From the Basement of John Warren

I will be happy to answer your questions here!

Got a question or two? Feel free to e-mail me at

How much is it worth?

Dollar-wise, less than it did a couple of years ago. Enjoyment-wise, invaluable.

Unless a PostWar (1945-1969) item is truly rare, "mint" or "like new" with all of the packaging in perfect condition, it's dollar value has fallen. Why? Many operators now prefer recently issued trains with command control, digital sounds, scale size and details.

I like the nostalgia, sounds and ozone scent from PostWar Lionels. The hunt, running the trains, working on the layout and talking with and making friends is a ton of fun for me - and priceless.


How long have you been doing this?

My brother and I received our first Lionels over 50 years ago when I was about seven. These trains disappeared about 10 years later. I never lost an interest in them, my brother did. I started to get back into the hobby about 25 years ago, full force about 20 years ago. It's addicting!


What is your favorite train?

The 3 cars I custom painted (decals made by to commemorate the birth of my three grandaughters are way out in front as my favorites! In second place, while not rare or unusual, is my PostWar Lionel Milwaukee Road set headed by a # 2338 GP7 diesel engine. Why? It is the same as the set my father bought us in 1958.

I'm building a layout and have questions about your upper level track supports - How high and what is the distance between them?

The tallest supports range from 6 inches to 6.5 inches in height. I try putting one every track section or so, but can't always do that if something is underneath, in the way. Remember my track is O27 Gauge, 10 inch long straights, so every 10 inches is pretty close. If need be, I'll go up to 12 or 13 inches, which is often. I also try to use 3 foot track sections on the upper levels (less track joints to bend). If I have a spot where a 3 foot section won't fit, rather than 1 or 2 track sections and a small filler, I'll cut a 3 foot section to fit.

I screw or glue every support to one of the original metal ties, and then also to the board. This adds strength too.

Lastly, to avoid flexing even more, I try to have something solid under many sections; mountains, plateaus, viaducts and stone/block walls (These last two made with styrofoam and a Tippi hot wire foam cutter). In the center section, above the subway where you'll see a railing made from wallboard corner beading, I have the track supported with a 6 inch wide, 1/4 inch thick, board.

No rules. Usually I'll put supports where obvious, and then fill in with others if I find flexibility when I push down on a section.

Hope this helps - good luck with your project!

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