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May 31, 2006

York '06 Attendance Figures

Last week, Farmer_Bill on the O Gauge Railroading forum posted attendance figures for the Train Collectors Association - Eastern Division Spring train meet in York, Pa that he received from the TCA's president, Clem Clement.  To recap, there were 14,094 people registered to attend, 9,242 of which where TCA members or about 30% of the TCA membership.  The TCA show is held in the spring and fall of each year and registrations for the Fall '05 meet totaled 14,107.  The number of registrants for the fall show usually outnumbers the Spring registration by about 1,500.  Here are some other Spring '06 figures:

Continue reading "York '06 Attendance Figures" »

May 30, 2006

Train Shops in the Southern New Jersey Area

Living in Southern New Jersey, I have visited most of the train shops in the South Jersey/Philly metro area.  If you will be vacationing down at one of the South Jersey Shore points (Atlantic City and south) and are looking to satisfy your model train fix on a rainy day here are my recommendations:

Continue reading "Train Shops in the Southern New Jersey Area" »

May 29, 2006

Memorial Day - A Time Of Remembrance

Memorial_day_3 I. We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III.  Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.

Genereal Order #11 proclaimed by General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic on 5 May 1868.

May 28, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #5

Model railroading in the news installment #5. 

Local Train Lovers Retire, New Owners Right On Track, Tehachapi News, CA
It's Full Steam Ahead For Garden Railways, The Columbus Dispatch, OH
Good Clean Fun, Ginter's Vision Still Rolling On, Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA
Last Runs For Model Trains, Channel 7, Wausau, WI
Hobbyists Build Rail Yards, Lexington Herald-Leader, KY
Model Railroaders Enjoy Big Boys' Toys, Crossville Chronicle, Cumberland County, TN
Trains Rumble Past Lost Orange Groves Again, This Time In Miniature, Orlando Senitnel, FL.

"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.

May 27, 2006

Ready Made Toys Armed Forces Beeps $5 Off This Weekend

If you were thinking about purchasing an Armed Forces Beep (Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard) you'll want to order it this Memorial Day weekend.  Ready Made Toys announced on their website that you can get $5 off your Armed Forces Beep purchase if you enter the code USA on your order.  RMT also sells cabooses to match the Beeps.  Army and Navy cabooses are in stock, USAF, USCG and USMC cabooses will arrive in fall but pre-orders are now being accepted.

Bellagio Garden Layout

If you're in Las Vegas this summer be sure to stop by the Bellagio's Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to check out the G Scale garden railway depicting a "Journey Through America".   According to an article in the Las Vegas entertainment e-mail, E-Neon, the exhibit will run through September 9th, 2006 and admission is free.  The layout designer/builder, Applied Imagination, has built many commercial G Scale exhibits around the country.  The neat thing about the botanical garden exhibits is all the buildings and bridges are made out of natural materials.  Applied Imagination's New York Botanical Garden Holiday layout was featured in episode #1 of The Train Show.

Read the discussion about the Vegas Layout on the O Gauge Railroading forum.

May 26, 2006

Diecast Direct Open House

If you're in the area of Frankfort, Kentucky on June 9th and 10th you may want to stop by Diecast Direct and take part in their Open House.  There will be a Classic Car Cruise-In Show on Saturday the 10th from 10 am to 2pm.   Discount hotel rates available.  Get all the details here

May 25, 2006

Lionel Acela Prices On eBay 4 Months Later

Back in the beginning of February I posted auction results from Lionel  Acela listings on eBay as the sets were starting to hit hobby stores.  The list price for the Acela is $1,999.00.  A very anxious person on January 29th paid $2,224.99 for one on eBay!   Well, four months have passed and the average selling price of the Acela on eBay over the past 30 days is $1,642.75.  There seems to be plenty of sets from the limited production run of 2,000 available because there were 20 Acela eBay auctions over the past 30 days.  It will be interesting to track how fast prices will rise over the next year or so as the sets become scarcer.

May 24, 2006

UPDATE: Trenton, NJ Area Train Shop Destroyed By Fire

Through a post on the O Gauge Railroading forum, the son of the owner of Trains & Things, the train shop that was destroyed by fire, announced that the store will be re-opening in the same plaza.  Anthony Chiarello stated that the store should be open within a month or so.  Best of luck to the Chiarello family.

