Right on track: Collecting railroadiana
From lanterns to station signs, locomotive nameplates to china, and headlights to whistles, railroadiana collectors steam ahead into all things dedicated to railroad. Collecting antique railroad items can be quite addicting. Collecting all things railroad related is an extremely niche hobby but one that is quite obsessive to those doing it. It’s not a hobby for everyone but it is certainly a growing one. From time to time, you can find antique train sets and memoribila at Antique Allure in Southampton, PA.
Most people don’t realize what a difference in America’s history the railroads have meant, both in wealth and the opening up of opportunities for people. The railroad is an important part of history and that is what collectors are drawn to. A major part of the settlement of the United States is the railroads, going from the East Coast out to the West Coast. It’s like discovering how things came about and how it impacted our entire country.
What is there to collect?
One of the biggest draws to collecting railroadiana is how many directions a collector can go. A person can collect lanterns, station signs, train whistles, locomotive nameplates, china, paper, headlights, hardware, and specific railroad company items. The possibilities are almost endless. And just like petroliana signs, railroad signs are getting to be really hot because everyone wants to decorate with signs. Railroads had signs for everything. They had signs on everything marked: “No trespassing”, “No entry on bridge”, with the railroad name on it.
Attracting a younger crowd
Younger enthusiasts are starting to collect railroad memorabilia. That could be from enjoying trains as a youngster or visiting flea markets and antique markets with their parents or grandparents, however, the seed was planted, a younger crowd is starting to take notice. Organizations like the Railroad Collectors Association Incorporated (RCAI), who have been around for 50 years, are making sure to get noticed and get a younger generation interested in anything related to railroad collecting.
Whatever your age and whatever your reason, there are many things to collect when it comes to railroadiana and the sky is the limit on what there is to collect. Most memorabilia is around because as technology progresses the need for things like lanterns or reflective signs are no longer needed. Most of these items have simply walked off the railroads and ended up in flea markets and antique markets. The older items that aren’t needed in today’s railroad system are the items people are looking for.
Railroad memorabilia is fun and fascinating to collect. It is a reminder of the past and a look into the history of our country and how the railroad system changed the whole landscape of our country. Without railroads, pre automobiles, and airplanes, travel was limited and people were confined to the one part of the country they were born into. Once the railroads started, the possibilities seemed endless for travel, opportunity, and adventure. Who wouldn’t want to collect this amazing part of history?