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admin 02.11.2015

Harleys are traveling through a Christmas village at the American Wind Power Center, 1701 Canyon Lake Drive. Susan Duhan, the wife of an American Wind Power Center director, loaned the Christmas town collection. Tanya Meadows, marketing director at the windmill museum, and Duhan set up the display complete with simulated snow, and with carefully concealed electrical cords. Visitors to the museum will have a lot to see: “They will get to see the train sets, the town, all the windmills, the paintings and everything else that goes along with this neat collection,” Harris said. The American Wind Power Center, which has one of the largest collections of windmills in the world, also has wind turbines and a newly installed historic English post mill from a plantation in Virginia that is capable of grinding wheat and corn. With the variety of attractions, the American Wind Power Center is becoming a frequent stop for tourists who come to West Texas. When I was growing up in the American midwest in the fifties and sixties, the train around the tree seemed every bit as important to our Christmas celebration as, say, Santa or Christmas stockings.
For over a century, to most Americans, "real trains" exemplified the kinds of "comings and goings," "hustle and bustle," and even package shipments, that increased dramatically during the holiday season.
Let's face it, more people and stuff move at Christmas than any other time of year, and for over a century, more people and stuff moved by trains than any other way. In addition, as the importance of toy and model trains in American culture grew, so did the sense that Christmas was an ideal time both to give and to display those trains.
In fact, the most impressive line of "push toy" trains was meant to be used during warm weather.
In 1901, Lionel showed New York City families that it was possible to fit an electric motor into a toy locomotive and power it by low-voltage electric current.
Of course, once the mysterious huge box was opened, it was only logical to route the train around the now-naked-looking Christmas tree.** So between Christmas and the day the tree came down, the train would run almost constantly, with almost everyone in the family taking a turn at operating it. Between 1910 and 1960, it became common in some middle-class homes to build elaborate temporary railroads between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In other parts of the East, the seasonal household railroads and their associated "communities" were called "putzes," from the German word for "put," "set up," or "putter." Starting about 1928, putzes all over the country included a new Japanese import - pasteboard houses with celophane windows and a hole in the back for "C6" Christmas lights. All of these Christmas railroads and villages were important precursors of the Holiday Villages that were made popular by Dept. After a while, it wasn't enough to have a single huge train running around the Christmas tree once a year. Even at half the size of the Standard Gauge trains, O-scale trains were too large to fit into most homes without some compromises. Other forms of so-called "family" entertainment also began taking huge chunks out of people's schedules, the biggest single example being television. Yet several things were already happening, on two different continents, that would bring Christmas trains back from near-extinction.
Really Big Trains Reappear - In 1968, a European toy company introduced a new kind of electric train - one made to be used outside. Ceramic Christmas Villages Arrive - In 1976, an American company called Department 56 began making collectible ceramic houses and accessories the right size to fit a "Christmas Village" on a table or spinet. For over a decade, most Christmas Villages got along quite well without a train at all or maybe with an old-fashioned Lionel or American Flyer train.
Bachmann's On30 trains are only slightly smaller than most of Lionel's O-gauge trains, but they run on track made for HO trains, which means they can be easier to fit in some places. Popular Children's Books and Movies Feature Trains - Trains also reappeared in books and movies that were intended for children but also enjoyed by adults. Large Scale public garden railroads began attracting millions of people a year to places like the New York Botanical Garden, the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburg, the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and many more. This gave a boost, not only to the Garden Railroading hobby, but also to model railroading in general, and especially to Christmas trains, since many of the public displays have holiday themes. In other words, whether it's around the tree, around a miniature town, or around a public display railroad, the Christmas train looks like it's back to stay.
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, we enjoyed our model trains in part because they were powerful models of incredibly powerful behemoths that could still be seen operating once in a while.
As odd as it seems, those of us who grew up with big trains around the tree are affected just as much by the scent of a Lionel or American Flyer transformer that has been left on a little too long, the repetitive thunks and clicks of an endlessly circling train, and the erratic beam that our train's headlight casts around the room when all the room lights are off and only the train and the tree are powered. To read more, or to look at recommended Garden Railroading and Display Railroad products, you may click on the index pages below. As the relationship between Thomas Kinkade and Hawthorne Village grows, more and more creative ways to decorate your home for Christmas emerge. In 2008, Hawthorne Village introduced what they called their: "Exclusive First-ever Thomas Kinkade Miniature Christmas Village Collection!


