From the Basement of John Warren


I collect and operate Lionel toy trains.


Feel free to browse about the site. Check out my Basement, and my tips for building an awesome layout and more!


Questions? Comments? Please send me an email to


“Trains are not just a hobby, they are a way of life!”


Drawn by grandaughter;

age 5


The good feeling one gets when thinking about old times with friends, family, places and, yes, even things.

Nostalgia is largely the main reason why we collect things from our past, be it trains, dolls, baseball cards, Pez dispensers, or whatever. It is fun to try to recapture what we had, what we wanted, or what we remember from our childhoods.


When it comes to trains, that nostalgic feeling is the main reason so many of us buy Pre or Post-war trains and accessories, even though the modern versions are more realistic, have digital sounds and digital remote control features. Even the track many of us use. Many people build new layouts, with the same tubular track that has been around for over 80 years, over 100 years when it comes to Standard Gauge. This is true even though there are many newer track systems available that include prototypical ties and built-in ballast.


The basic design of many of our layouts, plywood over framing, is way dated when compared to newer methods, such as open frame – but plywood tops are still readily used.  Many of us still use the same scenery materials that have been used for at least 90 years – sawdust (dyed or otherwise), coffee grounds, paper Mache, lichen, etc. Again, this is so even though much better and realistic materials are available today.


Many of us prefer Plasticville and similar buildings from the 1950’s. When compared to the current scale and detailed buildings available today, somehow the old stuff just look “right” on a layout to many of us. Some of us name areas of our layouts, buildings, etc after family and friends.


Certainly all of these things are true when it comes to the Warrenville Railroad!


Some take adding good memories of people, places, things and even movies and television shows to their layouts even further. A great example of this is Mike and Ronnie’s layout. Check out the blurb about it, and the pictures of it, in the “Friend’s Layouts” section of this website and you will see what I mean.


Nostalgia: A wonderful thing.



Proud Member Of:

Train Collectors Association

   (TCA), METCA Division

Lionel Collectors Club of America (LCCA)

Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS)

Favorite Forums and Sites:



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