Realistic details and space-age computerized effects have created the golden age of model railroading
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The Best Places to Gamble, Sep/Oct 02
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Dougherty's collection includes much more than just the rolling stock produced by Lionel. He also has one floor of the building dedicated to Lionel in-store displays and promotional material from that post-war era. It's a more difficult collection to assess in term of its completeness, because many of those items were not saved year to year, or old ones were simply discarded when new product lines came out. But he has several of the old 5x9-foot layouts used in stores where Lionel trains whizzed around, with all the accessories operating simultaneously.
He's not just looking for missing pieces to his collection, either. "I'm buying trains all the time. If anybody has any trains they want to get rid of, I'll buy them. I'm trying to get a box collection of Lionel, so sometimes, I'll just buy to get the box.
"It's all about remembering good times. That's all," says Dougherty. He's also started a pinball machine collection for the same reason -- memories of his childhood.
In case you're wondering what happened to his first train set -- the one Dougherty had repaired to put under the Christmas tree in 1976 -- he's still got it, displayed prominently among his vast collection.
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