Robert's Kusan Trains Layout
Welcome to my Kusan two-rail layout page! Though I mainly collect and operate Lionel O-gauge three-rail trains, I also have a collection of Kusan O-gauge two-rail trains. Since two-rail locomotives can't operate on traditional three-rail track, I created a small layout that allows me to operate two-rail trains. The photo below shows my 4' x 6' two-rail layout in the basement. The layout features original Kusan O-42 switches and track, and is powered by a KMT Model KS-6 direct current power supply. The cardboard signs and structures on the layout were included in some Kusan sets. Kusan trains are stored on the shelf unit in the background. A video of this train layout in operation may be seen here. When not in use, I keep a dust cover on the layout. The monorail was made by Schuco.
Following is a brief history of Kusan toy train production, and the tooling used by different companies through the years. Selecting a hyperlink in the paragraphs below will open a new page showing production examples.
After acquiring Auburn Model Trains in 1954, Nashville, Tennessee-based Kusan-Auburn continued using the former American Model Toys (AMT) tooling to produce F-7 diesel locomotives, 8000 series boxcars, 9000 series boxcars, boxcar kits, drop center flatcars, gondolas, refrigerator cars, stock cars, cabooses, passenger cars, Rail Diesel Cars and uncoupling ramps. The company designed an alternating current (AC) transformer so these trains could be sold in sets.
Kusan developed their own K-Series molds for train sets, Alco locomotives, four-wheel switchers, military rolling stock, boxcars, drop center flatcars, standard flatcars, gondolas, hoppers, tank cars, cabooses, direct current (DC) power supplies, two-rail track, display racks, and cardboard signs and structures. They manufactured Air Force, Atomic, Navy and Satellite trains. Special promotional outfits were made for Bexel Drugs and Gravy Train dog food. Lower cost S-Series trains were made. There were prototypes not put into regular production.
The O-gauge tooling used to make Kusan trains has been owned by other companies. AMT, which incorporated in 1948, preceded Kusan. In 1954, AMT changed its name to Auburn Model Trains. The Kusan Corporation acquired Auburn later that same year and made toy trains as Kusan-Auburn. Kusan continued making trains in the United States until 1960, when production ceased due to poor sales. Kusan Electricos Trenes were produced and sold in Mexico from 1960 to 1968.
Andy Kriswalus acquired the tooling from Kusan in 1967 and began producing a line of rolling stock under the Kris Model Trains name. In the 1980's, Williams Electric Trains obtained much of the former AMT-Kusan tooling from Kris. For a time, Frank's Roundhouse produced rolling stock using some of the original molds. K-LINE Electric Trains purchased most of the old tooling from Williams in the mid-1980's. In 2002, Taylor Made Trucks sold a four-wheel Lionel switcher, as a load on one of their trucks, that was made from the former Kusan and Williams molds. Bachmann Trains (formerly Williams), Ready Made Trains (RMT) and Menards use some of the original tooling today.
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