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May 23, 2008

Interesting Blog Post About Lionel And Model Trains

Check out this blog post on the TMG blog.

May 13, 2008

Catching Up

Hi everyone, it's funny how time flies when you're busy.  It's been 3 weeks of idle time for OGaugeWatch thanks to me being very busy with work, home improvement projects and such.  Here's a few links to stories about Lionel's exit from bankruptcy and other stories that have transpired since my last post.  Enjoy.

By the way, all the Lionel DVD winners have been contacted by email.


Lionel and Neil Young Roll Down the Tracks Together
Lionel CEO:  HQ has moved to NY but Mich. keeps major office
Lionel:  Long may you run
Model train maker Lionel emerges from bankruptcy
M.T.H. Electric Trains Officials To Speak
Last Whistle to Blow at Train City

August 27, 2007

Catching Up.....

Here are a few stories from the last week or so that broke while OGaugeWatch was on vacation.

  1. After a long absence, "Clyde Coil" over at Hi-Rail Times wrote a few posts about Lionel's Legacy control system.
  2. MTH introduced the final Steelers Superbowl Boxcar in the series (unless they win another).
  3. The TCA's New England Division will host the National TCA convention in 2008 in Burlington, VT.  They announced the 2008 convention cars and they are nice.  I'm sure the Ben & Jerry's refer and the Vermont Railway maxi-stack cars will be a big hit.  Save 5% if you order by 10/31/07.  See all the cars here.
  4. 3rd Rail released production photos of their C&O Greenbrier.  What a sharp looking piece.  View the photos here.
  5. Marc over at the Standard Gauge Blog found several videos on YouTube of the late Tom Snyder interviewing Ward Kimball, the legendary Disney animator and railroad enthusiast..  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
  6. Joshua at the  prewar times Blog posted that MTH is releasing a new tinplate catalog at this October's TCA York meet.  Keep an eye on prewar times for possible pre-release information about the catalog.

August 26, 2007

WANTED: Guest Bloggers

It's almost the start of "model train season" again (mid September through the holidays into late winter). If you're like me, the season never ends. OGaugeWatch experienced a considerable increase in visitor traffic during the model train season last year and I expect even more this year.  When I started OGaugeWatch back in the beginning of 2006, one of my primary goals was to help develop more interest in the O Gauge hobby by presenting a free source of O Gauge news and information.  Every blogger knows the best way to build an audience and generate interest in the blog's subject is to post good content.  There's no better time to present good content than when a blog's traffic is up.  To that end, I want to post as much original O Gauge content as possible in the upcoming months.  To achieve my goal, I need some help.  That's why I'm looking for guest bloggers.   

Continue reading "WANTED: Guest Bloggers" »

August 23, 2007

A Little R&R...;

OGaugeWatch has been dark for the last 12 days because I'm taking a little vacation from the blogosphere.   Look for new posts starting next week.  In the meantime, if you need a fix of O Gauge information get yourself caught up on the O Gauge legal sagas by reading all of Erol Gurcan's posts (dating back to  January of '06) here

If you're thinking about building your first Christmas layout this year (yes, Christmas is just about 4 months away) take a look at some of these past OGaugeWatch posts:

How to Build A Train Platform
Building Your First Christmas Layout - Part 1
Building Your First Christmas Layout - Part 2
Removing 0-27 Track Pins
O Gauge Track Plans

Also, be sure to check out all the links near the bottom of the right sidebar of OGaugeWatch.  Here are some of my favorites blogs and sites (in no particular order):

Standard Gauge Blog
Norm's Train Blog
Prewar Times
Tin Plate Times
Lionel Lines Blog
Al Z's Train Pages
ToyTrains1's Blog
Black Diamond Railway
Drew's Train Layout

There are more giveaways on tap for the fall courtesy of JT's Mega Steam, Evan Designs and Ready Made Toys.  I'm also looking for guest bloggers and will post about it next week.

I've been having a great summer, hope you are too!  Check out my summer project here.

Be well and thanks for reading OGaugeWatch.


July 15, 2007

Polar Express and Pennsylvania Flyer Starter Sets Cheap!

The Home Decorators Outlet web site has Lionel's Polar Express set on sale for an incredibly low price of $131.99.  They also have the Pennsylvania Flyer Starter set for a very low price of only $90.99.  The site says "Quantities are limited" so act fast if you want one of the sets.

June 21, 2007

Links Updated and Organized

Frequent readers of may have noticed that I maintain a listing of O Gauge RR links towards the bottom right side of the blog.  I recently reorganized the links into several categories and added quite a few more especially in the O Gauge Clubs and Associations section.  Check out the changes by scrolling down the page or by visiting the Links page.  If you or your O Gauge club have an O Gauge related website that isn't listed, please email me a link ( and I'll add it to list.


