Lionelville Legendary Trains – Possibly the very best single ornament from Hallmark that I’ve ever seen. I’m not saying that because I’m a scale model train hobbyist. I’m saying it objectively, from the standpoint of a sophisticated ornament that perfectly captures its subject.
Okay, and maybe I like model trains too. :^)
Back in the 60’s, model trains were like the ‘ultimate’ toy. They plugged into the wall. You had an electric transformer that controlled the trains direction and speed. It felt dangerous. Like you could electrocute yourself if Mom and Dad weren’t keeping a sharp eye out. It was way better than ‘shooting your eye out’ with a BB gun.
Dad must have felt the same way. When they gave me my model train set that Christmas many years ago, Dad was right there. How to build it. Safety rules. Suggested setups for the little towns. I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. And, now that I’ve been a parent, I realize maybe he enjoyed sharing in my pleasure of the gift.
No idea what they cost back then. I’m sure by the 1960’s budget of a young couple with two small children, that must have set Mom and Dad back a pretty penny. But it was appreciated for years. Eventually, my train set wore out. To my deep regret, I no longer have it.
Maybe that’s why this ornament seems so wondrous. Or maybe it’s just because it’s an amazing ornament. In the single unit, Hallmark managed to represent the essence of model railroading. You’ve got the multiple layers, the mountain track. A bridge. Sound… there’s actually a voice calling out “Lionelville- All aboard”! Motion. The trains move forward, and backward… under your command. An actual transformer is mounted at the base of the layout with moving levers that change the direction of the trains. A button on top of the transformer activates sound. There’s a crossing gate that raises and lowers. Multiple houses light up from within.
In the palm of my hand, I can hold the smallest functioning model train railroad setup I’ve ever heard of. How cool is that?
We found this at a local yard sale. It’s one of those toys that I hate to sell. Even though this is how we make our income, it’s just hard to let go of everything that passes through our home. At the moment, it’s about halfway through it’s auction, and already bid over forty dollars. So if I have to let it go, at least it’s doing better than average. Looks like there are a lot of people who share my appreciation for it!