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From Jim's Cab

by Jim Kelly-Evans

October 2019

Facebook seems to be where the action is these days as several new pages have appeared focusing on tinplate trains, including our own Tinplate Times Facebook page. Thats great! The more the merrier. However,, we still plan on maintaining the Tinplate Times web site. There are plenty of good articles in our archives, and the web site offers a more permanent home to articles and photographs that come and go so quickly on Facebook. The new article by Josh Wayne about building his very own charming tinplate train is an example of the kind of content that we will always want to be readily available. We owe a big thank you to the Standard Gauge Module Association, which has graciously offered to sponsor Tinplate Times going forward.

December 2016

Well, it seems as though we're able to update the site about annually now with new content. I wish it could be more often, but we would need more articles. However, quality is preferable to quantity and it gives me great pleasure to present an excellent article penned by long time friend of Tinplate Times Barbara Jones. Barb discusses Joy Line tinplate trains in her article accompanied by many beautiful photographs. To compliment Barb's excellent article, I've included a few short articles focusing on some of my trains and accessories from Biaggi and Dorfan.

November 2015

What a year it has been! I'm happy to present another long overdue update of Tinplate Times. In fact, I'm happy to be able to present anything at all. A few weeks after I published my book on Voltamp and Boucher (available on last November, I suffered a combination mild heart attack and mini stroke caused by my congenitally defective aortic valve. In February of this year I underwent open heart surgery not once, but twice, to replace my aortic valve, repair my aortic aneurysm, and receive two coronary artery grafts. As you can imagine, recovery has been a long process involving physical rehabilitation and a battle with post op depression. Luckily, I have a supportive husband and a great hobby (trains!) that have helped greatly with my recuperation.

With this update, Tinplate Times celebrates its thirteenth season with another in a series of comprehensive articles on European tinplate penned by our resident European tinplate expert, Bryant Booth. In addition to Bryant's profile of German craftsman Wolfgang Bauer, we are presenting an interesting article on early American trains by new contributor Jim Burke; a look at modern day Merkur tinplate 0 gauge trains penned by another new contributor to Tinplate Times, Egbert van Velzen, from Holland; and a fascinating look at Lionel red primer cars written by Brad Kaplan. I've added another Tinplate Times hobbyist profile, this time focusing on George Pins, who collected and operated Boucher, Voltamp and other fine tinplate electric trains for 30 years. Finally, Wolfgang Bauer and Bryant Booth treat us to a series of beautiful photographs of tinplate trains and accessories running on the floor in Germany.

It's tinplate train season once again!

December 2013

Greetings tinplate enthusiasts! It's been a while since our last edition, but quality over quantity has always guided our publication schedule here during the last eleven (!) years at Tinplate Times. We do have a lot to offer the reader in this update. Once again, I'm thrilled to be able to showcase Bryant Booth's excellent research and writing skills. Bryant's comprehensive look at AS Trains of France fills yet another void in the available information about this little known toy train maker. I also like to extend a hearty welcome to Great Britain contributor Roy James who shares a look at his fantastic Dream City 0 gauge railroad with us. Our other current contributors...Clem Clement and Jerry Dzara have also worked hard on their articles and I thank them for their willingness to share their tinplate toy trains expertise. So grab a cup or coffee or a beer, sit back and enjoy our new content. Oh, and if you have something that you would like to share, by all means get in touch with me!

October 2012

Fall is here once again and an exciting new toy train season is about to begin. York is just around the corner. So I'm particularly delighted to be able to present a new update of Tinplate Times now, as the site finishes up its tenth year. I'm also pleased to welcome back my good friend and Tinplate Times co-founder Brad Kaplan. Brad spent a few years away from the hobby building his business and starting a family, but tinplate toy trains are in his blood and now he's active in the hobby once again. I'm also thrilled to be able to showcase Bryant Booth's excellent research and writing skills again in this update. Bryant's comprehensive look at PAYA trains fills a void in the available information about the historic Spanish toy maker. I'm always looking for more articles to publish. Why not send in some photos and text of your tinplate layout or a recent tinplate project? I'm happy to work with authors and eager to add new contributors to the site.

