The All Aboard Sets Club!

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Paul's Yorke's

The History of All Aboard Sets

In 1965 Gilbert came out with a new line of products that would be some of the last trains they would ever make. The ALL ABOARD SETS provided their owners with a set of landscaped and pre-wired panels. From several basic panels, layouts could be configured into countless configurations.

The most Basic set was called the PIONEER 600, and came with six 17 inch square panels that made a layout about 34 x 52 inches in size. The set included four curved panels, two straight panels, and a variety of houses, trees, signs, light poles and trees. It of course also came with an steam engine (21165 Casey Jones) and three cars. The set retailed for around $50 in 1965.

The middle set was called the CHAMPION 800, and was similar to the PIONEER 600 set except that it also contained two switch panels, a right and a left to provide a short siding. The engine and rolling stock were somewhat different, a 21168 Casey Jones engine that added a "choo choo" and smoker, and a little better rolling stock. It is worth mentioning that when it came to rolling stock, there were many substitutions apparently depending on what was available at the time the set was packaged. This set retailed for around $79.00.

The BIG SET was called the Westerner 1200, and included 12 panels and made a layout 3 panels by 4 panels in size. It included a total of 3 switch panels, 4 straights (one of which was a whistle panel), 1 crossover panel and four curved panels. This set included an additional house, a 21085 Pacific Steam engine, still better rolling stock, and of course additional signs, lights and trees in order to fill up the additional panels. This set retailed for around $129.

In 1966, Gilbert added a SNOW SET which was basically the Pioneer 600 painted white to look like a winter scene. This set is very rare and brings a real premium whenever it it sold. Gilbert also sold several extra cars that were packaged in All Aboard labeled shrink wrapped cardboard display boxes. Extra panels were also available for sale.