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 modest collection of Kusan O-gauge two-rail trains. Since two-rail locomotives can't operate on three-rail track, I created a small layout that allows me to operate the two-rail trains in my collection. The photo below shows my 4' x 6' Kusan 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 DC power supply. Kusan trains are stored on the shelf unit in the background. A video of my Kusan train layout in operation may be seen here.
Following is a brief history of Kusan toy train production, and the tooling used by different companies through the years.
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, boxcars, boxcar kits, drop center flatcars, gondolas, refrigerator cars, stock cars, cabooses, passenger cars, Rail Diesel Cars and uncoupling ramps. The company designed an AC transformer so these trains could be sold in sets.
Kusan later 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, DC power supplies, and cardboard signs and structures. They were the first to manufacture Atomic and Satellite trains. Special promotional outfits were made for Bexel Drugs and Gravy Train dog food. There were some prototypes that were 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 during the 1960's.
Andy Kriswalus acquired the tooling from Kusan in 1967 and began producing a line of rolling stock under the Kris Model Trains name. In 1980, 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 Trains purchased the old Kusan 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.
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