January 2012

I hope this finds you, the reader, healthy and that you had an enjoyable holiday season.

My work with Occupy Philadelphia beginning early last October meant that I had little time to enjoy toy trains. I missed the SGMA exhibition in Pittsburgh, the TCA meet at York, and one or two other train shows that I usually attend. In addition, chores at home backed up and a pile of paperwork grew on my desk. Nevertheless, I felt that it was important to be a part of the Occupy movement and support the struggle of so many good hearted young people in their effort to bring about economic and social justice. After the Occupy Philadelphia encampment was evicted by police in December, I began to catch up on everything. I still attend demonstrations in my capacity as a "street medic," but I have more time now including time to play with trains once again.

In addition, I can now finally now post new content to Tinplate Times!


January 2011

The Tinplate Times project now enters its ninth year on line. There have been a few bumps and pauses along the way, but we're still here, to paraphrase Mr. Sondheim. The continuation of Tinplate Times is made possible by our authors, whose time and effort deserves our attention and praise. They have earned my sincerest thanks and admiration. This month Tinplate Times offers a variety of interesting and informative articles that might never have found their way into the public view were it not for this modest enterprise. I consider myself very fortunate indeed to be able to present these articles. I hope that our readers enjoy them as much as I do.

November 2010

Toy Collector and Tinplate Times will continue in tandem. I will update Tinplate Times when new content is received, and make periodic announcements when new articles are ready, rather than have set publication dates. I also plan to continue to work with Toy Collector as they improve their site. So please check back here on Tinplate Times often and watch for new content. In the meantime, don't forget to check out past articles on tinplate toy trains in the "Archives" section.

December 22, 2009

WOW! A year has passed and once again it's time to say Happy Holidays Fellow Tinplate Enthusiasts! Enjoy this issue of Tinplate Times, our traditional holiday gift to the tinplate community.

I would have liked to publish this issue sooner, and to publish more issues this year, but I have found Tinplate Times to be a bit too much for one person. I am not trained in web design, as you can probably tell by the pretty simplistic layout of the site. When Tinplate Times was started over seven years ago, I had a partner who had web design experience. This also meant that the work load was shared. We both could beat the bushes for new content and work on preparing the articles for publication. Going it alone for the last several years has been fun for me but it's been a lot of work too. It's exceedingly tough to get new articles, and it's a lot of work getting them ready for publication. I had hoped that someone would want to join the enterprise as a partner, but that hasn't happened. Meanwhile like everyone else, my life has been busy and complicated with all sorts of things, health concerns, etc. So I have just not been able to devote the time and energy to Tinplate Times that I would like. Nevertheless, I'm happy to be able to share this issue with our readers, and I do intend to continue with Tinplate Times. I'll publish Tinplate Times when I can.

Finally, I'd like to thank our authors for their splendid contributions to this issue.

Happy 2010!

Jim Kelly

December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays Fellow Tinplate Enthusiasts! Enjoy this issue of Tinplate Times, our traditional holiday gift to the tinplate community.

I'd like to thank our authors, Rev. Phil Smith, Mr. Fred Booth, and David Linton for their splendid contributions to this issue. Thanks to Russ McFall and to Edward Hartman for his photos of Russ' historic C & F layout. Special thanks also to Joe Mania for agreeing to do this issue's Tinplate Times Profile, and for sharing his thoughts and the exciting future plans for his reproductions business. I wish him the best of luck in 2009 and going forward. Finally, a big thank you to my significant other, Dan Evans, for so carefully proofreading all the articles.

