Lionel Trains For Sale

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Posted Under: Model Train Articles
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Lionel toy trains were produced from 1901 to 1969 by the Lionel Corporation and from 1970 to the present by Lionel LLC. They are a favorite of model train enthusiasts. Collecting Lionel trains, from searching out dealers to acquisition to display, is a fun hobby that can provide plenty of interest and entertainment for toy enthusiasts and hobbyists of all ages.

The first step of the process is finding Lionel trains for sale. Because the original Lionel Corporation is no longer in business and stopped selling trains in 1969, collectors wanting trains manufactured before 1970 may have to search out dealers and other opportunities to purchase trains. It is useful to have some knowledge of the types of trains available before you begin your search.


Lionel trains are often divided into groups loosely based on the time that they were produced. Prewar trains were produced from 1901 to 1942 when Lionel stopped manufacturing toys to help with the war effort. These trains were produced in three sizes, standard gauge (also called wide gauge), 0 gauge, and  00 gauge. The original Lionel trains were the larger, standard gauge models, and they are still valued highly by collectors.

Postwar Lionel focused exclusively on the creation of O gauge trains. Postwar Lionel trains were produced from 1945 to 1969 and were more realistic than their predecessors. Lionel focused on producing durable, realistic trains at a reasonable price that would appeal to both children and parents.

Some trains featured a realistic smoke option created by dropping a special tablet down the smokestack. In 1957, Lionel introduced a line of HO gauge trains. These were smaller, even more realistic trains aimed to be affordable for most consumers.

In 1969, the Lionel train line was sold to another company, and it is still produced to this day under the name Lionel LLC. Trains produced in the modern error, from 1969 to the present, are good starter trains and as add ons to collections. Those produced in the 1970’s and 1980’s may have sentimental value to collectors who grew up in those eras.

The real fun of collecting trains goes beyond acquiring the actual toys. The real fun is in the display. Creating intricate displays and sharing them with enthusiasts and the general public is a joy in itself. Creating model train scenery that is realistic and fun, and ordering your own miniature world can provide hours of entertainment. Sharing this passion with a son or daughter or grandchild can open up much learning and bonding. Model train enthusiasm spans generations.

Remember when purchasing trains online to find reputable dealers with good reputations. Modern Lionel trains are available through many dealers making them easier to find than those trains produced by the original Lionel Corporation. Purchasing trains in person gives you a chance to handle the trains and really see what speaks to you.

Model train clubs and exhibits are a great place to talk to others about the hobby and find out where they get their trains and supplies. Model train collecting and display are great shared hobbies adding not only creativity but new friends to your life.

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