model train set on track

More on Collecting those Early MPC Sets

e*Train Issue: Oct 2008   |   Posted in: ,

By Mike Stella

The year was 1971, and I had just graduated from the U.S. Navy Electronic Class “B” School.  I was assigned to a Command and Control Ship heading for Viet Nam in January, just a few months away.  But at least I got to spend Christmas in Southern California with my future wife.

What did I want for Christmas?  That was easy.  I wanted the new Lionel Silver Star set with the new Sound of Steam. She thought I was nuts, but on Christmas morning, there it was under the tree, and a few weeks later it was heading to the Gulf of Tonkin.

My sailor buddies also thought I was nuts, but every once in a while I would set up the figure 8 track and play with my train.

Early one morning, about 3 A.M., I heard a loud knock on the door to my radar room and was startled when the ship’s Captain appeared telling me to turn that loud steam train off !!!

I still have that Silver Star set and it commands a place of honor on my display shelves.

Twenty seven years later and still married to the same understanding lady, I think it remains the ONLY train set she has ever given me!

Years later, I purchased a new Silver Star set from 1972 which is quite different.  Very recently, I have rediscovered how wonderful these early MPC sets are and even though I have more then I will ever use, I cannot miss a good deal.

A 1970 Pacemaker set found at a swap meet for $25!  Complete and still running
The Silver Star from 1971 and the Allegheny from 1972

Lionel sure made colorful sets with cars in green, red,and blue.  The second picture shows my famous War Veteran Silver Star set from 1971 alongside a brand new 1972 Allegheny set.  Both contain bright colorful freight cars.  The Allegheny set came from an Internet auction last month.

I wish to thank all Lionel Collectors and Operators that ignore the very first trains made by the new Lionel of 1970.

More for me!