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April 30, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #3

Model Railroading in the news, installment #3.

A Life Long Love Affair With Trains  The Daily News, Bogalusa, LA
Stop, Look and Listen  Press of Atlantic City, NJ
Take Train To Land Of Educational Fun  ContraCosta Times, Walnut Creek, CA
Model Railroad Show Allows Enthusiasts to Show Off Talents  The Evening Telegraph, Herkimer County, NY
Interview with Gary Coleman of Diff'rent Strokes  TheCelebrityCafe.com
Choo Choos In The Conservatory  The Enquirer, Cincinnati, OH
Rig Of The Day, Hypercard and Model Trains  www.tuaw.com (The Unofficial Apple Weblog)
Hornby Shares Right On Track  The Manchester Evening News, UK

"Model Railroading in the News" is a weekly post of news stories about model railroading of all gauges.  These stories didn't "make the cut" for a separate post on OGaugeWatch but are worth listing nonetheless.

April 27, 2006

Alternatives to eBay?

Two new auction sites have started up with the goal of providing a lower cost alternative to eBay, the world's leading on line auction site.  ToyTrainTrader.com and hobBay.com are hoping their sites will become a popular alternative to eBay for toy and hobby related items.  hobBay is going after all toy and hobby related sellers while ToyTrainTrader.com is limiting it's reach to model railroading.  Below is a breakdown of fees charged by each site (click on image for larger view):

Auctions2

hobBay.com's fee structure is better for selling lower priced items and the listing extras are cheaper than ToyTrainTrader.com.  ToyTrainTrader.com fees favor the sellers of higher priced items if

Continue reading "Alternatives to eBay?" »

April 26, 2006

Lionel and MTH Legal Recap By Erol B. Gurcan

April 26, 2006 - Last  week, I posted several  articles concerning  the current state  of Lionel’s  legal matters. However, last week was also a vacation week since it was right after Easter, and  many kids were off  from school. Thus, many O gauge enthusiasts may have been away with their kids  or grandchildren,  and not read some or any of my legal posts. Many also  went to the York meet and  may not have read the on line forums  in the few days before it. This article will bring you up to speed  as there were several important and interesting legal matters last week that directly affected Lionel and/or MTH. Even if you read my posts last week, I think you will learn something new in this article.    

1)    I reported on April 17  the Sanda Kan K-Line sale of assets agreement  was scheduled to be signed and completed in a couple of days. The deal was completed last

Continue reading "Lionel and MTH Legal Recap By Erol B. Gurcan" »

April 25, 2006

Where's the "BEEF"?

Ready Made Toys unveiled their new "BEEF" A units and B units on the RMT web site.  The BEEFs are smaller versions of F3 locomotives that are based upon the RMT BEEP chassis.  RMT will also be launching PEEPs which are versions of a baggage, coach and observation cars that are scaled to match the BEEFs and BEEPs in size.  You can order your BEEFs on the RMT website for a scheduled Fall 2006 delivery.

CNNMoney.com Article on Lionel Joint Venture

CNNMoney.com posted an article about Neil Young's involvement with the Creative Trains and Lionel, LLC joint venture to build Lionel's TMCC 2.0 train control system.  The article states that Young is to contribute $1.5 million to the venture.  The article goes on to state:

Creditors including Mike's Train House Inc., a rival train maker, had objected to the joint venture because of Young's involvement on both sides of it, and because Lionel would only license but not own the resulting technology.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland ruled that Lionel "exercised prudent business judgment" in entering the venture, which he said is in the bankruptcy estate's best interest.

Lionel had argued that it needed the venture because it has no technology employees who could develop the control system, and keep it "on the cutting edge of technology."

Creditors dropped their objections after Lionel and Young modified the venture and related agreements, the judge said.

Read the entire article here.

The Latest on Lionel's TMCC 2.0 Train Control System

The much anticipated debut of Lionel's newest version of the Train Master Command Control system, TMCC 2.0, was announced by Jerry Calabrese in his presentation at the TCA's Open House last week.  Below is Erol B. Gurcan's latest update on the legal proceedings surrounding the development of TMCC 2.0.