May 23, 2006

eBay Listing Upgrades for Pennies Next 2 Days

Have some trains you want to sell on eBay? eBay announced today they are offering some enhanced listing options for one penny on May 23rd and 24th. Upgrades available for a penny include subtitles, listing designer, and gift services.  eBay claims that such listing upgrades increase bids so why not give them a try for a penny.

May 22, 2006

Big Moose Station

OK, we all have dreams of turning our love of railroading into a way of making a living.  If you love railroading and have dreamed about owning a restaurant here's the opportunity you've been waiting for.  The Big Moose Station restaurant, a renovated rail station located on the highest point of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, is for sale for $389,000.  Click here for more details.

May 19, 2006

Bankruptcy Court Approves Change In Attorneys Representing Lionel

May 19, 2006 - On May 15, 2006, United States Bankrutpcy  Judge Burton Lifland signed an order granting Lionel's motion to have the law firm of Schulte, Roth and Zabel represent them in future bankruptcy proceedings.  Although the order was approved by the court on May 15, it directed the rentention and compensation of Schulte Roth and Zabel became effective as of April 17, 2006.

By way of background, on April 24, 2006, I reported that Lionel's attorneys filed a motion (an application for a court order)   in the court where

Continue reading "Bankruptcy Court Approves Change In Attorneys Representing Lionel" »

Interesting Article About The State Of The Toy Train Market In The UK

According to an article posted in the personal finance section of the on line edition of The Independent, a UK daily newspaper, the toy train market in the UK is doing very well.  The article states:

"There's serious money being spent right across the spectrum," says Michael Bond, a valuer with Vectis Auctions. "It's a very strong market," adds Lee Gotch of the toy department at Bonhams.

Read the entire article here.

May 18, 2006

For Amtrak Fans...

The Amtrak store at store.amtrak.com is having a 25% off sale on all in-stock merchandise.  The sale runs through May 31.

May 16, 2006

New Issues of O Gauge Mags Hitting Newsstands

The July issue of Classic Toy Trains magazine is due to hit the newsstands on June 6th.  Subscribers should be receiving their copies shortly.  Preview the new issue on the Classic Toy Trains web site.

The June/July issue of O Gauge Railroading magazine should be on the newsstands shortly.  Subscribers have been receiving their copies.  Check out a preview on the OGR website.

UPDATE:  I picked up a copy of OGR on 5/16 in Barnes & Noble.  Dave

Williams Platinum Club Offer

If you have been thinking about joining the Williams Platinum Club now is the time.  Williams is offering a 15% discount off your first purchase after joining the club.  The offer runs through June 15th.  Membership costs $25 per year and includes a free freight car or caboose.  See the Williams web site for more details about joining.

May 14, 2006

New Model Railroad Forum

A new on line forum dedicated to model railroading has apparently opened up over the past week.  The forum, ScaleRailsOnline, seems to be getting a little bit of traction with the N and HO scale crowd but not much for O Gauge yet.  In one of the posts there was a link to guy who weathers locomotives and rolling stock and his work is amazing.  The site is called Griff's Grime Shop and there are plenty of photos.  All the examples of Griff's work on the site are HO but they are real nice.

May 13, 2006

Trenton, NJ Area Train Shop Destroyed By Fire

Trains & Things, a train shop located in a Ewing, NJ strip mall just outside of Trenton, NJ was destroyed by fire on May 11th.  According to witnesses at the scene, smoke and fire was seen coming from the hobby shop and quickly spread.  A passerby, with a Pennsylvania cell phone number, called 911 with their cell phone and was mistakenly connected to a 911 center in nearby Bucks County, PA.  The misdirected 911 call delayed the call to the Ewing Township fire department which arrived at the scene 25 minutes after the initial 911 call was placed.  Once firefighters arrived they  had trouble connecting hoses to the hydrants which caused further delay.  No one was hurt in the blaze but the train shop along with 5 other businesses was totally destroyed.  A picture of the blaze is posted on the O Gauge Railroading forum.

Read more details about the fire in an article from The Trentonian.

May 12, 2006

New OGaugeWatch.com Feature: Polls

I've added a new feature to OGaugeWatch.com that will enable visitors to the site to participate in a monthly poll about the O Gauge hobby.  This month's inaugural poll deals with the topic of how much money each of us spends on the O Gauge hobby each year.  It's easy to take part, a link to the poll is in the web site's banner just below the navigation links (in bright green).  Clicking the link takes you to the poll.  Click on the button next to your answer then click "Cast Your Vote".  Polls will typically run for one month.  Results of each poll will be posted when the poll closes, however, when you submit your answer you'll see the poll results to date instantly.  All participants in the polls remain anonymous so for this month's poll you don't have to lie about how much you will eventually spend this year.  :)   Enjoy.

