Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Coal Years of Model Trains

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Coal Years of Model Trains


  I can't tell you up until when the last of the coal engines still moved along a track.  However, with oil becoming more prevalent, the diesel engine becoming more efficient and cleaner, and  pollution becoming a bigger issue, the last of the coal engines eventually went into history in North America and Europe. I think there are still coal-burning steam engines left, as the world creates those "carbon credits" for emerging nations. I believe China and India, and perhaps some  African countries still run their train engines on coal.

   When I was a kid (young child) in the 1950's  of about 7 -12, I'd see the steam driven coal-buring trains about 1/2 mile (500M) from my house. In those days there were fences of course, but it was easy to get over them, compared with today in most larger cities. I'd find small pieces of coal along the railway  tracks. Also, when we moved to Outremont, a suburb on Montreal Island, the furnace had just been changed to oil. I found a shiny pice of coal (the cleaner and more efficient coal) in the furnace room. Also, in the garage was a metal coal chute to shovel coal into the furnace room bin.

   The coal-burning  train engines  would start up slowly, and the massive wheels and giant metal rods attached to the wheels would slowly rotate. There would be a large amount of smoke, and the train would start making that choo-choo-choo-choo sound until it  moved faster, and the choo-choo became one long and fast word.

The Model Train World

   The model train world is undergoing a resurgence in the new century. In doing a bit of research, I was surprised to see at least 20 companies that still make these great model trains in all sorts of gauges (scales). Also, these particular toys and models were played with mostly inside of houses. As a result, they seem to have survived a lot better than let's say the toys that would be played with outdoors.  This  is more so in the area of retaining the paint finish. 

   Since I limit myself to about 10 images of 10 montages of images, I decided to stay with the Lionel company for today. I'll see what train engines and cars are around from other brand names, and see if I can assemble posts about another theme, but with a different manufacturer.

     Of course, there still are coal cars that are used to transport coal to certain factories and electrical burring power houses. However, the era of coal  has long since gone by with oil and hydro-electric power having replaced it. I'm sure one of these days, maybe they will be able to create a better furnace to burn coal, yet achieve the air pollution standards needed today.

    What's fascinating about model trains is that a hobbyist can create a miniature world of industries, and cities based on the past and present. What's more interesting is that you can see up close models of these "worlds" that you'd never really get to see in your lifetime!

Thanks for dropping by,

and have a great part of the day,
wherever you may be.

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