By Bryant Booth
In 1984, after a period of financial difficulties and a long standing labor dispute, the PAYÁ family turned the company and its assets over to its employees. A cooperative, la Sociedad PAYÁ Juguetes, Sociedad Cooperativa Limitada (PAYÁ Toys Society, Cooperative Society Limited) (Payá SCVL) was formed by the employees. With few resources available to retool and manufacture new toys and trains, the new company decided to focus on the toy collectors market and reproduce, in limited quantities, a selection of their more interesting and popular toys and trains of the past, using the original machines, tools, and dies of the past. The reproduction toys were numbered and provided with a certificate to demonstrate that they were genuine. To guarantee their exclusivity the original tools were said to have been made unusable after the reproductions had been made and then the original toys and tooling were donated to the Valencia Toy Museum. PAYÁ did not provide this certification process to the trains.
The Santa Fe steam locomotive was the centerpiece of the PAYÁ reproduction trains. Originally produced only in black, the reproduction model could be purchased in maroon, green, and blue color schemes as well, although it is unlikely that the actual 2-10-2 locomotive was anything but black.
The 4 reproduction Santa Fe Locomotives
PAYÁ frequently reproduced the trains in new colors and markings that were not found in the original form. For example the #1376 series of 35.5 cm long passenger coaches produced in the late 1940’s for the Santa Fe locomotive consisted of only a few coaches (1st, 2nd, 3rd classes and restaurant/sleeper combinations). In the reproduction program these were expanded to at least 12 coaches, including the liveries of the Orient Express, MITROPA, and Rheingold lines. All the #1376 coaches are attractive passenger wagons.
Examples of the reproduction #1376 coach in Orient Express, MITROPA, and Rheingold liveries.
The year 1984 also saw the production of PAYÁ’s last, new, ‘O’ gauge model, the “Norte” electric locomotive based on Spain’s electrified locomotives of the La Compania del Norte. Having limited resources for tooling etc., PAYÁ relied upon existing parts from other trains to produce their “Crocodile” looking 2-Co-2. The 3-axle motor was from the Santa Fe steamer and the leading and trailing trucks were from the Santa Fe’s tender. And if you look closely at the Norte you can observe that the sides of the engine are made from the 30 cm long #1359 postal wagon! (Ref. 2) The Norte was produced in brown and green liveries.
The PAYÁ “Norte” Electric Locomotive
PAYÁ advertisements of the late 1980s also feature a 2-6-4 steam locomotive, called a “Baldwin” locomotive. Evidently aimed at the American collector, the locomotive is a derivative of the Santa Fe using the same boiler and cab without the smoke deflectors and a new front end with an American styled front and pilot. The “Baldwin” name probably comes from the Baldwin Locomotive Works, a major American locomotive builder. The production of this locomotive was very limited due to problems with the molds and this model is very hard to find.
The PAYÁ “Baldwin” Steam Locomotive
PAYÁ expanded the number of two-axle freight wagons available via multiple paint schemes including a couple “private owner” goods wagons, such as the “Jacobs” and “McVities” vans (for the Hornby fan?). Several of the goods and tank wagons produced are shown below. The PAYÁ tank wagons had a Marklin look to them and, like Marklin’s colorful tank wagons, could be filled with water via a top screw “hatch” and drained through a spout of the side of the tank wagon. PAYÁ provided the wagons with couplers that were compatible with the original PAYÁ trains as well as Marklin and Hornby couplers.
PAYÁ reproduction two axle wagons
These reproductions were the PAYÁ trains that hit the American train market in the late 1980s. Imported into the U.S. by Reeves International of New York, between 1988 and 1990, the distributor had a list of nearly 100 toy and train dealers across the U.S. that sold the PAYÁ reproductions. It is estimated that during the three years, at wholesale, approximately $75,000 worth of PAYÁ trains were imported into the U.S. (Ref. 6). The trains were also available from several European sources and for a time, PAYÁ trains could easily be found at the major train shows and meets. A table listing most of the “0” gauge trains reproduced by PAYÁ in the late 1980s is provided at the end of this article.
The PAYÁ reproduction trains continued to have issues with metal fatigue in the die cast parts used for detail. I have experienced cracked and broken parts on both the Santa Fe locomotive and the 35 cm coaches. Many of the die cast parts were painted silver and it is common to find this paint flaking off. The 2-axle trucks on the larger freight wagons and passenger coaches do not roll smoothly on the track and require some effort to get them to roll with little friction.
PAYÁ continued in the toy and toy train business on a much smaller scale up to 2009 when it finally stopped producing toys and ceased doing business. Their final toys, produced in an arrangement with another company, were reduced sized reproductions of original antique toys called the “Juguetes de Antaño” (toys of the old days) (Ref. 7). Although the company PAYÁ no longer exists, the city of Ibi continues to be a major source of toy production. It also is the location of the famous Valencia Toy Museum which houses many PAYÁ tools and toys as well as toys from other early toy makers. In their early years, the Payá brothers acquired a great number of Spanish and foreign toys which they examined to understand the competitions’ design, construction, and quality features. Typically two samples of the best toys were acquired during travels to foreign countries. One sample was for examination, the other one was conserved as a sample. Eventually this valuable collection of tinplate toys was donated by PAYÁ SCVL to the Valencia Toy Museum where they can be enjoyed today.
Next: Table: PAYA’s Reproduction Program of the late 1980s
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