Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lionel Trains - Harry Potter Hogwarts Express

Lionel will be releasing a new trainset sometime in November - Harry Potter Hogwarts Express. See pictures below. We will have it in the store as soon as it is released, but you could come in and order it now.

We are an authorized Lionel dealer, and we carry Lionel products year round, not just at Christmas time. Currently, we have the following sets in the store:
  • The Polar Express

  • North Pole Central Christmas Train

  • Thomas and Friends (Thomas the Tank Engine)

Plus several other passenger and freight sets. Each set contains an engine, cars, track, and a power pack. Everything you need to set-up and run a train.

We also have several Expansion Packs which include cars, track, and some scenic accessories. And we have additional track and switches in stock.

Come in and check us out. See our web site for location information.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

LV Tugboat Cornell

On Saturday, 10/6/07, the Camden & Amboy Railroad Historical Group sponsered a trip to Greenport, Long Island to see and ride on the restored tugboat Cornell. This tug was formerly owned by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The group rode the Long Island Railroad to get to the tug. During this trip they also rode the PCMRR 16 in. guage miniature railroad and visited the Railroad Museum of Long Island, both in the Greenport area. Some of our regular customers were on this trip, and they shared some of their photos and comments with us.

About 40 members of the group took the 1.5 hour ride on the Cornell. We tooled around the water between Greenport and Shelter Island. The tach on the 16 cylinder, 2 cycle supercharged 1600 HP Cleveland(Div. GM) Marine Diesel rarely got above 400 RPM. The drive is diesel-electric. The engine looks very much like the WWII sub diesel (see photo).

"Captain" Kilbride did a great job shepherding the group around the various sights, and keeping us on time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not Quite the Blue Comet

The following is an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer on 10-15-07. The story is about new express trains between New York and Atlantic City, and it mentions historic trains the "Nellie Bly," the "Flying Spray," and the "Blue Comet." The first two were PRR trains that ran from Penn Station in New York City to Philidelphia and then to Atlantic City, which is the route the new trains will take. The Blue Comet was a CNJ train that actually left from Jersey City (one could depart from a New York City terminal by ferry to Jersey City), and ran to Atlantic City entirely within New Jersey. The Blue Comet ran on the New York & Long Branch to Red Bank, then roughly down the center of New Jersey on the old New Jersey Southern to Winslow Junction where it turned east on the Reading line from Philidelphia to Atlantic City. So, the new express service described below is not quite the Blue Comet.

N.Y. to A.C. express returns
The new train service will echo the popular pre-WWII traffic.

By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer

ATLANTIC CITY - Following in the storied path of the "Nellie Bly," the "Blue Comet" and the "Flying Spray," express trains soon will run again between New York and Atlantic City, carrying passengers lured more by slots and cards than sea breezes and saltwater taffy.

The Atlantic City Express Service, aimed at affluent young New Yorkers who don't want to ride a bus or fight traffic, is expected to start late this year or early in 2008.

The new rail service comes as more visitors are rediscovering Atlantic City trains, a faint echo of the pre-World War II era, when the Shore resort drew dozens of trains daily from New York and Philadelphia.

"The attraction is comfort, convenience, and the time to get here," said Agostino Cipollini, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, one of the casinos paying for the new service. "You don't have to spend time in traffic, you don't have to worry about anything involved with driving."

The new trains from Manhattan's Penn Station will offer modern amenities, food and drink, and 300 leather seats in double-level cars.

But they won't be significantly faster than the trains of 1938.

Bankrolled by three casinos and operated by NJ Transit, the service is scheduled to run nine round-trips on weekends, making the 143-mile run in two hours and 40 minutes, with one station stop in Newark, N.J.

That's about the same time it took in the halcyon days of steam locomotives.

Seventy years ago, the Pennsylvania Railroad's daily "Nellie Bly" made the trip in two hours and 45 minutes, and that train stopped at three stations. The Jersey Central's daily "Blue Comet" made the trip in three hours, with four stops.

The leisurely pace of the modern service (average speed, 54 m.p.h.) is due to several factors. Atlantic City Express Service trains will have to share the tracks with Amtrak and NJ Transit trains. And the express-service train will stop briefly in Northeast Philadelphia to allow the engineer to walk from an electric locomotive (used on the main Northeast Corridor) on one end of the train, to a diesel locomotive (used on the Atlantic City line) on the other end.

(Trains on the Atlantic City line are now slowed briefly by a 10-mile-per-hour speed restriction for repairs on part of the Delair bridge across the Delaware River, but NJ Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett-Hackett said repairs would be completed before the express service began.)

Fares have not been set, but casino officials say they expect prices to be competitive with Amtrak's service through Philadelphia, which ranges from $53 to $87 each way.

"It's still a moving number," Cipollini said. "It will be competitive, not necessarily comparable, but it will be a good value for the customers coming into this market.

"Currently, the only way to take the train from New York to Atlantic City is through Philadelphia. NJ Transit operates 14 trains daily from Philadelphia to Atlantic City, charging $8 for the 11/2-hour trip.

Ridership on that Atlantic City line is up 27 percent in the last four years, rising to 1.27 million passengers in fiscal 2007.

The new express service is a joint venture among the Borgata, Harrah's Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The casinos are buying and refurbishing eight double-level cars for $15 million, and the development authority will lease four locomotives for $4.5 million for three years.

The joint venture will pay NJ Transit $3.8 million a year to operate the trains.

"The train doesn't have to be wildly profitable for this to work," Cipollini said, noting that passengers are likely to also spend money shopping, going to casino shows, and, of course, gambling.

To promote the new service to the 25- to 35-year-old New Yorkers who are the prime target market, the casinos have hired Tierney Communications of Philadelphia to handle public relations, and One Trick Pony of Hammonton for marketing.