November 21, 2006

It Takes Brains to Control a Model Railroad

A interesting story posted on explains how Hitachi has developed a brain controlled interface (enabling a person to control something with thoughts) and is demonstrating it using a model train. 

"To get that train rolling, Hitachi uses optical topography to map changes in blood flow in areas of the brain associated with mental activity, translating those changes into voltage signals to flip the switch on and off."

So when will Lionel's TMCC2 or MTH's DCS get this feature?  Read the story here.

Related Posts
Interesting Use of Lionel Trains
Unusual Use For Lionel Trains 

November 16, 2006

Save $10 On Orders Over $30 At

The folks over at are running a promotion offering $10 off any order over $30 placed on now until December 18th.  The catch?  You have to use the Google checkout service that is integrated into but that's not a bad thing.  I've used Google checkout before and it's easy and painless.  You will see more and more on-line retailers using Google checkout.  You can use the $10 off coupon as much as you want until the offer expires.  See the for more details.

Many of you may have noticed that is an OGaugeWatch sponsor.  Would I have posted about this offer if they weren't a sponsor?  You bet.  I'm all about saving $$$ and helping others save $$$ too.  In fact, if you know of any other money saving offers other shops are promoting, let me know and I'll post about it.


September 08, 2006

Ownership of LGB America Transferred to US Based Firm

LgbA big event in the G Scale world was announced today.  Garden Railways Magazine just announced that the parent firm of LGB, maker of G-Scale trains, is transferring ownership of LGB of America to a US based firm.  Garden Railways interviewed David Buffington, the new owner of LGBoA.  I find it interesting to read the views and visions of influencial people in the model railroad industry regardless of scale and thought you would too.  You can read the interview here.

June 29, 2006

Roundhouse Roundup

A fellow blogger has "rounded up" a bunch of blog posts about model railroading that are worth checking out.  You can find them here.

June 25, 2006

Model Trains in New Superman Movie

While reading some of the reviews of the new Superman movie, I noticed that several mention a train layout belonging to Lex Luther.  The layout is supposed to be a replica of Metropolis.  You can check out a photo from the movie here and a production design sketch of the layout here.

June 24, 2006

Interesting Use of Lionel Trains

Back in the day, Lionel trains were apparently viewed as more than just toys by the scientific community.  An article In the June 1949 issue of Popular Science explains how Lionel trains were used to move capsules of radon gas around a laboratory.  The Modern Mechanix blog has scanned and posted the original Popular Science article.  Check it out here.

Related Posts
Unusual Use For Lionel Trains

June 10, 2006

Fun With Google Trends

Google has developed a new tool called Google Trends that allows a user to analyze general search trends on Google over time.  I was looking for a way to apply this tool to O Gauge railroading and came up with the following charts generated using Google Trends.  The first chart compares the search volume for the terms "Lionel Trains" and "MTH Trains" over a period of just over 2 years. 


The results are interesting but probably not surprising.  The volume of searches for the term Lionel Trains (blue line) is much higher than the term MTH Trains (red line).  The chart also shows that peak volume of searches for both terms occurs in the latter part of the 4th quarter, around the Christmas holiday season, the time of year when model railroading is most popular.

The next chart compares search volume for "Model Trains" and "Hobby Shops". 


Here you can see that the search volume for the term "hobby shops" (red line) is somewhat consistent throughout the year with a bit of an increase around the Christmas holiday season.  On the other hand, the search volume for the term "Model Trains" (blue line) shows a significant increase in volume around the holiday season.

Since Google Trends is part of Google Labs it is considered a "work in progress".  As such it only shows broad search patterns for general search terms.  Analysis of search volumes for very specific low volume terms such as "Lionel Acela" will not generate results.  Nonetheless, it's still interesting to experiment so give it a try with some of your own ideas.

May 27, 2006

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 18, 2006

For Amtrak Fans...

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

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   The site is packed with information. 

April 24, 2006

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.

March 22, 2006

For the Rail Fan That Wants It All....

The latest email newsletter from Trains Magazine has an advertisement for a "Train Lovers Dream House".  The 6,669 square foot home, which has a 1:1 scale caboose integrated into the architecture, is for sale for $1.475 million and is located in Durham, North Carolina.  Here are some pictures of the caboose:




You can find at more information about the house at

March 10, 2006

RSS Subscribers

The number of posts on OGaugeWatch has topped 100.  In an effort to make it easier to find information on OGaugeWatch I implemented a new categorization scheme.  As a result, anyone who subscribes to OGaugeWatch's RSS feed will see all of the posts appear as "new" in their RSS reader because I changed the categories associated with each post.  Please accept my apology for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

February 27, 2006

Vote For Your Favorite "6464" Lionel Boxcar

There is a new survey on the Coil Couplers of America website allowing you to vote for your favorite Lionel "6464" boxcar from the 1950's.  The survey page also has a link to an interesting write up about the "6464" series of boxcars complete with photos from the e-Train online magazine.

