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What’s This To Do With Trains Anyhow???
By Bob Mintz
Sunday August 11th 2002, my neighbor Stan Lonski, Sam “The
Sham” D’Apice and I went to the Grumman airshow in
Calverton/Riverhead New York, at the former Grumman plant. After
W.W.II, with the dawn of the jet age, Grumman acquired use of
the Navy facility in Calverton, Long Island in 1952 to manufacture
and test jets.
Of course, trains were used to transport supplies
and deliver the finished products to the US Government. As you
can see, these rails have not seen rail travel in quite a few
years, although the area is still active, and was most recently
used to reconstruct TWA Flight 800, which crashed off of Center
There was quite an impressive display of WWII era
airplanes that day.
So, other than the above photographs, how do I relate
this to trains?
Okay, our first plane was a P-51 Mustang.
In 1942, tests of P-51s using the British Rolls-Royce "Merlin"
engine revealed much improved speed and service ceiling, and in
Dec. 1943, Merlin-powered P-51Bs first entered combat over Europe.
Lionel may have been referred to as the Rolls Royce of the toy
train industry at one time, but this is car related, not train
related. Darn! Ah, but wait…Lionel did make a Mustang Set#6-21953.
The Curtiss P-40 was America's foremost fighter in service when
WWII began. P-40s engaged Japanese aircraft during the attack
on Pearl Harbor and the invasion of the Philipines in December
1941. They also were flown in China early in 1942 by the famed
Flying Tigers. “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!”
Lionel is now made in China, but this is still a stretch for a
train related topic.
The Boeing P-12 was one of the most successful American fighters
produced between WW I and WW II and was used by both the Army
and Navy (as the F4B). The last of the biplane fighters flown
by the Army; some remained in service until 1941. A certain resemblance
exists between this biplane and the one on the Lionel 6-32920
animated pylon with airplane.
The B-25 Mitchell made by North American was the
most successful lightbomber of the war. It was used in all theaters.
It is best known for the daring carrier based attack carried out
by Jimmy Doolittle on Japan in 1942.
Here it is seen with an olive drab 1940 Plymouth staff car, the
same color scheme as many of the scarce Lionel military items
from the early 60’s.
Okay, I know my explanations seem pretty lame, I grant you that.
But here comes the clincher.
I was examining this P-47 Thunderbolt and noticed it’s “kills”,
which included the destruction of 3 V-2 rockets, (quite impressive)
15 trucks, 20 Nazi planes, and 5 each of the following: bombs;
diagonal bombs (?); what looks like oil cans and of course, DA-DA,
Secondary targets always included the destruction of railroads,
track and freight yards.
And you thought that I couldn’t somehow make
this a train related article.