Joyce and John Davanzo operated Pride Lines, Ltd., manufacturers of beautiful modern, American-made tinplate trains,
for over 30 years. It was established in 1977 and incorporated in New York. The trains they made were mostly
reproductions of famous toy trains from the early 20th Century. As a family run operation, they decided to make a
run at high quality, hand crafted trains. While none of the production runs were large, through the years Pride
Lines amassed a fine catalog of top-notch trolleys, locomotives, stations, lamps, passenger sets, figures and toys.
For many years production focused on the Lionel Classic Period
train items but in later years production focus shifted to other manufacturer's products including the
Voltamp #2115 Interurban and #2130 Steeple Cab Electric in Standard gauge,
and the Ives glass domed station. Pride Lines Ltd. was also known for its release of a
Standard gauge Mickey Mouse Circus train based on the familiar Lionel 'O' gauge version from 1935. The Davanzo's
were members of the Train Collectors Association and thus Pride Lines created several souvenir items for various
conventions and club events over the years.
John Davanzo (1933-2010) was a long time collector and a master builder of toys and trains. When he
first began collecting, extremely rare trains such as those made by Voltamp and Carlisle & Finch
were plentiful and very inexpensive. Nobody collected them in the pre-war years. At one point John had well over
30 Voltamp sets in his collection. The personality and quality of these early trains are the characteristics that
led John to believe that it would be appropriate for Pride Lines Ltd. to reproduce them. He also wanted to make items
that other manufacturers would never produce. John came out of the US Airforce in 1958. He later attended Hofstra University
for a brief period and finished his degree at Pratt. Afterwards he went to work for Grumman Aircraft for 25 years, as
a manufacturing engineer. John quit in order to devote his full-time efforts to toy train manufacturing.
Pride Lines Standard Gauge Trolleys
Pride lines single-handedly cornered the trolley market with their full line of reproductions in Standard and 'O' gauge.
And they also created a line of original and unique Christmas trolleys. In the mid-1970's Pride Lines created reproductions
of the Lionel #101 and #1100 summer trolleys in Standard gauge. Later they released the Lionel Standard gauge
reproduction #8 and #9 'Pay As You Enter' street cars, along with the #1 Street car, and the #2 and #3 trolleys. The
#9 was available in orange and yellow or green and tan paint schemes with a single motor power truck.
In 1979 Pride Lines issued the TCA's 25th Silver Anniversary 'O' gauge street car.
John Davanzo had wanted to recreate the famous Lionel 'O' gauge streamliners and the beautiful
passenger cars that came in the sets produced in the mid-1930's. As a result, Pride Lines manufactured several colorful
reproduction Lionel 'O' gauge pre-war era streamlined trains including a Lionel #752E Union Pacific 'City of Portland'
M10000 streamliner and the #616 Boston & Maine Flying Yankee in the early 1980's. John began by successfully reproducing
the Lionel pre-war 'O' gauge red and maroon Rail Chief passenger cars including the #792 baggage/coach combo, #793 coach, #794
observation car and the #792T vestibules, all in aluminum, die-cast metal and sheet steel. These cars were offered
in sets of 4 that had 2
#793 coaches and 3 vestibules. The cars were near-scale length (13¼" long and with the vestibule attached 14¾"
long) and required 72" diameter curves on which to operate. The Pride Lines Union Pacific M10000 was a reproduction of the
classic Lionel #752E City of Portland and, at 61" long from tip to tail, was identical in color and dimensions. There were 2
color versions of this streamliner made - one in a silver paint and one in a two tone brown and yellow. The Pride Lines
reproduction Lionel Flying Yankee Boston & Maine Streamliner came in a highly polished chrome plated finish. Passenger cars
featured images of people riding in them painted on the window inserts. Pride Lines followed up with another 'O' gauge
Lionel streamliner reproduction - the Burlington Route 5-Car Streamliner Passenger Set. Pride Lines later
made an Illinois Central 5-car Green Diamond streamliner set in 'O' gauge around 1998-99. This set consisted of the powered
engine unit, a coach, a dining car, a baggage car and the observation car and 4 vestibules with trucks to link the cars and
allow them to articulate as the train navigated its way around the track curves. The engine unit, observation car and each
vestibule were lighted
to provide interior illumination. Pride Lines also made available an additional coach, a sleeper car, and a motorized
unit bringing the set to 8 different cars total. They next released an 'O' gauge Union Pacific Railroad 'City of Denver'
M-10005 streamliner circa 1998. It featured the recognizable chrome front inspired by the pre-war auto industry.
Using the same articulated passenger cars they also produced a #250E Hiawatha
limited edition set in the regular Milwaukee Road paint scheme, and they produced a very special #350E limited
run gold plated and 'Scrooge' green painted version of the Hiawatha set for the Xmas season.