April 25, 2006-On April 19, 2006, OGR on line forumite Lionel LLC correctly pointed out, that pending bankruptcy court approval, Lionel was going to enter in to joint venture limited liability agreement with Creative Trains for the development of TMCC 2.0. I followed up by stating Lionel’s attorneys had made a motion for this relief (an application for a court order), and it was scheduled to be argued in its bankruptcy court on April 25, 2006 at 10 am.  I called the court today just before noon. I was informed Lionel’s motion was approved by  Judge Lifland. I also checked the federal judiciary’s PACER website to confirm this. It is true an order has  been signed by the judge allowing Lionel to enter into the joint venture agreement with Creative Trains for the development of TMCC 2.0.  The signed order  is also already on the  PACER web site.

Practically speaking, this allows Lionel to continue  funding, and Creative Trains to continue developing,  the long rumored TMCC 2.0. Neil Young is one of the principals in Creative Trains (and 20% owner of Lionel and is one of three persons  on its board). The agreement between Lionel and Creative Trains  was an exhibit to Lionel’s motion papers. It calls for a Creative Trains “to develop, implement and deliver” TMCC 2.0  by October 31, 2006 (just over six months from now).  Lionel is expected to show a working prototype at the LCCA ‘s Denver Convention in late July (three months from now).   

As of this writing, there is nothing on the Hi-Rail Times of the Coil Couplers website about the court approving the deal. You heard it hear first! DANG. 

Erol Gurcan, ESQ.

Thanks for the update Erol! 

Erol B. Gurcan, an O Gauge industry legal expert, is a regular contributor to OGaugeWatch.com.

New Press Release From Lionel About K-Line Deal

Lionel's CEO Jerry Calabrese has issued a press release today on Lionel's web site.  If you have been following OGaugeWatch.com over the past week there's not much new news in the statement.  You can read his statement here.

North West Jersey HiRailers to Hold Open House

If you are in the Northern New Jersey area you'll want to make plans to visit the North West Jersey HiRailers Open House to be held on May 6th and 7th at club's Paterson, New Jersey home.  Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 5 - 12.  The layout is over 185 ft long and based on the pictures from their last open house it looks like a fantastic layout.  The North West Jersey HiRailers are located at:

185 6th Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07524

Phone: 1.800.225.5360

April 24, 2006

Weaver Fall 2006 Catalog Available On Line

The Weaver Fall 2006 catalog is now viewable on line here.  The Canadian National U4a "Royal" Train is beautiful but unfortunately the link to U4a's page in the catalog seems to be broken but you can view it here.

Latest Legal News In Lionel's Bankruptcy Proceedings From Erol B. Gurcan

The latest update on Lionel's bankruptcy proceedings written by Erol B. Gurcan:

I checked the federal judiciaries PACER web site today for the bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York,  which is  where Lionel's bankruptcy is pending. Today, Lionel's attorneys filed a motion (an application for a court order)  with the court  asking it to allow them to have the law firm of Schulte, Roth and Zabel represent Lionel in future "bankruptcy and general corporate counsel" matters, in place of their current attorneys, O'Melvney and Myers. That office has represented Lionel since they filed for bankruptcy  on November 15, 2004. The main reason for the motion, is the principal attorney representing Lionel in the bankruptcy proceedings, Adam Harris, withdrew as a partner from O'Melvney and Myers on April 17, 2006, and joined the firm of Schulte, Roth  and Zabel.   O'Melvney and Myers will continue to handle litigation, appellate and intellectual property (trade secrets, trademark, copyright and patent law) matters. Thus, O'Melvney's office will  still argue Lionel's appeal in the MTH trade secrets case on June 7 in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati , Ohio.  The motion in the bankruptcy court will be heard on May 8.

The point of the information provided above is to assure all O gauge enthusiasts not to read too much into the change of attorneys on Lionel's behalf. It does not indicate there any problems etc. I want to emphasize that  it is not uncommon for an attorney to leave one law firm and go to another, and take some clients with him. My goal was to post the above information first and let you have all the facts, so as to  avoid any baseless speculation  as to what is really occurring.

Thanks for the update Erol!

