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Christmas Layouts Past & Present

Updated: Jan 5

Trains at Christmas time started over 100 years ago when Josuha Lionel Cowen's box with wheels and electric motor was set up in a single store's display window, and customers wanted to buy it. The European tradition of Christmas Putz' (decorations representing small villages) was later enhanced when people started to add trains to these displays, usually around their Christmas trees.

This tradition continues and is shared here - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope that this post evokes fond memories of Christmas' past for you, and maybe encourage you to begin planning your own tradition of Holiday layouts for next year!

The 2023 Warren Family Christmas layout and tree are both smaller than usual - but still fun. Running around Hawthorn Dicken's Village buildings from the 1980's is my Fandor passenger set from, I believe, about 100 years ago!

Click here for more on this set:

Here are a few pics of the 2022 Warren family Standard Gauge Christmas Layout. It included the traditional tunnel made out of presents in the back right corner:

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of my childhood layouts, but the lead picture, as well as the following pictures, are of recent layouts. They have been converted to black and white in tribute to the nostalgic theme of this blog post. These are all 85-95 years old Lionel tinplate.

The first photos are of Standard gauge trains, the last two are "O" gauge.


Lots of friends have joined me in sharing their Christmas train memories,.

Here are some Christmas memories from my train friends. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

Barry P shares a picture of his Christmas 2022 layout:

Joe P's 2022 Christmas layout:

Joe P's 2023 Christmas layout:

Mike C provided these photos of him from 1956. Mike's current layout was featured in "Friend's Layouts, Installment#1" - check it out if you have not already done so.

Rich R's contribution shows his first look of an unwrapped Lionel General set under his family's tree in 1962. The second photo is of him and his family opening other gifts while his new train is on the right, waiting to be played with. Rich had a lot of patience!

Tony Z also shared a Christmas train memory - that is him in the picture. As a side note, Tony's current layout is the subject of "Friend's Layouts Installment#3" - CHECK IT OUT!

The youngin' of the group, Ken E, shares his 2021 Christmas layout with us. That is him and his beautiful children in the third and forth pics:


If you do not frequent O Gauge Railroading's online OGR Forum I strongly suggest that you do. It is a great place for information and fun about toy and model trains.

Some of my online friends from the OGR Forum are sharing in the photos below. Thanks guys!

The two beautiful pics below are from Mike C:

Jon shared the following picture from 1968 - that is him in his festive red jacket:

Robert B provided this close-up shot from 1985:

Will shared this night time pic:


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Great article! I enjoyed looking at the photos of Christmases past


Kathleen Vincent
Kathleen Vincent

Wow I loved looking at those beautiful pics. Those trains are amazing. It’s so funny to look back on how simple, but beautiful things were back in those days. Sure did bring back cherishEd moments for me. Thanks for sharing cousin Johnny I love you!!

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