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March 29, 2007

When Layouts Attack!

Dont_feed_the_layout Dateline Washington State.  An unsuspecting modeler made the mistake of inviting a N Scale layout into his apartment back around the year 2000.  Years later the layout is now attacking his entire living space, taking up every nook and cranny along every wall of the 19.5' x 35' apartment.  It all started as an innocent, small platform layout in the corner of the kitchen.  The layout then expanded into a shelf layout running around the walls of the living room/kitchenette.  The monstosity later spread into the adjacent bedroom (the remainder of the apartment).  The layout has upper and lower "bedroom yards", a "washer/dryer S curve", a "wedding cake spiral" made out of layers of cardboard, a "bathroom drawbridge" and "under cabinet yards".  The owner is very distressed obsessed with the situation.  You can view the creature here  ( note that you have to scroll down the page  to find the photo links)

This apartment devouring terror exemplifies how a grown man can be overcome by the beast known as the model railroad layout.  Don't let this happen to you O Gauge modelers!  Well, you could let it happen but you would have to be very very single and borderline crazy. :)

March 28, 2007

Dig out that old Girder & Panel set and add a High Rise to your layout

Tipstricks_1Every play with Girder & Panel building sets when you were young?  Well the high rise buildings you could make with those incredibly fun building sets look right at home on an O Gauge layout.  Check out these pictures as proof. Not all of the buildings in the photos are built with Girder & Panel but if you're familiar with the sets you'll be able to tell which ones were made out of the building sets.   Read the discussion thread on the O Gauge Railroading Magazine forum for more info.  The thread also contains additional shots of how girders from a set were used to model a great looking construction scene.  I loved playing with Girder & Panel when I was young and still have two sets stored in my attic.  I never thought to use them to construct buildings for on an O Gauge layout.  What a great idea!   

March 26, 2007

Someone's Dream For Sale on Ebay

Did you ever dream the walls of your house are covered with display cabinets packed with pre and post war Lionel trains?  Well, your dream is up for auction on Ebay this week.  Someone from Pittsburgh, PA is selling his father's extensive collection that was 40 years in the making for a starting bid of $85,000.  According to the listing, the collection of trains, accessories, parts and transformers was appraised at over $200,000 in the early 80s.  The seller has posted some pictures, but unfortunately there is no inventory list and he is unwilling to put one together.  A big mistake in my opinion.  Check out the auction here.

March 25, 2007

FOR SALE: Korber Models HO & G Tooling/Inventory

KorberlogoThe Korber Models "News" page has a post announcing that Korber is trying to sell their HO and G scale injection molding tooling and inventory.  This is an interesting development given that Korber moved into a larger facility back in the Spring of '06.  Hopefully all is well with Korber and this move is an indication that their O Gauge product line will be expanding.

March 23, 2007

NJ Hi-Railers Open House

If you live in the Paterson, New Jersey area and are looking for something to do this Sunday, March 25th,  the NJ Hi-Railers (formally known as the Northwest Jersey Hi-Railers) will be holding an open house from 10am to 4 pm. Their web site states the club layout is over 185 feet long and averages 30 feet wide and growing.  If you can't make it this Sunday the club will be holding other open house events throughout the year.  See the NJ Hi-Railers website for more details and directions.  Be sure to also check out the photo, video and web cam section of the site. 

Also, if you just so happen to be in the vacinity of Karuizawa, Japan you can check this show out :)

March 21, 2007

New Kit From Korber Models

Textile MillLooking to drum up some business for your branch line railroad?  Korber models is shipping a new kit, Mitchell's Textile Mill, that could be the answer.  The mill measures 6.5" wide by 11" long, a nice size for a small siding.  The kit has a MSRP of $49.95.  Korber's new Single Stall Engine Shed has also strarted shipping.  See the Korber Models web site for more details.   

Related posts:
Korber Models

March 20, 2007

Railway Journeys, The Vanishing Age of Steam

Railwayjourneys As I become more and more interested in O Gauge model railroading I find myself wanting to find out more about the prototypical versions of the trains I drool over in the O Gauge catalogs.  I paid a visit to Best Buy this weekend and while wandering through the movie section I came across a box set of DVDs entitled "Railway Journeys, The Vanishing Age Of Steam."   I was very surprised to find a documentary about trains at Best Buy and even more surprised that the 5 DVD set cost only $14.99!.  For that price I couldn't resist, so I bought it and I'm very glad I did.

