Department Store Holiday Displays

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  • Member since
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  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
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Department Store Holiday Displays
Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, November 17, 2017 8:39 PM

Do you have photos, or know where to find some, of train related holiday displays at your hometown department stores?

Every year around this time I look for photos on the net of Cleveland stores that may have been posted since the last time I looked.  So far, I've only found a handfull.  But I've also come accross some fascinating things that maybe you were lucky enough to have seen.

The best Cleveland image I found is this one:

http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/press/id/156/rec/84

The photo description says: "Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's 'Can-Do Special', a full-size replica of a 490 engine cab. Throttle starts activator under seat and moves along C&O right-of-way screen outside window make for perfect illusion of a train ride. Besides the youngsters blow a real train whistle and ring the locamotive's bell."  Dated 1948, the image was taken at Higbee's by a Cleveland Press photographer.  Here's the exterior of the cab:

These are the best images I could find dealing with toy trains:

But if you want an "unreal" department store display, here's the window from A Christmas Story:

And the streetcar that wasn't a streetcar:

Too bad we didn't have one of these in Cleveland!

Any Philly residents lucky enough to have ridden the Wannamaker monorail?

Share some memories!  Big Smile

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, November 18, 2017 4:49 PM

Great stuff Becky!  I wish I had something to post, but honestly I don't remember any toy train displays at department stores when I was growing up. 

I DO remember that in the "center of town" areas in the 'burbs of North Jersey just about every storefront had toy trains running, especially the hardware stores. They were almost dead-ringers of those shots Becky posted from "A Christmas Story," but not quite as grandiose.  Makes sense since back in those days (late 50's, early 60's) hardware stores sold Lionels around Christmas time.  One of my strongest childhood memories is from a trip to a hardware store with my father around Christmas time. I was six, maybe seven years old at the time and was VERY impressed with the big "Wall O' Trains" behind the counter, especially the green passenger cars, they looked just like (to me, anyway) the cars I used to see on the commuter trains.  I suppose that's what caused me to reproduce the same in the "Chugger Barn."

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Posted by Banks on Saturday, November 18, 2017 9:41 PM

Firelock. .....what's the "Chugger Barn"?

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 9:06 AM

Oh, that's the shed in the backyard I've got my O gauge layout in, very modest, only the traditional 4x8, with shelving on the walls for the collection O gauge cars and locomotives.  "The Chugger Barn" is the nickname myself and Lady Firestorm gave it.

I'd post pictures but I don't have a digital camera, but as I said the layout's modest, nothing special, it's there to exercise the collection.

That shot of the kid in the C&O simulator reminds me of the last time I was at the B&O Museum in Baltimore.  The cab of the C&O Allegheny they've got (And my God, that thing is HUGE! Takes your breath away to see it!) was open for visits but I couldn't get in, it was swarming with kids!  No biggie, I didn't need to go in there, and besides we have to train the next generation of railfans and rail modelers somehow!

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Posted by Banks on Sunday, November 19, 2017 6:19 PM

Going from the name I suspected something like that.

Pat from Virginia used to post here had his layout in an out building. Is yours suitable for year round use?

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

I may not have every thing I desire but the LORD has come through with what I need

   

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 6:55 PM

Suitable for year-round use?  Yeah, I'd say it is.  Before I paneled the walls I installed insulation, and also put insulation panels on the roof.  I've got an electric heater which I'll start maybe an hour or so before I spend any time in there during the winter, and in the summer I have several fans running so it's comfortable, except during the worst of heat waves.  Summer can be an inferno in this part of Virginia.

It can get cold in there during the winter though, that's how I found out JT's Mega Steam smoke fluid is mostly water.  It freezes!  No biggie, I love it just the same.

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Posted by trainguy2 on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 11:32 PM

Penny Trains

Do you have photos, or know where to find some, of train related holiday displays at your hometown department stores?

Every year around this time I look for photos on the net of Cleveland stores that may have been posted since the last time I looked.  So far, I've only found a handfull.  But I've also come accross some fascinating things that maybe you were lucky enough to have seen.

The best Cleveland image I found is this one:

http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/press/id/156/rec/84

The photo description says: "Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's 'Can-Do Special', a full-size replica of a 490 engine cab. Throttle starts activator under seat and moves along C&O right-of-way screen outside window make for perfect illusion of a train ride. Besides the youngsters blow a real train whistle and ring the locamotive's bell."  Dated 1948, the image was taken at Higbee's by a Cleveland Press photographer.  Here's the exterior of the cab:

These are the best images I could find dealing with toy trains:

But if you want an "unreal" department store display, here's the window from A Christmas Story:

And the streetcar that wasn't a streetcar:

Too bad we didn't have one of these in Cleveland!

Any Philly residents lucky enough to have ridden the Wannamaker monorail?

Share some memories!  Big SmileWow is that picture a blast from the past. I remember my uncle taking me downtown one December back in the 60s. I was about 7 years old. Back then the major department stores still had entire floors devoted to toys at Christmas time. Wanamakers had the monarail that circled the entire floor. Only kids were allowed on it. You could see the entire floor from up above. Of course at 7 I didn't think to have a camera with me. Wouldn't it have been great to have a picture of the display layout down below.

 

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  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, December 01, 2017 6:48 PM

Not a store displey, but there's a blog about the B&O layout at Cincinatti Gas and Electric over at the Trains side: http://cs.trains.com/trn/b/observation-tower/archive/2017/12/01/39-tis-the-season.aspx

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Posted by robmcc on Saturday, December 02, 2017 7:58 AM

It's unfortunate Becky that us GenXer's missed out on seeing those great layouts "back in the day". We grew up with window displays of Atari, Cabbage Patch Kids, etc. instead. I don't even remember Sears at the time having any Lionel in the Wish Book, let alone having a display. It was all HO by then. :(

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, December 02, 2017 9:01 AM

I just posted a comment on the "Trains" magazine B&O display story, but it's germaine to this thread as well.

This is the time of year many railroad modeling clubs hold open houses for the general public, hey trains and Christmas just go together perfectly, right?  So, for a bit of a taste of the old days of Christmas toy train displays pay a visit to one of those open houses if there are any in your area, you'll have fun and so will the family.

I'd say the same goes for any train shows, both national and locally sponsored, quite a few of them at this time of year as well.

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