Pride Lines 'O' gauge Reproduction Pre-war Era Lionel Streamliner Sets
Pride Lines 'O' gauge Reproduction Lionel Pre-war era Rail Chief Cars #792 coach, #793 coach, #793 coach and #794 observation car
Pride Lines 'O' gauge Reproduction Lionel #752E Union Pacific City of Portland M10000 Streamliner Set
Pride Lines 'O' gauge Illinois Central Green Diamond Articulated Streamliner Set with Powered Engine
Unit, Coach, Baggage Car, Dining Car, Sleeper Car, Motorized Unit and Observation Car, Circa 1998-99
Pride Lines 'O' gauge Union Pacific City of Denver streamliner set with Powered Engine
unit, Baggage/Combine Car, Dining Car, Pullman Coach, Motorized Unit, Sleeping Car and Observation Car
Pride Lines 'O' gauge Reproduction Lionel #250E Milwaukee Road Streamliner Set
The Hiawatha set was all-metal construction with die-cast drivers, nickel and chrome plated trim.
The 4-4-2 Pacific type streamlined loco was promoted as being factory tested pulling
a minimum of 4 of the Pride Lines #780 series Hiawatha passenger cars. The cars were made available before the locomotive.
Of course, once the loco was made available it came as a 4-car set. All of the Pride Lines articulated passenger sets
that came in 'O' gauge required O-72 track (72" wide curve radius) and a minimum transformer that could output 22 to 24 volts
AC. A Lionel top-of-the-line post-war era ZW transformer could only output a maximum 20 volts, so it was not capable.
Pride Lines instructions recommended using an older Lionel type Z or type K transformer that was rated at 25 volts.
The concern in under powering the locomotive with lesser voltage was that it could affect the performance of the
motor when pulling the 'heavier-than-plastic' all-metal streamlined passenger cars.
Pride Lines also reproduced the Ives double glass dome train station.
The #129 station platform featured tin plate construction with real cut stained glass panes and metal rods.
They also produced a special limited edition single dome version that featured 18k gold trim, with dark green cut
stained glass. In a twist, around 2006 Pride Lines realized that a classic Lionel Standard gauge accessory from the pre-war
era, the #128 combined station and terrace, would be absolutely perfect for 'O' gauge layouts if the doors, windows,
station building, and terrace were just a bit smaller. Pride Lines took the earliest version of this accessory, which
included an individually numbered #124 station and a #129 terrace, and reduced it by about one third. The large lamps
on the front of the station illuminate, as do the smaller lamps on the terrace. The station roof is removable. The
station sign reads 'City Station' whereas the original pre-war stations bore a 'Lionel Station' sign.
Pride Lines Ltd. secured a license from Walt Disney Productions Merchandising Division for
the design, manufacture and sale of certain unique collectibles featuring the Walt Disney Productions Copyrighted
fanciful characters. Under this license arrangement with Disney, Pride Lines made Disney-themed mechanical banks,
trolleys and trains. The first train related item that Pride Lines produced for Disney was the Tencennial Street car
in 'O' gauge. A prototype car was designed and produced during the summer of 1981. It was a 7-window Street car with
open ends and a surrey fringe on each roof end. It was powered by the Pride Lines tinplate electric motor. The metal
street car carried many of the Disney characters. Donald Duck took the engineer controls, Pinocchio manned the rear
platform waving for all to hurry aboard. Goofy, late as usual, clung to the rear railing with a handful of colorful
balloons. Several more Disney characters sat inside and Mickey Mouse stood on the wooden plaque near the front of the
car, a full 4¼" tall, holding a nickel plated 'Tencennial' Medallion and pointing to the car for all to see. The car
was painted in brilliant yellow and trimmed in red and blue. Appropriately, the name boards bore 'Walt Disney
Productions Electric Railway'. This Commemorative item was only offered during the 'Tencennial' Year - October
1981 to October 1982. It was then retired to the Walt Disney archives as it could never be produced again as
'The Walt Disney World Tencennial Streetcar'. This item was the first in a series called the Walt Disney Productions
'Collectors Series' by Pride Lines.
Pride Lines went on to create many original whimsical Disney themed train items including a mining train
with Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs in 1987, a hand-car featuring Scrooge McDuck with his bag of money, and
a hand-car featuring Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. One of the most popular items was Pride Lines 1984 reproduction
#1100 Lionel Mickey and Minnie hand-car. The original Lionel version released in 1934 was clockwork powered. Pride Line's
version was electrically powered and featured a ringing bell. Otherwise no changes were made to the original design.