MTH 2006 Volume 2 Catalog Now Available On Line

The new MTH 2006 Volume 2 O Gauge catalog is finally available on line.  Check it out here.  The Union Pacific Challenger is one of my favorites in this catalog.

New Editor Of OGR Magazine to Participate On Panel Discussion In Austin, TX

On Tuesday, 4/25/06 George Brown, the new Editor of O Gauge Railroading magazine, will be participating in a panel discussion in Austin, TX at the Society for Technical Communication.  The subject of the panel will be "How to get started, types of articles to write, pay ranges, presenter's stories, etc. - all related to what it is like to write for magazines or break into that market".  Attendance is free.  See the Austin Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication website for more details.

Model Railroading Media Coverage #2

Another installment of my weekly listing of news stories involving Model Railroading.

Legal Battles May Be Spreading To The World Of DCC

I came across a post on the Overlawyered blog summarizing a case  involving a model railroader, Bob Jacobsen, who developed open source software to interface with Digital Command Control (DCC) systems.  Digital Command Control is widely used by G, HO, and N scale hobbyists to digitally control trains and accessories. 

A company called KAM Industries is at odds with Mr. Jacobsen's software because it is claiming patent infringement.  KAM produces similar software to Mr. Jacobsen's and apparently KAM has been threatening him with letters and an invoice totaling $203,000 for damages related to the estimated 7,000 users of Mr. Jacobsen's software.  Mr. Jacobsen is refuting KAM's claims and has posted the letters received from KAM's legal representation and his responses to them here.

April 23, 2006

York Roundup Part 3

This is the last post about my visit to the Spring '06 York show.

For the first time at York a modular layout was on display.  It was located in the "black" hall and was a huge layout built by the National Capital Trackers out of the Washington, DC area.  The layout must have been over a 100 ft long and it had some very neat equipment running on it.  The day I stopped in they were running a Union Pacific Big Boy and Challenger lashed together pulling numerous Union Pacific boxcars and coal hoppers, probably close to 40+ in total.  It was a sight to be seen.  They also had a C&O M1 Coal Turbine sitting on a siding with a large consist of streamline passenger cars but I didn't get to see it running.  I also enjoyed their version of Lionel's "disappearing" layout where the train enters a tunnel, disappears on a loop of track under the layout and appears exiting the same tunnel it entered a few seconds later.

O Gauge Railroading magazine held it's semi annual Grandstand meeting on Friday and there was a great turnout.  OGR invites folks to sit in the Grandstands at York to listen to a number of speakers from the industry.  This is where Walter Matuch of Ready Made Toys unveiled his BEEFs and PEEPs.  There was some other interesting news as well.

Continue reading "York Roundup Part 3" »

Williams 0-27 Brochure On Line

William's has posted their April 2006 0-27 brochure on-line, however, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

York Roundup Part 2

York_mapPart 2 of my observations and discoveries at the TCA Spring Meet in York.

Since I don't collect pre or post war Lionel and have more interest in the new stuff, most of my time was spent in the dealer halls.  For those not familiar with York, there are dealer halls where manufacturers and retailers (train shops) set up shop to display and sell their products and collectors halls where any collector looking to sell pieces of their collection set up.  The collector halls have a yard sale feel to them but that's not a bad thing.  Some of the dealer tables in the dealer halls had a yard sale feel as well which is a bad thing. 

Spending most of my time in the dealer halls, I took at least two passes through all the aisles in an attempt to get a feel for prices and what people were buying.  In my travels through the aisles, I overheard a phrase uttered several times that went something like this - "not

Continue reading "York Roundup Part 2" »

April 22, 2006

York Roundup Part 1

My first TCA York meet is behind me now and all I can say is WOW!  I felt like I was in O Gauge heaven.  I couldn't believe the amount of products on display and for sale.  Now I understand why so many people look forward to the Spring and Fall shows at York.  I took me 2 days at a leisurely pace to browse everything in all the halls. 

As I expected, O Gauge products dominated the show, especially in the "dealer" halls.  In the collector halls O Gauge ruled as well but there was plenty of old Standard Gauge tinplate and S Gauge too.  G and HO scales were sparsely represented and there were harldy any N or Z scale items at the meet.

