Manufacturers Series

Miniature Train Company

Miniature Train Company, of Rensselaer, Indiana, operated from 1932 to 1956. It was founded by Paul Allen “P.A.” Sturtevant.

This is my Tuesday series about ride manufacturers who have made rides for amusement parks. Today’s article is about Miniature Train Company.

Miniature Train Company, of Rensselaer, Indiana, operated from 1932 to 1956. It was founded by Paul Allen “P.A.” Sturtevant. The company was dissolved when it was acquired by Allan Herschell Company in 1956. Today, it is owned by Chance Rides, which purchased and merged with Allan Herschell Company in 1970.

History

P.A. Sturtevant began making miniature train rides in 1929 out of a machine shop in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The first model Sturtevant made was intended to be a toy for his son – it was an electric powered miniature steam type train. Friends of Sturtevant suggested he should sell the train commercially. He took their advice and began selling; it quickly became a success.

1950-04-08 The Billboard (p71)
This advert was featured in The Billboard on April 8, 1950, on page 71.

With that success, Sturtevant created a new company, the Miniature Train & Railroad Company (MT & RC), in 1932. After the first streamliner train, the Zephyr was released, MT & RC developed their own miniature version. They then began selling a G-12 miniature train. The company was quite successful which forced the company to continually expand operations, especially in the post-war years. This led to the development of the G-16 Limited and Suburban model miniature trains.

1950-09-05 The Billboard (p71)
Advert from The Billboard, September 5, 1950, page 71.

In 1948, the company relocated to Rensselaer, Indiana, and at about the same time was renamed Miniature Train Company (MTC).

Post-History

In November 1956, it was announced that Allan Herschell Company had acquired Miniature Train Company. Allan Herschell continued selling a MTC branded train until 1963. Allan Herschell Company would be sold to Chance Rides in 1970.

1952-04-12 The Billboard (p62)
Advert from The Billboard, April 12, 1952, page 62.

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I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks on my website, The Amusement Parkives, which I founded in 2016.

28 comments on “Miniature Train Company

  1. Pingback: Miniature Train | The Amusement Parkives

  2. Ken Murray

    Two of my brothers, both deceased, were employed by MT in Rensselaer IN ,

    • Did they like working for MTC?

    • Hi Ken, Would you know where the factory was? I have found the road, which is North Cullen St in Rensselaer and used google earth to “drive” up and down and could not locate the plant. Looks to be a lot of green space on that street so guessing the building may have been torn down? BTW, your brothers did good work! I drive a MT built in 1955 for the City of Opelika, Alabama.

      • The address should be 1132 N. Cullen St, Rensselaer, IN 47978. The make springs for Sealy Mattresses there now.

  3. James Czerniak

    I drive a model train for the city of opelika AL that was built in 1956 by MT.

  4. Raymond

    Hello everyone
    A friend of mine picked up crossing protection made by MTC, it looks like it all there and we would like to get it working, the point coil and caps seem to be in place. Any information on this would be great.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t have the technical acumen to get it working. Hopefully someone will see your comment and will be able to offer help.

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  7. Mike Toney

    I would like to pickup one of the MTC crossing signals to put up in our back yard. I have a full scale crossing signal to trade. allis920diesel at yahoo dot com. Hopefully in a couple years I can afford to pickup one of the trains to set up in our yard. I used to ride the one that was back behind the McDonalds in Richmond, IN.

  8. Your site has solved a train-load of questions that I have had for ages. Back in the 1950’s and ’60’s the Rhodes Department Store in Tacoma, Washington had a miniature train to ride in the toy department during the holiday season. I have wondered about that great ride that all of us kids loved. A photo from the Tacoma Public Library archives showed the name of the train builder, which led me to your site.
    To see a photo on the Library’s site, visit http://cdm17061.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p17061coll21/id/34114/rec/151

    Thanks!

    • Russell T Habel

      I remember as a child in the late 50’s a train just like the one pictured was in one the major department stores in downtown Chicago during the Christmas season.

  9. Elmer Buckingham

    Eb I have purchased 1947 mtc g12 looking for info on how many were built mine appears to be pretty much untouched at this time I have reconditioned the Wisconsin single cyl engine and had body’s sandblasted to repair and paint along with the trucks one thing strange i have not seen on any picture of the g 12 is an os ilating lower front nose light which is in middle of of front mtc badge can someone give me some info on it . Thx I also can not find a production number as the g16 has

    • Jeff Uhlemeyer

      Elmer. I’ve owned two G-12’s in the past; MT&RR Co #141 and MTC #337. The serial # plates on mine were on the outside back of the seat at the end of each car, including the locomotive. The #141 had come out of the original Addison IL. plant in May 1947. The #337 came out of the Rensselaer IN. plant in the early-mid 50’s. The oscillating light you describe is NOT a factory original to the G-12. A previous owner must have installed it. Those were only on the G-16s out of the factory. I have an old information list of serial #s somewhere. If I find it, I’ll post it.

  10. James Ellis

    I am looking for a Miniature Train Company train owned by Johnson City, TN in the early to mid 50’s. ellisjmha@charter.net

  11. I have recently acquired a g12 with compleat train with track and am thr understanding that it was in working condition when it was stored .it sets on a rack that it was built for in side a trailer . i was wandering what is the value of one of this trains and where would be the best place to look for finding a new home for it?

    • Would you happen to have pics of your train

      • I also purchased an MTC G-12 train recently. It was disassembled and stored years ago. It is complete and all original. It is number 585. I don’t have any history on it yet.

    • Hi I could be interested.,, send me pictures and details pls

  12. Angela Howard

    Would you be able to point me in the direction of a company or private sellers that would have G16 parts, specifically, trucks. We are here in Roanoke, VA and are trying to repair one of our Zoo trains.

  13. Steve Waller

    Two magazines showing the Griffith Park MTC G16 Limited are the May 17, 1947 issue of The Billboard (with actress Margaret O’Brien christening the locomotive) and the February, 1948 issue of Mechanix Illustrated.

    To see The Billboard cover, click on… https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Billboard/40s/1947/BB-1947-05-17.pdf

  14. M. J. Raguse

    I have a complete MTC G-12 train ( Serial No. 151) and 500 feet of track that I would like to sell. Included is a 2nd unrestored train, Reach me via text @ 248-563-5453

  15. We have an in service MTC G-16 in Duluth Ga. engine #900. Any way to get info on mfg date?

  16. Awesome would anyone know where i can get the 2 hydraulic couplers rebiult on a g 12

  17. Kevin Enos

    Have you tried contacting the Kansas City Northern Miniature Railroad?

    Their website:
    http://www.kcnrr.com

  18. steven brauer

    Finding this article greatly excites me. As I was thinking of building a mini railroad on my land and discovered what the seller described as a train that ran at steeplechase park coney island. As a tourguide from nyc. The potential to rescue and reclaim history was on my mind. Currently desperately trying to authenticate that it was from steeplechase park coney island. Stumbled across your page and by looking at the photos you have. Lead me to believe it is a g 12 mtc train. Do you or anyone in this forum could give any additional info on the trains sold by mtc? As in how may were made and to whom they were sold to? (also this train may be from asbury park NJ or steeple chase park CT. if you wish for more details as in pics that i have gotten let me know.) Thank you for any help you can give.

  19. Russell T Habel

    I’m looking for the whereabouts of the MTC G16 train called the “Kiddieland Limited that was sold to Bill McEnery in the Chicago area circa October-December 2009. It ran at Kiddieland amusement park in Melrose Park, Il and consisted of A-B units #514 and A unit #704 plus 9 coaches. This train has disappeared after the closing of Kiddieland and the passing of Bill McEnery. If anyone knows where this train is please pass the information on to me. Thanks.

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