BRIO Wooden Railway Blog

History of the City Park set

I received a copy of a 1982-83 catalog from writer and BRIO enthusiast Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez and will be adding it to the catalog archive, with his permission of course, in the coming days. One interesting bit of history jumped out at me in perusing it, however, and that is the origin of the City Park set, #33578. This item first appeared as a wooden railway accessory in the 1984 catalog, but it appears that it began life as an accessory to what BRIO would eventually come to call their role-playing line of toys.

My earliest catalog is from 1980, so what I know of this line is limited to that decade. The 1980-81 catalog shows these four items:

  • Garage #1110/31654, a large building with three overhead doors,
  • Garage/petrol station #1111/31656, basically the garage plus gas pumps
  • Parking Garage #1113/31658, a three-story garage with petrol station, numbered parking spots and adhesive stickers that children could use to customize its appearance
  • Farm #1122/31105, a farm house with removable roof, large play yard and a two-room animal shed.

Accessories for this line would appeared in the early 1980's, debuting in the 1982-83 catalog:

  • Farm #1131/6-31131, a four-piece animal shed with animals
  • City Park #1132/4-31132, which would later become wooden railway accessory #333578
  • Chicken run #1133/2-31133, a two-piece chicken coop with chickens and other figures

The 3-car garage set #1110/31654 would eventually be renumbered to #31109 in the new 5-digit system, and the Farm #1122/31105 would become #31122. Both products would live for several more years and were last seen in catalogs in 1989.

The accessories for the farm, the smaller four-piece farm and the chicken run, were in catalogs through 1986. What's interesting here is that these items were in the same styling and rough scale as the wooden railway system, even using the same animal and figure cut-outs, but only the City Park would go on to become an official wooden railway accessory. It would also live on an extra year, showing up in catalogs through 1987.

Posted in History.2 comments

Reader Comments

  • artheathen

    Great write up John! Had no idea the City Park came about as accessories to this other line. that chicken coop is such a great accessory as well as the 4 piece shed with all the animals and yes they are the same size and style as the usual ones we see in the regular farm set. Really good write up John! thank you for sharing!
  • John M

    I am jealous of your Farm accessory. Really wish I had one of those. Both it and the coop are such neat little items and I don't understand why they didn't get pulled over to the Wooden Railway line. They are perfect fits.

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