Railfan Collectables?

5456 views
63 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
  • 140 posts
Posted by steve-in-kville on Friday, December 20, 2019 8:35 AM

Flintlock76

Well isn't that the cutest thing?

When you get it you can play with it on the kitchen table and have the wife think you've totally lost it!   "Woo-woo!  Ding-ding-ding-ding!"

 

 

She's already come to that conslusion. Who gets out of bed at 6am on a Saturday to stand by tracks in 30* weather to wait for trains?

Regards - Steve

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,186 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, December 20, 2019 8:52 AM

steve-in-kville

 

 
Flintlock76

Well isn't that the cutest thing?

When you get it you can play with it on the kitchen table and have the wife think you've totally lost it!   "Woo-woo!  Ding-ding-ding-ding!"

 

 

 

 

She's already come to that conslusion. Who gets out of bed at 6am on a Saturday to stand by tracks in 30* weather to wait for trains?

 

Not me brother!  I'm retired, no more "zero-dark-thirty" wake-ups for this kid!  Now I don't get up until Ginger the Attack Basset gets me up!

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • 664 posts
Posted by tdmidget on Friday, December 20, 2019 10:01 AM

Glad this subject came up. My better half is after me to reduce my vast stacks of railroad magazines. Trains, Classic Trains, Railrod &Railfan. The local used book stores no longer take them in trade. Can anyone suggest an outlet? There's a lot of money spent there, too much to throw away.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 1,032 posts
Posted by NKP guy on Friday, December 20, 2019 10:53 AM

   In northern Ohio those who are out of bed at 6am or earlier to "stand by the tracks in 30* weather to wait for trains" are usually Amtrak customers.  The best part: We count ourselves lucky.  

   But doing that to see and photograph freight trains?  That's how you know you have a serious hobby or avocation.  I bet someone here could graph age and willingness to get up at 5 or 6 AM to see trains.  Even Napoleon, at age 42, said, "I love my bed," and admitted that campaigning with its late hours had less attraction all the time.

**********

tdmidget:  I think you're going to have to donate those magazines.

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
  • 140 posts
Posted by steve-in-kville on Friday, December 20, 2019 11:32 AM
Saturday and sometimes even Sundays mornings are what I call "me time." My wife and the family sleep in until at least 8. I'm up at 5:30 to hit up the local diner for breakfast, grab some donuts for the family and then out to the tracks as the sun is starting to make its appearance. I'll spend an hour, more if things sounds interesting over the radio. Don't ask about my youtube video addiction. I bet I subscribe to at least 4 channels that video tape trains from all over!

Regards - Steve

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Toronto, Canada
  • 1,657 posts
Posted by 54light15 on Friday, December 20, 2019 11:35 AM

I subsribe to Trains, naturally and Hemmings Classic Car. When done with them, I drop them off in a doctor's waiting room in the back of a drugstore about 60 feet away from my place. Ever notice how the mags in doctor's offices usually concern women? There's never any mags of interest to men, except maybe a 3 year old Sports Illustrated.

I collect model trains for my layout- N scale, European prototype from the Trans-Europe-Express era. I have more than I need but not as many as I want. I imagine the same goes for collecting watches or lanterns or automobiles. No matter how many you already own, there's always the one you just have to have, right? 

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 11,725 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, December 20, 2019 12:03 PM

I'm familiar with the feeling, there's always that one ETT or OG that I just can't pass up.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
  • 140 posts
Posted by steve-in-kville on Friday, December 20, 2019 12:22 PM
I currently only subscribe to Railfan and our local Giant Foods has Trains, Locomotive and a few others believe it or not. So always buy an issue at the newsstand.

Regards - Steve

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,186 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, December 20, 2019 12:39 PM

tdmidget

Glad this subject came up. My better half is after me to reduce my vast stacks of railroad magazines. Trains, Classic Trains, Railrod &Railfan. The local used book stores no longer take them in trade. Can anyone suggest an outlet? There's a lot of money spent there, too much to throw away.

