model train set on track

33 Years – A Tender Time!

e*Train Issue: Feb 2008   |   Posted in:

By Mike Stella

Having started my Lionel collecting in 1970 I look back on 37 years of train meets, club memberships, conventions, a lot of friends made and lost, thousands of toy train pieces acquired, and the complete degradation of a hobby I no longer really enjoy.

I no longer attend meets.  My “want list” is down to a half dozen items.  I like looking at eBay but will never support those wheeler dealer imbedded auctions.

What enjoyment remains for me is writing a few lines about a few trains.  Telling the stories that come along with 37 years of trying to collect Lionel Trains.  Letting you know about some of the wonderful people I’ve met all over the USA and across both oceans.

I like to write for the TCA e*Train and I enjoy the articles submitted by other folks.  Through their stories, I get to visit different places, travel different roads, ride a few trains, and LEARN about lots of things I never knew.

Every TCA member has something to write about.  Everyone has a favorite train or a favorite train story or a most memorable character they’ve known.

The Editor of this electronic magazine ought to be flooded with inputs but alas 99% of you remain quiet.

Maybe you think your story isn’t that great.

Well, look at the nine little blurbs I sent in last issue and look at the twelve for this issue.  Nothing that great from me either but I sure have fun sharing them with all of you and if you learn something, or laugh a bit, or rekindle a collecting interest, then maybe you will continue to enjoy this hobby.

Here is my #8976 Scale switcher as purchased in 1973 with the incorrect smaller slope back tender.

This first tiny article is titled 33 YEARS – A TENDER TIME!”

In the early 1970s, I was a young sailor stationed in the San Francisco Bay Area.  New to Lionel collecting, I visited many train shops and even joined my first train club.

At a meet in San Jose just 33 years ago (seems like it was only 25!) I purchased a Lionel #8976 (#227 Boilerfront) Scale size 0-6-0 Switcher.

The seller did not have the correct slope back tender opting for the smaller 0-4-0 size slope back and changing the lettering from Lionel Lines to Pennsylvania.

This loco/tender combination remained on my display shelf for the next 33 years until I spotted the correct scale size slope back on eBay.

Same locomotive looks much “prouder” pulling the correct #2227B Scale length tender.

I probably bid too much to win the tender but I figure it was only about $10 per year or so.

I think the #8976 looks very proud to finally be pulling the correct tender that was meant for it.

Compare the size of the two tenders.   I like having the correct tender behind the Scale Switcher.

Don’t you agree?

{Editor’s Note:  As Mike so aptly points out, everyone has something to share.  What one may think is “No Biggie” to you, may help to stimulate or rekindle a long dormant interest in someone else.  Sharing should not be considered embarrassing, quite the opposite.  Like the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” you never actually realize how many people you may “touch” by writing a small article.}