Apparently the TCA added a third day, Thursday, to the show recently to try to

Continue reading "York Roundup Part 1" »

April 19, 2006

TCA Open House - Part 4

The last presentation of the day was Lionel.  Jerry Calabrese and two other Lionel representatives presented for Lionel.  Mr. Calabrese started the presentation.  This was my first experience with Mr. Calabrese in person and he projected himself as a business man that was running a company that made trains.  He made the following interesting points:

  • Mr. Calabrese thanked everyone for the success of the '06 volume 1 catalog
  • He stated that people made it clear that they want more affordable products.
  • He announced that the K-line deal was complete and that "12 tractor trailers are removing K-Line product inventory" from K-Line head quarters for relocation to Lionel's Michigan headquarters.
  • Mr. Calabrese confirmed that Lionel will make good on all outstanding K-Line club orders and all other orders that customers pre-paid for.
  • He stated that all repairs that remained at K-Line have been repaired and sent back to their  owners.
  • It will take at least 60 to 90 days for Lionel to sort out the details of the outstanding orders.
  • Some outstanding K-Line orders have not been manufactured yet and most all orders on manufactured goods have been sent out.
  • Lionel will re-launch K-Line in the '06 catalog volume 2 due out in July.  The initial offereings will be sparse but Lionel will carry on the K-Line brand.
  • TMCC2 will be in '06 catalog volume 2
  • A "Big Boy" manufactured with new tooling will be first to get TMCC2 which is scheduled to shipped by the end of the year.
  • Lionel will produce a subway set with TMCC2 also scheduled to be shipped by the end of the year.
  • The first exhibition of TMCC2 will be at the LCCA convention in Denver on the layout that was displayed at Grand Central Station over last year's holidays.
  • TMCC2 will be backward compatible.
  • Mr. Calabrese finished his portion of the presentation by saying Lionel is "Having another good year".

The Lionel Reps took over the presentation.  The highpoints were:

  • They announced a new drive system for Diesel locomotives.
    • Power is transferred from the motor to a single axle to maximize tractive effort
    • Improved slow speed operation
    • Traction tires can be easily replaced by removing the removable side frames
    • Synchronized lash up performance between locos with new drive system
  • Reviewed the Polar Express offerings
  • Showed a production sample of the new Hiawatha
  • Showed production samples of new Coke containers and "Carolina" heavyweight passenger car

See photos of the Lionel display models here.

TCA Open House - Part 3

Next up was Mike Wolf of MTH.  This was my first time seeing Mr. Wolf in person.  You can definitely sense that he is passionate about the hobby.  Mr. Wolf started by reviewing  the RTR 2006 catalog.  Interesting points of Mr. Wolf's presentation:

  • HO Locomotive will be available at the end of May
  • MTH will be upgrading the details on the Railking line
  • Mr. Wolf made his case for delaying the launch of MTH's newest catalog on line and delivering copies to train shops first.  He feels that by delaying the launch on line it will create traffic at the local train shops.  Support of local train shops is crucial to the growth of the hobby.
  • Mr. Wolf commented that he felt the UP lawsuit will be done by year end.
  • He addressed the issue of "fantasy" trains in response to a discussion on a web forum asking why fantasy trains are necessary.  Mr. Wolf stated that fantasy trains (trains that don't exist in the real world) like the Steeler's super bowl train, the Budwieser Train, etc sell well so he keeps making them.  He gave an example of Atlantic Coast Lines passenger cars that were offered in a prototype paint scheme (silver with purple stripe) and a 'fantasy' paint scheme (entire car body was painted in a purple).  The fantasy paint scheme out sold the prototypical scheme by ten times.
  • In response to a question about selling a grand central station that appeared on a MTH show layout last year, Mr. Wolf stated that he probably would not produce it because it had a very large foot print.  His answer was based on the results of a survey MTH conducted that showed 80% of train operators have layouts that are less then 8' x 8' - no room for large foot print buildings.
  • In response to a question about wireless tenders, Mr. Wolf stated that MTH is working on the technology but made no commitment on when it would be available.
  • There will be many new products added to MTH's G gauge line in the near future.
  • Many people in the crowd asked when specific pieces will be made.  Mr. Wolf responded that product decisions are based on consumer requests so if you want MTH to consider making something send your requests to MTH.
  • Mr. Wolf confirmed that MTH will continue to make subway sets.  Apparently there were rumors that MTH would stop making subway sets.
  • An attendee asked if MTH will make a curved section of the elevated subway trestle and Mr. Wolf responded that they want to make the section flexible to accommodate various radii curves and they haven't sorted it out yet.

