Operating Accessories (Page 7 of 8)
In addition to adding visual interest and realism to a train layout, Operating Accessories allow you operate it like a real world-railroad rather than simply running trains around in a circle.  Gilbert made 62 distinct accessories as listed on a little over seven pages of the TM Guide, not counting the variations on some of the 62.  Lionel made a few more up under the American Flyer name.  Because there are so many, I have split them up over four web pages:

Gilbert accessories #561 through #588 are on
page 1
                           #591 through #752A are on
page 2
                           #755 through #762 are on
page 3
                           #766 through 785 are on
page 4
                           #787  through #23601 are on
page 5
                           #23602 through #23786 are on
page 6
                           #23787 through #23830 are on this page
Lionel accessories #2300 through #49807 are on this page
                           #49808 through 49819 are on
page 8
                           # 49820 and above are on
page 9

In 1957, Gilbert computerized and changed from a 3-digit numbering system to a 5-digit system.  (Volume II of Greenberg's Guide contains a detailed discussion of 5-digit numbering from its inception.)  During the transition, the unsold inventory of 3-digit accessories was sold in 5-digit boxes.  After that stock ran out, Gilbert continued manufacturing similar or identical accessories. Some items changed little, if at all, in the years that followed. Therefore, it is often impossible to tell whether the accessory you're looking at was originally sold as a 5-digit unit or a 3-digit unit, unless you have the box it came in.  A unique exception is the #23789 Station and Baggage Smasher which had the 5-digit number molded into the plastic underneath.  Accessories that had a green base (like the  23589 station) changed from a light green to a darker green base. The font changed on operating buttons and the 5-digit buttons had slots on the side. You need to know what to look for if you want to tell the difference. There are clues, but they are subtle!

Unless otherwise specified, the large pictures on this page are from the collection of The Upstairs Train.
#23787 Log Loader; the 5-digit version of #787 made in 1957 thru 1960.
Or is it?  The button is from a 787; the font and button hole are different on a 23787.
If this was indeed sold by Gilbert as a 23787, it is an unsold 787 sold in a 23787 box.
(Photo courtesy of
New England Toy & Train Exchange.)
#23789 Station and Baggage Smasher; the 5-digit version of #789 made in 1958 & 1959.
Unlike other accessories, this station had the 5-digit catalog number molded into the plastic underneath.
(Photo courtesy of David Butterfield.)
#23791 Cow-on Track with black and white cow made in 1957 thru 1959.
(Photo courtesy of
Rick Dunn.)
Press the red button and the cow moves out on the track.  If a train comes along, it stops.
Press the green button and the cow returns to pasture and the train resumes its journey.
(Picture courtesy of
It was also made with a dark brown and white cow.  It's hard to tell the difference in pictures.
(Photo courtesy of an anonymous donor.)
#23796 Sawmill made in 1957 thru 1964.
(Photo courtesy of
Rick Dunn.)

#23830 Piggyback Unloader with 24550 flatcar made in 1959 & 1960.
(My apologies.  I lost track of whose picture this is.
If you recognize it as yours, please let me know and I will give proper photo credit.)
It came in its own unique box.
(Photo courtesy of
Rick Dunn.)

In 1985 Lionel began production of operating accessories under their American Flyer name.
#2300 Oil Drum Loader, Lionel's remake of the #23779,  made in 1985.
(Photo courtesy of
Silvia Classics.)
#2321 Operating Sawmill, Lionel's remake of the #23796,  made in 1986.
(Photo courtesy of
Silvia Classics.)
#49805 Gabe the Lamplighter, Lionel's remake of the #23780, made in 2001.
(This is a picture I took of a tower I sold.)
Gabe the Lamplighter, close up and personal.
(This is a picture I took of a tower I sold.)
Here's how it comes packaged.
(This is a picture I took of a tower I sold.)
#49806 Operating Sawmill, another remake of the #23796, made in 2001.
(Picture from the
Lionel online catalog.)
#49807 Seaboard Coaler, Lionel's remake of the #752, made in 2001.
(Picture from the
Lionel online catalog.)

Show me the rest of the Operating Accessories.

It takes time and money to maintain a website like this.  If this site is interesting and helpful to you, please contribute financially to its ongoing success.  You may
send a contribution via PayPal using theupstairstrain@yahoo.com as the payee. Both credit card and direct transfers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

If you or your friends have some American Flyer trains and would like them to go to a nice home where they'll be loved and cared for, this is the place!  Email me: theupstairstrain@yahoo.com.  See my
Wish List for the items I need most.  Thank you very much.

On the other side of the coin, I post pictures from time to time on my
For Sale page of surplus items I have for sale.
This gallery will continue to grow and become more comprehensive as I collect more equipment, and as visitors send me pictures of the items I don't yet have.  If you have a car, engine, accessory, or set that you would like to share with the world, email me a picture:   theupstairstrain@yahoo.com.  Click here for a list of the pictures I need to complete the Gallery.

The books I am using for reference are listed in the
Bibliography page.  All the writing and all the pictures on this website are, however, my own, except where cited.  No copyrighted materials have been included and all pictures provided by others are used by permission.

Now show me:                                                                                                                                    
The Gilbert Gallery Home Page  
Engines      Passenger Cars      Freight Cars      Freight Sets      Accessories      Infrastructure  
Operating Accessories      Buildings      Bridges & Trestles      Landscape      People  
Pictures Needed     Useful Links     For Sale     Wish List     Bibliography     The Upstairs Train
visitors have viewed this page