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From the Archives of Dave's Trains, Inc.

Hammer & Sickle Image Soviet Gateman Hammer & Sickle Image

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About This Accessory

The gateman included in every Stalin-era and Khrushchev-era train set produced by the Soviet Union in the 1950's and 1960's should look very familiar to prewar and postwar Lionel train collectors. The Russians created their train set by stealing shamelessly from other toy train manufacturers. In this case, they fabricated "Comrade Gateman" by copying the design of the most well-known and popular Lionel accessory of all time -- the #45 Gateman. That act of international plagiarism will forever link the Soviet trains to the Lionel Corporation. However, knowledgeable collectors of Lionel trains will have no problem in identifying THE ORIGINAL and the masquerader since there are significant differences as shown in the table below.

A Tale of Two Gatemen
ElementSoviet VersionLionel Version
Shack color Greenish-white; beige; cream; off-white; mustard Ivory; white; off-white
Door color Always matches the shack Red or matches the shack
Toolbox lid Embossed Soviet markings: "MEP" & "Mockba" Plain; Lionel decal; embossed Lionel markings
Roof color Red or (RARE) maroon Red
Chimney Always present Only used on the prewar versions
Chimney color Always matches the shack Always matches the shack
Signpost & sign None Always present
Base color Dark-green; pea-green; light green Apple-green
The Man A Russian Guard A Railroad Worker
Gateman's attire Black uniform Blue work clothes
Lantern color Green Red
Illumination Green celluloid covering a clear bulb Red bulb or red celluloid covering a clear bulb
Connections "Banana-plug" type receptacles Terminal posts with finial lugs

A Photo of 2 Gatemen: The Imposter & The Original
Photo of Soviet & Lionel Gatemen
Left: Comrade Gateman ~~~~~~~ Right: Lionel Gateman

The Soviet gateman works just like the Lionel gateman: when the accessory is energized, the lamp in the base is illuminated, the door opens and the man emerges from the shack; when the electrical power is turned off, the light goes out, the man retreats into the gatehouse and the door closes. The Soviet gateman was first produced in 1951 and along with some other Soviet pieces, was last made in 1969. The basic design remained unchanged throughout that entire 19-year period.

Soviet Gatemen Photos
Photo of Greenish-beige & Cream Gatemen
ABOVE -- Left: Greenish-beige shack ~~~~~ Right: Cream-colored shack
Photo of Maroon Roof & Mustard-colored Shack
ABOVE -- Left: Rare maroon roof ~~~~~ Right: Rare mustard-colored shack.


--- Early Version with "MEP" (1951-1956?)

The early version of the Soviet gateman had the initials "MEP" (in Cyrillic for the Ministry of Electrotechnical Industries) stamped into the toolbox lid. This marking was omitted from the later gatemen. The early version was produced as late as the 2nd quarter of 1956 but it is unclear if it was produced after that. Red is the common roof color for all of the Soviet gatemen; however one of the earlier versions has surfaced with a maroon roof.

Photos of the markings from 3 Different Soviet Gatemen
Photo of Early Marking on Toolbox Photo of 'Mockba' Marking on Toolbox Photo of Later Marking on Toolbox
Left: Early: "MEP" ~~~ Center: Rare "MOCKBA" ~~~ Right: Later Version

--- Later Version without "MEP" (1957?-1969)

The later Soviet gatemen were produced without the "MEP" marking but it is unclear as to when those initials were omitted from the toolbox lid. One very unusual later-version gateman has surfaced with a mustard-colored shack and the word "MOCKBA" (in Cyrillic for the city of Moscow) stamped into the toolbox lid. The later version of the gateman was produced through 1969.

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This page is an information document only; nothing on this web page is being offered for sale. This page and all of the other pages from Our Soviet Archives were developed to assist you in understanding the components of the train sets produced in the Soviet Union during the 1950's and 1960's. These sets are known today as "Stalin-era" sets and "Khrushchev-era" sets. We have used pictures from our old files and personal collection to construct this area of our website. If you are interested in buying something, please view our inventory listings to see what we currently have for sale.

This web page was last updated on September 9, 2005. If you have suggestions for improving this page or if you see any errors, please contact us.

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