Photos of some of the models displayed by MTH can be viewed here.  It was tough to get good photos because of the crowd around the podium.  The samples were quickly removed after the presentation ended.

TCA Open House - Part 2

Jim Weaver of Atlas O took the podium after Weaver.  Highlights from Mr. Weaver's presentation:

  • Mr. Weaver announced the Industrial Rail acquisition
  • There will be Industrial Rail Ready to Run train sets that will include a new transformer developed by Atlas O.
  • Locomotives for the Industrial Rail RTR sets will be newly developed and not Trainman locos.
  • When asked what track will be included with the Industrial Rail RTR sets, Mr. Weaver responded they were still working on that decision but said it would connect to Atlas O track (so it won't be Atlas O track).
  • Samples of the RTR set should be on display at the Fall '06 York show.  RTR sets are scheduled to be available for the 2007 product year.
  • Gunderson Twin Stack Cars will be on display at York and production should be complete in May/June '06.
  • X-29 boxcars will ship at end of month.
  • The Trainman GP15 is in production and scheduled for a June '06 delivery.
  • Trainman Alco RSD 15 "Alligator" high and low Nose versions will be produced and are scheduled to be available in early 2007 (unpowered versions will not be available)

View photos of the Atlas O models here.

TCA Open House - Part 1

I attended the TCA Museum Open House today. The docket included speakers from 3rd Rail, Marklin, Weaver Models, Atlas O, MTH and Lionel.  There was a abundance of 55+ year old men and few 40 somethings or younger like myself.  At any one time there was at least 150 people in the museum taking in the presentations.  It was a well run event!   I have a lot of information so this will be the first of a multi-part post.

First up was Scott Mann of 3rd rail. Here are the interesting points from his presentation:

  • 3rd Rail spends about 100K per year on advertising of which 8K goes to TCA.
  • 3rd Rail locomotives are hand fabricated in brass with the exception of the smaller parts, which are cast.
  • The larger O Gauge firms will use photos of 3rd Rail models in their catalogs to represent pre production photos of their own models. Apparently this is common practice in the industry, however, most companies will not footnote the photos to give credit the manufacturer of the product shown in the pre-production photo. Mr. Mann stated that MTH used one of 3rd Rail’s Erie Camelbacks for a pre-production photo in their catalog.
  • Firms will also use 3rd Rail models as proto types for their own models.
  • 3rd Rail is the first to use a belt drive system. The belt system replaces the uses of gears and thus the locomotives run much quieter then competitors.
  • The belts used in the 3rd Rail locomotives are similar to those used in printers. The belts are installed in over 15,000 locomotives and 3rd Rail has yet to replace one.
  • Accuracy of the models is most important to 3rd Rail and Mr. Mann pointed out that it is      frustrating when consumers complain that the electronic whistle doesn’t sound “just right” when all other aspects of the model are true to the prototype.
  • 3rd Rail locomotives are built as 2 rail models and converted to 3 rail.
  • All 3rd Rail models are painted with DuPont automotive paint sealed with a polyurethane      sealer.
  • All external structures – hand rails, grab irons etc. on each locomotive is soldered and meant to be “handled”. While making this point, Mr. Mann grabbed the Burlington M-4s on the speaker's table around the mid section and proceeded to lightly pound the loco into the table!
  • Mr. Mann commented on the Union Pacific lawsuit against MTH and Lionel concerning licensing fees for the UP logos. He stated that he is on the side of Lionel and MTH an against having to enter into licensing agreements with railroads because it could give the railroads a say in what models can be produced.
  • Mr. Mann is now selling 80’ Heavyweight Coaches made from ABS plastic under the Golden Gate Depot name. These coaches are 20” long and very detailed. More info here.