The preparation of this issue got a little sidetracked, I'm sorry to say, when I found out in early December that I have a heart condition that will in all probability require surgery very soon. I had to drop everything for a little while until I could get a handle on things by doing medical research. Knowledge is power, as they say, and once I felt like I had gained a little control back over the situation, I was able to resume living normally including working on Tinplate Times. I owe special thanks to Fred Booth and Phil Smith for their understanding. I have a pretty serious condition but I caught it early and I've found a great surgeon at the University Of Pennsylvania Hospital. I think my prognosis is pretty good.

Last but not least, I will need new articles for the next issue, so get those keyboards clicking and send in your submissions.

Happy 2009!

Jim Kelly

November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, tinplate enthusiasts!

As always, I'm delighted to be able to bring you another issue of Tinplate Times as is our custom, just in time for Thanksgiving. Now, it's up to you to insure that the Christmas issue gets done on time, meaning now is the time to send in your tinplate-related articles for publication. Come on now, you have some favorite tinplate that you can photograph and write about, some restoration that you've done, or a new layout ...whatever. We need you to share this with your fellow tinplate enthusiasts and make the December issue possible! Send me a note at and we'll get it together.

Now I would like to thank the contributors to this issue. First, Brain Miller...what a great tinplater with a wonderful collection! Thanks, Brain for sharing your love of tinplate trains with us. Thanks also to Bill Scandariato for his great article on making his own Dorfan signal bridge reproduction. Don't we all wish we had Bill's skills and vision? Thanks to Mike Spanier for allowing us to reprint the first in a series of articles on Marx tinplate. Great stuff, Mike. Finally, thanks to TCA President Clem Clement for sharing his unique perspective on tinplate trains with us once again.

Jim Kelly

November 3, 2008

Wow! It's already November and the toy train season is in full gear! I just got back from the Standard Gauge Module Association exhibition at the Syracuse Train Fair. It was a lot of fun, as you can see by reading the article. Next weekend is the First Frost train show in Allentown, followed the week after by the TCA Atlantic Division meet here in Philadelphia. Then it will almost be Thanksgiving. Everything seems to be moving too fast in toy train land! I have to make some time to go downstairs and run my trains, but there is another issue of Tinplate Times to prepare and the deadline is looming. It's almost too much of a good thing!

April 1, 2008

Tinplate has always had an international appeal. In this issue of Tinplate Times we feature an article by New Zealand tinplate enthusiast Colin Duthie focusing on his design and construction of an IVES inspired 0 gauge locomotive. We also have a splendid article from David Argent, another true craftsman. David has designed and built an 0 gauge model of the British "Stirling Single" locomotive and tender in brass. Finally, I've written an article on Edobaud, a somewhat obscure and highly unusual French tinplate toy train manufacturer from the prewar period. It's been a real pleasure to edit these articles. There's an entire tinplate world out there in other parts of the globe, and I really like to see more articles on non-U.S. tinplate toy trains.

Once again I'd like to thank Rev. Phil Smith, Roger Davis and Charles Grover for their monetary contributions which will go into the fund to help keep the site going. I am still in need of software to maintain the site. I would welcome additional monetary assistance from anyone who enjoys Tinplate Times and would like to help out.

The April 2008 issue will be the last until the Fall 2008 toy train season gets into full swing. I need new articles. I enjoy publishing the "Tinplate Profiles" of our fellow hobbyists, but I need volunteers to be interviewed. All you have to do is type into an email the answers to the interview questions and provide a picture of yourself and some shots of your trains. Who wants to be the next victim? Drop me an email and let me know you're interested. And of course, I welcome all manner of articles that focus on any of the many aspects of tinplate operating or collecting, construction, paper, what have you.

I'd like to thank all of those who have contributed articles to Tinplate Times this past Fall and Winter. Thanks also to my life partner, Dan Evans, for his proof reading help.

Enjoy the Spring 2008 issue, and have a safe summer!

Jim Kelly

February 27, 2008

I'd like to acknowledge another generous cash contribution towards keeping the Tinplate Times project going from Roger Davis. Thanks, Roger!

