Introducing Families and Electric Trains

Posted by Roger Carp
on Tuesday, November 17, 2020


The cover of the new issue

{Note: click on any image to enlarge.}

The excitement I always feel when a brand-new issue of Classic Toy Trains arrives from the printer never diminishes. There is a sense of joy and satisfaction when looking at the pages filled with wonderful photographs of new and vintage O and S gauge trains as well as the different articles and departments so beautifully designed by our art department.

Well, the excitement only rises to a higher and more intense level for me when one of our special-interest publications makes its debut. That’s because I have served as its editor and may well have written all or a majority of the articles being showcased. I take pride in my effort and want everything to inform, enlighten, and entertain our loyal readers.

Celebrate family layouts, like the Galuchies.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am to introduce Families and Electric Trains, the latest special-interest publication (SIP) from Classic Toy Trains, the premier source of information and inspiration for people who operate and collect toy trains. In the 100 pages filled with brand-new articles illustrated with new and old photos as well as vintage catalog images and advertising artwork, we have tried to capture the essence of the toy train hobby. We are making families front and center in this most meaningful of all hobbies. 

A look at 'twin sets' from Lionel.

By my calculation, Families and Electric Trains is the 15th SIP put out by Classic Toy Trains since our late editor Neil Besougloff envisioned All Star Electric Trains of the 1950s in 2005. It has been my honor to have written or edited all of them, which is why I’m in the best position to offer a stern criticism: This is the SIP we should have done first. 

I honestly mean this. Before remembering Lionel outfits of the postwar decades, exploring the worlds of operating accessories and store displays, or even trying to present the history of the toy train industry from A to Z, we should have looked at how families have always been the driving force behind the hobby.

As you’ll discover from the almost 20 newly written articles included in Families and Electric Trains, families established and managed the different businesses making and selling trains. It was in family settings, particularly during the annual holiday season, that adults and children received and played with their first sets. Together, they built evocative and meaningful arrangements of trains amid festive buildings, lights, and scenic effects. By doing so, families of varied backgrounds and circumstances created positive memories that have lasted for generations. Need proof? Just read the inspiring stories shared by the DiTrolio, Galushie, Korajczyk, Matejka, and Schiel extended clans

Most importantly, the process of families growing tighter thanks to their fascination with electric trains remains vibrant and influential. Check out the articles outlining how members of the Leavel, Newhouse, and Sabatasso families have constructed impressive O or S gauge railroads with their siblings, children, or grandkids. This is the hobby as its founders had always dreamed it would be.

The famous Roadside America attraction is inside!
One more thought: Sometimes, families assume a different nature, with volunteers and others helping people, especially children, get involved with toy trains when they might otherwise not be able. The Gieringers inviting travelers to visit their landmark exhibit known as Roadside America fit that description well. So also did the members of the Police Athletic League in Rochester, N.Y., who taught less-fortunate youngsters in their community all about model railroading.

Now accept this invitation from the editorial and art teams associated with Classic Toy Trains to dive into Families and Electric Trains. If you haven’t already ordered a copy of this exclusive publication, please do so by placing an order at Then you can dive right into our latest SIP, think about how your immediate family most likely has influenced your enjoyment of the hobby while remembering that we consider all of you part of our proud family, which has been responsible for CTT since 1987.

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