Club History and Information
Welcome to the Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS) web site. Our friendly band of model train enthusiasts is dedicated to having the most fun possible operating and collecting those wonderful trains from yesteryear and today — Lionel! Yes, those fascinating milk cars, searchlight cars and Santa Fe diesels that you remember from the 40's and 50's are still out there, lovingly cared for by a new generation of hobbyists, as are the new versions being made by modern Lionel!
The members of LOTS, united by their love of these trains and all the skills and enjoyment which results from setting up and running them on model layouts. Many have different interests: scenery, electronics, operations, lighting, accessories, repairing motors, or even operating some of the fine related products from other O-gauge manufacturers, such as K-Line, Weaver, Williams, and MTH Electric Trains.
The common denominator is fun! Come see what LOTS has to offer.
The Lionel® Operating Train Society (LOTS) was founded in 1979 by Larry Keller (CM-1) of Cincinnati for the purpose of providing a national train club for operators of Lionel® trains and accessories. Our friendly association of model train enthusiasts is dedicated to having the most fun possible by operating and collecting those wonderful trains from yesteryear and today — Lionel! Yes, those fascinating milk cars, searchlight cars and Santa Fe diesels that you remember from the 40's and 50's are still out there, lovingly cared for by a new generation of hobbyists, as are the new versions being made by modern Lionel! Today, LOTS is an Ohio not-for-profit corporation and has been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS as a non-for-profit hobby club. As of December 2007, LOTS had about 2,000 active members throughout the world.
The members of LOTS are united by their love of operating and collecting toy trains. Most members enjoy setting up and running their favorite engines and rolling stock on model layouts. Many have different interests: scenery, electronics, operations, lighting, accessories, repairing/restoring old trains, or even operating some of the fine related products from other O-gauge manufacturers, such as K-Line by Lionel, Weaver, Williams, and MTH Electric Trains. The common denominator is fun! LOTS has no local chapters or divisions. Instead, small groups of LOTS members may decide to get together informally to run trains on each other's layouts, build modular layouts, and share maintenance tips.
All members are encouraged to attend our annual convention each year. Past annual conventions have featured LOTS of operating layouts, toy train videos, modeling contests, maintenance clinics, Lionel LLC Question and Answer Seminars, table sales of trains and train related merchandise, train drag races, outstanding home layout tours and special excursions.
Club train meets are open to the public ensuring broad exposure to the pleasure of operating toy trains! We plan great conventions, so you can plan on having a GREAT TIME! Experience the difference! Join LOTS now and join the fun!
In conjunction with each of its conventions, LOTS offers its members an annual commemorative car. To date, most have been variations of Lionel® O gauge cars. The first cars issued from 1979 to 1987, were either over-stamped by silk-screening or professionally redecorated (striped and repainted) by a non-Lionel company. Since 1988, our cars have been produced and decorated to LOTS specifications by Lionel L.L.C. All are prototypical of a railroad or privately owned car seen or related to the Convention City. Cars are produced in limited quantities and are sold to members only. Almost all LOTS cars have been sell-outs and are prized by operators and collectors. In addition to an annual convention car, LOTS has also offered other special commemorative issues available only to club members. These offerings are more of the imaginative or whimsical type of cars or accessories such as mint cars, aquarium cars, silver ore cars, station platforms and lighted billboards.
LOTS has three publications: SWITCHER, a bi-monthly journal devoted to all aspects of Lionel® operating and collecting, plus a membership Roster and a buy-sell-trade listing called Track Changes. Switcher typically features operating tips and techniques, methods for layout construction and maintenance, building and modification projects, photographs, new product reports and reviews, articles related to past and present prototypical railroad. In addition, Switcher includes important club information and news. Members entitled to receive the Switcher may request first-class mailing upon the payment of an annual postage surcharge. Track Changes and Roster are available online at the club's web site where they are updated monthly as well as in print each quarter upon the payment of a mailing surcharge.
In addition to the three publications listed, LOTS has an outstanding website with a "Members Only" section and LOTS of useful information.
LOTS offers three membership categories. Regular Membership (RM) is open to all operators of Lionel® trains and accessories who are at least 18 years old. Junior Membership (JM) is open to all Lionel operators who are 17 or younger. Family Memberships (FM) are available only to the spouse and children (22 years old or younger) of Charter or Regular members. Regular and Junior members receive or have access to all club publications. Although neither Junior nor Family members are entitled to vote on club issues, they may purchase all LOTS convention cars and other commemorative issues. The application for membership shows the initiation fee, annual dues, and annual postage surcharge (if any) required for LOTS membership. Each LOTS member will receive a membership card when they become a member and each time they renew.
Further information about LOTS can be obtained by contacting:
Paula S. Smith
LOTS Business Office
6376 West Fork Road
Cincinnati, OH 45247-5704
(513) 598-8240 or lotsbusinessoffice at gmail.com (in an attempt to prevent so much spam, the at is really @)