Note: The Eras and years are most often associated with Lionel, but can also serve as a general guideline for the histories of other train makers.
Electric trains were first made in the 1890s, but many people associate the beginnings with the formation of Lionel in late 1900. The longest of the four train eras, the Prewar Era was brought to a halt by the Second World War, as all manufacturers suspended train production for the duration of the war. During the Prewar Era the essential innovations for electric trains were developed, including electric transformers to power the trains (replacing the dangerous wet-cell batteries), three-rail track, reverse units for the locomotives, electric couplers, and whistles. Early Prewar trains featured bright colors and a more toylike appearance, personified by Lionel’s classic Standard Gauge trains of the 1920s and early 1930s. However, by the late 1930s a more sober, realistic appearance became predominate. Trainz actively searches for Prewar collections and we often have many engines, cars, and accessories in stock. At Trainz we also repair and service most Prewar trains we sell.
If you don't see what you're looking for here in our store, please check our eBay auctions for Prewar Era items.