January 16, 2008

It's mid-January and the latest Tinplate Times is finally ready. The holidays were busy, busy, and then there was that "whatever it was that was going around" that slowed me down for a few days. Anyway, I'm pleased to be able to publish another issue, the first for 2008.

Thanks to my life partner, Dan Evans, for his proof reading help.

I also want to thank Rev. Phil Smith for his generous cash contribution toward the cost of keeping Tinplate Times online for another year. It's not terribly expensive to maintain the domain name and pay for the web hosting, but I'm "retired" so I do appreciate the help.

From the desperately needed department: I really need a legal copy of Dreamweaver that will run under Microsoft VISTA. Dreamweaver is the program that I use to prepare and update Tinplate Times. If my old clunker computer goes, I won't be able to update Tinplate Times until I can acquire and load a new copy of Dreamweaver onto my new computer. Can anyone help?

And again, I would welcome a partner or partners in the Tinplate Times endeavor, should someone be interested or know of anyone who might like to join in the effort. Mainly, partners would share the cost of maintaining the Tinplate Times web site, help generate more articles, do some research and writing of articles for the site, and possibly do web design (if they know how.)

Finally, I'd like to thank all of those who have contributed articles to Tinplate Times. You've helped to make the project fun for everyone to read.


December 1, 2007

Tinplate Times is non-profit and is not a commercial undertaking, meaning it doesn't operate as a money making venture. The whole idea is to provide a source of information about tinplate, to spread the word, and enhance everyone's enjoyment of tinplate toy trains. I also like to think the articles on Tinplate Times will form the basis of a lasting historical archive. I started the project with another young fellow, but he has since moved on, so I keep it going myself. It's not terribly expensive to maintain currently. It costs about $75.00 a year to keep the Tinplate Times domain name and to pay for the hosting service. I have never asked for contributions, however, I would gratefully accept donations or sponsors, and I would certainly acknowledge them on Tinplate Times. I would also welcome a partner or partners in the endeavor, should someone be interested or know of anyone who might like to join in the effort. Mainly, partners would share the cost of maintaining the Tinplate Times web site, help generate more articles, do some research and writing of articles for the site, and possibly do web design (if they know how.)

If you are reading this and you are interested in helping to support the Tinplate Times project, or you would like to become a Tinplate Times team member, please contact me.

Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

Jim Kelly


October 28, 2007

It's Fall once again and already another York has passed. There's excitement in the world of tinplate, with Lionel set to produce a summer trolley and trailer in Standard gauge once again. This was a surprise to me. I felt that Lionel would not re-enter the Standard gauge market any time soon after the less than stellar reception given to their Hiawatha and, particularly, their Commodore Vanderbilt sets five years ago. However, I'm glad to see it and I've placed my order for the Summer trolley and trailer set. I asked about delivery of the trolleys at York The Lionel representative told me that they did not even have pre-production samples yet, so it's going to be a while. Pride Lines is offering a reproduction set of the small Voltamp freight cars in Standard Gauge to go along with their nice little Voltamp steeple cab locomotive reproduction. It's a great looking, colorful set. MTH is continuing to make news with their Tinplate Traditions line of tinplate trains. Overseas, ACE Trains of London is also making beautiful tinplate trains and coaches and is now planning to offer an 0 gauge live steamer. So, things are looking up for lovers of tinplate.

We have some brand new contributors to this issue of Tinplate Times. Each of our authors brings fresh insights and knowledge to share about tinplate toy trains. We all hope you enjoy the Fall 2007 issue of Tinplate Times!

March 21, 2007

Spring is here but there's still lots of toy train activity coming up before the weather warms. York is approaching, and the auction houses are busy. Ebay continues to be worth watching for those occasional rare and unusual pieces that show up from time to time. The toy train season is still in high gear.

