Discover Standard Gauge Toy Trains


Standard gauge toy trains are one of the most popular collectible toy trains. Collecting toy trains is a very popular hobby among many people. Some people collect them because they are reminded of their childhood, or because they had one or two of these realistic toys passed down to them through the generations. There are many replicas and styles to choose from. Some of these toy trains are quite hard to come by. If you’re new to collecting toy trains or are just looking for unique pieces to add to your collection, you’re about to discover what makes these mini-locomotives a one-of-a-kind tradition in toy trains.

Origin of Standard Gauge Toy Trains

Standard Gauge trains are often referred to as wide gauge trains. This label was an early model train rail gauge. It was introduced in the United States in 1906 by the Lionel Corporation. The specific scale of Standard Gauge locomotives varied because the nomenclature was a reference to a toy standard, rather than a scale modeling standard. These trains ran on a three-rail track whose running rails were 2+1⁄8 inches apart.

Precision of Standard Gauge Toy Trains

So what exactly makes a standard gauge toy train more desirable than others? Ask any collector of standard gauge toy trains and they’re likely to explain it in great detail. Standard gauge trains typically tend to model the originals more precisely than other available gauges. Compared to other toy trains, such as replicas of old Lionel, standard gauge trains truly have a unique way of grabbing the attention of a collector. This is probably because the standard gauge toy trains are strikingly identical to the actual trains used in the days of old.

Standard gauge toy trains
Lionel Collectible Classics

Lionel Corporation Set the Standard

Lionel’s Standard Gauge became popular in the early part of the twentieth century. Between 1921 and 1926, several of Lionel’s American competitors adopted Lionel’s standard gauge. While the track size for all of the manufacturers’ was the same, and the trains and buildings were approximately the same scale, the couplers were mostly different or incompatible. This reality made it impossible to mix train cars from different producers without the modification of those cars.  Model Train Layouts and Track Tips

Collecting Toy Trains an Old Hobby

The concept of toy trains has existed for centuries. At one time, a toy train was the dominant toy of choice for many youngsters in America. As we have established, the standard gauge toy train was an idea originally put into production by the Lionel Corporation.

Lionel pioneered the standard gauge trains in an effort to boost the sales of toy trains in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. The term “standard gauge’ refers to the size and diameter of railroad tracks for the toy trains. The Lionel Corporation developed a three-rail track of about 54 mm between each outside rail, which in turn did not work very well with gauge 1 productions from Europe. Soon the idea spread to other manufacturers in America, under the name “wide gauge”.

Standard Gauge Discontinued in 1940

Standard gauge was discontinued in 1940 due to the expensive cost of production. It is now a desired collection trait because standard gauge is precisely accurate to its actual larger model version in mean scale. Nevertheless, standard gauge toy trains remain a popular collection item. It is expected that they will become even more popular as we approach its centennial anniversary in 2040. Standard gauge has now become the preferred choice of many toy train collectors. It is most popular on display around the holidays. At that time, these trains are usually seen in several stores and shopping malls.  Discover Model Trains and Scale Trains

So where can one find these unique pieces? There are several places to locate standard gauge toy trains. You can get some good deals if you know where to look. A simple search of the internet will provide you with several websites that sell standard gauge items.  Auction sites like eBay and other online auction websites sometimes have standard gauge auctions. You can also find some informational websites and places to participate in blogging on standard gauge toy trains.