Article initially published by Frank Samaritano in 2003.
Many toy train enthusiasts enjoy this time of the year most because the holidays bring back our favorite toy train childhood memories. Tinplate collector and operator Frank Samaritano looks forward to the holiday season and installing his annual Christmas layout.
Frank had a platform built 3 years ago. It is 10x10 (center cut out for the tree) and made of 1/2" plywood into a sturdy 6 piece modular design for easy assembly and storage. However, his actual layout design each year is completely original and different.
This year's layout is a very simple design with an outer standard gauge loop, an inner O-gauge loop, and a G scale, 1 gauge line running around the entire layout.
Frank runs his Lionel Classics and MTH tinplate on the standard gauge loop. The inner O-gauge loop hosts everything from his first original Postwar set of 1957 to current production. Every year at Thanksgiving, the platform is taken out of storage and pieced together. After the holidays it is completely dismantled.
Frank always mixes in Dept. 56 structures with Lionel accessories of mixed vintage. Some of Frank's Lionel tinplate accessories are remakes produced by T-Reproductions. Due to the vast quantity of accessories Frank has collected he is able to select different pieces to put on the layout each year. Frank started this annual holiday layout tradition when his first grandson was born. Although he intends to continue setting up a holiday toy trains display each year, he is also planning for a more permanent layout.