Mr. Mann had samples of an REA

Continue reading "TCA Open House - Part 1" »

April 18, 2006

It's That Time Of Year Again

The most talked about event in O Gauge model railroading circles, the TCA's Eastern Division Meet in York, Pa, begins on Thursday, 4/20, and runs through Saturday, 4/22.  OGaugeWatch (me) will be attending York on Thursday and Friday.  I will also be attending the TCA open house being held at the TCA Museum in Strasburg, Pa on Wednesday, 4/19, and plan to attend OGR's gathering on Friday, which should be interesting because they have a long list of speakers.  I will be posting daily updates so stay tuned to OGaugeWatch for the latest from the York events.

Legal Matters Update

Erol Gurcan posted his latest update on several legal matters within the O Gauge industry on the OGR Forum.  Check it out here.

UPDATE: Here is another update from Erol:

Hi,Dave-here is the latest on the K-Line Sanda Kan deal. You can post it on ogaugewatch.com

In my legal article yesterday, I stated the asset purchase agreement between Sanda Kan and K-Line was scheduled to  be signed the same day (April 17). I also stated the closing should occur in a couple of days. I can now confirm based on my two sources closely involved with the deal that both the asset purchase agreement was signed  today (April 18) and the closing also took place today. The closing involved Sanda Kan paying K-Line and Merrill Lynch. Thus, the agreement is now a done deal.  It will be interesting to see when Lionel makes a formal announcement that they have obtained the licensing rights pursuant to its agreement with Sanda Kan now that they own the assets.    

On a related matter, some have asked about the K-Line products which are still in their  possession for repair and have not been returned. I have been informed that beginning last week, a former K-Line employee began making repairs, and the items are being sent back to their owners. However, this will take a little time. It is expected that most or all items will be repaired before they are returned. Concerning parts for K-Line products, I was not able to find out what will happen with this.   

Erol B. Gurcan

Please note that I normally will post Erol's articles on OGaugeWatch.com in their entirety but due to a glich with my email I didn't receive a copy of Erol's original article that he posted on OGR so I linked to the OGR version. Dave

April 16, 2006

Korber Models Announces New Modular Building System

Korber Models, makers of model railroad structures, has announced on their website they will be unveiling a new modular building system at the Train Collectors Association York, Pa show.  The system will be available in full kits or pieces.  Modular building kits enable  modelers to purchase separate sections of a structure to build a unique custom buildings.

April 13, 2006

O Gauge (and other scales) In The News

While reading the O Gauge Railroading forum I came across a post that discussed the lack of media  coverage the model railroading hobby receives outside of the Christmas season.  Spending about an hour a day searching for O Gauge news and information from the web to post on OGaugeWatch.com, I see many news stories in local home town newspapers and other sources about the model railroading hobby.  99.9% of these stories don't make OGaugeWatch.com because most would only be of interest to people that live in those areas served by the paper in which the article appears. After reading the discussion on OGR, and to prove that model railroading does get media coverage outside of the Christmas season, I thought it would be a good idea to gather the "local interest" stories about O Gauge or any scale model railroading for that matter and periodically post the links on OGaugeWatch.com.  Below are local stories I've found over the past week:

April 12, 2006

New MTH Catalog Due At Train Shops This Weekend

MTH announced in their Electronic Newsletter that 2 new catalogs will be arriving in train shops on Saturday, April 15th.  One catalog will cover the Tinplate Traditions line and the other the RailKing and Premier product lines.  If you are attending the TCA show in York, Pa you can pick up a copy of the catalogs at the MTH booth starting on Thursday, April 20.  MTH also stated that the catalogs would not be available on line until 4/23.

April 11, 2006

New Lionel Christmas 2006 Catalog Now On Line

The new Lionel 2006 Christmas Catalog is now available on  line at www.lionel.com.   

