1969 Postage Stamp Trains

Starting around 1967, Aurora Plastics Corporation started marketing Postage Stamp Trains.  It was a bold entry into what would become a very active market in the new N-Scale model train market.  The basic starter set took advantage of N-Scale’s small size by packaging everything necessary for a small model railroad in a book-like box. The larger starter sets were packaged in more conventional boxes.

We leave for another day the discussion of Aurora’s choice of “The Cadillacs of Model Railroading” to describe their product.

In any case, the Postage Stamp Trains catalog of 1969 was ambitious:

Once inside, it became obvious that the trains themselves were manufactured for Aurora by Minitrix, but there were new items shown that had not previously appeared in the Minitrix line. Notable are both a Fairbanks-Morse switching diesel and a General Electric U-28C. The F-unit diesels were pure Minitrix, with many of the same liveries as the German catalog, less the two Canadian units.

The observant will note that the FM switcher appears in a paint livery which never existed. Much of the rolling stock was also pure Minitrix, although at least two cars are shown that I am not sure were ever manufactured.  Likewise, the passenger cars were listed as being several liveries, yet, to my knowledge, the Great Northern and Chicago & Northwestern cars were never produced.

The track and electrical accessories are also clearly Minitrix:

The layout structures, however, are a mixed bag of items.  Some are most likely items manufactured by Faller and repackaged into Postage Stamp Trains boxes, while other buildings are more American looking.  Since Aurora was in the plastics manufacturing business, it may be that these were made in-house by Aurora. Since that time, some of the structure kits have appeared in the Model Power line; this will not be the last time we hear the Model Power name associated with Minitrix.

Also notable was a train layout made of Styrofoam. Because they were fragile, such layouts are not commonly found.

The Aurora Postage Stamp Trains line was a substantial one, offering everything necessary to produce a complete model railroad. For its time, it was a serious contender in the emerging N-Scale market.  The line included a maintenance and repair manual that included a large number of model train dealers that were supposedly able to service this new line of trains.

And, oh so German repair diagrams:

Within a year or two from 1969, Aurora Plastics would be in bankruptcy and Postage Stamp Trains would be collector’s items. The trains themselves, would remain on the model railroad scene.

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