A Christmas Gift

As a small diversion for this holiday season, I decided to throw together a recreation of the first trains I ever played with.

This very small route is a recreation of the 0 gauge layout my late grandfather built to go under (well actually to hold up) the Christmas tree.

The annual “Train Garden”

The buildings are not identical, and the sidings were added during my childhood, but the track layout and sometimes oddly placed accessories are all accurate.

A full size tree stood in a 3 legged tree stand that I’ve never seen another one of. The 3 pointy legs of the tree stand just fit inside the track-work, so all this took place below its boughs.

Very inaccurate is the cat. If you ever ran such a train you know they are VERY noisy, and my mother’s cat most definitely did not want to have anything to do with it!

On this Loop and Figure 8 combo ran a Marx train of cast plastic bodies and metal trucks

  • 490 0-4-0 Locomotive.
  • Penn Central slope back tender (odd road name for such I always thought).
  • “Marlines” white boxcar with a gimmick to have the door open and a small man appear carrying a box.
  • Pennsylvania lettered gray gondola.
  • Penn Central red caboose.

Later this train was joined by an American Flyer consist of a tinplate streamlined 0-4-0 and 3 coaches of more or less “Heavyweight Pullman” appearance.

Each had an internal light but did not feature the sort of “frosted windows with silhouettes of passengers” seen on many Lionel offerings. One coach featured a rear observation platform while all were yellow with a green roof.

Sometime around 1980 the two sidings were added using manual turnouts (the 4 originals were remote controlled). They each ended in a plastic buffer with a red lamp, showing when the siding was powered. Each could hold either consist, allowing one consist to be parked in a siding while the other was in use.

As the years passed, my interests turned to other things back in the 1980s, and this all faded into memory, but this year I decided to relive it and to share it with the community.

I have to say, running at around 15-20 mph and watching the cars whip around those sharp bends, or trying to keep up with the switches as I change from one pattern to another certainly brought back memories.

All that’s missing is that motorized buzz… and the smell of ozone!


Christmas Garden Route

Christmas Morning Session

Christmas candy cane clipart, illustration

2 responses to “A Christmas Gift”

  1. What a wonderful Christmas surprise!
    Thank you for sharing.

    I also have fond recollections of my father setting up a snowy Christmas village under our tree. That was long ago but I can still see, smell and hear that Lionel steamer running around the tree with the smoke puffing out of the stack.

    I look forward to running your route.


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