A delightful letter from a Nanty Glo
'fan' in San Diego, Calif.

Webmaster's note: A few days ago I got a cryptic email asking the correct pronunciation of Nanty Glo. Is the middle syllable prounounced as "Y" or "E," the writer from San Diego asked. I replied, wondering with a chuckle why someone in San Diego would care, but consonant with my commitment to a principle of not "sticking my nose in" resisted the temptation to ask, appending only "LOL" after my answer (LOL, for anyone not into "texting," if there are any such people left, is a texting abbreviation for "laughing out loud"). A day later the writer sent the following explanation, anyway, which I think everyone with feelings for Nanty Glo will find delightful.

Letter #382, March 23, 2012

Re: The correct pronunciation of Nanty Glo, PA...

Jon, In case you were wondering what brought about my inquiry as to the proper pronunciation of Nanty Glo...

Well... here's the story:

For Christmas of 1953, Santa Claus brought me my second Lionel train set, similar to this one... (http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/4137790).

I was ecstatic... and every year until 1968, there was never a Christmas without it running beneath the Christmas tree.

College and other interests left them in their still, excellent condition (including the orginal boxes) packed away... until 2005.

Renewing my interest in model railroading after 37 years has led me to having a permanent train layout, and joining two excellent local model train clubs:

All Gauge Toy Train Association: http://www.agtta.com and San Diego 3-Railers (http://www.sd3r.com).

But, getting back to my original reason for contacting you...

While I didn't think about, or even realize it until joining the model train clubs and participating in Internet model train forums... the most prized (and valuable) train sets are those in pristine conditon... WITH their original boxes.

Well, I felt fairly proud of both of my train sets, since I had kept them as new as possible while growing up... and I had still kept all the original boxes. A few of the box flaps are worn, but they are all in pretty good shape.

Then... one of the train members asked "Do you EVEN have the original "Master Carton" that came with your sets?

I was perplexed, and asked "What's the "Master Carton"?

He replied... it's the BIG box that all of your trains came in... the locomotives, the passenger cars, transformer, track, wire, instruction manual etc. etc. etc.

Well... as I discovered... Santa Claus, despite all his wisdom, must have discarded the "Master Carton" after setting up the train set under the Christmas Tree... even though he kept all of the boxes for the rest of the items in the set.

Hmm ... I was somewhat chagrined to learn I did NOT have "all" of the boxes for my two train sets. What to do???

The odds of finding my 1464W Master Carton sixty years later seemed impossible. "Oh, well." I thought ... at least I had everything in the set but that one box.

I even tried searching the Internet and eBay a few times the past few years... all to no avail....... UNTIL 2 months ago.

Well, to make a long story short... I was finally able to acquire a 1464W Master Carton ... in fact, a month later, another one appeared on eBay ... and I'm pleased to say I was able to acquire that one for a spare train set that I've purchased.

But... and I still can't believe it, ANOTHER 1464W Master Carton appeared on eBay just six days ago... and the seller was from ... you guessed it ... Nanty Glo, PA!

Unfortunately, the auction was due to end at 9:36 AM, and I was already obligated to help with the construction (along with others) of a large model railroad for another member of the club. We work on the layout from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm every Friday ... and, I'll have to admit, I was wondering what that 1464W Master Carton eventually sold for ALL the time I was working. I couldn't wait to get home to see the winning bid on eBay.

Well, here it is... and remember, this is JUST the "box"... no trains:


I was very fortunate in my 1464W purchases ... I didn't pay quite that much. And, while they were not cheap, it fulfilled a dream that I thought would never come to fruition.

It was the eBay description of the town where the seller of the 1464W box was located that prompted me to learn more about a town with such a curious name as Nanty Glo, PA.

You see, it was in Fairless Hills, PA, where Santa delivered my 1464W train set ... so I was curious if Nanty Glo was a nearby community.

Of course, a Google search revealed that Nanty Glo is 268 miles from Fairless Hills ... and not far from one of railroadings major construction feats... Horseshoe Curve, near Altoona (http://www.railroadcity.com/altoona_horseshoe_curve/index.php).

And, finding that Nanty Glo had its own website ... with the history, happenings, Chistmas slide show (http://www.nantyglo.com/videos/Santa_in_NG.htm), the commentary on the death of a family member (http://www.nantyglo.com/gary.htm) and so much more ... was absolutely facinating to read. I even used Google Maps to "drive" down a few of the Nanty Glo streets.

To think, that the search for a rare and obscure Lionel 1464W train box on eBay would lead me to discover and appreciate a wonderful small town in the hills of Pennsylvania. I'd like to visit it, someday.

Again, thanks for your prompt response to inquiry.

Alan Hamel
San Diego, California


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