Dave

Click here to take part in this month's poll.

May 11, 2006

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Links to these videos are making the rounds on all the O Gauge forums.  They are well done a somewhat funny.  Check them out.

Mike Watt - Big Train
Model Train Wrecks

May 10, 2006

For Trolley Fans

If you are a fan of model trolleys, light rail, interburbans or subways you should check  out www.trolleyville.com.   The site is packed with information. 

May 09, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #4

Model railroading in the news, installment #4.  Not much in the news over the past week.

Model Train Mecca Coming To Big Space   The Enquirer, Cincinnati, OH
Chews And Choo Choos  The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA
Model Train Display Delights Youngsters  Journal and Courier, Lafayette, IN

"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.

May 04, 2006

New Atlas O Products Announced

Several new items including Atlas O 50' PS-1 Plug Door Box Cars, Trainman 40' Hy-Cube Box Cars, and  Atlas O and Trainman PS-2 Covered Hoppers were announced on the Atlas O web site on May 3rd.  Atlas O also announced several new road names road numbers for their Atlas O GP-35 locomotives, Atlas O 8,000 Gallon Tank Cars and Atlas O 40' Rebuilt Wood Refers.  The deadline for placing guaranteed orders for these products is Wednesday, June 28, 2006.  See the Atlas O website or your authorized Atlas O dealer for more details.

May 03, 2006

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

For fans of Lionel and Mike's Train House (MTH), the #1 and #2 producers of O Gauge model railroad products respectively, it's been a struggle to hold a friendly dispute about which company  makes the best products without uttering the words bankruptcy or lawsuit.  Lionel, the infamous maker of model trains and MTH, the relatively new kid on the block, have been involved in what could be called an epic lawsuit for such a small cottage industry that has lasted over 6 years.  MTH filed suit against Lionel when MTH discovered that new locomotives produced by Lionel were far too similar to those made by MTH.  As it turns out, MTH was right and in 2004 a court ruled that Lionel did in fact steal trade secrets from MTH and awarded MTH $40+ million.  Great for MTH right?  Wrong.  The verdict has had a profound negative impact on the "big 2".  The large verdict in favor of MTH sent Lionel, once the biggest toy manufacturer in the world back in the day, into bankruptcy.  MTH, who has spent millions on legal fees and has yet to collect any money from Lionel, had 57 employees in early 2005, down from 127.  Profits for MTH have dwindled as well from a high of $9.2 million in 1997 to estimated six digit losses in 2005 (according to information in a Inc.com article about the case). Seemingly desperate times for the big "2".  And while the two companies duke it out it the

Continue reading "Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures" »

May 02, 2006

OGR Tour Of Weaver Models Scheduled for Fall TCA York Meet

OGR and Weaver Models are teaming up for a factory tour of the Weaver Factory on Wednesday, October 18th, the day before the start of the TCA Eastern Division meet in York, PA.  Participants on the tour will have the chance to purchase a PS1 Weaver Boxcar commemorating the tour for $35.00.  Roundtrip transportation from the York fairgrounds by luxury motor coach will be provided.  The OGR sponsored tour of the MTH factory and Tony Lash's layout for the Spring TCA meet in York filled up fast so sign up early.  Call 800.980.OGRR (6477) for more information or email weavertour@ogaugerr.com.  Seating is limited and sign up ends at 5:00 pm on September 22, 2006.

May 01, 2006

TCA Eastern Division Enforces "No Photography" Rule

The TCA's Eastern Division has a longstanding rule prohibiting photographs from being taken within the halls of their York meets.  This year, for the first time, the Eastern Division invited a modular club, National Capital Trackers, to set up their layout.  Unfortunately, someone from the National Capital Trackers ignored the no photography rule and snapped a picture of the layout displayed in the Black Hall and posted it as a reponse to a discussion thread on the O Gauge Railroading forum.  Based on another post on OGR, The Eastern Division took action against the National Capital Trackers by revoking their invitation to return to York.  The Eastern Division is also seeking the individual(s) who snapped the photo and will suspend them from visiting the York meet for 1 year.

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