Lionel Trains Warehouse Sale – Charlotte, NC

Well, this is the weekend of the big warehouse sale up at Lionel Trains’ headquarters up in Concord, North Carolina, just on the north side of Charlotte. I believe this is only the second year that Lionel has done this. More importantly, it is the first time I have attended. The sale goes on Saturday and Sunday, the 4th & 5th, but Lionel Collector Club of America (LCCA) members get in early on Friday night. Nice to be able to get in a bit earlier, though it is still quite crowded.

Little did I know that there is also a Lionel retail shop on site. Those pictures above that are all nice and tidy (the last 6) are the shop. The shop isn’t huge and by no means carries the full range of Lionel merchandise, but it is nice, friendly, and well worth the visit.

I won’t tell you how much money I spent, heck I am still trying not to let myself know, but there were some great deals to be had. Sections of curved FasTrack were only a dollar each, and straights were two dollars. There were random un-boxed cars, mint in every way except missing their boxes, for just $10. Suffice it to say that I stocked up on all sorts of stuff. But hey, I needed it all, right?

I must also mention how nice everyone was. From the Lionel folks working the sale to the collectors, kids, and other shoppers, everyone was smiling, pleasant, helpful and just having a good time. These are toys after all!

So, to some up, I think I have a new must-attend event and perhaps a new kickoff to the holiday train season. Now to see if I can make it to York next year …

Autumn Rails Train Show – Asheville, NC

This past weekend I took a trip up to Western North Carolina to enjoy the Autumn Rails Model Train Show … and to just goof off in the mountains a bit. You know, enjoy the cool weather and chase the changing leaves. The show is hosted annually by the French Broad e’N’pire, but this is the first year I have attended.

The French Broad E‘N’pire NTRAK Club is a model railroad organization whose members model in “N” scale, the majority of whom live in the Hendersonville area, although they also have members from around western North Carolina and one in Georgia. They seem to be an active group, and the show was excellent from both the vendor and exhibitor perspective.

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If you are having any trouble viewing the slideshow above,
just click here to see the photos.

Also while up there, we say the remains of accident involving a train and a truck. Seems a truck carrying oranges stopped on the tracks outside of an Ingle’s Grocery Market warehouse. The Norfolk Southern freight bound for Asheville sliced the back of the truck clean off. The driver of the truck was fine. The oranges weren’t.

From the local news account of the accident…

A train struck a tractor-trailer Saturday afternoon near the Ingles warehouse on U.S. 70, but no one was injured in the incident.

“The tractor-trailer driver said when he crossed the tracks, he didn’t see any cars (on 70) and thought he could make it,” said Black Mountain Police Sgt. Stacy Ayers. “But when he got near the road the cars were right on him. The railroad arms came down and he couldn’t go anywhere.”

The driver, Frank Cuffee, 59, of Seaford, Del., was charged with stopping on a railroad grade. He had driven Saturday from New Jersey.

The truck was hauling oranges, apples, pineapples, grapes and other produce. Cuffee stayed in the cab when the train struck the trailer, but he suffered no injuries. Cuffee had tried to make a delivery to the Ingles warehouse but missed the delivery deadline, Ayers said. He was heading to park for the night when he stopped on the tracks.

“He was trying to make a left turn,” Ayers said. “If he had gone right, he could’ve made it. He panicked.”

Public safety personnel stayed on the scene past 9:30 p.m., cleaning up the mess. No train cars derailed, but the truck spilled produce.”