Niagara Gazette

Extra

December 11, 2008

EXTRA: Christmas tree trains keep on chugging

(Continued)



Lionel says it has run a marketing campaign to appeal to consumers beyond the hard-core hobbyists, creating new lines of train sets and putting them in places like Target, FAO Schwarz and Toys "R'' Us, says Calabrese.

When people see them, they think about being a kid and connecting with their fathers, he said.

Mike Wolf, owner of MTH Electric Trains, says that's what he sees, too. The average age of his manufacturing company's customer is 52; many are Baby Boomers who want to pass the tradition on to their kids and grandkids.

Some train enthusiasts want the magic of a train but can't afford the $200 or so for a complete set.

James Pentifallo, owner and manger of Ridgefield Hobby in Ridgefield, N.J., said more people are bringing in their trains for repairs this holiday season compared with previous years. He had 80 to 100 that needed to be fixed one week this month.

For many people, "there is no real money to buy a brand new train set," he said. "They'll fix the old stuff up and add a little bit to it."

At the other end of the spectrum, Caboose Hobbies in Denver reports similar sales numbers to last year, but more people investing more in the higher-end sets, says owner Duane Miller.

For Boomers, a train under the tree can be as much a part of decorating as ornaments and lights, he said.

Lou Failla, 48, of Fair Lawn, N.J., whose trains were featured in O Gauge Railroading magazine, said he and his friends would go to bed and dream about getting Christmas train sets. He got his first one when he was 5.

Failla, a cop, said his trains make him feel like a kid again. He can sit on the floor and watch them, see the lights and hear the sounds.

"What's nice is to be able to go back to that era, the simplicity of the trains running around the Christmas tree," he said. "It's symbolic. It's almost up there with the Christmas tree and Santa."



Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Extra
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page