April 10, 2006

"The Train Show" No Longer Airing on RFD TV

The Train Show, a show about model trains that aired on RFD TV, has posted an announcement on their web site explaining "We are no longer on RFD TV due to circumstances beyond our control."  The show is still available through The Train Show web site to members.  Membership will cost you $14.99 per year.  For those of you not familiar with the show, it is a neat show about model railroading that has "home made" production qualities.  Since I don't have access to RFD TV, I paid the membership fee and download the shows and watch them on my PC.  You can view some sample segments of the show here for free.  Shows are also available for purchase on DVD.

UPDATE:  If you are a fan of technology you have to check out the Mc Kinley Railway Bigger and Bolder links on the The Train Show site that take you on a tour of a layout that is computer controlled using Digitrax (a broadband conneciton is recommended).  These links are contained within the second "row" of the Digitrax DCC European Introduction section.

April 09, 2006

New Web Site For Williams?

I was surprised to find that my bookmark to the Williams Electric Trains web site didn't work this morning.  It seems they have finally updated their site.  The old home page was still advertising the Summer 2004 catalog.  No sign of the 2004 catalog on the new home page.

April 08, 2006

Lionel's 2006 Christmas Catalog Available in Train Shops

L06christmasThe Lionel 2006 Christmas catalog is now available at your local train shop.  There are 24 new offerings from Lionel.  My favorites include the Candy Cane Single Dome Tank Car ($59.99 MSRP) and the North Pole Central 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive ($109.99 MRSP).  I'm sure the most popular offerings will be the new Polar Express items.  There is a Polar Express Add-on Figure set which includes Santa, the Hobo, the Lonely Boy (Billy) and the Hero Girl.  A perfect compliment to the four figures (The Conductor, Hero Boy, Smoke and Steamer) included in the Polar Express Set.  There is also a new Polar Express Elf Handcar, including elves hanging from the handcar's handles ($74.99 MSRP).  This is a replica of the hand car the elves in the movie use to deliver the detached observation car back to the train. 

The most popular item is sure to be the Polar Express Add-on Hot Chocolate Car ($59.99 MSRP).  This car is a coach car (not a diner) with silhouettes of the dancing "hot chocolate" waiters and

Continue reading "Lionel's 2006 Christmas Catalog Available in Train Shops" »

April 07, 2006

Train Shop For Sale in New Jersey

Every wanted to drop everything and open up a train shop? (I dream about it all the time!)  Well here is your chance.  Mike Rosato, owner of the CB Train Depot is selling his shop in Hillside, NJ.  According to a post on the O Gauge Railroading forum, Mr. Rosato is selling the entire shop as a "turn key" operation which includes a computerized point of sale system, layout, inventory and fixtures.  The shop is for sale because the Rosato family is relocating.  If you have any interest you can contact Mr. Rosato by email - cbdepot@aol.com.

RMT Announces New Road Names for "Buddy"

Walter Matuch, owner of Ready Made Toys, announced yesterday on the O Gauge Railroad forum the availability of several new road names for RMT's "Buddy" RDC Car.  The road names include:  Long Island Railroad (#3103 & #3104), Sperry Rail Services (#100), Alaska Railroad (#703 & #704) and Pennsylvania Railroad (#105) "Horseshoe Curve".  See my review of RMT's "Buddy" here.

April 06, 2006

MTH Announces Special Box Car for 2006 Spring TCA York Show

MTH will be offering a special Premier Line Box Car commemorating the Spring 2006 Train Collectors Association Show in York, Pa.  The Box Car features the cover of MTH's 2006 Volume 2 catalog.  The catalog will be released just prior to the York show.  The car will be offered to MTH Railroaders Club members on a first come first serve basis for $25.  MTHRRC members attending the York show can pick up the car at the MTH Booth in the Orange Hall for a price of $20.  A very limited number of cars will be produced.

