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Duluth in Gwinnett County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The History of the Miniature Train Company

The Southeastern Railway Museum

 
 
The History of the Minature Train Company Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
1. The History of the Minature Train Company Marker
Inscription.  Many of us can fondly recall the small train sets that operated at fairs, zoos, parks and yes, even the occasional drive in theater. Trains such as this reached their peak popularity during the 1950s & 1960s.

Several years ago, two such part train sets were donated to the Southeastern Railway Museum by Ben and Joy Black. These train sets (2 Locomotives, and 8 Passenger Cars) were originally purchased, and used at the Birmingham Zoo. They were manufactured by the Miniature Train Company in 1957, and used by the zoo until they were retired in 1976.

P.A. Sturtevant, the founder of the Miniature Train Company, was a self professed tinker, and owner of a successful machine shop. In 1928, he built a 7.25” gauge scale model of a Chicago and Northwestern steam locomotive.

P.A. installed track around his home, and as you might expect, it soon became the hit of the neighborhood.

One of P.A.’s neighbors was a Sears executive, who asked if he could run the scale model locomotive at one of his stores at Christmas time. In 1932 P.A. leased the train set to Sears, and it quickly proved to be a huge attraction.
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Parents could complete their Christmas shopping while the kids waited in line to ride the train (yes, this was a much simpler time).

This immediately brought requests from other store managers asking for similar or larger trains. Since the Electo Motive Corporation (EMC), was about to introduce the “E1” locomotive, the team worked on a model of a Rock Island E1. In order to increase the number of passengers a train could handle, a 12” gauge was selected.

World War II brought a halt to production of miniature trains. By this time, they were leasing 36 electric department store train sets, and had sold over 50 gasoline powered units for use in carnivals and fairs.

In 1946, the G-16 train set was introduced. The “G” indicating that it was modeled after a GM locomotive (the former EMC) and the 16 indicated the track gauge (16 inches). The 12” train sets were renamed the G-12s. On April 4th, 1947, the first G-16 locomotive (#501) began a 30 year run at Griffith Park in Los Angles.

In November of 1956 the Miniature Train Company was sold to the Allan Herschell Company, the world’s largest maker of amusement park rides.

Allan Herschell made over 20 amusement park rides, but a train was not one of them.

Allan Herschell continued to manufacture G-16 under the MTC name until 1963. During
An additional, newer marker on the Park Train Future Restoration Plans image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, January 6, 2018
2. An additional, newer marker on the Park Train Future Restoration Plans
this period, ride operators pushed to increase capacity, and new larger 24” gauge trains became the norm.

Over 240 G-16 train sets were produced by the MTC. Approximately 70 locomotives remain in existence with 50 currently in operation. They are widely remembered as the little train that generations grew up riding at their local park or zoo.

The train set in use at the museum has under gone a complete restoration. This two year effort involved a tear down of the entire locomotive, & coach set.

When the train sets were ordered from the Miniature Train Company, the purchaser could optionally select the paint scheme. The museum’s train set has been restored to the pattern used by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, as this was the scheme it was originally delivered in.
 
Erected by Southeastern Railway Museum.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical date for this entry is April 4, 1947.
 
Location. 33° 59.266′ N, 84° 9.287′ W. Marker is in Duluth, Georgia, in Gwinnett County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Peachtree Road and Buford Highway (U.S. 23), on the left when traveling north. This marker is located at the Southeastern Railway Museum. Touch for map. Marker
The History of the Minature Train Company Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
3. The History of the Minature Train Company Marker
is at or near this postal address: 3595 Buford Highway, Duluth GA 30096, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Passenger Coach No. 3780 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Steam Locomotion at High Tide! (about 300 feet away); Spreader #JX635 (about 500 feet away); Home of Alice Harrell Strickland - Georgia's First Woman Mayor (approx. 1˝ miles away); Peachtree Road (approx. 1.7 miles away); State R.R. Survey (approx. 2.8 miles away); "Holy Row" (approx. 4.4 miles away); The Historic Norcross Cotton Gin (approx. 4˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Duluth.
 
Also see . . .  Southeastern Railway Museum. (Submitted on November 8, 2013.)
 
The History of the Miniature Train Company Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, January 6, 2018
4. The History of the Miniature Train Company Marker
The additional marker on the Park Train Future Restoration Plans can be seen here to the left of the featured marker. The Main Exhibit Hall of the Museum can be seen in the background.
Duluth Depot image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
5. Duluth Depot
Southeastern Railway Museum image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
6. Southeastern Railway Museum
The Southeastern Railway Museum image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
7. The Southeastern Railway Museum
The Southeastern Railway Museum image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
8. The Southeastern Railway Museum
The Southeastern Railway Museum image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, September 18, 2013
9. The Southeastern Railway Museum
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 9, 2018. It was originally submitted on November 7, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,871 times since then and 171 times this year. Last updated on December 7, 2013, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos:   1. submitted on November 7, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   2. submitted on February 9, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana.   3. submitted on November 7, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   4. submitted on February 9, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana.   5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on November 7, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 19, 2024