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Joshua Lionel Cowen, an inventor with an entrepreneurial spirit, first introduced Lionel trains to the world when he set up an electric train in his store window to attract customers. In 1969, the Lionel name was sold to General Mills, and new trains were developed as part of General Mills' Model Products Corporation. Richard Kughn sold Lionel to an investment group in 1995 that included Neil Young and Wellspring Capital Management. In 2004, Lionel, LLC created a train based on the popular children's book and film Polar Express.
To put together a Lionel train set that will provide lasting enjoyment, it is important to purchase items that are appealing to the collector's personal tastes. Once an engine is obtained, decide which kinds of cars are desired in order to build the rest of the collection. Knowing the value of trains is important for beginning enthusiasts as well as seasoned collectors.
Lionel trains in like new condition have no scratches or blemishes and are in original condition. Lionel trains in excellent condition are clean, not rusted, and have only very small nicks or scratches.
Lionel trains in very good condition have some scratches but no dents or rust, and they may have had minor parts replaced.
Lionel trains below poor condition require replacement of parts and exterior restoration to be of value.
Lionel trains in very poor or unusable condition are considered valuable only for scrap parts.
As with all collectibles, the grade of an item is largely subjective, and is usually determined by an agreement between both buyer and seller.
After determining which type of Lionel Train to shop for, go to the eBay home page and click the All Categories link. In the unlikely event that an item is not received, or is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection will cover the purchase price plus original shipping.
This Holiday Season is the perfect time to see The World of Lionel at the Paterson Museum, a restored historic factory built by the company that once made the finest locomotives in America. The main exhibit fills the center of a large room, creating many viewing perspectives on eight trains running simultaneously through the highly detailed scenery. The holiday exhibition is co-sponsored by Lionel Electric Trains, Paterson Museum and the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson.
The General, one of the two locomotives in the Great Locomotive Chase in the Civil War, was manufactured in Paterson in 1855.
Our mission is to maximize the public benefits of the new Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park for the City, the State, and the Nation. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
Customers who bought this product also commonly purchased the following combination of items. Despite a number of ownership changes and varying levels of popularity since then, Lionel trains have seen a revival in the past two decades with a number of new innovations. Instead of perusing merchandise, most customers wanted the train itself, and Cowen began to build model trains to keep up with demand. Soon, other companies such as Ives and American Flyer began to build trains that ran on standard gauge, which they called wide gauge. This era saw trains that were less colorful than their predecessors, with an increased emphasis on realism. During this period, trains became slightly less detailed, and plastic gradually replaced most metal parts.

In the following years, the company returned to many of its old designs and renewed the focus on realism.
This new ownership group incorporated the company's original name, and became known as Lionel, LLC. Some collectors take interest in trains from a specific era, others look for collectible Mickey Mouse sets, and still others build collections around trains with certain road names, such as Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, or Great Northern. There are several different types of rolling stock available, including boxcars, refrigerator cars, gondolas, flatcars, and cabooses. The 1033 transformer from the 1950s is an appropriate choice for a single-throttle transformer. Beginners may be interested in track-side signals, such as 151 semaphores and 252 or 152 crossing gates. Broken or missing parts, large scratches, rust, or chipped paint all have a negative impact on value. They may show evidence of slight defects in the manufacturing process, wear from shipping and handling, or test runs at the factory.
If keywords are not producing the desired results, try shopping eBay Stores and following the Toys & Hobbies link in Stores Directory. Experienced sellers will want to satisfy questions in order to encourage buyers to return for future transactions. The brand has seen several changes in ownership that has influenced everything from the style of the cars to the country in which they were made. In addition to the working layout, visitors will see Lionel artwork and an entire wall of Lionel's latest products, including a special section featuring Lionel's recent partnership with the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust.At the opening of the show on November 7, Lionel CEO Jerry Calabrese spoke about Lionel's connections to Paterson. Historic District in the former erecting shop of the Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works. Choosing the Lionel railroad products that will provide the most enjoyment is a matter of personal taste, and selecting from among the many sets allows full customization of a train that is unique to its owner. After World War I, Lionel, along with Flyer and Ives, began to manufacture smaller trains, called O-gauge, in addition to their standard-gauge lines. New innovations to the brand included sets that did not require tools to assemble as well as trains that produced actual smoke. In 1982, the company relocated its production to Mexico, a move that resulted in heavy criticism from collectors. One of the innovations in this period was a new form of audio called RailSounds, which developed as part of Kughn's collaboration with noted train enthusiast and musician Neil Young.
At this point, Young owned 20% of the company and helped continue the company's push towards realism with an emphasis on classic models. Lionel, LLC continues to release new and innovative designs today, as well as replacement parts for its older, vintage models. Of course, it is also possible to purchase a Lionel starter set and be up and running in no time. The common gauge for modern Lionel trains is O-gauge, which measures 1¼ inches between the outer rails.
After determining the product number, look up the train in a guide, such as Greenberg's Pocket Guide, to get more information.
Some vintage Lionel trains sell for close to their original price, while others go for much more depending on rarity. For example, as a consensus among most collectors, like new condition pieces or higher from the pre- and post-war eras are nearly nonexistent.
The Categories list on the left side of each page will help narrow down the listings by item type. Carefully read the details in item listings, and figure delivery costs into the final price.

Never pay for a train or any product using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. When a quality model train seller is found, inquire about an eBay Store, especially if the seller specializes in a favored era or model of train.
Today, Lionel, LLC continues to make cars modeled after the company's most popular series, dating to before 1969. And Mayor Jeffery Jones joined in welcoming Lionel to what once was the greatest locomotive manufacturing city in America. Whether it is a starter set or rare vintage Lionel trains, collecting and building Lionel trains is an American tradition that provides countless hours of enjoyment.
Lionel weathered the Great Depression, releasing inexpensive products such as Mickey Mouse sets.
This was accomplished by dropping a small tablet or drop of oil into the locomotive's smokestack.
Young also contributed the Trainmaster Command Control system to the Lionel brand, which allowed users to operate their Lionel train sets by remote control.
When looking at pre-war steam engines and cars remember that couplers from this era aren't compatible with post-war couplers. Searching images of these cars online can provide a strong idea of which cars are desired for a particular set. Other manufacturers, such as American Flyer and Marx, printed numbers on their trains as well. Remember that the grade of a train refers to the condition of the exterior finish as well as all interior components. As a collector, forging a relationship with more experienced sellers who reliably get experts to appraise their items can provide increased peace of mind. Regardless of the size, type, or complexity of the set desired, Lionel trains enable people of all ages to connect through one of America's oldest and most beloved hobbies.
Pre-war trains can be recognized by their metallic construction, colorful appearance, and hook couplers. For beginners, modern-era diesels (rather than post-war) such as the GP-7 or GP-9 are a quality choice. Marx trains, which look similar to O-gauge Lionel trains, used three-number identifiers rather than four numbers. Particular road names such as Lionel Santa Fe or Lionel Union Pacific may be in higher demand, increasing their value. If more information is needed, ask by clicking the contact link under the seller's profile. The possibilities for accessorizing a particular set are numerous, so look around and find the accessories that will best complement the specific set.
An O-gauge circle has a 31-inch diameter, and an O27-gauge circle is 27 inches in diameter.
Here are the guidelines for condition as established by the Train Collectors Association (TCA). Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies, sometimes including money-back guarantees. Although O27 trains will run easily on an O track, running O trains on O27 track is more problematic. Because O-gauge train cars are longer, they can derail or get stuck in the turns of the tighter O27 track.

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