An Artful Regret
by Dennis Leon Clad
In my almost 20 years
of collecting modern era Lionel, I've never regretted a
purchase from my Lionel dealer, how could I? Barry's the
best! When the only way to add to my Lionel family was by
means of trading, my remorse came in the form of loss of
a loved one. I soon gave this practice up when I discovered
an old adage of my father's was true: "When you give up
something it costs you twice to get it back".
I think my biggest regret in our hobby
would come under the title of "Lionel trains
I wish I had bought". Keeping in mind and
being ever fearful that the strain on my
old ticker would be too much to list all
my missed ownership's on paper, I'll throw
all care to the wind and share with you
the Lionel train that would rank at the
top of my list of lost train loves.
At the time my reasons seemed sound for
not making a yearly donation to Artrain
USA and receiving for my gratuity a special
edition Lionel car. I'm too embarrassed
to share those reasons with you so instead
I'll put this space to better use by telling
you a little history of America's only art
museum on rails "Artrain USA".
I promise it will be less painful then
a flu shot and over just as quickly. The
inspiration for the "Artrain USA"is owed
to the former first lady of Michigan, Mrs.
Since it's founding in 1971 by the Michigan
Council for the Arts, more than two million
visitors in forty four states, not to mention
our nation's capital, have had the life
enriching experience that "Artrain USA"
delivers. The real Artrain consists of three
gallery cars, a studio car and a caboose.
The locomotive power and crew needed to
bring the joy of Artrain to big & small
town America has been generously donated
by the Norfolk Southern, Burlington Northern,
CSX Transportation, the Union Pacific and
Santa Fe railroads. Now that we have the
adult balderdash over with lets talk about
the fun stuff the Lionel toys of "Artrain
To find any available facts on the first
Artrain car called for much digging deep
into the files of both Kughn Enterprises
and the Artain itself. Still, with a backhoe
bucket full of effort I was unable to unearth
the two most important facts about 6-9486
the "I love Michigan" Artrain offering for
collectors in 1989.
I do fear the number made with the 150th
Michigan anniversary notion and the reason
for this logo and not an Artrain banner
will be another of Lionel's history mysteries.
I did discover one very important fact about
this first Artrain Lionel toy, that being
a very generous Mr.Kughn donated the cars
1990 would bring us another Artrain toy
in the form of a single dome tanker 6-17885
is an O gauge lovers delight with full Artrain
logos. Sadly, once again the number made
is also lost to history.
It wasn't only boxcar lovers who took
a shine to the Artrain offer for 1991. With
only 555 made and carrying the Grand Trunk
road name 6-17891 was an overnight run away
freight. This dressed up 9700 series freight
protector with full rivet detail is a must
own for three collector groups.
1992 would bring the only Standard "O"car
to the Artrain freight mover. Just 375 Norfolk
Southern trailer on a flat car (TOFC) were
to be made. 6-52013 would be a must own
for both Artrain collectors and owners of
the oh so classy Norfolk Southern Standard
"O" train set. This fact alone has caused
our toy to continuously pack a punch in
the $500.00 weight class for nine years.
1993 would bring another offering that
would catch the eye of three Lionel collector
groups.6-52024 the Conrail covered auto
carrier is a must have that to complete
my train for owners of not only our Artrain
but the very lucky holders of the Conrail
Standard"O" and Conrail Service Station
sets. With only 500 toys made the track
signals ahead are flashing disappointment
for many Lionel lovers.
1994 brought bring two surprises for us
Artrain fans, the first being the return
of an old friend 6-17885 dressed up to excite
Lionel collectors with an autograph of Mr.Kughn
hand signed and dated 1994. If you're like
me and collected the Lionel employee cars
and the 1994 Toy Train Operating Society
(TTOS) Ford tanker with Mr.Kughn's signature,
this Artrain toy is also a must have to
complete our series.
Our second treat for 1994 would be 6-52049
a covered gondola which proudly carries
the Burlington Northern banner and colors.
Only 500 cars would be made.
1995 would reveal another outstanding
Artrain Lionel car, this time in the form
of a breath taking Chessie Systems toy.
6-52097 is a 9800 series plug door reefer
that carries Artrain's silver anniversary
notation. If you pick just one Artrain car
to add to your collection, please give this
stunning reefer first consideration.
Chrysler set owners, get ready to add
6-19425 the CSX Transportion TOFC for 1996
to your must own list of set add-ons. Only
800 CSX flat cars carrying a 40 foot dry
goods trailer with not only an highly colorful
and imaginative Artrain logo but a Chrysler
Corporation notation and Corporate logo.
Now trust me on this one, as this Lionel
TOFC is not only a home run at the TOFC
World Series but is a sure bet to have the
visitors to your Lionelville pike asking
were could I get one of my very own.
When I look over my roster of Lionel bunk
cars I must confess that this highly detailed
toy is so poorly represented in my Lionelville
that it brings tears to my eyes. I can tell
you this that the next example of this attractive
Lionel toy that I'll add to my roster will
be 6-52140 the Union Pacific bunk car. Only
800 of this Artrain toy for 1997 were made.
1998 would introduce 6-52165 the Southern
Pacific caboose to our Artrain. Attention
fellow caboose collectors: With only 1000
made don't fail to add this little charmer
to your Lionel collection.
1999 would bring a close to the first
Lionel Artrain freight mover and, wow, what
better way to end this highly successful
promotion then with a true Lionel classic.6-52197
is the SKU number assigned to one of the
most beautiful GP-9s that I've ever had
the pleasure to see and hold. This honest
and faithful workhorse of the three rail
track is all decked out in Santa Fe blue
and yellow livery. Get ready to hold on
tight to your rocking chair, gentle reader,
as only 200 of these Lionel master pieces
were made to carry the Artrain standard.
The best place to start your search for
any of the Artrain Lionel toys is with a
visit to the Artrain web site: www.artrain.com
or call them at 1-800-ART-1971.
on the thumbnail images below to enlarge.
first of this series, the 1989 #9486
"I Love Michigan" boxcar will be your
biggest stumbling block to overcome
to complete the series.
car in the series to display the Artrain
logo, the 1990 # 17885 single dome tanker.
car in the Artrain series to carry a
true roadname, the 1991 # 17891 Grand
A must own
add-on for Norfolk Southern set holders,
the 1992 # 52013 Norfolk Southern flatcar
A must own
add-on to complete your train, owners
of both Conrail sets will need the 1993
# 52024 Conrail auto carrier.
autograph of the father of modern era
Lionel, # 17885 is a proud keepsake
for any Lionel fan.
of every Lionel pike can win the heart
of the most discriminating collector
when its dressed up in top hat and tails.
The 1994 # 52049 Burlington Northern
gondola car with coil covers.
need to be a Chessie fan to enjoy all
the excitement that this anniversary
reefer contains. The 1995 # 52097 Chessie
System refrigerator reefer.
like me and your freight yard begs for
more color, just one look and you can
see what got TOFC collectors so excited.
The 1996 # 19425 CSX Flatcar with trailer.
looked great on yellow but when placed
on silver, the Union Pacific shield
is the stand out that really gives this
toy collector appeal. The 1997 # 52140
Union Pacific bunk car.
is a sure bet to put a smile on the
faces of visitors to your train room.
The 1998 # 52165 Dept 56 SP-type caboose
place for this piece of Lionel machine
tooled art is in the display case for
all to admire. The 1999 # 52197 Santa
Fe GP-38 locomotive.
lady of ARTRAIN USA Mrs. Helen Milliken
climbs aboard as the ARTRAIN heads off
to a city near you.