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A Visit to Flyertown - our annual visit
(published in SJSG Waybill February/March 2000)
On a brisk sunny Saturday in March, 10 members of the South Jersey S-Gaugers joined in on a day trip to Flyertown, an American Flyer operating museum run by Joe and Florence (Flo) Jones. This trip has become an annual event for our club, and has been well worth the one hour drive to the New Jersey shore. Flyertown is located on Route 9 just North of Route 83 in Clermont, NJ. For most of the members, the day started with breakfast at Dino's Diner just up the road from the museum. After breakfast, we joined the rest of the gang at Flyertown.
The Flyertown Toy Train Museum is the product of several years of dedicated work by Joe Jones and his wife Flo. Joe started building the museum in 1995, next door to his home. The building includes a large layout room with a small adjoining sales shop that features mostly S-Gauge products.
Joe realized a dream of his when he opened the doors of the museum in 1997. The museum is open almost every weekend of the year, and some weeknights during the summer. Flo helps out with the layout and operating the store, and it's obvious she has endorsed Joe's involvement with his hobby.
Joe's museum features around-the-room shelves displaying over 100 catalog sets of American Flyer trains, plus every set made by Lionel American Flyer. Individual pieces on display include most of the annual freight cars produced by the TCA and NASG. Other displays include samples of early American Flyer catalogs and other promotional items.
The layout itself is an imposing structure that fills the center of the large room. The 16x24 foot layout features over 400 feet of Gargraves track on three levels. The 18 pair of Flyer switches allows seven trains to be operated simultaneously with another three trains waiting on sidings for their chance to perform.
The scenery on the layout is well done. There are several urban areas that feature buildings by Dept 56, Corber, Lofton as well as Plasticville. The main city scene is the most striking with the scratch-built skyscrapers and large buildings made out of foam-core panels. Other areas of the layout represent rural and industrial regions. All of the track is ballasted using black roofing stone, and the trackage runs through the mountains and over the valleys via trestles and bridges. A lot of attention to detail is apparent with the streets full of people and vehicles. I counted 16 operating accessories scattered throughout the layout. I'm not sure who enjoys the accessories more, the visitors or Joe - as he obviously likes to demonstrate the Flyer action products. In between the action, Joe turns out the 'sun' and runs trains at 'night' with the building and street lights on.
The rolling stock features engines and passenger and freight cars from American Models and S-Helper Service as well as American Flyer. Occasionally, you can get a glimpse of the new RDC car by Pennsylvania Heritage Models cruising through town. I thoroughly enjoy just watching the trains snake their way through the scenery, and inhaling as much Flyer smoke as I can - after all, the experience has to last until next year!
New addition - Lionel Culvert Loader in the industrial sector.
Joe Jones (left) explains his layout.
This page modified 8/02/02 -a