These ain’t Lionel but 3-Rail from “Around the World”…and more.
By Mike Stella
When you are lucky enough to be a world traveler like me, and you travel the world on vacation, you always keep one eye peeled in small shops and anywhere else you visit, for that elusive piece of “O” Gauge that adds to the collection and doubles as a vacation souvenir.
I’ve found Hornby in English book stores and French locos in antique shops. You ride the local rail lines and you get an appreciation for Swiss electrics or English MU cars. Then it is fun to try and duplicate what you saw in “O” Gauge for your collection. I’ve always liked the Swiss Crocodiles even though they have long since stopped running the rails. You can see a few on display if you are lucky. I mostly stick to the UK as they almost speak the same language as me.
Preservation lines are everywhere and most have many steam locomotives that are fully restored and operable. One line visited had five different steam trains running at the same time! It is fun to see what Americans might consider as weird wheel combinations. There sure are a lot of them in the UK.
Back home in the USA, I have tried to get a few representative pieces from every manufacturer of “O” Gauge trains. I’ll do a MARX article sometime along with many other obscure models.
I have come to admire the American Flyer trains made before WWII that run just fine on my Lionel 3-Rail track. I only “collect” Lionel Trains but that doesn’t stop me from adding Thomas, Ives, and anything else that run on my railroad.
My biggest regret is that for decades I was a LIONEL ONLY collector and missed out on a lot of great trains at great prices.
One learns over time
HAPPY COLLECTING; even when it is not Lionel!