model train set on track

HALLMARK CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS-A LIONEL COLLECTIBLE

e*Train Issue: Sep 2022   |   Posted in: ,

1992 Silver Star (probably a precursor to the Lionel ornament line)

HALLMARK CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS-A LIONEL COLLECTABLE

By Terry Trickel (TCA #79-13707)                                         Fall, 2022

During the 1990 Christmas season, we received a Hallmark train ornament. It was a three piece streamline passenger set of a diesel locomotive, coach, and observation car. It was not to scale and almost too heavy to hang on a tree. There was no detail to the model. About 10 years later, I bid at a local auction house on some Hallmark Lionel Train Keepsake Ornaments.

     Each Hallmark ornament comes in a signature box

The small collection included a Hudson locomotive, 400 E Blue Comet locomotive and tender and three matching passenger cars. Included was a Norfolk and Western 746, and a Chessie steam special locomotive. The collection looked to be about “N” scale size. They were made of die cast metal and had great detail including moving wheels and moveable side rods. These were certainty nice collection to add to the holiday tree. After a few Christmas seasons, I noticed that all the Hallmark stores carried a selection of Lionel Ornaments. I decided to research the history of these new Lionel train collectables. Hallmark introduced the Hallmark Lionel Locomotives in 1996. This Original series continues to be popular with collectors. In 1999, Hallmark added a matching tender to the Norfolk & Western locomotive as a series Complement. Then in 2002 a third car was added to the yearly offering. Each year, the Complement ornaments change according to the train being replicated. There have also been a few larger pieces produced that complement the series such as the Lionelville Magic ornament (2004) and the Lionel Holiday Special Club piece from 2003. The series also includes Colorway ornaments (limited paint scheme) and Blown Glass ornaments as series Complements. Another series Hallmark issued were the Lionel Train Miniatures.

The Hallmark Miniatures series was a surprise to me when I was ordering additional models on Ebay to fill in the collection and received Collectors & Operators these miniature Lionel ornaments; that were even smaller than “z” scale trains. I was expecting the same size “N” scale trains. The first Hallmark Lionel Train Miniature ornaments, issued in 1999, were the Norfolk and Western series. The series offer full sets of locomotives and cars. Due to the small size of the models, they tend to get lost in the tree and many prefer the larger production. These short-lived series can be found in this article, along with the other Miniature Lionel Train ornaments. They are still manufactured today. The Lionel ornaments are marked on the bottom with “L” (Lionel logo) or spelled out Lionel License and Hallmark markings with the year production date. The original series were marked with a Christmas tree symbol and number with the series. In addition, there are limited edition models produced and issued during the month of October debut at selected stores. Many of the limited-edition models are sent to selected stores who often received only four items resulting in short supply and hard to find. There are over 125 items produced and more are added each year. To catch up in gathering these fine Lionel Collectables, I recommend shopping eBay and online sites. There are many Hallmark dealers that may have a few left-over stock. New production items from Hallmark Stores can cost in the $20.00 range. I found some models as low as $2.00 on eBay. The gold or limited-edition series are the hardest to find and can be very expensive. The glass blown ornaments are a rare item as well.

Following is the listing of the Original Series, the Complement Series and the Miniature Series, with Series #, year issued and description. I have contacted Hallmark for their production listing with quantities and will update lists when available.

Original Series

Series #              Year                Description

1           1996     700E NYC HUDSON
2            1997     1950 SANTA FE F-3 DIESEL
3            1998     PENNSYLVANIA GG-1 GREEN ELECTRIC              
4            1999     NORFOLK & WESTERN LOCO  
5     2000     GENERAL 4-4-0 LOCO             
6            2001     CHESSIE SYST. STEAM SPECIAL LOCO  
7            2002     400E BLUE COMET LOCO
8            2003     4449 SP DAYLIGHT LOCO
9            2004     1939 HIAWATHA LOCO 
10          2005     PENNSY B-6 LOCO (8976)
11          2006     UNION PACIFIC VERANDA TURBINE
12 2007     FREEDOM TRAIN DIESEL
13         2008     NEW YORK CENTRAL F-3
14          2009     HOLIDAY RED 2-8-2 MIKADO 
15          2010     U.P. STREAMLINER
16          2011     726 BERKSHIRE 2-8-4
17          2012     NUTCRACKER LOCO
18          2013     #2037 2-6-4 LOCO  
19          2014     PENNSY TORPEDO 2-4-2
20 2015 CHESSIE SYSTEM DIESEL
21 2016 773 HUDSON LOCO
22 2017 671 PENNSYLVANIA S-2 LOCO
23 2018 2245P TEXAS SPECIAL DIESEL
24 2019 1001 SCOUT LOCO
25 2020 MINNEAPOLIS & ST. LOUIS GP-9
26 2021 221 NYC “Empire Express”
27 2022 2358 GREAT NORTHERN EP-5

