Toy Train Operating Society Train Layout

In September of 2004, the Toy Train Operating Society held a model train open house at the home of a member in Southwest Washington. The layout was spectacular - about 30 ft. by 40 ft. with a mix of O-gauge (Lionel-sized) and standard gauge (40% larger than Lionel) with prewar Lionel 'OO' gauge (about 10% larger than HO) trains running on the upper 'mountain' level.

The walls of the large train room were lined floor-to-ceiling with old and rare trains. There were quite a few standard gauge 'State Sets' (from the 1920s and '30s) as well as reproductions - even the gold-plated Millennium State Set. There were model trains I had never seen in person before and some I had never even heard of.

I would guess that the value of trains, accessories and train-related merchandise in the room was over $1 million. It made my own train layout efforts appear lame.

There were about ten different loops on the layout. All were running extraordinary trains of one kind or another. Most of the structures and vehicles dotting the layout were prewar collectibles. On the layout was a 1903 loco - the only known 101 year-old Lionel train that still runs. Even the track is the original. It was obtained from the daughter of the original owner along with the 1903 bill of sale from the Emporium in San Francisco!

Running through the layout on about 70-80 lineal feet of overhead 'track' was a 1930s-era Leland-Detroit monorail. It was lithographed sheet metal and was very art deco-ish. There was even a vintage operating carnival with Ferris wheel and carousel. In addition to a Lionel O-gauge Milwaukee Road Hiawatha passenger train set on display, there was a huge standard gauge Hiawatha set - awesome!

Standard gauge sets

standard-gauge Hiawatha passenger set

Standard gauge sets on display, including MTH Millennium set.
All walls of the room were lined with toy trains. The standard-gauge Hiawatha passenger set can be seen at lower right.

train layout


1903 Lionel

Photos cannot capture the visual impact of the layout. Nor can they adequately illustrate the degree of detailing. This image shows one corner of the layout. Train sets line the walls of the large room. Note the white Hellgate Bridge at right.
1903 Lionel motorized unit rests at the station. It runs on 2 and 7/8-inch two-rail track with wood ties

Leland-Detroit Leland-Detroit monorail

More Train Info & Photos

Main Page - Introduction
Overview - General description
Aerial photo - Large photo overview of layout
Photorama - Several pages of photos
Construction - Progress photos and descriptions
Layout storage - How we move and store this train layout
Inventory list - It continues to grow
Frequently asked questions - And answers to them
Tips for a better layout - Ten helpful suggestions
My grandson's layout - A simple model railroad for kids
GM Aerotrain - 1950s Train of the Future
Hiawatha - The first streamlined steam loco
PRR Consolidation - Pennsy's steam freight workhorse
PRR GG1 - The most famous electric locomotive on earth
PRR Mallet - Pennsy's big, powerful steam freight hauler
PRR MP54 - Serving commuters for over 50 years
PRR T1 - Sleek and massive Pennsy steam power

copyright Joseph M. Sherlock - 2000-10