an operating becon, a transfprmer, and some track.

No doubt some great memories there!

"Santa" brought myDad and I the Lionel set with this engine and three Irvington passenger cars for Christmas 1947.  Unfortunately do not have the original cars but a few years back did pick up the Lionel plastic replicas.


Then "Santa" brought the Lionel "Electronic" set for Christmas 1948.2CC3B0B9-351F-4E5C-B159-9B0CA9426D5C

My toy/model train foundation's.



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Last edited by PRRronbh

1987 Mopar Express Lionel MPC Set.  My future uncle won it from a car dealership.  Traded it to my future stepfather for a stereo.  My step-dad was into HO, and he wanted us to catch the train bug.  That was his pathway.  We got into it initially, lived life, moved on, etc. 

   Then, when my son was two, he caught the bug.  My step-dad had long since traded that set for some HO equipment.  I determined to find an identical set and purchase it for my son.  I found one, and the journey continues.

@PRRronbh posted:

The "Santa" brought the Lionel "Electronic" set for Christmas 1948.2CC3B0B9-351F-4E5C-B159-9B0CA9426D5C

That's an amazing set. All the operating cars, the turnouts and the accessories operated by radio control?? I'm really surprised that set wasn't in the "All Aboard" book. That's some cutting edge technology right there. But that price is out of this world, too, especially when their starter sets were one tenth the price.

In my opinion this is a good if not GREAT topic,  I don't care if it's been done to death before either . It transcends all our small and "larger" differences. All of our memories here seem to resonate in mutual recognition amoung us in ways that make us apparently feel a strong common bond. How can this be bad in any way?

Last edited by atlpete

I still have my first set, a Lionel prewar 1087W set (cataloged from 1938-1941) that my paternal grandfather bought new to put around his Christmas tree.  For Christmas in 1974, he gave the set to me to put around the Christmas tree in our new home (along with his collection of Plasticville buildings and accessories, but they were for the whole family and not just me -- my brother has them now).  Let me tell you, I was one happy 6-year-old.   My father then taught me how to run it responsibly (no intentional crashes), and safety in dealing with electricity and the track (important in the days of real aluminum tinsel).  In the following years, my father bought 4 new MPC-era sets (three for the family and a General set for my brother) and they eventually replaced my 1087W set as the annual Christmas tree trains.  Still, I consider that set to be the greatest Christmas present I ever received, and it now occupies a place of honor on my bedroom dresser, which also happens to have been my paternal grandfather's bedroom.  Some day, I might just have to run it again...  Maybe next year for the 50th anniversary of it being gifted to me.



Those trains, Andy, look like they are in mint condition. You and your family took very good care of them. Arnold

Those trains, Andy, look like they are in mint condition. You and your family took very good care of them. Arnold

I wouldn't call them mint -- they do show some small scratches and "patina" from use and minor accidents over the years that are not evident in the photo, but they are in overall good shape for their age.  Caring for them was another lesson from my father -- how to play with them without abusing them, and to wrap them up and box them carefully when I reluctantly had to put them away after Christmas.


Found my first & still have it...It is an outfit 141 and is listed in the 1939 catalogue. It is as described in the listing. [ $18.75]  It had a Type Q longer in my possession. An addition to the set was a 2655 boxcar with the box couplings. Also added were a pair of 022 switches; they were USA made and have small wiring nuts of the day, and also a crossover. I recall the board as being maybe 3 by 5 and an uncle with woodworking skills made a white picket fence for around the board.  There was a brick pattern paper skirt around the platform and it was put up annually at Christmas for about 2 weeks; then back to the boxes till next year.

I am deep into my Golden Years and brought it out of retirement 2 years ago. I now have a modest 'train room' with a U shaped layout holding 2 loops. Good memories happen !!

My first set at age four (1952) was a Marx tinplate freight set with AA diesels - I think maybe Kansas City Southern? Not clear on that. My dad was in the hospital with his first bout of MS, so it was a strange Christmas. A family friend came over and set things up for me with the oval of 027 track, etc.

