A: Sean, you’re on the right track. We recommend a dry place free of temperature extremes, which eliminates many basements and attics – a main-floor closet is good. Protect the individual units from bumping together by wrapping them in something. Then put them in a box of some sort to protect them from the rest of your stuff.
In the November 2004 issue of CLASSIC TOY TRAINS, Frank Schmidt offered 13 tips for storing toy trains. He warned against wrapping trains in newspapers (they can leave smudges) or plastic bubble wrap (it can leave marks and damage decals).
Using old dust cloths or clothing for trains is commonplace. Frank recommended putting those items through two or three hot-water rinses in a normal washing machine to remove any dyes and residual chemicals that might damage locomotives and cars.
Better still, according to Frank, is alkaline tissue paper. He uses two or even three sheets of acid-free tissue paper that measures 24 by 30 inches. He starts by wrapping each model fairly tightly in the first sheet and then covering that with one or two more sheets, folding in the ends much like wrapping a gift.
Be sure to put a note on the outside of each wrapped item to identify it. Then place it inside a box or other container with one or two silica sacks nearby to keep down the humidity.