Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The National Toy Train Museum

Last month we looked at Geppi's Entertainment Museum, in Baltimore, which is overflowing with Disney history on every wall of the building. The next stop in our "Disney Outside of Disney" series doesn't offer an overwhelming amount of Disneyana but it does offer a subject near and dear to Walt's heart as well as a few fun touches of Disney.

The small town of Strasburg, PA offers quite a number of world class railroading attractions from full size historic locomotives to the only officially licenced Thomas the Tank Engine Store. There's even a hotel where you can spend the night in an actual caboose. Strasburg is also home to the national headquarters of the Train Collectors Association and their National Toy Train Museum. The museum houses five detailed toy train layouts with plenty of buttons to operate trains and various other elements within the layouts. While the subject of Walt Disney and his love of trains is not a subject explored at the museum, where ever you find an exploration into pop culture you're bound to find a little Disney magic somewhere.

Here's some pics of great Disney items that me and my one track mind (pun intended) took while visiting the museum.

The name Lionel is synonymous with model railroading but in their early days they produced an assortment of children's playthings. Some of those items are on display at the museum including this vintage Mickey Mouse Club record player. If you look slightly to the left of the top of the needle arm you'll see the Lionel "L" logo.

Here's a wall of handcars featuring some famous friends of ours.

These Mickey & Minnie handcars debuted at Christmas 1934. They were produced in orange, red, green and maroon by the Lionel Corporation. They sold for $1.00 each which ended up being the perfect price for families who couldn't afford an electric train during the Great Depression. Sales of the handcars were so astronomical that Mickey Mouse is credited with saving the Lionel Corp. from bankruptcy.

One of the layouts has a train that travels into a mine. If you follow the tracks you'll find an opening in the side of the mine where you can spot this vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs mine train set.

Last we have a few snapshots of some engines and cars on display. These are mostly from a large series of models produced in the mid-90's. At a nearby attraction, Choo-Choo Barn, you can see many of these pieces in action.


Disneyana World said...

The Snow White scene is awesome.

Biblioadonis aka George said...

Those are great, Ed!

Nice way to capture a little of the magic when you are far away.

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

This is terrific! There are so many places with pieces of Disney history throughout the world, thanks for brining some of these to our attention.

Anonymous said...

Hi... just happen to cross your site...

Im planning to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong Disney this Christmas. Hoho and I found some stuffs from Hong Kong Disneyland here as well:

I will definitely take tones of photos there!!!