I Love Toy Trains Store

I really enjoy your TTR online. We were on our way back to East Lansing from Chicago Saturday and noticed the "I love Toy Trains" store advertisement on I-94 near your home in New Buffalo. I suspect that is your store. I will make a point of stopping in sometime. I had the pleasure of hosting Roger Carp and Jim Forbes of CTT at a photo shoot of my new layout earlier this summer. It will be featured in a CTT issue in late 2002 or early 2003.

Keep up the good work!
Terry Johnson

Thanks for returning to cyberspace! I enjoyed your July 2001 issue. On my way up to Traverse City from Chicago this summer, I fleetingly saw the new small sign on Interstate-94 for your I Love Toy Trains Store near the Indiana-Michigan border. I thought I'd keep an eye out for it on the way home 10-days later, but was disappointed that there was no sign for the southbound traffic and so I missed the exit.Well, maybe next year.

I saw that your New Buffalo neighbor, Lou of IC Controls, sold out to the big "L". Will you be next?

Hang in there, we enjoy your work very much.
Jim Freeman
Memphis, TN

IC Controls is located in New Boston, Michigan, not New Buffalo. They're about 200 miles east of us. Our store is located off of exit 1 in Michigan, you go north to New Buffalo. At the traffic light turn left. We're on the left side of the street. Look for the railroad crossing signal. I think we have a southbound side sign now as well. As for the possibility that Lionel would acquire TM, the last thing in the world they want to worry about is producing books and videos.


I've dabbled in HO for many years but I'm currently cataloging my late uncle's collection of (mostly) pre-war Lionel, AF, Ives, Hafner and others. About 200 pieces of rolling stock. Halfway through. Appreciate input, advice. Probably in over my head! Will need to have the collection appraised.

Herb Saxon

I am trying to find the best way to sell my Lionel collection if you have any ideas or if you can help me in any way it will be much appreciated.

TM Books & Video publishes price and rarity guides on Lionel, MTH, and Postwar American Flyer trains. They are easy for even the novice to navigate through. Click on the image for more information on the Lionel guide. 

I have an American Flyer train set that has the No.20175 on the box. Cannot find it listed in TM price guide. Would you be able to find out what I have and what is supposed to be included with the set. Or e-mail of someone that could help.


If it is not in the guide, it was probably uncataloged and we had no information on it. I looked on eBay and this set is up for auction there. Based on the seller's description, the set should include a 21160 steam locomotive and Reading Lines tender,  24322 Gulf tank car, 24110 gondola,  and 24630 caboose. A 22004 transformer and 21 pieces of track are included. Based on the individual items, which are listed in our guide, current asking prices for the locomotive/tender average $25.00, the tank car is listed at $80.00, the gondola at $12.00, the caboose at $10.00, and the transformer at $10.00.

Author Robert Bubeck adds: This is a very well-known uncataloged set and we certainly were aware of it. The reason it is not listed in our guide is that we made the decision to list only the more collectible uncataloged sets with at least one significant component or other important feature. The 20175 is but one of a myriad of uncataloged Atlantic sets that did not make the cut. Expanding the uncataloged set section is something that could be considered for future guides.

Circus Trains

We have an old circus train. It runs on O27 track & the manufacturer is Unique. All cars, the engine, caboose & tender say "Unique Lines". The only other wording on the set is Circus & Jewel T. Maybe we will finally have some answers to our little circus train.

Shirley & Dick

I personally have never heard of it. I talked to a couple of people who know a lot about toy trains (besides Lionel and American Flyer) and was told that the set is very collectible. One even said it is worth "big bucks".

I bought the MTH repro of The Ives Circus Set and it is beautiful beyond description. There is a problem I'm encountering, however. The engine has difficulty pulling all the cars as it's wheels spin in place. My floor isn't perfectly level, however, I've run O-Gauge on it with no problem. The transformer is a Lionel KW which should have enough power to run it. Is there anything I can do to the engine wheels that will give it some traction?

Thanks for any advice.
Richard O. Smith

Try cleaning the track and see if this helps. I do have a suggestion but you may not want to do this. When we have had trouble with Standard Gauge locos pulling cars, the problem is lack of traction. No Magne-Traction nor Tire-Traction. So I have created tire traction by gluing a wide rubber band on one driver. For steam locomotives, you would need to disconnect the drive rod from the wheel. This quick-fix works great, a vast improvement. However, it could negatively affect the value of the locomotive. Try using water-based glue to secure the rubber band.

Organizing a Collector's Show

My name is Hal Carter and I reside in Corvallis, Oregon. I am putting on a Collectible Show in April of 2002 at the Linn County Fairgrounds and Expo Center. It is to be held in the new Santiam Building, a 21,000 square-foot facility and we expect to see 3000-5000 attendees. This will be a collectors show and feature Star Wars, Star Trek, comics, television and movie memorabilia, coins, stamps and many other unique collectibles. As I feel  we need a great train display, I contacted the merchants in my area who buy and sell trains and came away disappointed. You see, the people in this area don't attend many shows and are unable to promote the hobby of collecting trains. They are mostly one man operations who say they just don't have the time or man power to attend such shows and that it just isn't profitable enough for them. I am hoping you may be able to attend our show because what kind of collectibles show for kids would be complete without a good representation of one of Americas oldest hobbies of collecting trains? If you know of merchants in this area who may be able to bring a good representation then please let me know. We really hope to hear from you.

Hal Carter

April is always a very busy time of year for us due to one of the biggest train collecting shows of the year happening at that time. It's a busy time for just about everyone involved in this hobby. Still, the possibility of seeing people dressed as Klingons mixed with people dressed as train engineers is intriguing. Good luck with the show.

Look On-line

I've been to many stores in the Atlanta area to get some information on where I might be able to buy some 3-rail track for my Lionel train. My parents bought me this train set back in the mid 1940's and each piece is in perfect order with the exception of the track.

If you have any suggestions on where I should inquire, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you
Fred Trice

3-rail track is one thing this hobby is not short of. Lionel still makes track. Have you looked on-line? Many stores have websites to buy track via the Internet. Here's a search I did for you that has possibilities.

I wish to start my grandson in toy/model trains. I know very little. O vs. HO?

Where do I begin?

Albert J. Berger

We're all partial to O gauge around here. For a youngster, it's no contest. O gauge trains are easier to handle, have more "play-value", and are sturdy. The track is much easier to work with. HO tends to necessitate permanent layouts where O gauge track allows for temporary floor set-ups. Even many low-priced sets feature locomotives with sounds. Since you use the Internet, I would suggest doing a search for websites of stores in your area. The Lionel and MTH websites both have dealer locators available. You may find someone at a store who can help you or lead you to someone else who can.

Subway Trains

Have you ever come across toy Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) or NYC Subway trains? We have an eight year-old boy (Sammy) who wants one car to play with. He doesn't need it to even be motorized. Any ideas where we might look?

Thanks for your time!
Sally and Ed Rubin

I know that MTH has produced a nice set of the NYC Metro subway train. I think they might be around $300. A Bay Area Rapid Transit model I am not familiar with. Check your local hobby store for any other possibilities.