Howdy my name is Craig D. Chidester and I have enjoyed toy trains my whole life, postwar Lionel mainly.  As I became older than dirt I began thinking that as all these large collections are being auctioned off,  all the knowledge of these collectors is disappearing.  I also know that soon I will  be joining them so I began checking out how to mediate this loss.  After asking around and talking to other collectors it became evident that a brick and mortar museum is not an answerer, who will take care of it in 50 years and the cost and access for people. I also wanted to get others interested in this great hobby that has been and continues to be a wonderful part of my life. 

   First off the site is free, please enjoy it, watch the videos, read the articles, view all the Lionel postwar product pictures and information, check out our growing Lionel prewar section.  We will continue to add information on trains not explored yet and also constantly modifying what is already listed as new information becomes available.  On this subject we welcome input from you, if you find something that is incorrect or you have something to add please contact us. 

Our goal is to produce the most accurate documentation on trains to leave for eternity.  All trains, if you are a collector of trains not represented yet please consider helping us.   

We also have a zoom meeting every other Wednesday evening which you can find the information for on the home page.   It is a group of diverse collectors discussing interesting items.  Come join us, if you are timid just listen and watch.

Above everything else please keep smiling and enjoy trains, Craig  




Lyle Leverich

I am a collector of Postwar Lionel, Colber (and AMT Passenger cars only). I have had Lionel trains since the age of 5, began collecting at age 12, and am always looking for variations and dealer items. I belong to LCCA and TCA as well as an independent club; All Gauge Toy Train Association (AGTTA) in San Diego. I have written articles on Super O track, Flatcar mold variations and SP caboose variations. The video of my operating layout/collection is on this site as well.
My favorite saying is “If you only look for known variations; then that is all you will ever find”

Andy Amante (Andy’s Trains)

  I Love Toy Trains!

  Ever since Santa (my dad) gave me a set of Lionel Trains for Christmas of 1952 I was hooked.  My set, Lionel 2177WS, is still in great shape and runs like new.   I have been adding to my original set and collecting trains since I was 10 years old.  I am at a point in my life that affords me the opportunity to spoil my grandchildren with lots of trains.  My collection includes Lionel Pre and Post War, Gilbert American Flyer S Ga., LGB, Railway Express Agency, and Several HO brands from the 1960’s to 1980’s,    Part of my fun is focused on finding and acquiring Lionel trains that are headed for the garbage and reconditioning them back to life.  I offer Repair and Maintenance service to many family, friends, and fellow train people in need of help.  Some of my R&M videos will soon be added to this website.  Currently you can see a video of my 10ft X 10ft layout of 5 sets of trains running at the same time.   I have written a few articles that were featured in “O Gauger” and “Classic Toy Trains” magazines.  I am a member of Train Collectors Association, Lionel Collectors Club of America, Cornucopia Of Toy Trains, and I have my own YouTube channel “Andy’s Trains”.   Remember, keep them on the tracks!!!  Feel free to contact me if you have questions or you have trains with needs.  send email to: afamante@gmail.com  

Russ MacNair

 I have enjoyed collecting and playing with toy trains my entire life.  Starting with wooden floor toys and then Marx wind-ups, I received my first Lionel set (#1503WS) in 1953 at the age of 5.  I still proudly display this set in my collection.  After enjoying my trains throughout my childhood, I started seriously collecting in college with a goal of obtaining all of the Lionel postwar trains I used to dream about in the Lionel catalogs.  After about 25 years of collecting postwar trains and having obtained most of the cataloged items and significant variations, I decided to shift my attention to Lionel prewar “O” and “OO” Gauges.  Starting with the Classic and Scale periods, I am now working my way back to the earliest “O” Gauge trains issued by Lionel.  Favorite categories that I collect include variations of Lionel prewar trains along with Lionel wind-up trains and handcars, Lionel-Ives transition trains manufactured by Lionel, and special sets issued by Lionel, primarily for the Macy’s Department Store.  One of the favorite items in my collection in an original No. 177 factory display layout that was offered by Lionel in 1923.  I know that I will never own all of the items that I would love to have in my collection, but that is not going to stop me from pursuing that goal.  I am a Life Member of TCA and also a member of LCCA, LOTS, and TTOS. 

Jack Stein

I got my first Lionel set just shy of age 3 and still have it – in working condition.  I joined TCA in 1977 and LCCA shortly thereafter.  My primary focus is postwar Lionel, of which I have an extensive collection, aside from sets.  I also have a 270 sq. ft. layout where I operate modern Lionel, MTH, Atlas, Weaver, Williams, and 3rd Rail.  My focus is on Southern Pacific and Western Pacific power pulling anything from west of the Mississippi.

I also have a deep interest in railroad history and hold a membership in the Lexington Group in Transportation History.  I have a large library of books and videos related to western railroads, along with related railroadiana.  In addition I serve on the board of directors of the National Museum of Transportation here in Kirkwood.

David Osborn

My first train set came at Christmas 1952 when I was 4 years old. A 1463WS set that included a 2026 loco and tender, 6462 gondola, 6465 tank car and 6257 caboose. (photo attached) I am the one on the right. I joined LCCA in 1972 ( my number is 202) and I joined TCA in 1975. I enjoyed my first trip to York in 1975. I collected Postwar Lionel trains and paper beginning in 1970 and continue through today. With the exception of 4 train outfits that have special meaning to me I sold my entire train collection in 2019 due to downsizing from a large house to a condominium. I retained my  entire paper collection and continue to enjoy increasing it’s size. In addition I retained my first 2026 set,  1945 set (463W) which my Dad gave me for Christmas in 1970, the 1957 Virginian (2285W) set my wife gave me for 50th birthday and the 1947 726 set (2129WS) because it is my favorite set.

Craig Chidester

Lionel trains have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I hope with this project we can bring toy trains into your life. You can be an operator or a collector or any where in between.  I myself started out an operator and became a card carrying “RIVET COUNTER”.  We try to discern all the little differences in the trains.  I hope we can get you and maybe your son or daughter interested in the best hobby in the world.


Comments are closed.