Since Standard Gauge is for the most part considered "tinplate," I figured this is the most appropriate place for this. Does anyone here collect/operate Modern Era Standard Gauge trains?
These trains were built starting in the 1970s by small companies / craftsmen in small shops or even basements, in relatively small quantities compared to the mass-produced tinplate toy trains made by Lionel, Ives, Flyer etc. but they met a need, and today Modern Era Standard Gauge (MESG) trains have become very collectible and have their own loyal following.
Here's an example of one of the more well-known MESG trains, the Hiawatha made by JAD Railway Lines. This set was made in fairly low quantities. To my knowledge, about 250 locos were made and roughly 80 sets of the cars were made. The owners of JAD (John Daniel, Art Varney and Dick Battaglia) set out to build Standard Gauge trains that Lionel may have produced had they continued making SG after World War II.
If you have any MESG trains to show, please post them here.
That’s very interesting John. I hadn’t heard of the small production companies you mentioned. The Hiawatha is a beautiful example.
Were these trains made with common parts or was everything proprietary?
How hard is it to find parts for restoration projects on these small production run Trains?
It was a mix, especially for the locos. The Hiawatha loco is powered by a McCoy motor with McCoy drivers and the coupler linking the tender to the head-end car is Ives. I'm not sure who made the tender trucks, but I know they're not Lionel. The rest of the parts were made from scratch--pretty amazing considering the small quantities that were produced. The casting for the loco shell is very high quality. So far, I've been lucky re: needing parts. I needed to replace the springs that keep the vestibules connected to the cars, and was able to find replacements at my local hardware store. The wheels on the vestibules are die-cast, so at some point I may need to replace them; I have no idea where I'd go for them, but I'm sure I can find something that will work if/when I need to replace them. That doesn't scare me from running it; it sees regular service on my layout; in fact, it's on the layout right now.
Larger parts like replacement vestibules or car parts would be tough to find for sure, but every so often they turn up on ebay.
Unfortunately, we lost the greatest ambassador for MESG the hobby ever had 3 years ago, Arno Baars. He was truly a good guy whose knowledge of MESG was unsurpassed.
There were many builders of MESG; Williams and McCoy and now MTH are probably the best-known, but there were many others who may have only made a dozen or fewer of a given item. Needless to say, these items are extremely difficult to find and usually command a high price when you do find them.
Not sure how I missed this thread. Yes, I just love standard gauge and tinplate trains. They made a wonderful standard gauge version of that Vanderbilt locomotive. Very nice set. Just recently, I was able to acquire a Dorian #70 operating crane. I was like Kevin in Home Alone running through the house when that box arrived. They are big and clunky. Just like me! The trains are far better looking though. I will try and upload a couple of pics and clips shortly.
Here's some more MESG: a set of PRR heavyweights made by John Daniel; a 5th car, a diner, was available for sale when they were built (I think in the 80's) but it is very difficult to find. Here they are behind an original Lionel prewar 392E.
Post by trainsintheattic on Jul 20, 2020 21:02:00 GMT
This Williams State set had to suffice rather than ever expecting to acquire the real thing. All the same, it pleases me no end and it's becoming old enough to begin having it's own historic significance. Rarely a day goes by that I don't stare at it for 5 minutes.