Complement  Series

In the Complement Series the numbers shown with Red Color are limited edition-issued during the month of October, Blue Color is for Blown Glass Ornaments and Green Color is for display base production.

Year      Description Year Description Year Description

1998 MICKEY AND MINNIE HAND CAR
1999 NORFOLK & WESTERN TENDER
1999 OCEANSIDE DEPOT
1999 SANTA FE F-3 BLOWN GLASS
2000 700J-1E 50TH ANNIVERSARY- GOLD
2000 SOUTHERN MIKADO #4501 LOCO BLOWN GLASS
2000 GENERAL TENDER
2001 CHESSIE SPECIAL SYSTEM TENDER
2001 400E BLUE COMET BLOWN GLASS
2002 BLUE COMET OIL TENDER
2002 BLUE COMET PASSENGER CAR
2003 HOLIDAY SPECIAL DISPLAY
2003 SP DAYLIGHT TENDER
2003 SP DAYLIGHT OBSERVATION CAR
2004 LIONELVILLE-MAGIC DISPLAY
2004 HIAWATHA TENDER
2004 HIAWATHA OBSERVATION CAR
2005 PENNSYLVANIA B-6 TENDER
2005 #714 PENNSYLVANIA BOX CAR
2005 #717 PENNSYLVANIA CABOOSE
2006 1950 SANTA FE F-3 GOLD LTD EDITION

2006 UNION PACIFIC VERANDA TENDER
(this is a tank car)
2006 UNION PACIFIC STOCKCAR
2007 FREEDOM TRAIN SLEEPER CAR
2007 FREEDOM TRAIN OBSERVATION
2008 NYC PASSENGER CAR
2008 NYC OBSERVATION CAR
2008 CROWN EXPRESS STOCKING HANGER
2008 NEW HAVEN F-3 DIESEL
2009 HOLIDAY RED MIKADO TENDER
2009 HOLIDAY RED BOX CAR
2009 CHESSIE 4-8-4 LOCO-GOLD
2010 KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN F-3
2010 UP LONG STREAMLINE COACH
2010 UP STREAMLINE OBSERVATION
2011 PENNSYLVANIA GG-1 RED ELECTRIC
2012 NUTCRACKER ROUTE TENDER
2012 NUTCRACKER ROUTE BAGGAGE COACH
2012 4449 SP DAYLIGHT LOCO-GOLD
2013 1130T TENDER
2013 #6017 CABOOSE
2013 2037 PINK 2037 LOCO
2014 265W TENDER
2014 601 OBSERVATION CAR
2014 PENNSYLVANIA TORPEDO 2-4-2 GOLD
2015 SEABOARD BOX CAR
2015 CHESSIE WM CABOOSE
2016 LIONEL LINES 2426W TENDER
2016 LIONEL LINES 2627 MADISON PASSENGER
2016 773 NYC HUDSON LOCO-GOLD
2017 671 PENNSYLVANIA S-2 LOCO -GOLD
2017 2671W PENNSYLVANIA TENDER
2017  3472 AUTOMATIC REFRIDGERATOR CAR
2018 2245P TEXAS SPECIAL F3 GOLD
2018 2245P TEXAS SPECIAL B UNIT
2018 2436 SUMMIT OBSERVATION CAR
2019 1001 LOCO – GOLD
2019 101T SCOUT TENDER
2019 1007 CABOOSE
2020 2328 MINNEAPOLIS & ST. PAUL GP 9  – GOLD
2020 6560 CRANE CAR
2020 6119 WORK CABOOSE
2020  6005 NIAGARA LOCO (not part of original loco series)
2021 221W NEW YORK CENTRAL TENDER   
2021 2431 OBSERVATION CAR
2021 221 NYC “EMPIRE EXPRESS” LOCO-GOLD
2022  6650 MISSLE CAR
2022 6357 SOUTHERN PACIFIC CABOOSE
2022 EP-5 GREAT NORTHERN RAILROAD ELECTRIC LOCO – GOLD