Nevertheless, this Spring 2007 issue of Tinplate Times, which is now in its fifth year online, will be the last until the Fall. I'm hoping to continue to publish three issues yearly, one in the Fall, one in Winter and one in the Spring. As always, I need new articles and photographs. As long as there is interesting content to publish I'll keep the Tinplate Times project going. In the meantime we'll see you at York or at the auctions!


Tinplate On Display At Grand Central Station, New York City

December 24, 2006

You just never know where you will find tinplate.

Last Sunday I attended a small train meet in Jenkintown, a suburb of Philadelphia. The meet was held in, of all places, the empty display room of a car dealership on Rt. 611. There were only about 80 to 100 tables. I didn't expect to see much standard gauge, if any.

Inside the meet against the back wall there was a small area for operating layouts. I can't tell you how surprised I was to see a guy running standard gauge trains on a single 72" loop set up on several folding tables with a green covering. He was running an MTH Blue Comet but he had a small assortment of vintage standard gauge trains and accessories on display from his personal collection.

We had a nice chat. He lives nearby and apparently only had one other friend helping him with his display. Nevertheless, I noticed that his single standard gauge loop was getting lots of attention from grownups and kids alike.

I hope to get together with this standard gauge guy from Jenkintown in the future. I'm going to ask him if I can join him the next time he sets up some tables and runs his trains.

Happy holidays and enjoy the December 2006 issue of Tinplate Times!

October 2006

Hooray! It's high season again for toy trains!

...and am I ever busy! The newly-formed Standard Gauge Module Association (SGMA) is preparing to present our first ever operating standard gauge layout in less than two weeks at the TCA Eastern Division York meet. SGMA members have been busy during the summer hammering, drilling, sawing and assembling modules. Now it's crunch time. Come see us in the Black Hall at York.

I've picked up a few treasures over the summer on EBAY and I'm busy trying to find shelf space for them. When you live in a city town house space is at a premium. Luckily, I'm at the stage now where what I really want is going to be either too tough to find, or too expensive, so hopefully there won't be much new stuff coming in requiring a place to live.

It's been a newsy few weeks lately with the big bombshell being the sale of the Lionel rare State set for about a cool quarter of a million dollars. My state cars don't have their boxes and they don't have cream window inserts, etc. but I get a kick out of them none the less. They have charm and I'm not afraid to pick them up and run them.

Well, time to get back downstairs to the workshop and finish work on my modules. See you in York!

April 2006

Well, I had thought (hoped!) that I was maybe slowing down a bit in terms of acquisitions. However, just when I figured that I'd finally bought enough trains and accessories and that maybe it's time for me to just sit back and enjoy what I have, I became infatuated with a whole new facet of this wonderful toy train hobby that we all love: I fell big time for British 0 gauge tinplate toy trains.

For me tinplate is all about color, and these tinplate trains from across the pond are nothing if not colorful. The history of the prototypes is also an aspect of toy trains that adds much personal enjoyment. For example, I never knew that the British had their own equivalents of our mighty Hudson locomotives, their fabulous Pacifics that hauled high speed passenger trains during the height of the steam era, and which were streamlined in the 1930s just like some of our Hudsons. So now I'm beginning a collection of British 0 gauge tinplate and I've constructed a dual wide radius mainline underneath my standard gauge layout so that I can watch these beauties run.

Spring is here and the nice weather is beckoning. It's time to enjoy the outdoors once again. The garden railroad is waiting to be restored to operation for the summer. The tinplate will rest now until autumn.

January 1, 2006

What a busy fall season it’s been for toy train enthusiasts! So many shows and meets, EBAY, and online auctions, and so little time (and money!) I have to say, though, that while I enjoy the meets and shows, I am particularly thrilled with the relatively new capability that computer literate collectors have. I’m referring to “live” online auctions, where you can actually bid on lots that are being auctioned off half way across the country, or, you can simply just watch the auction on your screen as it progresses.

