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Lionel Model Railroads & Trains

One of the most recognized brands in the model railroad hobby is Lionel. This company manufactures model railroad products in O gauge and is famous for its specialty model railroad sets sold at Christmas time. Lionel has built a following of model railroad enthusiasts who build their collections strictly out of Lionel stock.

Joshua Lionel Cowen founded the Lionel company in 1900. He designed his first electric model train, The Electric Express, in 1901 as a window display for toy stores. By 1906, Lionel offered a selection of engines and cars as well as preassembled track. Lionel used three-rail standard-gauge track designed to eliminate circuits. They began manufacturing model trains in O gauge in 1915, and this size eventually replaced the standard-gauge trains. Lionel discontinued the manufacture of standard gauge in 1939.

Lionel's popularity grew after World War II, and they reached their peak of production in the '50s. This era included the release of Lionel's greatest steam locomotive, the No. 746 Norfolk and Western. Lionel's popularity declined in the '60s, and the company was sold to General Mills in 1969. General Mills revived Lionel model trains in the '70s, and the company has survived several changes in ownership since. Lionel model trains for sale at auction continue to draw great interest from collectors and enthusiasts all over the world.

Quick Facts

  • Lionel's first model trains were powered by wet cell batteries. These batteries were filled with acid and dangerous. The company soon replaced the batteries with 110-volt transformers
  • The 2004 Polar Express train set, designed to commemorate the movie "The Polar Express," is one of Lionel's best-selling model train sets of all time
  • In 2016, a standard-gauge Lionel train set from 1934 sold at auction for $250,000. The set included a 400E engine and state passenger cars, all in mint condition in the original box
  • In recent years, Lionel has moved production of some limited edition lines back to the United States. Lionel trains corporate headquarters are now located in Concord, North Carolina.

Learn more about the history and value of Lionel trains on the Invaluable blog.

Recommended Items at Auction

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Lionel O Gauge, 6- 15584 Amtrac Acela Passenger car three pack, NIB in factory wrap w/shipping box.
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge, 6- 15584 Amtrac Acela Passenger car three pack, NIB in factory wrap w/shipping box.
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$34014 Bids
pair of Vintage Lionel O Gauge # 2559 Budd Commuter Passenger Cars in original boxes.
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
pair of Vintage Lionel O Gauge # 2559 Budd Commuter Passenger Cars in original boxes.
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$28012 Bids
Lionel O Gauge The Polar Express Standard Heavyweight Passenger Car. #6-25795, NIB
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge The Polar Express Standard Heavyweight Passenger Car. #6-25795, NIB
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$808 Bids
Lionel O Gauge 6-14596 New Haven ALCO PA AA Diesel Locomotive Set, NIB w shipping box.
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge 6-14596 New Haven ALCO PA AA Diesel Locomotive Set, NIB w shipping box.
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$2007 Bids
Lionel O Gauge, 7-11007, The Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt, Expansion pack. NIB
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge, 7-11007, The Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt, Expansion pack. NIB
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$457 Bids
Lionel, O Gauge, Warhorse AT&SF Hudson Freight set, #6-11838, NIB
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel, O Gauge, Warhorse AT&SF Hudson Freight set, #6-11838, NIB
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$2107 Bids
Lionel O Gauge, 6-14592, Pennsylvania F3 ABA Diesel Locomotive Set, NIB
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge, 6-14592, Pennsylvania F3 ABA Diesel Locomotive Set, NIB
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$1807 Bids
Lionel 6-52300, The Halloween General Train Set, Collectors Club set NIB w/Shipping Box.
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel 6-52300, The Halloween General Train Set, Collectors Club set NIB w/Shipping Box.
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$607 Bids
PREWAR LIONEL (O GAUGE):
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
PREWAR LIONEL (O GAUGE):
by Gateway Gallery Auction
Est: $0- $0
$507 Bids
Group Lot of Lionel Standard Gauge Pieces
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of Lionel Standard Gauge Pieces
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$505 Bids
Lionel O Gauge Tin Plated Train Set
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lionel O Gauge Tin Plated Train Set
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $100- $200
$905 Bids
Lionel O Gauge, Santa Fe Diesel Engine No.2343 and dummy w/Box.
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge, Santa Fe Diesel Engine No.2343 and dummy w/Box.
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$805 Bids
Lionel O Gauge F-3 A Power Texas Special Engine, NIB
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge F-3 A Power Texas Special Engine, NIB
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$405 Bids
POSTWAR LIONEL (O GAUGE):
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
POSTWAR LIONEL (O GAUGE):
by Gateway Gallery Auction
Est: $0- $0
$324 Bids
Lionel 11706 Dry Gulch General Set
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
Lionel 11706 Dry Gulch General Set
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$804 Bids
Lionel O Gauge Train Set #7-11005, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Electric Train Set. NIB
Mar 02, 10:30 AM EST
Lionel O Gauge Train Set #7-11005, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Electric Train Set. NIB
by Redding Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$204 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Lionel Model Railroads & Trains


Gateway Gallery Auction

Gateway Gallery Auction

Weiss Auctions

Weiss Auctions

Redding Auction Service

Redding Auction Service

Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC

Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC