Opening Picture

The Lionel Manufacturing Company was started in 1900 by Joshua Lionel Cohen (who changed his name to Cowen in 1910) located in lower Manhattan, New York. The "Look Out for the Third Rail" opening picture is a modification of a black and white drawing that appeared in Lionel's 1906 Catalog. This was also the year that Lionel changed its track design from 2-7/8 inches two rail track to that of three rails measuring 2-1/8 inches between the rails now called "Standard Gauge". The Third Rail during the early 1900's represented the dangers from high voltage electricity that powered real Trolleys and Trains which could electrocute anyone who accidently touched the Third Rail. Later on it was associated with Lionel's middle rail which indeed carries the voltage to run trains. See the "GREAT TRAIN ROOM" page to understand why Lionel trains to this day still uses a middle rail.


Pacific Coast Rail Road Artwork

The San Luis Obispo Rail Road which later changed its name to the Pacific Coast Railway (being a narrow gauge 3 foot between the rails) essentially started in 1873 and saw its last action of removing the rails in 1942. Ken Kelley, Owner of THE THIRD RAIL, commissioned railroad artist Wayne Scarpaci to make several paintings depicting the history of the Pacific Coast Railway from Avila to San Luis Obispo and Los Olivos. Those interested in reprints may contact Wayne Scarpaci through THE THIRD RAIL. For further reference material, here are the better books detailing the Pacific Coast Railway: "Ships and Narrow Gauge Rails" by Gerald M. Best (hard to find a copy as it has been out of print for some time), "The Pacific Coast Railway" by Kenneth Westcott and Curtiss Johnson, and "Rails across the Ranchos" by Loren Nicholson.


Southern Pacific in Santa Barbara Artwork

As a youngster growing up in Santa Barbara, Ken Kelley spent many hours hanging around the rail yards waiting for a steam engine to find its stall in the roundhouse. One of the joys of the early acquaintance with railroading was a short ride on the Coast Daylight. I can't even remember if it was Southbound out of Santa Barbara to Carpinteria or Ventura, or if it was Northbound to San Luis Obispo. In any case, it was aboard one of Southern Pacific's best and I've never gotten over trains as a major interest in my life since. These memories are now preserved in several pictures done by Wayne Scarpaci whose talents are shared with viewers of this website.


The Great Train Room Pictures

All of the pictures represent scenes depicted on Ken Kelley's "THE GREAT TRAIN ROOM" layouts (recently upgraded to larger wide format pictures, in Aug 2014). Several similar scenes have been published in past Kalmbach Publications: "Classic Toy Trains" and/or "Collecting Toys" magazines. The train room is only open during special events for Train club/groups, Car Clubs, Antique Collector groups, etc. Contact Sales@thirdrail.com to find out more about special events, or your club is visiting the Santa Ynez Valley looking for an interesting event.



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