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​What are McCoy Trains?

Sep 4th 2015

In the world of model trains, there are giants. Lionel and Bachman produce thousands of different models of cars, and often those models are produced in large quantities, thousands of each model. Lionel and Bachman have excellent name recognition and produce excellent products, but they are not for everyone. Some people yearn for something different and distinctive, and for those people we might suggest McCoy Trains.

Like many great ideas and great products, McCoy Manufacturing did not a follow a plan to become one most beloved and collectible model trains ever made in America, but instead responded to customer needs and became what people wanted. The intimate connection between customer and manufacture is one the hallmarks of Mc Coy Trains, and is why they are amongst the most sought after model trains for collectors today.

In the early 20th century, the world was producing wonders at an outstanding rate. In 1908, Ford brought the horse carriage or automobile to the masses with the Model T. In 1908, the Wright brothers became international superstars drawing crowds thousands when they flew in an early Paris airshow. These wonders were also in the home, the widespread introduction of electricity to people’s homes led to the widespread adoption of electric devices in the home. The electric toaster, first available in the late 1900’s, lead the way, but during this period the Lionel standard gauge electric model trains first appeared.

From 1900 to early 1930’s Lionel and others produced standard gauge, also referred to wide gauge trains, for model train lovers at the beginning of the American Century. After the early 1930’s, although Lionel was no longer manufacturing standard gauge equipment, many of collectors of standard gauge loved their trains and had no interest in changing formats. McCoy manufacturing, the maker of McCoy Trains allowed these collectors to keep their trains running by providing replacements parts.

In the middle 1960’s after spending years creating reproductions of pre-war Lionel locomotives and rolling stock, McCoy Manufacturing brought out their own line of Standard gauge model trains. Unlike the giants of model train world, each McCoy train was produced in small batches and had a distinctive flair. In many ways, they were a new evolution in model trains. Whereas, Model Trains had original sought to imitate the full size trains of the modern world, McCoy Trains were individual works of art in themselves and for themselves. Boldly violating convention, McCoy Model Trains were not trying to be more like full sized trains but instead be beautiful and complete in of themselves. Much more models of the concept or ideal of train, then the reality. McCoy model trains were what we thought of when thought about trains, how we thought they should be. Powerful yet graceful, utilitarian yet beautiful, models of a dream of train more than the reality.

Sadly, most sadly, after many years of producing these distinctive and unique pieces of American art, McCoy manufacturing ceased production in 1998. While we still regret many years later, that there will be no more new McCoy trains, we cherish the trains that remain and very proud to bring a few to you to admire and perhaps take home for yourself.