December 5, 2010

Christmas trains.



At Olbrich Gardens, here in Madison.

39 comments:

Harry said...

It's interesting that electric trains are popular elements in displays like this, but have pretty much disappeared as highly desired Christmas presents.

Watching a Christmas movie, my daughter commented on how anachronistic it is that Santa's elves are still depicted making toys that no kid wants anymore: rocking horses, tops, train sets, etc. (Granted some very small children like the wooden Thomas Train sets but that's a niche.)

Rose said...

I dunno, we just went to a Christmas Crafts fair with some of the finest artisans from across the country - and we came home with three simple wooden swords, a couple of simple leather 'swprd holsters' and two unpainted plywood shields.

They won't make it under the tree, the entire neighborhood has been playing swordfighter.

The wii is too limiting.

jaed said...

Toy trains came under EPA fire a few years ago:

Electric sparks have been shown to cause a chemical reaction that converts harmless ordinary oxygen (O2) in air to toxic ozone (O3). [...] Since electric trains are most frequently operated indoors, they contribute directly to ozone in household air.

Therefore, effective immediately, toy trains that contain open-frame electric motors may not be sold or distributed in the United States. This restriction applies not only to toy locomotives that use motors for propulsion, but also motorized accessories such as tenders that simulate the whistle sound of a steam locomotive using a motor-driven fan to blow air through a set of chimes.

Rocking horses were severely limited in the EU a few years ago as well; only the smallest may be sold. I'm not sure whether this is also true in the US, though it wouldn't surprise me.

I don't know about the tops. The paint, perhaps?

(VW: topsa. I swear that thing is going to turn into SkyNet one of these days.)

Ron said...

Where's Gomez Addams when we need him?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMxJtMoTnx8

BJM said...

@jaed

As a child I was admonished for asking Santa for so many Christmas gifts when Korean children would be happy with a turnip. I thought that an odd gift, but one dared not question such advice prior to Christmas.

Given the recent FDA mandate, organic turnips may go the way of toy trains.

@Rose

What fun! Lucky kids!

Emil said...

I was waiting for Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri to get hit at any second.

bharathi said...

Its really fantastic to see the trains. I am very happy to see this as the children there. Thanks for sharing

Christmas Emails

donttread2010 said...

Christmas train displays are so much more interesting than the debate over 'trains to nowhere'. Whimsical, yes- I hope that the desire to construct what is basically an outmoded (specific-purpose?) method of point A to point B becomes another 'whimsicality' (sp). Our gov't just seems to have no end to the ways to spend money. Bridges to nowhere, trains to nowhere, flatulent cows, crucifixations of ants, it just doesn't end. If I may: "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." - Ronald Reagan.

edutcher said...

Ann, you made my day. Really. That brings back so many memories.

Thank you so much.

Glad to see you're having so much fun with the Christmas season.

PS Electric trains are still sold in various hobby shops and such - I presume to people who remember them from their childhood, rather than kids, but that's how little kids would be exposed to them. Through grandparents and older aunts and uncles.

PPS That sword holster is called a scabbard.

traditionalguy said...

They need at least a 700 billion dollar upgrade. That is the slowest European train I have ever seen. It looks so...American.

AllenS said...

When I was a kid, I remember going to downtown St. Paul, and there was a department store called the Golden Rule. Every Christmas in the basement they had a huge model train display. Way cool.

MadisonMan said...

Toy trains came under EPA fire a few years ago:

I believe this presser was released on April 1st.

c3 said...

Finnaly, a train system Prof. Althouse will support!

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


These trains are too slow, but they’re a start. First we need a lot of money for an upgrade, so that they can be Speed Rail. THEN, they need to be reserved for a very small percentage of the using public. BUT everyone needs to pay taxes to support them…remember, these trains may lose money, but it’s still cheaper to build them than cancel them…and don’t talk to me about Hot Wheels as an alternative to model trains!

Tyrone Slothrop said...

You wouldn't think so, but it's really hard to keep an electric train going 24/7. We had that exact model on our gingerbread house here at the Hotel California. It was my job to keep it going. I couldn't. After about a week we had to give it up.

garage mahal said...

HULK SMASH TRAIN!

traditionalguy said...

This model train set up reminds of the man next door when I was 10-11. He had a constantly expanding layout in his basement. He was a great guy, and we loved to hear his stories of WWII driving Sherman tanks in Normandy up against the German's weapons...no contest. Anyhow, he loved to have us come over and see his trains but he would never let us help or touch anything. They were his toy.

E.M. Davis said...

My God those are giant poinsettias!!

buster said...

My dad would set up the Lionel trains every Christmas, and would enjoy them so much that he hogged the controls, so my brothers and I could hardly use them.

former law student said...

Model rains are better when you can ride on them. Here are some Northern California favorites. The last two are in the authentic 1:1 scale:

http://www.bjwrr.org/

http://www.traintown.com/

http://www.roaringcamp.com/

http://winetrain.com/

former law student said...

Model rains are better

Who will send me a new laptop keyboard for Christmas?

David said...

Buster, you and I must have had the same father.

Bigamist.

Come to think of it, my mother called me "Buster" sometimes. When she was annoyed with me, she would say "Listen, Buster."

I got called Buster a lot.

edutcher said...

I didn't get called, "Buster", but I had the same experience.

One of those generational things.

buster said...

You and I were hardly the only ones, David. I guess he got around a lot.

"Buster" was my family nickname, and my brothers and sisters still call me that. My kids call me "the old guy."

HDHouse said...

thatcan't be that high speed gizmo to Milwaukee can it?

Fred4Pres said...

I love train sets. But if you are going to build one for several billion dollars, at least pay for it yourself.

Fred4Pres said...

I like train sets. But if you are doing one that costs a billion+ bucks pay for it yourself.

AllenS said...

If there was a possibility of a rail line between Madison and Milwaukee would be a money maker, the railroads would be investing their money into the project.

former law student said...

If there was a possibility of a rail line between Madison and Milwaukee would be a money maker, the railroads would be investing their money into the project.

1952AllenS: If a high-speed limited access highway between Madison and Milwaukee made economic sense, the Big Three would be investing their money into the project.

Deb said...

When I was a kid the big thing at Christmas was The Pink Pig at Rich's (now Macy's) Department Store.

wv: grinsp. That's pretty close to Grinch.

reader_iam said...

Electric trains and slot cars were set up in our basement. Loved them!! In fact, I loved them and played with them way more than my little bro, but still, they went to him when he left home because he was the boy. Sigh. : (

Hoping a puppy in the house this year won't derail my plans to set up a small train set to en around the tree. We shall see.

AllenS said...

fls,

What was the reason for the Interstate highway system. Do you know? How many people use that system daily? How many people would travel on a train daily between Milwaukee and Madison?

Marc said...

Someone beat Ann to it! Background graphics are ROFL funny in Obama High Speed Bus Plan!

former law student said...

OK fine Allen.

The Milwaukee-Madison High Speed Rail and Mobile Missile Defense System Against Islamofascism

deborah said...

My mom would call me buster sometimes. And would sometimes say I was cruisin for a bruisin.

With all this discussion about trains, isn't the most 'green' and fiscal and government in your face approach to really talk up rails for freight?

deborah said...

omg Marc, lolol.

Love the announcer's take-off of Contessa Brewer, too.

Marc said...

Ha! I lost it at the government graphic of cars jerking over to the exit ramp.

jaed said...

I believe this presser was released on April 1st.

That makes me feel better.

(I'm not sure whether to blame myself for being gullible, or the EPA for being so weird that such a thing is actually sort of believable.)

rhhardin said...

Toy train via sociopathic blog for boys.