 

Not really.  Unless you've got some really  old ones, maybe 50+ years old, there's really no market for them.  At the train shows my club sponsors we have a give-away table where members stack their old magazines, and even then they don't all disappear before the end of the show.  

I drop off my used railroad theme and rail-modeling theme mags at the gym.  They're usually gone in 24 hours or so.  I can see why, most of the mags on the table are usually "Bride," "Modern Bride," "Southern Bride," "Bride Again..."

Occasionally there's a "Cosmo" or "Vogue."  

You get the picture.

Oddly enough, I never see any body-building mags, you know the ones with the guys on the cover that look like those Aryan superman statues the Nazis used to put up?   Maybe I don't want to!

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Kenosha, WI
  • 6,559 posts
Posted by zardoz on Friday, December 20, 2019 1:28 PM

Flintlock76
An old timer I new up in New Jersey years back told me the local railroaders he'd gotten friendly with when he was a kid used to give him track torpedoes.  He used 'em as targets for his .22 rifle!  He said you sure knew when you scored a bulls-eye!

Another interesting use of torpedoes, when sitting bored on a siding waiting for a meet, was to put one in front of each axle of your locomotives (works best if slack is bunched); then, when starting the train, all 6 (or 12 or 18...) torpedoes would go off at the same time. It is an activity that is best done at night, away from civilization.

And if you were really bored and wanted to go for a stroll, and you had a good supply of torpedoes, you could walk back and put some under as many freight cars as possible, placing them just behind the lead truck.

Not that I would ever do such an activity....

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 783 posts
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Friday, December 20, 2019 1:29 PM

For me, it's books. I may have 200+ RR books. Nowadays I buy fewer photo books, and more text-oriented ones.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 9,987 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 20, 2019 2:15 PM

tdmidget
There's a lot of money spent there, too much to throw away.

The subject comes up repeatedly on RyPN: apparently a great many people try donating collections of railroad magazines to museums and so they keep the 'best' copies and either pass on or trash the rest.  

If you want money for them, your most likely bet is to get an account on eBay ... and be prepared to wait and wait and wait until someone wants a particular issue or collection of volumes.  I doubt any of the other 'online auction/sale sites' would command as much peripheral railfan interest as eBay does.

There are, or were, a few hangover sites on the Internet that specialized in railroad books and back-issue magazines ... I found and accessed one about a year and a half ago that still had its pages and listings in what looked like early-Nineties 256-bit HTML 1.  They might list items on consignment for you, but most of any 'profit' would be eaten up with postage and handling.

My advice is to find organizations that will value the collection or some part of it, and agree to keep it for x years without deaccession or discarding.  Local or regional libraries could easily accommodate the magazines in boxes if they don't have lineal shelf space or 'hardware' available to put them out.  There may be local organizations like the Cub/Boy Scouts (isn't there a Model Railroading merit badge to go with the Railroading one?) that would find uses for the publications -- again, not necessarily putting them out for browsing but keeping them available and periodically asking if there's any interest.

At one point, the Craigslist/Freecycle 'phenomenons' might have given you a wider range of direct interest, particularly if you only want to see them 'go to a good new home'.  I don't think much of the Freecycle platform survived their abandonment of Yahoo Groups as a platform, though.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 20,194 posts
Posted by tree68 on Friday, December 20, 2019 11:18 PM

zardoz
Another interesting use of torpedoes,

I once read an account of someone having put several torpedos in a line down the track, where they were hit, in sequence, by a speeder.  Nearly rolled the speeder right over.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Great Plains
  • 1,088 posts
Posted by York1 on Saturday, December 21, 2019 9:54 AM

Flintlock76
Unless you've got some really  old ones, maybe 50+ years old, there's really no market for them.  At the train shows my club sponsors we have a give-away table where members stack their old magazines, and even then they don't all disappear before the end of the show.  

