The Lionel Collectors Club of America has always had a "special" connection and relationship with the manufacturer of Lionel branded trains since it's founding over 40 years ago. While the ownership may have changed through the years the "kinship" has not.
For many years we have had a Lionel seminar at each of our annual conventions where representatives from Lionel shared new products and answered questions from the audience. At several of our conventions in the Detroit area we toured the Lionel factory and showroom. Recently we have joined with Lionel LLC and enjoyed adjoining display booths at the World's Greatest Hobby on Tour around the country.
The major part of our relationship though has centered around Lionel creating exclusive products for the LCCA that we could offer our members and only our members. Below is some examples of these products.
Enjoy the Benefits of the Excellent Relationship between LCCA and Lionel
LCCA members are proud collectors and operators of O-gauge trains—especially the toy trains made by Lionel. The club develops unique ideas for train sets and cars in collaboration with Lionel for production and delivery. These limited-edition collectibles become treasures to club members.
Section 1 – Train Sets and Remakes
The “Halloween” General train set offered by LCCA in 2003 was a re-make of a rare Lionel train from 1960. Three add-on cars offered later enhanced the value of this set: a Sheriff and Outlaw car, Cannon car, and Gunpowder car.
LCCA Convention cars are offered annually to members as special products and are considered niche collectibles. These cars are usually thematically linked to the region of the Convention as a memento of the event. The 2008 Convention car set is shown here—two PS-2 covered hopper cars decorated for railroads above and below the border: Ontario Northern RR [for Canada] and NYSW (Susquehanna) [for USA].
LCCA developed the concept for a remake of Lionel’s 1958 New Haven #209 passenger train, “The Merchants Limited,” and presented it as a purchase opportunity to members in 2006-07. Three matching add-on cars for this train were offered in the summer of 2007 and delivered to those who ordered them in the spring of 2008: a dummy Alco B unit, a REA Baggage Car, and a Combine Car. The ALCo A-A diesels and the passenger cars for this train followed soon afterwards in July 2008.
The Burlington #216 set was first made in 1958 and consisted of freight and passenger cars. It was one of few of its kind ever made by Lionel. A modern remake of this rare Lionel ALCo diesel train set was offered in 2009-10 with a Basic Set of a powered CB&Q A unit, a REA Reefer Car, a “Clifton” Vista Dome Car, and the “Mooseheart” Observation Car. The Extended Set included the Basic Set plus four never-before-offered items: a non-powered matching CB&Q A unit, a WP Reefer Car, the Baggage Car, and the “Alfredo” Diner.
Beginning in 2012, the club began offering totally newly envisioned sets that were the creation of long-time member Lou Caponi - now deceased in cooperation with Lionel. The first of these creations was the Coal Train Signature Set with a specially decorated Vulcan switcher and two coal cars - one operating. This lower price set was targeted at all club members for a very modest cost. It also included a totally LCCA exclusive billboard frame.
In 2013 the club followed with another Lou Caponi creation - The Texas Special Switcher Set sold as a base set of cow and calf plus a mint car. The cow and calf were super detailed by Lionel at our request and sported prototypical truck frames. An add-on set added three additional Texas Special cars - flat with helicopter, tank car and caboose. The set was matched to go with the very popular 2011 convention car a Texas Special milk car.
Section 2 – Convention and Commemorative Cars
The club enjoys a fine reputation for creating special, Lionel-made items that often become instant collectibles because of rarity, uniqueness, and quality. LCCA favors Lionel, and the company embraces the club by producing our annual Convention-related and other products. It’s a win-win situation. LCCA Convention cars are offered annually to members as special products and are considered niche collectibles. These cars are usually thematically linked to the region of the Convention and become a memento of the event.
2015 – For it's visit the first time to the Boston area, the club created an O-Scale wooden deck Providence and Worcester flatcar carrying two newly released Lionel die-cast high detail tractors. One is in Lionel Blue, the other in Lionel Orange and both carry the Lionelville Transit logo. The onsite convention car also is a Maine Central flat car with Lionelville trailers to complement the tractors - one of which was a gift received at the Lionel Seminar during the convention.
2010 – Because this Convention (held in Denver, CO) included a steam train excursion trip aboard a Union Pacific Heritage Fleet train and a visit to the UP steam train maintenance facilities in Cheyenne, WY, this Convention’s souvenir car was derived from that railroad: a cylindrical hopper car with the unfurled U.S. flag as its dominant décor element.
2009 – The Convention Car for this event (held in Sacramento, CA) showed another dimension of the relationship between the club and the company. The décor of this mechanical reefer car presented the ICE COLD EXPRESS motif for the first time. The company liked the concept so much they created an entire train set with that theme, and it appeared in their 2010 catalog. Those who purchased this LCCA Convention Car have an exclusive collectible to add to that train set.
Other examples – See more LCCA/Lionel products here.