Miniature  Series

Year         Description Year            Description Year                 Description

1999 NORFOLK & WESTERN LOCO & TENDER MINI
2000 3356 HORSE CAR & 3662 MILK CAR
2001 6424 FLATCAR W/2 AUTOS & 6517 CABOOSE
2002 GENERAL LOCO & TENDER
2003 BLUE COMET 400E LOCO & TENDER
2004 SOUTHERN PACIFIC LOCO & TENDER
2005 HIAWATHA LOCO & TENDER
2005 POLAR EXPRESS SET


2006 PENNSYLVANIA B-6 LOCO & TENDER
2007 NORTH POLE LOCO, TENDER, GONDOLA (5 PC set)
2007 NORTH POLE BOXCAR & CABOOSE (5 PC set)
2007 PENNSYLVANIA B-6 LOCO & TENDER-GOLD
2008 HOLIDAY RAILROAD LOCO, TENDER & TANK CAR
2009 RED COMET SET LOCO, TENDER & COACH
2010 SCOUT SET LOCO, TENDER & GONDOLA

HOW TO USE THE HALLMARK CHRISTMAS LIONEL ORNAMENTS—Continued 2019

Hallmark has 24 original locomotives issued from 1996 through 2019. The 2019 edition is a Lionel Scout #1001 locomotive. The Complement for the locomotive is a Scout tender and a #1007 caboose. An additional Complement is the limited-edition gold painted Lionel Scout #1001 locomotive. The 2019 Miniature series is a Southern A-B-A, F3 unit.

I created a “HALLMARK LIONEL KEEPSAKE YARDS” display for my collection. The Lionel display sign top portion was sold by Hallmark. I made a base for it from LEGO blocks for height and the Hallmark Keepsake Yards signs. The track is N-scale with an Atlas turntable. The outside circle of track is powered to run the Hallmark Thomas locomotive for my grandson Matthew and is powered by a Life Like 0-6-0 chassis. My last purchased item was the Chessie Steam Special locomotive (2009) in gold paint and very rare. Sorry, the engine was not on the layout when photos were made. The collection is now complete. However, I plan to add additional sidings and/or enlarge the platform to provide additional track for future items. My next challenge is to create a display for the Miniatures series.

A few notes on collecting the Hallmark Ornaments: The Hallmark Lionel collection is a joy to collect at a fraction of cost of the full size Lionel trains and also takes a fraction of the space. In the early years, the ornaments were packed with a ‘collector’s card’ of the locomotive or car and housed in a plastic shell that fit the box. In subsequent years, the card disappeared and the plastic shell was replaced by tissue paper. The first NYC Hudson locomotive, issued in 1996, did not have a tender as a Complement and so I added a matching tender to this locomotive. In addition, the limited-edition gold Complement locomotives do not come with tenders, but for my collection, I have purchased additional Complement tenders and plan to repaint these to match the locomotives.

Most of the Hallmark trains are near N-scale size trains. There are a few smaller in size and some larger than the others. Not all wheels will fit on the N scale track. I found that locomotives will sit on the track, but the tenders do not fit very well; and the trains are top heavy and often tip over. When I find a permanent location to display the layout, I will add tacky putty to the underside of the trains to keep them in place. Hallmark offers a wide variety of Keepsake Ornaments, such as cars, planes and other subject matter. The ornaments are a great addition to any holiday tree. I welcome any question or comment you may have. Reach me at 484- 920-8129 or email: [email protected]. Bottom of Form

Bob L. likes to use the Hallmark ornaments at Christmastime adding them to his mantle.

Portions of this article reprinted by permission of the author and Atlantic Division from the Atlantic Division Express, Winter 2018-4 and Fall 2019-3. Photos by Carol R. McGinnis