CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Playing with my grandfather's Lionel train (1987)

Me at age 5 in 1987
While going through some old pictures from my grandparents, I found this one. It has a lot of great memories for me. For starters, the train is probably a Lionel #1543 set. It came with the Lehigh Valley #627 44-tonner engine (perhaps the start of my love for GE centercab switchers?), a flat car with pipes, a gondola with red canisters, and a caboose. The sets were released around 1956, though I don't know what year my grandparents purchased them. They bought two sets, gave one to my Uncle, and gave the other to the neighbor's son who couldn't afford one. They were low cost sets. I don't know how much my Uncle used it, but whenever I visited my grandfather pulled out the plywood board painted green with a simple loop of track and one remote control track and off I would go! 

My grandfather later purchased some additional cars, including a red M&SL boxcar and a US Air Force boxcar with missile firing mechanism. Oddly, there was also an unidentified HO engine which is shown on the flat car. I wish I knew more about that. EDIT: It is a "Sakai" engine. See here for more info.

The Guidancetown buildings took some investigation to identify but they were a lot of fun to put together and take apart every visit. Also pictured are some other notable accessories: giant orange, purple and yellow alien creatures (I think they belonged to my other uncle); a stuffed dog and Boo boo; and and American flag. Oh the adventures we all went on.

Sadly, almost everything on the train table is now gone. The train disappeared from the basement after my grandfather passed away, likely by a visitor who thought it was worth a lot. I have faint hopes that someday it will turn up. The buildings and aliens are long gone, as are the stuffed animals. But, this past Thanksgiving I went down and removed the track from the plywood board. It was rusty as sixty year old track can be but I managed to save most of it. I cleaned it up and used it on my under the Christmas tree train set up this year. So, part of it lives on.

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