Click on the link below to read on    

Continue reading "Railway Journeys, The Vanishing Age of Steam" »

March 16, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #20

OGW NewspaperChristmas season may be over but there are still plenty of model railroading stories hitting the news.  This installment of Model Railroading in the News is chock full of interesting articles.  If you're a fan of Angela Trotta Thomas, the artist famous for her paintings that feature Lionel trains, be sure to check out the story about her in the Pocono Record.  Enjoy.

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #20" »

March 15, 2007

MTH Announces Spring 2007 York Collector Boxcar

Mth 07 York Boxcar MTH unveiled this year's Spring TCA York collector boxcar.  The car will be the 10th in the series and feature a picture of MTH's 2007 Volume 2 catalog.  As usual, the cars can be distributed at the York TCA meet on a first come first serve basis.  Cars are available to MTHRRC members for $25.  Cost for non MTHRRC members is $30.  MTHRRC members can reserve their car for pick up at York by logging into the MTHRRC Member page.  Non members can reserve one for pick up by clicking here.  Club memberships are available for purchase on-line here.

March 14, 2007

Lionel's new Legacy train control system delayed. Why all the fuss?

There's been a lot of chatter in the O Gauge world about Lionel's delay in delivering the new TMCCII Legacy train control system.  The first sign of a delay surfaced back in October of '06 when it was rumored that Lionel was supposed to demo the new system at the Fall '06 York Train meet but didn't.  Rumors hinted that the meet organizers wouldn't let Lionel demo the system at the meet.  Turns out the real reason was that the system wasn't quite ready.  Lionel representatives presenting at the TCA Museum's open house addressed the rumors by announcing the system wasn't ready and that Lionel was doing all they could to get the system out the door by the planned delivery date of the end of 2006.  You can listen to Lionel's statement at the bottom of the post located here.

Recently, speculation as to why the system was delayed started surfacing in the O Gauge forums.  O Gauge Railroading Magazine contacted Lionel about the delay and received a response from Neil Young that they posted here.  The response included the following excerpt.

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Lionel's new Legacy train control system delayed. Why all the fuss?" »

Weaver Newsletter Available On-Line

Weaver Models published their March/April newsletter containing lots of sale items and some new product arrival announcements.   Check out the newsletter here (requires Adobe Acrobat reader).

March 13, 2007

A Big Welcome To OGW's Advertisers

I'm sure by now that regular readers have noticed the blog has undergone a slight redesign.  My primary purpose of the redesign was to make room for ad space and to clean up the design a bit.  I wasn't sure if the ad space would sell but thought it was worth a shot to try to recover the expenses to run the site and maybe have some left over for my O Gauge purchases.

Well, I'm very happy to introduce the following sponsors: has sponsored OGaugeWatch since the fall of last year.  I consider to be the prototype train shop for the next generation of O Gauge enthusiasts.   Scott Griggs, the owner of Trainz, has O Gauge in his blood and an information technology background.  He has used both to create a successful on-line presence using eBay, MySpace, YouTube and an extensive web site to complement his brick and mortar train shop.  I've met Scott and his wife at last fall's TCA Museum open house and they are very good people.  Be sure to visit often and sign up for their newsletter too.

Ready Made Toys
Ready Made Toys is a unique O Gauge toy train company that produces affordable, fun trains.  I've always loved RMT's products.  See my review last year of their Buddy here.  I own several RMT Beep diesels, Buddy RDC cars, a caboose and have my BEEPeople on order.  I've met RMT's owner, Walter Matuch, at last year's Spring York OGR Thursday night get together.  He is a funny, nice man and is very patriotic.  You may remember that Walter played a key role in sending O Gauge trains to the troops in Iraq.  Walter is very excited about sponsoring OGW and I'm glad to have RMT as a sponsor.  Visit RMT's web site to check out all their cool products.  Walter also  wanted me to pass along that BEEPeople are now in stock and began shipping on 3/12.
Toy Train Trader is an auction site alternative to the larger auction sites that specifically caters to model railroad enthusiasts of all scales.  If you're looking to try your hand at selling or buying model railroad items and don't want to use the "big guys", give a try especially since it is 100% fee free to OGaugeWatch readers until May 2007.

There's plenty of ad space left so if you're interested in placing an ad on OGaugeWatch visit the advertising page.


March 12, 2007

Atlas O March '07 Announcements

Atlaso_1Interesting new product news from Atlas O this month.  The one thing that caught my eye was the announcement of a number of new Industrial Rail O-27 products.  New products include several ready-to-run train starter sets, trolley starter sets, roadbed track, transformers and a 4-4-2 steam locomotive.  And, taking a page out of Lionel's marketing book, Atlas will also be offering Industrial Rail add-on and expansion packs.  They also announced a new 53' 6" wooden express reefer, a Trainman 52' flat car and a PRR Style track  signal.

