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The Finished Product

The Newtown & West Wellington Line, Part 1, The Supporting Library

By John S. Halajko, TCA 84-20653                                        Fall 2020

This article provides details about the Lionel 1900 Catalog, Vagell’s Prewar Wiring Diagrams, How to Reinforce Particle Board Bookshelves, and TCA Library Benefits.

Like some of you I am engaged in construction activities during the Covid-19 Quarantine. This article details one of the construction activities for Phase I of the Newtown & West Wellington Line (N&WWL) along with some interesting info from my library.

Phase I features GarGraves O72 and O89 Service for a 12.5’ by 12.5’ shelf system, a 16’ animated display shelf with trolley service, and several train display shelves. In Phase IV the shelf service will extend into the adjacent room to form a 25’ by 12.5’ shelf system.

The principal reason for the split into five phases is to get trains running as quickly as possible with the challenge of working around a collection of boxed trains, Christmas items, and unpacked moving boxes. We downsized from an attic and large basement to no attic and a smaller basement. Surprisingly, the shelving efforts are not the first functional part of my Line’s usefulness to others. Over my 40 plus years of collecting I acquired a diversified library of real and toy train books. York meets produced signed copies of Alvin Staufer’s publications. Other train shows and gifts created more acquisitions.

Reading is an enjoyable hobby and, being able to find the right book on a shelf is a wonderful experience. Fortunately, I was able to purchase and reinforce the bookshelf above to support about 66 inches of useful bookshelf space. This article shows what was done to support the weight of the books and other materials to compensate for the particle board construction of the bookshelf. If I purchased a new metal bookshelf at three times the price, then I would not need to perform the reinforcement.

Tip 1: Add extra end supports.
The pins supporting the shelf can take significant loads, but the manufacturer grooved into the shelf laminate to make the pins disappear. To assure no future issues, I added additional bracing to each end as shown above.

Tip 2: Add a support column to the shelf center to assure that particle board shelving will not warp.

Tip 3: Keep the books above the water level of a future leaking hot water heater using blocks.

I used inexpensive paving stones to raise the shelf. Sitting on the carpeted floor makes a great place for kids to open the book to read or just look at the pictures. I chose to provide about 14 inches of vertical height to allow for various book sizes. Included in this round of my library opening is the residual book collection of the late John G. Hubbard and the early Lionel and Williams paper collection of the late Tom Pondek. Both Tom and John were avid historians.

Tip 4: Save the top surface for something interesting
. Less is truly more.


Future Tip 5: How to repair a damaged case.

I will be using an acrylic glue to repair the above crack and will advise of  the outcome in a future article.

I chose to use the top surface as a static display area to cast a spotlight on one of my favorite York Acquisitions, the Williams AC-12. Many thanks to Stan Dohm for giving me his damaged display case.

Friends who visit the Newtown and West Wellington Line are always welcome to take a book home. You will notice that I have my name on the book edge to help remind them to return the book.

TCA Library Benefits

Few people remember that in the January 1999 issue (Volume 45, No. 1) of The Train Collectors Quarterly (member login required) is Paul Wasserman’s article on a photographic reproduction of the Lionel 1900 Catalog. Members can access this article and other TCA online resources.

Oh yeah, there are NO TRAINS in the Lionel 1900 Catalog! The National Toy Train Library has a reprint of the 1900 catalog in its collection, the listing of which may be seen in the library’s online catalog here.  For questions about this item or anything else in the library’s online catalog, you can use the Send Us Feedback button on the online catalog, or contact the library directly with your inquiry.

Many thanks to the late Tom Pondek who told many others about this article including me. Here is what the front cover looks like.

Front Cover of January 1999 edition of The Train Collectors Quarterly (featuring my favorite N&W J)

Page 19 begins the article. When you read it, you uncover a company in search of an idea to mass manufacture. The rumor that Joshua Lionel Cowen invented the Flashlight that was spun off as the Ever Ready Company is false. See  Cowen invented the Flash Lamp used for indoor portrait photography.

Tom enjoyed the article and contacted the author, Paul Wassermann.

Reproduced Lionel Catalogs are available to review at the National Toy Train Library.

Reading is a wonderful pastime, and it is a close second to operating and repairing toy trains. It is great to have the books unpacked to be able to find useful tidbits like the above article or the Prewar Wiring Diagrams in Bill Vagell’s book, The Train  Collector’s Encyclopedia, Traintique Edition, Volume II.

So how do you determine which books to buy? Simple, take a few hours and visit the National Toy Train Library. You can use my book spines to see if what I have is of value to you. Call the TCA librarian, Lori Nyce, at 717 687 8623, ext. 108 to learn what duplicate books are for sale or check the duplicate book list located here.

Every toy train operator/collector needs a library system. The TCA Library stands behind each member as their source for information.  The first 30 minutes of research is free, so take advantage of the many resources available at the National Toy Train Library.

Many thanks to, Lori Nyce, TCA Librarian, for her contributions to this section of the article.

Second Decade.
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