Lionel O Scale Trains

Lionel O scale trains are hobby grade model trains.  They aren't toy trains.  Why?  80 years later they can still run like new.  They were built to last.   They were not advertised as toys, but as trains.  Often with Dad in the picture.   They appealed to both generations.

I like the postwar trains, 1945-1969, a few of the prewar engines and some Modern styles. Why, I like their heavyweight durability.  With basic skills and a few parts you can make them work like new.  

People ask what they are worth.  There are 3 factors.  Condition, Availability and Demand.  I call it C.A.D.  

Condition is key.  Too many people forget this.  Oh it's old, it's Lionel, it's valuable, well maybe. As condition goes down from "New In Box" class, price drops dramatically.

Availability.  I list availability since scarcity and rarity are very subjective when it comes to Lionel.  People start inventing reasons things are scarce.  Example a current trend is to find out if the painted tender body has a single color plastic underneath or "multi-color" thinking the multi-color is something special.  Nope.  Lionel was a business.  With plastic injection molding you have leftover plastic in gates and sprues.   The same as the plastic pieces that held the model car or airplane parts you used to glue together.   When you get enough of this left over plastic, you put it all in the melt and use it.  Since it could come from 1 or more colors, you end up with a multi-color plastic body.  Paint over it and who cares, until someone thinks it is special.

Demand.  If 50 people want an item and there are 49 or less available, demand may be high.  If 50 people want an item and 51 or more are available, demand is low.   Demand varies.  Lionel was a top "toy"maker in the world in the 1950's.   Availability is still strong, Lionel made a lot of trains. For the most part people took care of them or lovingly stored them away.   Supply is still abundant for many items.

I like good condition, run-able trains.  I am not fond of the "Display Queens"  If I only want to display it, a picture is just as good to me.   Non-run to me is not added value.

My notes on fixing and restoring Lionel trains.

Making the 783 run  The 1980's reproduction of the 1950/1964 773.

Basic Engine cleaning and electrical repair

Tools for trains




Lionel O Scale Trains last update Nov 22 2021