Saturday, September 19, 2009


As promised back in August, here’s a closer look at the handsome book we found recently, The Art of Lionel Trains by Roger Carp. Published by Kalmbach in 2003, it seems to be out of print now, so has become something of a collector’s item. The hardback format is an unusual one, some 270 mm (10.6 in) square, which makes for spacious, panoramic spreads when the book is opened out.

Roger Carp has worked on Classic Toy Trains magazine and his take with this book is mostly on the glorious artwork that Lionel commissioned for its adverts and promo material, to show kids (and their parents) that an electric train was the most exciting and worthwhile gift of all. It was a tall order perhaps, but the art chosen for this book reveals the talented pool of artistic talent (mostly unsung commercial artists) that connected product with customer.

It’s a nostalgic tome that looks mostly at artwork, rather than photography, and this means that the last decade or two gets short measure. But no matter - those gorgeous ads will bring it all back for anyone of a certain age!

It’s a shame you can’t buy a new edition, but for anyone with an interest in model railroads, a used copy of The Art of Lionel Trains is well worth tracking down.

Amazon has a range of Kalmbach trains books, many at a good price here.

Kalmbach has a book publishing site, which you can visit here.