  Mthyorkcar

Weaver Announces First Annual Spring Open House

Weaver Models has announced it will be holding it's first annual Open House at it's factory in Northumberland, Pa on April 18, 19 and 20, 2006 from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm each day.  There will be three tours per day at 10:00 am, 12 noon and 2:00 pm.  For more information and directions see the Weaver Models website or contact them directly at:

Weaver Models
PO Box 231
315 Point Township Drive
Northumberland, PA 17857
Phone:  570-473-9434

Korber Models To Sell "Un-cataloged" Items at York Show

Korber Models, makers of building kits for HO, O and G scale, announced on their website that they will be selling "a bunch" of un-cataloged Korber items "that have never been produced before" at the upcoming Train Collectors Association Eastern Division show in York, PA.  They will also be unveiling what they are calling "revolutionary" new products at the show.

Atlas O Purchases Industrial Rail

In a press release posted on the Atlas O forum portal on 4/5/06, Thomas W. Haedrich, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Atlas O, LLC announced that Atlas O, LLC  has purchased Industrial Rail from Hobbico.  Industrial Rail products include  0-27 sized freight cars, a trolley and a handcar.  According to Jim Weaver, Vice President of Atlas O:

"The acquisition of this O-27 Traditional Sized Line expands our appeal to all aspects of O gauge model railroading.  We will be reissuing six of the freight cars in all new paint schemes in Fall 2006"

The press release also indicated that Atlas O would be expanding it's newly acquired 0-27 Traditional Sized Line of products to included locomotives, track, accessories and complete train sets.

 

April 05, 2006

MTH Bus Depot Back In Demand

Back in 2000, MTH Electric Trains  created an O Gauge Bus Depot modeled after an Art Deco style Greyhound bus depot in Evansville, Indiana.  MTH produced 600 pieces in 2000 and then another  500 in 2004.  According to an article in the Evansville Courier & Press newspaper, Greyhound is moving out of the depot and the future of the historic property is in question.  The questionable future of the depot  has sparked renewed local interested in the MTH model, prompting  Andy Edlemen, Vice President of Marketing for MTH to comment in the article "We might have to dust that puppy off and run it."   The MTH model isn't an exact replica of the original.  The article states:

The model is slightly trimmed down in comparison to the prototype. But most eyes would notice only upon careful comparison with a photograph of the original. The reason for the slightly condensed version was limited space on most train layouts, especially with larger size trains such as M.T.H.'s O scale. "That's a big problem in the model train industry," Edleman said. "These structures take up a fair amount of real estate."

MTH also produced a matching Greyhound bus with Evansville on the destination board. 


Busdepot_1

 


April 03, 2006

Lionel's Latest Catalog

A new catalog from Lionel will be distributed to train shops within the week.  Charlie from Nassau Hobby reported on the O Gauge Railroad forum that a new 15 page Christmas catalog is due from Lionel containing plenty of Christmas themed goodies.  For all you Polar Express fans there are three new items including a new "Hot Chocolate" add on diner car that includes a golden ticket, a set of 4 figures and an elf Hand Car.  There are plenty of other Christmas items as well.  The catalog is not available on Lionel's web site and I'm not sure if it  ever will be so see your local hobby shop for a copy.

April 02, 2006

Sunken Locomotives Off The Coast Of NJ

I came across a post on the O Gauge Railroad forum that referenced a pair of pre civil war locomotives that rest on the ocean floor a few miles east of Asbury Park, NJ in about 90 feet of water.  I decided to investigate further and found a great post on www.njscuba.net loaded with information about the locomotives including a short video of a dive on the locomotives.  The two sit upright very close together on the ocean floor with no sign of a ship wreck anywhere in the area.  It is thought that the locomotives were cargo on the ship Arundo (click the link to see a picture of the Arundo with 2 locomotives on board) that was sunk by German U boat U-136 on 4/28/42.   The locomotives were the subject of an episode of Deep Sea Detectives on the History Channel back in February. 

The New Jersey Museum of Transportation, Inc received conditional custody of the locomotives in 2004 with the hope of raising funds to raise them both.  The locomotives are thought to be similar to the Pioneer, built by the Union Works in South Boston, MA in 1851.

April 01, 2006

RailPictures.Net

If your a rail fan I highly recommend that you add railpictures.net to your favorites list.  The site hosts pictures taken by rail photographers from around the world and has a "photo of the week" that is always fantastic.  I just discoverd the site recently and enjoy browsing it regularly. 

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