It will be interesting to see how Atlas O's Industrial Rail ready-to-run starter sets fare against the perennial favorite in the category, Lionel.   Not having seen the new sets in action, I'm curious to find out what differentiating factors will sway beginners to choose the Industrial Rail sets over Lionel.  Having a MSRP of $259.95, which is $60 higher than Lionel's Pennsylvania Flyer set, doesn't help. 

I wonder if Atlas plans to sell these sets to retailers outside of the local hobby shop distribution channel?  Regardless, it's nice to see another company focusing their sights on the low-end of the O Gauge market. 

March 07, 2007

MTH Addresses Questions About Wireless Drawbar Strength

MTH Drawbar MTH has started shipping some new Premier line locomotives with a new wireless drawbar.  Some enthusiasts have questioned the strength of the drawbar which is basically a thin printed circuit board encased in a plastic frame.  With the circuit board now carrying the load of the tender and any cars connected to the tender, some are worried that the drawbar will break/crack due to stress, especially if the locomotive or tender is derailed. 

This week's MTH newsletter addressed the questions of the drawbar's durability.  MTH indicated that the circuit boards are "multi-layered composites of fiberglass and are quite strong."  They also claim the circuit board can withstand twisting "up to 90 degrees without suffering damage" and that the drawbar never broke during extensive testing prior to market introduction.  They don't give the details of how the drawbar was tested.  As a side note, MTH also mentioned that all Premier line locomotives offered in their 2007 Volume 1 catalog (except 0-4-0 switchers) and all Premier locomotives offered in the upcoming 2007 Volume 2 catalog will ship with the wireless drawbar.  Hopefully the drawbar will trickle down into their less expensive Rail King line in the 2008 catalogs.

March 05, 2007

OGW Poll: Collecting/Running Other Scales

CheckmarkO Gauge is my favorite scale but I have a small HO layout I set up on a 36" x 80" door.  I built it to run my old HO collection from my childhood but quickly became a fan of DCC when I discovered I could purchase an inexpensive DCC system and DCC equipped locomotives from Bachmann.  My kids and I enjoy both the HO and small O Gauge layouts we have.  Do you collect/run scales other than O Gauge?  Let me and other OGW readers know by participating in the latest OGW Poll.  Scoll down the site a bit and you'll see the poll questions posted on the right side of the page.  You can view the results of prior OGW Poll questions here.

March 03, 2007

Reuters Releases Story About Model Trains

Reuters released a good article today about how links to Harry Potter and the Polar Express are helping O Gauge model trains make a comeback.  The article contains quotes from Lionel CEO Jerry Calabrese and Andy Edleman, VP of marketing for MTH.  Check out the article here.

March 02, 2007

Classic Toy Trains Magazine Searching For New Editor

Kalmbach Publishing announced that Neil Besougloff, the current editor of Classic Toy Trains Magazine, is leaving that post to become the editor of Kalmbach's Model Railroader Magazine.  According to the announcement posted on the Model Railroader Magazine web site...

Current MR Editor/Publisher Terry D. Thompson will remain Publisher of MR and four other Kalmbach titles, but will now serve as a full-time publisher.

"Neil's editorial experience and enthusiasm for model railroading make him a great fit for this position. He knows the magazine and the hobby, and he's done a great job as Editor of CTT," Thompson said. "I'm very pleased that Neil will be joining the MR team."

If you have at least 5 years editorial experience and some knowledge about the model train hobby send your resume' to

March 01, 2007

Electric Sky Rides

Electric_sky_ride One of the many blogs I like to check out from time to time is called Modern Mechanix.  The theme of the blog is "Yesterday's tomorrow, today".   A recent Modern Mechanix post featured an advertisement for "Beautiful Electric Sky Rides" from the December 1933 issue of Popular Science.  The sky rides were electrically powered enamel painted tinplate creations which ran on a rail suspended from a series of towers.  They looked very cool and the manufacturer boasted that they had the "finest toy power motor on earth." The Sky Ride would definitely be a nice complement to either an O Gauge or Standard Gauge tinplate layout.  Electric Sky Rides remind me of the toy monorail manufactured by Leland Detroit that  eventually was reproduced by MTH.  Check out an image of the Sky Ride advertisement here.

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