Disney did present some new requirements however, since over 50 years had elapsed, and several changes in allowable
materials were enacted by companies selling items to children. Non-toxic finishes had to be used, such as baked enamel,
and all metal edges had to be carefully softened. Most importantly, operating reliability had to be high. Pride Lines
did alter the casting material used for the Mickey and Minnie characters from the fragile and unstable papier-mâché of
the original to the same unbreakable resin based materials utilized in the Tencennial Street car characters.
John Davanzo designed his own electric
motor along with the worm and spur gearing, after a long and unsuccessful attempt to locate a manufacturer with an
existing power plant that would fit the project. The resulting finished electrified product was a smooth runner and a big
seller. As well, it was a dead ringer for the original Lionel version, which was already a popular and desirable piece
of Disney memorabilia. Pride Lines built off of the simple hand-car chassis to issue a whole series of these
with all sorts of famous and recognizable Disney characters pumping the fulcrum handles. Of course, there was the
reproduction Lionel #1105 Santa hand-car and the reproduction Easter Rabbit hand-car, but a Donald and Pluto hand-car used an
entirely different handcar body. 1985 saw a version carrying a Mickey Mouse dressed as a sorcerer, sharing the platform
with a dancing broom stick a la Fantasia. It was offered for sale by itself as the #1121 Fantasia Mickey Mouse hand car,
or in a set called the Fantasia Mickey's 'Magic' Train Set. Both items were accompanied by the typical Pride Lines
wooden stand with track and identification plate.
A Disney licensed limited run of a reproduction 'O' gauge Lionel #1536 Mickey
Mouse Circus train set took place in the 1990's. It featured the same Lionel Commodore Vanderbilt-type red steam loco
as the original but with an electric motor. It also had the same animated Mickey manning the coal tender with his shovel.
Mickey would bob up and down as the train passed over the track ties. The Standard gauge version followed shortly thereafter.
The Pride Lines Standard gauge Mickey Mouse Circus Train Set included a 4-4-0 steam locomotive with 8-wheel tender
and 4 passenger cars. The locomotive featured metal construction, a decorative bell, a smoke stack, metal wheels and
axles, metal side rods, and a Mickey Mouse engineer figure. The tender was made of metal construction and featured a
Goofy figure, plastic trucks, metal wheels and axles. The passenger cars featured metal construction, plastic trucks,
metal wheels and
axles. They were larger versions of the same Mickey Mouse Circus train 'O' gauge band car, dining car and animal
car, but a Circus Tickets bobber caboose in Standard gauge was also included with the set. Another version of this set
was offered and is known to exist that had the Pride Lines reproduction 1764E Ives 4-4-4 electric substituted for the
4-4-0 steam outline locomotive.
All of the Pride Lines Disney and non-Disney handcars and O-27 gauge locomotives produced
between 1980 and the early 2000's utilized the same can-type electric motor, drive gear and frame. The frame also
held the mount for the bell.
In 1983 Pride Lines began issuing a series of Disney themed and decorated Wanamaker Special #2
motorized street cars in 'O' gauge. The street cars came painted in several different baked enamel color options and
like the Tencennial Trolley were mounted on a track display platform with a name plate.
The platforms were each decorated with a different Disney character figure such as Mickey, Minnie or Donald Duck,
depending on which version of the street car was purchased.
The street cars were typically driven by another, smaller, character figure such as Donald Duck, and carried a passenger
consist of characters like Pinocchio, Pluto, Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck, some (7) of the 101 Dalmatians, or the
3 Little Pigs (Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, Practical Pig) and the big bad wolf (hanging on the street car windows).
One version was the Pride Lines #1115 'Happy Birthday Donald' street car in blue or red. Another version was the #1117 Minnie
Mouse 'Electric Railway' street car available in white, green or pink. There was also a #1118 'Uncle Scrooge Money Street'
car in green and brass with 'Scrooge' McDuck issued for the Xmas season. Other versions included the #1130 20th Disney
World Anniversary in yellow with Mickey Mouse and a lighted lamp post, the #1131 30th Disneyland Anniversary with both
Mickey and Minnie as well as a lighted lamppost from 1985 in purple and cream, the #1120 Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs 50th
Anniversary in cream and white, the #1132 1993 Disneyland Convention in purple and white, the #1133 blue, white and yellow
Disneyland 35 Year Anniversary, the #1134 Mickey's 60th Birthday, the #1150 10th Centennial in white or orange with blue
stripe, the #1151 purple, white and yellow JW#2 John Wanamaker Mickey Mouse with Minnie Mouse, and the #1152 Wannamaker
Street Car in blue with Mickey and Goofy. The street car measured 11" long by 7" high.
Features included an all-metal hand-soldered street car with chrome details, metal wheels and a retractable trolley pole.
