Wednesday, September 23, 2020

1995 Sparta Mountain Train Cards

Now that I am more actively looking for train related cards, I'm finding there are a lot more sets out there than I ever thought possible. Most of what I see on eBay are tobacco type cards and stuff from the Topps Rails & Sails set from the 1950's. Other than those the stuff I do find is pretty random, like those All Aboard sets I posted about several years ago.

Today's post is all about another one of these oddball sets that I had never seen before. It is simply called Train Cards and was produced by Sparta Mountain Trading Cards back in 1995. I wasn't able to find very much information about this set or the company for that matter. The best I could find was this listing from

The eBay listing was for the complete set of 53 cards, but only a few of them were actually pictured. This made me want it even more as I would be able to open it up and not really know what was all in there. So a mystery pack of train cards from the 90's. Sign me up.

Here is a look at the title card, which is technically not counted as part of the 53 cards. This actually works out perfectly though when filling up nine-pocket pages. I just put this one in the very last spot, theoretically #54, to maintain a proper numbering throughout the set.

As far as the base cards go, there were several different designs. I prefer the horizontal versions as they allow for some excellent photography to be showcased on the cards. The best part is the full bleed with the minimal trim offset slightly inward from the edges.

The first example features an awesome shot of an Algoma Central passenger train on a curved bridge. This could've been an even more spectacular shot if more of the bridge was shown. If I am correct, this is located at the Montreal Falls hydroelectric dam in Ontario. Click here for an example of what I am referring to.

Up next we have the Green Mountain Railroad with a great shot of oe of their green and yellow locomotives. This is a high hood EMD GP9 that was originally built in 1956.

Another railroad I was familiar with beforehand was the Alaska Railroad featured on this next card. The locomotive shown, #1802, is an EMD GP7 that was originally built in 1951. My favorite part of this shot is the barber poll looking crossbuck with the stop sign.

Back to the Green Mountain Railroad, which is based in Vermont, for a look at one of their passenger trains. The locomotive shown here is an Alco RS1 that was originally built in 1948 and is in the same paint scheme as the other one. You can actually still ride these trains, here is a link to the railroad's website for more information.

Lastly we have a cool shot from the Grand Canyon Railway. This one is card #50 in the set and features Alco 2-8-0 #18 at the South Rim station. There is not much decoration on the front of this one allowing the photo to take center stage.

This one was cool to see as I was in that exact location last spring. We took a long weekend trip to see the canyon and ride the train from Williams, AZ to the South Rim and back. Obviously, the canyon itself was amazing to see in person and I am really looking forward to going there again someday. There was just too much for us to see in a single weekend.

The train ride was awesome too. I went all in and got us luxury parlor class tickets. That meant our own personal lounge section, a private bar and access to the rear platform of the last car on the train. Below are some photos I took there. The middle is the luxury parlor car we rode in. The bottom right is the same building pictured on the card above.

Overall this was a fun set to check out. I knew most of the trains shown, but there were some I'd never heard of before this set, so that's cool. When I last checked there were still a few complete sets available on eBay from the same seller that I got this one from, just search for 1995 Sparta Trains. Not a bad deal for under $10 including shipping. 


  1. Whoa. Two train posts in one week? SumoMenkoMan blogged about trains too a few days ago:

    P.S. Cool set.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out, I hadn't seen that post yet. Now I have another cool 90's train card set to add to my want list.

  2. Oh Wow, this set is pretty cool. Have it in my eBay cart right now. I was surprised the train drops you right off at the visitors center at the Grand Canyon. Sweet pictures!

    1. I've been on a lot of train rides and that ride to the Canyon was by far my favorite. It's not the longest ride, but the scenery was awesome, especially from the rear platform.