"There certainly is a strong demand from New York . . . in some aspects, it's an underserved market," Cipollini said. Friday nights and weekends, he said, can be especially challenging for New Yorkers trying to get to Atlantic City by highway, when the normal 21/4-hour drive can turn into a 31/2-hour slog.

Casino marketers were also encouraged by New York's rising population and declining auto-registration numbers.

"It's just too expensive to have a car in New York City," Cipollini said.

The return of the New York express is a back-to-the-future move for Atlantic City.

"Ironically, it was the train that really opened up the Jersey Shore," said Dave Coskey, Borgata's vice president of marketing.

Although trains once ruled Atlantic City (on one August weekend in 1904, 70,000 people arrived on 98 trains from Philadelphia and Camden), the new rail service will be pitched as looking forward, not backward.

With the announcement last week of a massive new $5 billion MGM Grand casino-hotel complex here, Atlantic City is, more than ever, styling itself as a Las Vegas kind of destination.

"Atlantic City has changed from yesteryear," Cipollini said. "We're looking to the future."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Somerville Fall Street Fair

The Somerville Fall Street fair was held on Sunday, October 7th, and we had two tables set up in the street in front of the shop. One table had an operating slot car race set, and the other had an operating Thomas the Tank Engine set. We also had our Radio Controlled (R/C) tank running around in the street. Pictures below are from that day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Train, dirt bike crash; teen hurt

Following article is from the Express-Times newspaper, Easton, PA.

Train, dirt bike crash; teen hurt

P'burg boy in critical condition
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Express-Times

Express-Times Photo TIMOTHY WYNKOOP

The motorcycle of a Phillipsburg teenager is shown lodged under a train Wednesday night in Phillipsburg.

PHILLIPSBURG A town teenager riding a dirt bike was critically injured Wednesday evening when he was struck by a train under the South Main Street bridge.

John Gibbons, whose exact age is unknown, was listed in critical condition at St. Luke's Hospital late Wednesday night. The train, operated by Norfolk Southern, hit the blue-and-white motorcycle Gibbons was driving at 6:05 p.m., according to Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband.

Phillipsburg police said they were called at about 6:30 p.m. and found Gibbons lying beside the tracks, shirtless and with one of his white sneakers knocked off.

Kelly Snyder said Gibbons was with her and a group of friends Wednesday afternoon at the skate park in Delaware River Park riding dirt bikes, including the Yamaha TT-R 125 that Gibbons was on at the time of the wreck. Snyder said it was Gibbons' first time riding a dirt bike.

Sgt. Shawn Carmody said Gibbons and another boy broke off from the group and took turns riding trails near the tracks. Carmody said judging by the orientation of the bike, its rear wheel was pinned under the front of the train. He said police believe Gibbons was eastbound on the tracks -- the same direction the train was headed. Judging from the injuries, Carmody said he does not believe Gibbons was wearing a helmet.

Carmody said the train is loud but the racket of the motorcycle might have drowned out surrounding noise.

Matthew Famularo said he was walking along Main Street near the bridge, heard a screeching sound and then the train's whistle blow. Famularo said he got to the bridge, looked over the railing and saw a body sprawled on the gravel next to the stopped train.

"I saw the train person walk up the tracks to (Gibbons)," Famularo said, referring to the train's engineer.

Husband said the company would not release the engineer's identity. He said the area where the crash occurred is a "transitional area" meaning that the train picks up speed, accelerating from about 30 mph to 50 mph. No figure on how fast the train was going was available Wednesday night.

Bob Fulper said he followed police vehicles to the site, walked to the bridge, peered over the railing and caught site of Gibbons' prone body.

"His head was bleeding on the left side," Fulper said. "And it looked like bone was sticking out from his arm."

Police said the Warren County Prosecutor's Office was assisting with the investigation. Railroad officials were also reviewing the crash but refused to comment. At 8:40 p.m., after police freed the bike, the train, with more than two dozen loaded cars in tow, crept away. Husband said the train was bound for Secaucus, N.J.

Carmody said people ride dirt bikes along the tracks all the time. He said police chase people away but they can't keep everyone off.

Philip Consentino said he was out on the balcony of his second-floor unit in the John F. O'Donnell Apartments beside the tracks.

"I heard (the engineer) blow the whistle. Nobody can say he didn't blow the whistle," Consentino said. "I heard the train blow the whistle and I heard it dragging the bike."

Consentino agreed that many people ride bikes near the site of the wreck.

"I knew something was going to happen sooner or later," Consentino said.

Reporter JD Malone can be reached at 610-759-4599 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Are these people train watching?

Judging from a quick glance, an observer might believe these people are watching this NJT train on the Raritan Valley line in Raritan (NJ). Actually, they are all waiting for the 26th John Basilone parade to start to honor a home town boy who enlisted in the Marines and would later come to be described as a "Marine's Marine...". Leading off this year's parade lineup was the USMC band from Quantico, Virginia. A little history about who John Basilone was. He enlisted in the Army in 1934 and would serve four years. In 1940 he re-enlisted with the Marines because, as he told his mother, "The army's not tough enough for me." During the WW II battle of Guadalcanal in September, 1942, he would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in helping to ward off a Japanese regiment. Winning this medal assured John a stateside role in the military, but he had promised his men he would return to fight. Landing on Iwo Jima in the first wave, John would guide a trapped tank away from a mine field. Under heavy fire, he also single-handedly destroyed a Japanese blockhouse. On Febrauary 19, 1945, he would be killed in action. He was 28 years old. John Basilone is the only soldier in history to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, given posthumously, for his actions on Iwo Jima and a Purple Heart.