The character figures were cast from P.V.C. high strength polyester resins and hand painted. The street cars were powered
by a 12 volt AC/DC motor, and could operate on any 'O' gauge 3-rail track. The display board measured approximately 15"
By 2002 Pride Lines was shipping their latest development - a reproduction of the famous Ives/Lionel
transition era #1764E Standard gauge locomotive. Its construction held true to pre-war tinplate model design. No plastic
was used, no modern-era can motor was employed, no printed circuit boards with rail-sounds or TMCC control, and no rubber
In 2005 Pride Lines released their Standard gauge Bungling Bros. Circus Band Express train set. The set came with a
4-4-0 tinplate steam outline electric locomotive driven by Clancy the clown, an 8-wheel tender carrying Harold
the coal shoveling clown, and 3 accompanying flat cars carrying 2 clowns each - Bang-Bang with Boomer, Jasper with
Joey and Bobo with Bubbles. The 4-4-0 loco was the same as the one used in the Standard gauge Mickey Mouse Circus
set. The set was priced at $995. For an extra $195 a 4th flat car carrying clowns Cookie and Clyde could be added.
The loco and cars were finished in a bright yellow lacquer and highlighted with old time Circus signs, and brass trim.
The clown characters were all hand painted and stood 6" tall. Pride Lines also released an 'O' gauge version of the
Bungling Bros. Circus train utilizing the 0-4-0 Commodore Vanderbilt type tinplate locomotive and the same
4-wheel animated coal tender as the #1536 set. The set had 4 flat cars carrying colorful clown figures and a
red painted bobber caboose.
2005 also saw the announcement of the reproduction Voltamp #2115 Interurban in Standard gauge at
the York, PA TCA meet. John planned to construct 75 units. Pride Lines acquired the Voltamp trademark in 2006 and
had a short-lived history reproducing many of their unique, classic model trains including several color variations
of the Interurban Trolley. The Pride Lines Interurban was powered by a twin-field AC/DC series wound motor featuring
a massive motor armature, carbon brushes and brass brush holders. Some Interurbans were fitted with dual motors.
The trucks were cast metal and the wheels were spring loaded and set up for three rail Standard gauge operation.
There were two cast metal retractable collector poles on the power unit. The original Voltamp Interurban interiors were
fitted with wooden seats, and so was the Pride Lines #2115 Interurban. The engineer's cab featured a brake wheel.
Operating lights included two interior lamps, a headlight, and a rear red danger light. One major difference was the
lack of a reverse switch, which the original Voltamp #2115 did have. The Interurban measured 19" long, 8" high with
the collector(s) in lowered position, 11" with the collector(s) raised. Pride Lines offered a non-powered trailer car
to match the motor car.
In 2006 a reproduction Voltamp #2130 Steeple Cab electric was released in Standard gauge. It was
available in orange, red or dark blue baked enamel finish. The locomotive used the same heavy duty twin field AC/DC
electric motor as the Pride Lines #2115 Voltamp Interurban. The loco bore an operating headlight, and featured
spring loaded cast metal trucks. Pride Lines had to create the steeple cab stamping and embossing dies from scratch.
The loco was priced at $495. Pride Lines also made the Voltamp single truck freight cars to go with it in 2007. A
complete freight set consisting of the reproduction Voltamp #2130 Steeple Cab in B&O livery with #2126 gondola,
#2127 dump car, #2128 flat car and #2129 caboose was priced at $1,295. Again, John Davanzo planned to limit production
to 75 units. In 2008 Pride Lines followed up with Standard gauge reproduction Voltamp #2123 and #2125 Street cars.
At one time Davanzo had plans to reproduce the Boucher Standard gauge
Blue Comet, but only got about 30% of that project completed before abandoning the idea. Other items planned but
never produced included Disneyland and Disney World related projects such as the Alweg Monorail train, The Dumbo Circus
Train and the Disneyland Railroad station, located at the entrance to both parks. There was even an idea considered
by John to create the famous castle found at the center of both parks.
Pride Lines took great 'pride' in the fact that their toys and trains were '100% All-American-Made'.
At the height of production the company had an annual revenue of $500,000 to $1 million and employed a
staff of approximately 5 to 9. Unfortunately, John passed away at the age of 77 on April 6, 2010, and Pride
Lines is no longer in business. He did create some unique pieces, and the company was not in business for a long time,
which would make anything made by Pride Lines a little harder to find. Collectors in the toy train hobby pay fairly high
prices for anything made by Pride Lines, as the quantities produced of any one item were not in great numbers, which would
make Davanzo's products a bit rare. As a result, Pride Lines products are quite popular with bidders at Auction
Houses, when they are offered on the blocks, particularly, the Disney themed items, as they are desired by both the
tinplate toy train collectors and by the Disney ephemera collectors. Pride Lines Ltd., was based at 651 W. Hoffman Ave.,
Lindenhurst, NY 11757.