 

I agree with this.  Nearly every railroad show or open house I've been to has a table with old magazines free for the taking.  At the end of the day, the magazines are still there.  I think it is a waste of time trying to find someone willing to pay for them on ebay or another site.

John  --  Saints Fan  

  • Member since
    August 2008
  • From: Colorado Springs CO
  • 86 posts
Posted by Thechief66 on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 8:01 AM
I have a pretty decent collection of railroad antiques inherited from my grandfather, who was a 40+ year ATSF employee. Signs, posters, maps, a clock, lanterns, playing cards, matchbooks etc. My favorite is The Chief sign in my avatar which hangs on my wall.
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,186 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 9:59 AM

That's a great inheritance, especially if you're a Santa Fe fan!  

And of course, "The Springs" is Santa Fe country!

  • Member since
    April 2002
  • From: Northern Florida
  • 1,378 posts
Posted by SALfan on Saturday, December 28, 2019 8:23 PM

Murphy Siding

 

 
Ulrich

I collect books of all kinds, including railroad books. And I actually read them too. 

 

 

 

Yep- I have that affliction as well. 1,000, maybe more. Whistling

 

 

 

That makes three of us.  If and when my church builds a new parish hall/classroom building, I'm hoping they include space for a library.  If they do, I'm going to donate mine, which will be a good start on a library (but not 1000).  One of priests has 3 or 4 storage rooms full; between us we could probably stock a decent ibrary.

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 674 posts
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 29, 2019 8:40 AM

I collect books.  At one time, I was going to collect the entire series of Morning Sun books, except for the freight car ones.  Then, my wallet and I came to our senses.  Now I just collect books on my major interests, along with a smattering of others.  I sold the rest.

BTW--If anyone has copies of the old PC Railroader magazine, I'll buy them off your hands...

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,186 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, December 29, 2019 9:59 AM

Oh man, "Morning Suns" are addictive as hell!  I've confined myself to the ones concerning the classic era of Northeast railroading, that's enough!

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: Siloam Springs Ark
  • 84 posts
Posted by tabeckett on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 2:38 AM

Um....me......Actually, I have gotten out of bed at 0600 to stand by the tracks in much colder weather than that, sometimes below zero, but I lived in upstate NY, where such was not unusual certain times of the year. I moved to Arkansas 13 years ago, so the sub zero weather is not a factor now, but if the train is there, I'll get up for it. My outlook is, railroading is a 24/7 all weather enterprise, so is railfanning.

If you decide to get into ETT's and rule books, you might also check out some of the train shows. There's probably one-or more, if you live in a fairly well populated region-every year within reasonable driving distance. The offerings will run the gamut from mostly model equipment, to models with a fair variety of railroadiana-ETT's, rule books, lanterns, locks, clothing, books, photos, all manner of things.

We have a show here in late February that usually has a couple of tables where the purveyors have several boxes of ETT's, mostly from the 60's and 70's, but other eras as well, and most are reasonably priced, though that will vary according to condition and relative rarity. I have acquired quite a few by sifting through the boxes to find something of interest, especially for roads that served this area, as they are useful for comparison with current characteristics, as well as helping me identify abandoned lines. A 50 year old ETT can be a wonderful research tool.

Tom Beckett Keeping the freight moving by road and rail
  • Member since
    April 2012
  • 7 posts
Posted by 2010Challenger on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 3:13 AM

I have some odds and ends marked T.T.R.R (Toledo Terminal RR) that I got from bugging train crews when I was a little kid who lived next to the tracks.

I don't have much of anything like Timetables or anything like that, but I have service manuals for EMD F7, GP40, and SD40, GE Dash-8 and Dash-9, and opertaing manuals for SD60, SD80MAC, and most of an SD90MAC. I have some bad order tags from Conrail, NS, and CSX. And a few mostly CR hats, keychains, and a CR lighter that never worked and leaked all the butane out of it almost immediately. I got it from an engineer who used to like to visit with my dog and I while they waited to go into the siding a couple of miles East of where I sat and watched trains in the middle of the night. Oh, and a very nice Santa Fe lighter that I got from the dining car waiter on a BN train right after the BN merger, NOT the later BN&SF merger. I don't know where a SF lighter came from but he made my 12 year old self very happy. Those SF lighters go for a fair chunk of cash on Ebay.

