Kusan Atomic Train (1957-1960)

The Kusan KF-110 Atomic Train (0 gauge) was the first toy train to have an "atomic theme."  It was produced between 1957 and 1960 by Kusan-Auburn of Franklin Tennessee.   Kusan-Auburn was a subsidiary of Kusan, a plastics manufacturer. The company described it as "An exciting new train with extra play value in each unit."

The photo to the right shows the diesel locomotive car with a machine gun turret.

The photo to the right shows the reactor car. The red lights flash to indicate when the reactor is in operation. Note the small upside-down radiation warning symbol (trefoil) on the side of the reactor.

This was Kusan's first toy train and its introduction was the subject of an article in the June 29, 1957 issue of Business Week.

After the initial success of the Atomic Train,  Kusan produced a couple of other toy trains, but the competition from Lionel became too great and Kusan got out of the toy train business in 1960.

This photo shows a flat car carrying an atomic canon  -  since atomic cannons fired nuclear explosives, they required a long range. The three atomic projectiles that came with it are missing. It actually recoils when fired!

The photo to the right shows a flat car with a missile (decals missing) of the "Honest John" class, presumably employing an atomic warhead.

Another neat thing about the Kusan train was that it ran on realistic-looking two rail track (not shown) rather than the more common three rail track. 

 

The photo to the right shows the caboose which serves as a command center.

 

The photo below left shows an advertising flyer for the Atomic Train. Kusan subsequently produced a radar car and a searchlight car that could be added to the train. 

Generously donated by Steven Woolfolk.

I have seen two retail prices for the train set: $39.95 and $44.95. At least one retailer, Ernie Television of Syracuse New York, gave a free Kusan atomic train (a "$59.95 value") as a "Special Christmas Offer" to everyone who purchased a Sylvania Slimline TV.   The promotion indicated that the Atomic train was a "Winner of Top 10 Mechanical Toys for 1957."

References

Lubenau, J., Horner, J. Atomic Toy Trains. Train Collectors Quarterly. Vol. 45, No. 3; July 1999.

Kusan-Auburn. Atomic Train advertising flyer. No date.

 

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Last updated: 04/17/09
Copyright 1999, Oak Ridge Associated Universities