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Williams Trains

History

Williams Standard gauge reproduction Lionel 381E Loco, Bild-A-Motor Founded in 1971 by Jerry Williams in Columbia, MD, as a maker of reproduction Lionel and Ives Standard Gauge trains, originally produced in the 1920's & 1930's.

In the late 1970's Williams slowly shifted its interest to modern 'O' gauge trains, beginning with the purchase of Kusan's dies. The company started making Post-War 'O' gauge replicas, starting with the GG-1, and FM trainmaster. Complete Williams Williams Standard gauge reproduction Lionel 9E Bild-A-Locosets were made in the mid 1970's to 1980's including NASA sets and military sets.

During the 1980's the demand for scale sized locomotives increased dramatically. In response to this demand, Williams created its Crown Edition Line. These models were nicely detailed handmade brass scale models produced as limited-editions. Some of the models built for the first time in 3-rail 'O' gauge were: The Pennsylvania RR K-4, NYC Niagara, Norfolk & Western J-Class bulletnose, and Southern Pacific Cab Forward. Williams 'O' gauge Canadian National J Class Steam locomotiveThus Williams became a major distributor for scale-like three rail locomotives and cars. At the same time, Williams was phasing out, and eventually discontinued its tinplate Standard gauge offerings, selling the tooling to the company that later became MTH Electric Trains.

As the 1980's came to an end and the US economy went into a recession, the demand for expensive scale models declined, and Williams focused on more economical-to-produce diesel models such as F-3's, Geep's and SW1 switchers. Although today Williams is often considered a maker of reproduction 1950's-era Lionel equipment, Williams' offerings are distinguishable from the Lionel originals because Williams sometimes adds details Williams 'O' gauge Florida East Coast BL-2 diesal locomotive that were not possible using 1950s manufacturing methods. Unlike most other 'O' scale manufacturers, Williams never added electronics such as Trainmaster Command Control or Digital Command System to its locomotives. This decision gained Williams a small but devoted following among those hobbyists who want a more "traditional" train layout reminiscent of the 1950's but who want to buy modern equipment. However, this decision has also allowed companies such as MTH and K-Line to eclipse it in size in spite of being an older company.

After 35 years, Jerry Williams decided to retire from the model railroad business. In October 2007, Williams was acquired by Bachmann Industries.

Link to Williams Trains Web Site.

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