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
  • 140 posts
Posted by steve-in-kville on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 6:20 AM

steve-in-kville

 

This currently sits on my desk at work. Might fill one car with Jolly Ranchers and another with Hershey's Miniatures. 

Regards - Steve

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • 3 posts
Posted by mistersteve on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:33 AM

I have several sets of railroad playing cards, also many dining car menus.  A dining car menu from Santa Fe's Chief in 1957 had a beautiful portrait on the cover of "The Red Cliffs of Western New Mexico" painted by an artist named Adolph Heinze.  I made an enlarged photocopy and have it hanging on my wall.  You can see a picture of it by typing the name of the portrait and the artist into Google Images. I also framed some pictures from Amtrak calendars of the 1980's.

I have two Official Guides from 1971, one before Amtrak took over and one after, also a couple of reprints of Official Guides from 1868 and 1870.

 

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,269 posts
Posted by diningcar on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 10:03 AM

I have several authentic Santa Fe items - silver, china, calendars & calendar tops, and more paper items. I am willing to trade, buy or sell.  email is jwk1932@att.net

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 42 posts
Posted by Fred Boyer on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 10:14 AM

When downsizing, don't expect a good return on investment with books.  I had a BUNCH, best price was $150 for the collection from dealers.  Went to a train show and sold 2 books for $175.  Did very well at the shows, but had to put in a lot of time and travel expenses.  

Fred Boyer
  • Member since
    August 2018
  • 6 posts
Posted by PhilBurton on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 7:26 PM

Not to mention that commuter rail time tables, for example, are re-issued at least once a year.  And there is a separate small fold-up timetable for EACH INDIVIDUAL station. Gotta get them all.  And maintain that collection from year to year.

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 921 posts
Posted by Sunnyland on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 4:16 PM

A lot of my collectibles were from my Dad, Frisco playing cards, pens, pencils, notepaper, cig lighter, ashtray,  all the timetables from trips we took-Mom made sure we saved those. All the names are gone except UP. 

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • 3 posts
Posted by A Train Dog on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:23 AM

I am avoiding creating a model layout too- just don't have the interest. However, I am collecting HO Scale models of the locomotives and cars that I remember seeing over the years. I put them in a display case. They make great gifts from friends and family- hint hint!Big Smile  Also, have started collecting metal signs with railroad logos, heralds on them. 

 

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
  • 140 posts
Posted by steve-in-kville on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:47 AM
I could see doing a shelf display, but nothing that moves, not until I have a hobby room to set up in.

Regards - Steve

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: WI
  • 16 posts
Posted by Harrold on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:30 AM

Flintlock76

 Back around 1969, I found a flag/torpedo holder in an O&W depot.  Inside were a number of torpedoes, including an ancient one that was just sheet lead wrapped around like a cigar.  This was 12 years after the railroad quit.  I didn't want to keep them as sometimes the powder can be unstable, so I gave them to the owner of the business that owned the depot and told him about getting rid of them.  Would have liked to keep them but...  At the MidContinent Rwy Museum, we still have torpedoes in our flagging kits and crews are trained to use them.

 

 
Deggesty

Quoting Larry: "Collectables can be almost as dangerous as modelling." Yes, especially if you collect torpedoes.

 

 

 

Oh wow, track torpedoes!  You don't see those around too often, probably a good thing.

An old timer I new up in New Jersey years back told me the local railroaders he'd gotten friendly with when he was a kid used to give him track torpedoes.  He used 'em as targets for his .22 rifle!  He said you sure knew when you scored a bulls-eye!

 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy