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Tom Sefton's Train Collection

I began collecting toy trains in 1973 and was the first avid (asking around) collector in central Illinois -- lucky with some amazing finds. My first York meet was in October 1973. York was still in its original format -- a mad rush for tables in the Blue Hall. In 1976 I got married, moved to California, and began working for San Diego Trust & Savings Bank (the largest commercial bank in San Diego). SDT&SB was founded by the grandfather of Tom Sefton (TCA 59-360). Tom was born in New York City in October 1917 and was the luckiest Irish waif of his generation. He was adopted by, and the only heir of, Joseph W. Sefton, Jr., the son of the bank's owner (founded in 1889). Tom was open about this info.  

Toy trains were my introduction -- I went on to become the COO of the Bank's holding company and responsible for $2 billion in investments. You older collectors know me. For 15 years, I worked for the bank and also served as Tom's toy train curator and beard. Plus, I was responsible for his private railroad car and knew him well.

The bank was sold in 1992 -- Tom's mental health has been deteriorating for some years. His collection includes one hundred and thirty five 200-series cars -- some in sealed boxes (a long story, we slit the boxes to see the contents but did not remove the cars, call me for details).

This photo is John S. Reed (S as in Shedd Aquarium, Chicago), the CEO of the Santa Fe Railroad, running Tom's trains. The young guy in the top right is me, 20+ years ago. What you see in the foreground is an Apple Green 408E set that I saw land on the floor when it split the switch coming into its siding. Luckily Persian carpets saved it from damage.

What John Reed was actually running was Tom's near new Brown State set. Note the original rubber roadbed and clever positioning of signals. The man standing at the top left was Santa Fe's Executive Assistant on the West coast and a long-time acquaintance of Tom. I cannot remember his name. In simpler times, before instant communications, corporations had positions like this. He was empowered to speak for the CEO without needing prior approval. 

Here is the Sefton inventory, but unfortunately for Caryl Pettijohn's research, I did not note coupler or truck types. Use your Back button to return to this Table of Contents. Hopefully this inventory will help keep honest all those people mucking around with Tom's trains in Sacramento.

Lionel Standard Gauge

Lionel Accessories

Lionel O Gauge (unformatted)

American Flyer (unformatted)

Ives (unformatted)

Buddy L (unformatted)

VoltAmp Dorfan (unformatted)

Marklin and Other Foreign (somewhat formatted)

Miscellaneous (unformatted)


Jerry Wagner
San Francisco
TCA 74-6574

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