Showroom Layout


Layout Map
Photo Gallery
Video Gallery
Showroom Re-creation
Original Creators

This page is dedicated to the 1949 Lionel Showroom Layout

I first saw photos of the 1949 Lionel Showroom Layout almost 30 years ago. I was immediately impressed with the size first of all (16x32 feet) but then noticed that the real draw was the way the trains fit into the scenery so well. Sure there were loops of trains going nowhere but around in circles, but they did so very gracefully. This is probably the first time 'tinplate' trains were mated with 'scale' scenery. Sure all of Lionel's accessories were present, but almost all of the structures were scratch built. All the scenery was fabricated. Not too many commercial products were used. First of all, there weren't many available 60 years ago. But most importantly, the layout was built by artists, not train enthusiasts. It is hard to believe, but the whole layout was constructed in about 3 months by four men employed by Diorama Studios in New York. Arthur Zirul, William Vollheim, Robert Sherman and Steve Paganuzzi sometimes worked 20 hours a day to make the showroom ready for the buyers and public during the annual Toy Fair in February 1949.

We are currently in the process of re-creating the layout as it stood when it opened for the 1949 Toy Fair in New York City. A building to house the entire layout has been built. Most of the equipment has been secured and some work is underway. This is a task that will certainly take years to do properly, but it has been a lifelong dream of mine to see a lasting tribute built to this fine work.

Click on the links to the left to enter the separate galleries. If you are unfamiliar with the layout, use the Layout Map to get your bearings. The Photo Gallery has detailed photos and the Video Gallery has a few vintage movie clips. Enjoy!




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Last modified: March 13, 2017
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Revised: Monday March 13, 2017 08:15:58 PM