In November I bid on and won a piece I really wanted that was being auctioned off in Indiana. This capability opens up a whole new world to collectors who previously would not have the opportunity to bid live in auctions without actually being there. I think it’s exciting and fun. Of course, as more and more collectors join in the action, the competition will become more intense, but that’s part of the fun. At least one of the major toy train auction houses is still not offering live online bidding, but I think they’ll have to soon to remain competitive. The next time you see a live auction scheduled, put aside some time to at least watch the action.

The various discussion groups often carry threads about the state of the hobby, with some grumbling about the increasing age of hobbyists and even some not-so-complementary characterizations of us, e.g., we’re a bunch of grumpy old men, etc. Well, maybe some of us are a bit grumpy from time to time, and many of us are getting a bit long-in-the-tooth, but we’re still having a lot of fun with our trains, if attendance at York and local shows that I’ve seen plus EBAY activity and now “live” auctions are any indication.

November 1, 2005

I’ve been real busy with toy trains recently. For the first time I had the opportunity to attend the “bandit meets” that precede the big Eastern Division TCA York meet. I’d like to give special thanks to my friend Jim Nicholson who graciously agreed to share his York accommodations with me. Jim and I share many of he same toy train interests. It was fun to do the bandits with another standard gauge collector. The rainy weather was not the best we could have hoped for, but the meets were fun anyway. As Jim Nicholson has said: “any day playing with toy trains is better than a day at work!”

After attending the TCA York meet on Thursday, October 13, I decided to have dinner at Fisher’s restaurant in downtown York. It was a great culinary experience! This restaurant is not to be missed if you enjoy fine food. I started with a savory soup course: watercress and potato potage. My entrée was a delicious Apple, Cheese and Crab Cake Napoleon, served garnished with an orchid! In between courses a delightful dish of Snow Mountain Apple Sorbet was served to freshen the palate. For desert I opted for the Raspberry and Vanilla Crème Brule. I can’t say enough good things about the food and the service at this fine restaurant. “Maitre D” Jean Pierre will take good care of you. All in all, it was a great way to top off an afternoon of toy train fun at the TCA York meet. Another restaurant I enjoyed that is worth mentioning is “al Dente!” This Italian eatery is located at I-83 one exit below Market Street (1211 Haines Road). They serve good Italian food at reasonable prices.

Back at home, my layout is now back in operation and the shops are busy (backed up, actually!) I did replace the trucks on my standard gauge Dorfan freights and I’m running them on the main line. Read the whole story in this Tinplate Times update. The big ATMA show in Allentown is coming up soon. There are several major auctions about to happen. There’s a ton of tinplate-related activities and events coming up.

I’d also like to offer special thanks to Mike Isenberg for his contributions to Tinplate Times and for proof reading the site. Thanks also to Ron Morris for proof reading.

Finally, I hope to have another update ready to go by January, but that depends on you, the readers. I need tinplate articles and photographs. Please let me know if you would like to write an article for Tinplate Times. Pick your favorite tinplate piece, set, accessory, collection, layout, repair job, etc. and tell us about it!

October 5, 2005

Summer is over and it's time to get back into toy trains big time. I haven't uncovered the layout yet, but I am working on Tinplate Times. I am rebuilding the site adding back articles from the former TT site one by one. Hopefully I'll have all of the old articles up in a few weeks. My work will be interrupted (pleasantly) by my first several day trip to York for the TCA Eastern Division meet. The STANDG Yahoo discussion group is reasonably active. It will never be the high volume group that the TTML is, but that’s OK, even preferable. The discussions are interesting and usually sharply focused on standard gauge. Marc Kuffler’s standard gauge blog is fun to read. He does a nice job with photos and the content is mostly standard gauge. MTH has a great new Tinplate Traditions catalog out, I understand, with lots of tinplate. O Gauge Railroading has a tinplate trains forum that is fun. So there are a lot of good things happening in standard gauge. It’s going to be a fun cold weather train season!

