World of Color – A Personal Story

The World of Color train began as a single car, and then exploded to become an artistic pallet of color. The observation car Yensid Valley with its very intricate and unique platform railing was produced and it sold quickly. The hidden Mickey’s on that railing were a smashing success and people wanted more. That all came from my idea of ‘why not?’ If Walt Disney had a private car, this had all the car name and details I believe he would have wanted.

Creating a complete train with the names that were important to Walt, and then adding the colors from the artist’s pallet seemed like an obvious next step. The colors of the cars, when run in the order of a rainbow, will also place the chronological path of Walt Disney’s life, beginning from his birth in Chicago. 

I had two unexpected’s while working on this train. First came the pink car.  

One day while I was working on the World of Color design, my grandaughter crawled up next to me and said, “Grandad, can you do a pink car?”  Well that was not at all in my plan, and I thought ‘no way’. I could not produce a pink car!  But realizing that it fit perfectly into what I was about to do, I felt the urge to create that pink car, and naturally Minnie’s polkadots would be a must.

Both the pink and the red cars were given the black roofs to help emphisize what they represented in this train, our freind’s Mickey & Minnie.

What came next and almost last was the real shocker.

When planning for the engines I had always figured to do F Cab units as they gave a nice landscape for art. But when the factory I planned to use closed for those F units, the jury was out and there was no certainty as to what power will actualy be used for the World of Color train set. 

I definitely received many questions about what I was going to do, along with several comments like, “Walt would certainly have wanted a steam engine for his train.”

All of a sudden the extraordinary opportunity came along to have a steam engine, and from the best producer of steam engines on the planet, KATO!

After that steam engine release, I could not count how many responses I heard like: ‘oh, I did not know you were going to do that!’ Or, ‘If I had known you were doing that I would have gotten on board’. But it was too late. The train had left the station with those lucky enough to jump on in the early stages.  

For the past thirty-one years now, and the hundreds of releases I have produced, I believe that this train the World of Color, along with the American Freedom Train, are what will be thought of as ‘legacy trains’. 

I am grateful that all of the series of trains that I have produced since 1992 are enjoyed and highly regarded. For those that have this train set, the World of Color, thank you for coming along, and thank you for loving my triains.

– Lowell

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Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more

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R. K.

You are in my book one of the very best.


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Thank you ever so much for being such an integral part of the model railroading hobby!

Bill S.

That car is about the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in N scale!  Excellent work!

Linda and Pete B.

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AFT is a real dream come true for me. Thanks for all your hard work!


“You seem to be the shining light in an industry that’s seen a lot of change since the early 2000’s when I was last in the hobby”.