Erik Hoyer

Erik Hoyer, shown here, is auctioneer and owner of EJ’s Auction & Appraisal of Glendale.

Wyatt Orr grew up collecting model trains with his dad more than 40 years ago, and he continued the tradition with his young son, Weston.

Now that his 8-year-old son has outgrown the hobby, Orr has consigned a majority of his collection to EJ’s Auction & Appraisal in Glendale. It is auctioning thousands of Lionel trains at noon Fridays, April 16, April 23 and April 30. Auctions will be held online at, beginning at noon. 

For more information, call 623-878-2003.

The majority of the trains are considered new old stock, which means they are brand-new, never-been-out-of-the-box trains that are no longer in production. Some have been test run only, some used, and some are even still sealed in original factory boxes. The collection includes 13 pallets worth of diesels, steam engines, passenger cars, rolling stock, bridges, buildings, full sets and other Lionel accessories. There are also some other brands included.

“It’s definitely the largest train collection we’ve seen here,” said Erik Hoyer, auctioneer and owner of EJ’s Auction & Appraisal. 

“There’s a lot of interest. Most of what this collection encompasses are late-1980s into the 1990s trains. So, there aren’t a lot of older trains, just more contemporary types. That still doesn’t take away the value of them.

“Trains are a beloved hobby for many, including younger generations who may inherit collections from their parents and grandparents,” Hoyer said. “A collection of this size going up for auction is rare.”

Orr is a frequent EJ’s client. Hoyer said the consignment specialist he spoke with was aware of Orr’s collection. When he approached EJ’s to represent the collection, Hoyer said it fit right in with what his company does.

After about 10 years of serious collecting and a divorce, Orr and Weston felt overwhelmed by the size of their collection. Together, they categorized, constructed and packed up the majority of the train collection for auction. 

 “It took us 85 hours to catalog them all,” Orr said. “I would say we consigned about 3,000. There were 13 4-by-4 pallets that were about 5 to 6 feet tall.”

The Dewey pair, who now prefer to go camping, kept a manageable collection to construct their own layout. The hobby proved to be important during the pandemic, as it’s safe. 

“We didn’t have to worry about the world or traveling,” Orr said.

“Besides that, Lionel is the best brand of trains there is. It’s most expensive, though. It’s just a really good brand. You can do different things with the layouts. They have great accessories. We’re impressed with the number of people who showed up at the auctions we’ve had so far.”