In 1955, I received my first Lionel freight set at Christmas: a #665 4-6-4 steamer and several freight cars, including a gray cab crane car and “wrecker” caboose. Also an oval of O31 track, two manual switches, and non-operating passenger station. And a new-that-year LW 125w transformer. After the holiday, I bought a Lionel aluminum observation car with my “Christmas gift money” from relatives.
I was hooked. What a Christmas!

My first set was Christmas of 1964.  I was 8.  Probably a used set and my older brothers ran it all night.  2 weeks later the brushes gave up.  I learned to fix trains early. I had it running a week later after ordering new brushes for 15-25 cents.    It looked something like this.   No pictures from the time.  You could have presents or pictures, but not both at that time.  Mom knew it was time.  I had been running my friends solo for 2 years by then.

Then a year later mom found this in the thrift store for my birthday.

Many years without trains, but they have blossomed in my house now.


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#1666 Steam Locomotive, I believe it was a Marx Freight Train Set. Had and enjoyed it for a few years as a kid. Went to summer camp one summer and when I came home it and the track were all gone. Turns out my older brother had decided to sell his set and track, and mine too! Finally got back in the hobby many years later when feeling stressed out from working two jobs my doctor said I needed to find a hobby to be able to try to relax. Finally built a one level layout, had it running, in process of rebuilding it into a three level layout when I got a life threatening infection, in the hospital for a month, needed to have a hospital bed to be able to come home, had to have 3 friends from the volunteer fire dept I belonged to that also had trains, different gauges, that packed up everything, tore it all down in one day so had room for the hospital bed. 7 years later, permanently disabled, working on rebuilding a small 2 track layout one level to get my trains running again.

The 2183WS steam freight set is one of only two postwar sets to include the 726RR steam locomotive. With the elimination of magne-traction on steam locomotives for 1952, Lionel re-introduced the Berkshire number from the 1940's -- when magne-traction was not part of the locomotive.

Standard components of this set include:

  • 726RRSteam locomotive
  • 2046WWhistling Tender
  • 3464Operating box car in either the New York Central  roadname


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1950, my first Christmas, and Santa brought me a Lionel 736 freight set. It had a rough life, as I was too young to appreciate it, so my parents, acting as its realtor, helped my train relocate to a new home in the subdivision landfill. That was my only childhood train. My wife always talked about playing with her brother's train and when he and her parents passed, we found his train carefully packed away, set box and all. We compared photos of my first Christmas train with her brother's train and imagine our surprise when we discovered that he and I had received the identical set, Lionel 2173WS, from Santa !!  Her brother's train allows me to make new childhood memories and is now the centerpiece of my model train accumulation. IMG_3165IMG_3166

I see I am late to this one.

I saved money for a long time to buy Tyco HO set.  This was when I was about 12; 1968-69 I would say.

This set was damaged while in storage when I was working in Richmond, Virginia in the late '70s.  I have been able to find the engine and one of the cars from that set at train shows.


The set didn't come with a transformer/power pack.  How strange is that?  The man at the shop sold me a Lionel 1001 12 V DC power pack that I still have and use on the train under the Christmas tree.


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Last edited by Mark Boyce


Santa brought the Gilbert Flyer 310 PRR K5 freight from 1946/47. No smoke or Choo-choo but I was just 5 1/2 at Christmas 1949 in New Orleans. Dad and I had visited one of the major dept stores that year and I was always glad that Santa liked the 2 rail trains!

Still have the original 4 car set but the cars are in poor condition - warped and chipped. I repainted the steamer in PRR green, graphite boiler and a tuscan roof years ago  and it still ran well when I last had it out...


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Last edited by c.sam

My "original" first train was Christmas 1956 or maybe 1957.Paul 1955

I know it says Paul 1955, but think that is wrong.

I eventually sold off all those trains by the mid-1990s.

Then I started over in 2009 when a friend of mine told me that Lionel had been licensed by the Boy Scouts of America to issue BSA 100th Anniversary items. Having been in the Boy Scouts since 1956 I decided to take a look. Well, that became a major hobby and I'm still at it today.


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My first set was mid 60's lionel set. I'm going to assume it was sold by sears. Was a yellow diesel with several cars and culvert loader. Its the loader with hand crank. I have the orginal engine and cars.  Parents house burned in mid 80's that was where they were.  Heavy water damage. I have the shell on a different chassis. And run it now with my 9 year old grandson.

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