For generations, electric toy trains have captivated people of all ages. It is certainly the case for Steve Lukefahr, , located at 8151 Delmar in University City. His love for electric trains began on Christmas morning in 1947 when his uncle gave him his first Lionel train set. He still enjoys it today—it’s set up in his basement.
Located at the corner of Old Bonhomme Road and Delmar Boulevard, Trains Ltd. is filled from floor to ceiling with trains, new and old. But not just any trains, we’re talking Lionel, Lukefahr’s first love. He has been collecting and selling Lionel trains since he opened his store in 1989.
Lukefahr told Patch how to begin model railroading. He said that starter sets are a great way to begin, because they are easy to put together and are less expensive than if each piece is purchased separately. Sets come with everything you need and are ready right out of the box.
“A family starts with a Thomas the Tank (magnetic wooden train), and then they transition into an electric train set,” Lukefahr said. “Usually families buy a starter set and put it under their Christmas tree. Every year they add to it,” he said. Don’t be surprised if the kids want to enjoy it all year.
Although scale, which refers to the size of the train, varies, as do the brands available, Trains Ltd. only carries “O” scale trains and the Lionel brand.
“Lionel has been around since 1901. It is a tradition,” Lukefahr said. “Lionel is reliable, that is why we only carry it. I still have my first train set,” Lukefahr said.
Trains Ltd. has a large selection of prewar trains dating as early as the 1920s. The store also has a great selection of postwar vintage trains, as well as new trains. New trains are sold individually and as all-inclusive sets. Visit the store to purchase one. Lukefahr prefers face-to-face patrons rather than selling over the Internet.
Add a variety of accessories and extras to your train from the store's fully stocked shelves. Choose from a variety of items such as scenery, automobiles, animals, and buildings. Some accessories are animated, such as the policeman that chases a hobo and the elf that chases a reindeer. The only limitation to creating an incredible train set is your own imagination.
Be sure to choose products that are designed to work together and are the same gauge. Gauge refers to the width of the track.
Whether you are looking to buy a train to run under the family Christmas tree generation after generation or want to play conductor year round, Trains Ltd. is a great place for enthusiasts, parents and children alike to learn more about electric trains.