Christmas: Off the Track and into the Slot

A funny thing happened on the 20th Century Limited. On its way to Chicago last week for its final run, the crack New York Central passenger express was delayed by a derailment up the track, wound up at its destination nine hours late. That is the way things have been going for trains recently and not just for real ones either. Toy electric trains, the very symbol of Christmas for generations of middle-class American boys, have gradually been losing customers too.

Once, the first boy on the block to get one turned his neighborhood pals green with envy. No other...

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