What that means is that they've found a new, clever, and - there's no other word for it - enchanting way to bring the vision of Thomas Kinkade to life in your home this winter, all in a package that's a little smaller than a DVD case.
This is also a great gift for someone who loves trains and Christmas, but has no place to set up a model or toy train during the holidays. In a "detail," of that illustration (issue 2), devout Thomas Kinkade fans will recognize buildings from several well-known paintings and collections.
The railroad is an oval, which requires a lot more engineering than so many "tabletop trains" that just have a circle, like an old record player. I realized as I began writing this article that I didn't have one good photo of the train when the village was lit up - because I had to use such a slow shutter speed, the train - slow as it is actually moving - is a little blurred.
As you can probably tell from the photographs, the town is lit, not by one big light source, but by many tiny bulbs under the individual houses. As you look over the town, you'll see that the people are not just standing around, but actually grouped as though they were in the middle of some activity. As another example, the snowy corner in the photo to the right is warmed by warm light from a dozen windows and a tiny band of carolers. For more information on this collectible, or to purchase one, please click on the picture to the left. If you'd rather have a train that runs on "real track," consider Hawthorne Village's collection of "On30" trains that are designed specifically to look good with Holiday Village sets, such as those by Dept. The Hawthorne Village trains use reliable mechanisms and other parts from Bachmann On30 trains, so they run like "champs," and service will always be available. Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Paul D. Just for Christmas - Collectible Decorations and Gifts - Visit any of the links below to see quality collectible Christmas gifts and decorations that have been popular with our readers. Adding any kind of movement to your Christmas village will inject a huge amount of interest and excitement for children, and the obvious choice for many is a miniature railway. Model trains really do come in all shapes and sizes, and so it is well worth considering all of the options available and the various implications before rushing in and purchasing your train and track. Scale is certainly an important consideration, and whilst the whole idea of trying to get everything in your Christmas village to be to the same kind of scale is a fairly personal thing, any layout will look a little strange if it has a giant train winding its way around your houses. Apart from being quite cheap when compared to model shop railways, the definite advantage with choosing a train set such as the Lemax one is that the track features sharp curves, meaning that the overall size is reduced and that it can easily fit on a simple table top. Whilst the train and track of a model Hornby railway is actually usually slightly smaller, the corners are much more gradual and therefore the layout always needs to be at least one metre deep. When laying out your Christmas village, it is a good idea to draw a little plan first, so that you have a basic idea of what you are trying to create and where things should be placed, particularly if a miniature railway is involved. Obscuring parts of the track has the added advantage of surprise, particularly if a tunnel through a mountain is involved, although do bear in mind that easy access at all times is sensible, in case of potential derailing problems.
If you really don't have space for a complete circuit of track, you can always just lay a short length and position the train as a static non-moving feature, in the same way that the figurines and cars don't move.
Finishing touches for a winter train set can include traffic signals created from bamboo kebab skewers painted black.
You may like to add in plenty of hedges to line the train track with, as well as shrubs formed from green reindeer moss and lots of trees, big and small. My Picassa web photo album, which I will update periodically, will remain available for viewing. This notice supersedes any references about ordering procedures, offers, or services previously posted on my "Little Glitter Houses" web site.
Christmas 2010 finds "Pine Mountain Valley" set up back under the tree; probably the most traditional location for villages.
The train was a Marx Commodore Vanderbilt locomotive and tender pulling three lighted passenger cars on a tri-oval of 0-27 track. And the intricate village is of a scale that fits appropriately with the three HO-scale train sets. The windmills come from our collection,” Harris said of miniature windmills set among the houses on the large display. Miniature scenes are going on in many of the houses, and include dancers in one tiny home, and a turning Christmas tree in another. Buddy L* trains were very large stamped-metal push-toy trains for which you could buy track. Most of them were about the size of today's garden trains, although you couldn't use them outside, of course - they were tin-plated steel that would eventually rust under the driest conditions.
56 many years later, as well as the display railroads operating in many botanical gardens as I write this article.


Department 56 pieces average around O scale, the scale that suits most of the Lionel trains made after WWI.
When a British children's book series was cleverly animated using sets that looked for all the world like a large model railroad, Thomas the Tank captured the hearts of young and old alike. Bachmann, Lionel, AristoCraft, and LGB all added trains in Christmas colors to their lineup.
Still, there may be one other reason, we are welcoming Christmas trains back into our homes.
You can have your "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire." Give me the cheery thunder and repetitive motion of a big Christmas train with a circle of track sitting right on a hardwood floor. If big Christmas trains are part of the memories you are forming for the next generation, then our hearts are with you in that as well. About 2004, another company entirely manufactured some electric trains under the Buddy L brand name.
But of course they weren't possible further north where fire engines left outside were likely to get snowed under or iced up before Christmas.
All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Paul D. I'm leaving the other photos up so you can see the kind of detail that is included in these, but if you click on the link below to order, you will get the one shown below first. But the Hawthorne Village designers add artwork and other detailing that make these trains much more attractive and collectable. For example, would you prefer a battery powered train with a strong Christmas theme, or perhaps a more realistic miniature Hornby railway set with a variable speed control box and digital points?
Likewise, at the other end of the scale, a tiny train that is smaller than the actual people standing on the platform, waiting for it to arrive, is far from ideal.
Once you have covered your surface with the obligatory white snow cloth, lay your track next and consider hiding elements from view, so that the train is not visible all of the time. Also be aware that adding a train can truly complicate things if you have limited space and potentially spoil the arrangement of the village. Simply print this out on card, then cut and glue (or tape) together, before placing in the desired spot. The nostalgic value of some of the products, coupled with the appeal of creating one's own little community was powerful. Those cast-metal and plastic trains bore no resemblance to the stamped tinplate Buddy L products, and the company disappeared almost as soon as the trains got into the warehouses. Of course, Bradford Exchange has a 365-day user satisfaction warranty, so keep ALL the materials that come with these, and keep track of your order #.
In spite of the fact that they are limited-edition, subscription trains, they are also an excellent value (and our best sellers every Christmas season).
Make sure that when the train runs, its wheels will not get caught in any polyester or cotton wool that is acting as snow. Space shouldn't be an issue, though, if you have purchased the correct railway for the intended design of your Christmas village. On the platform you can position a bench and perhaps some of your figurines, poised as they eagerly await the arrival of the Christmas Polar Express. I do plan on keeping this web site up as a source of information, photos, how-to-articles and links to related sites. So the generation who grew up with "just" HO stopped bothering to set up temporary living-room railroads at Christmas. So there were more trains around the Christmas tree, but these trains were too use with putzes or train gardens in most homes. 56 contracted with Bachmann to make trains that would look good with the Department 56 buildings. Still, there seemed to be no particular sense that it was more suitable to give a toy train for Christmas, than, say, for a birthday. Still, between 1901 and 1950, a name-brand electric train was a major purchase that needed to be budgeted. As it travels, it passes through two tunnels and behind a row of trees, so that when it reappears again, you get the sense that it has been somewhere. This photo is larger than the size of the real thing, but I wanted you to have some idea of the detail.



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