March 28, 2005

It's been another great Fall and Winter toy train season for me. After relocating, I was able to build a new layout and run my standard gauge trains again after a year during which I had no operating layout. I sure did miss running the trains. But settling into a new house and building the new layout left not a lot of time for the Tinplate Times project.

Nevertheless, I brought Tinplate Times back to life and I've started the process of restoring old articles. I've also added new content to the site. But now the warmer weather is beckoning and summertime activities will soon demand much of my time. I have a garden railroad at our vacation cottage so I'll still have trains to run, but my tinplate trains and this site will soon take a break until Fall.

My thanks go out to Mike Isenberg and Jerry Dzara for the two new articles now on the site. Mike also just built a unique new layout and restored a fine old Lionel #6 steamer to run on it. Jerry has been more than patient in waiting for his fine article on Boucher paper to appear online. This is the kind of information that I'd like to put up here on Tinplate Times. Remember, everything here can be considered a work in progress as Jerry reminds us, so if you have information to add about Boucher paper, please let us know.

That brings up another point I want to make: I'm looking for articles and content for Tinplate Times. Don't be shy about sharing your tinplate-related interests with others. It's not rocket science to cobble together an article with some pictures. All I really need from you is the text and photographs. I'm sure that there are a lot of tinplaters with knowledge and expertise to share. Here's a venue free and available to you. All you have to do is take advantage of it!

January 01, 2005

The rich history of tinplate toy trains adds to their attraction. Soon after I was bitten by the tinplate collecting bug and began to assemble a collection of tinplate toy trains, I became interested in the paper aspect of the hobby, particularly catalogs and books. One of my first paper acquisitions was a numbered first edition four volume set of Greenberg's Lionel Catalogues published by the Greenberg Publishing Co. in 1989. What a great source of information and enjoyment these books have been! Since then I've added certain original and reproduction IVES, American Flyer, and Dorfan catalogues to my collection. I've also invested in a number of books, some new and some old treasures such as Louis Hertz's famous "Riding The Tinplate Rails" published in 1944. Reading and re-reading these books adds so much to my enjoyment of the hobby. The colorful stories and insights they reveal bring tinplate toy trains to life in ways that merely looking at them or even running them cannot.

A couple of years ago I purchased a two volume set entitled the Toy Train Treasury, published by Iron Horse Productions in 1974 and 1975. The authors statement of purpose noted: "there is an appalling lack of written reference material on toy trains." They went on to state that "a great amount of information on toy trains has been committed solely to memory...the time has come to tackle the problem of providing good reference material to the hobby and to tap the storehouse of knowledge held by (these) senior collectors while it is still available." The authors wrote that they planned to publish one volume a year but I am only aware of the existence of two volumes, one published in 1974 and the other in 1975. These books are full of beautiful photographs of what had to be two of the greatest collections of the day, the Vickers collection and the Shempp collection. The authors have to be commended for their efforts and intentions, even if their gift to us consists of just these two volumes.

Today in the information age we enjoy the vast communications and knowledge database capabilities of the internet. While I am not in a position to publish hard cover volumes such as the Toy Train Treasury, nor resurrect the old Standard Gauge Association and its newsletter of years ago, I am hoping to make a modest contribution to the amount of toy trains information available online with a web site focusing on prewar and modern reproduction true tinplate only, that would be updated periodically. Unlike other online toy train resources, this site will contain articles exclusively on tinplate toy trains and the people who collect and operate them. With our focus exclusively on tinplate I hope to enrich the overall amount of information that is available online about toy trains.

I won't promise a regular publications schedule because that is not a key a part of the primary goal for this site. What I want to do is to provide an online resource to supplement the existing tinplate-related body of literature with articles focusing on tinplate toy trains, their history, repair and restoration techniques, collections, operating layouts, tinplate events and, of course, the people who collect, operate, and love tinplate toy trains.