February 24, 2006

A Little Lionel History

On the OGR forum, ed h posted a question asking for photos of Lionel's New Jersey factory.  There is a link in the thread with some photos of the abandoned NJ factory but nothing from when it was operating.  So I decided to do search the web for photos of the NJ factory.  I came up empty but did find a bunch of pictures of the Michigan facility from 1988.  Take a look.

February 15, 2006

Control a Model RR Over the Internet

Train enthusiasts of all scales will get a kick out of this one.  There is a site out of Germany that has been programmed to allow visitors to control a number of trains on a HO layout over the Internet.  The site was built by students.  Here is an excerpt from the site:

The completely digital installation was built up by students. After the mathematical calculation of the driving routes, establishing theories on the collision avoidance and clarification of questions how to control the hardware, software could be successfully implemented on the control server in the student project. Together with a web server it serves as a link between the Internet users and the model railroad.

I've tried it and it works.  Go to the "control desk" tab of the site.  Here you will find a link to the control desk in the upper left corner.  Click on it and you are taken to the control desk window.  You run the train by first selecting a train (blue and yellow icon) then a destination.  Destinations are green if they are available, red if they're busy.  Hit the start button then hit start again and the train will head to the destination once the line is clear.  There are 2 cameras set up that allow you to watch your train's progress.  Very cool!

February 12, 2006

Unusual Use for Lionel Trains

Here's an unusual use for a Lionel train.  The photo below is from a picture gallery accompanying a Detroit News article about toy trains.  It's a photo of a scientist using a Lionel toy train to move radioactive material around a lab.  Notice that he is at a ZW controlling the trains.  Click on the photo for a larger view.  The article itself has nice photo of the Lionel assembly line in 1976.


New Site Showing Train Shop Locations Around the US

Here's a site you'll want to add to you favorites list, especially if you travel a lot and like to visit shops in other cities.  I found a post on Google's model railroad discussion group with a link to a site that displays the location of model train shops across the US.    The site, by a company called MapMuse, plots the locations of trains shops as points on a map of the US.  You can drill down into regions and metropolitan areas for more detail.  Hovering over a point on the map gives you the name, address, phone # of the train shop and if you click on the point it gives you more info on the shop, a link to directions and the weather forecast for shop's location.  If you know of a model train shop that is not on the list you can submit a request to add it.  A very cool site.   

View the map of model train shops

February 11, 2006

Frank the Train Man

I came across a fantastic post by LVFan (a.k.a.Frank and no he is not Frank the Trainman) while browsing through the O Gauge Railroading forum this morning.  The subject of the post  was a response to a forum participant's request for experiences with Frank the Train Man, a small hobby shop in San Diego.  LVFan's description of the shop paints a wonderful picture of what I'm sure everyone would considered the ideal train shop.  Here is the post in it's entirety:

I lived in San Diego for 19 years and for several years lived about four blocks from Frank The Trainman’s original store ( it’s a credit union now, or at least was the last time I was there ) My wife ( now ex ) and I would take walks in the evening and inevitably wind up at his store and spend some time looking in the window. Frank had a number of glass cases that held post war cars and locomotives that were nice pieces but not uncommon so they were not too expensive. Something would catch my eye and

Continue reading "Frank the Train Man" »

February 05, 2006

How much for the New Lionel Acela Set on eBay?

Lionel's Acela set was limited to a production run of 2,000 sets.  The sets started hitting hobby shops over the past week or so.  If you are looking for the set many have shown up on eBay.  How much will you pay?  The highest paid so far is $2,224.99, the cheapest is $1,725.  The set retails for $1,999.00.  Here's a recap of  how the Acela has been selling on eBay to date (date shown is auction ending date):

01/22/06  Buy It Now  $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/27/06  Buy It Now  $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/29/06  18 bids $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/29/06  36 bids  $2,224.99 plus $35.00 shipping
01/30/06  Buy It Now  $1,995.00 plus $30.00 shipping
01/30/06  Buy It Now  $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/30/06  Buy It Now  $1,995.00 plus $30.00 shipping
02/02/06  17 bids  $1725.00 plus $35.00 shipping
02/03/06  0 bids  $1725.00, $1995.00 Buy it Now w/free shipping  (re-listed)
02/03/06  0 bids $1,999.00 Buy it Now $40.00 shipping (re-listed)

See all the latest Acela listings

February 02, 2006

Joshua Lionel Cowen is Blogging!

Joshua Lionel Cowen, founder of Lionel trains, is maintaining a blog entitled, what else,  Joshua Lionel Cowen.  Mr Cowen passed on in 1965 but somehow is posting entries in his blog about his trip to Germany in 1901! 

Visit the Joshua Lionel Cowen blog

February 01, 2006

The Village of Greenbrook

Back in Forum Roundup #2 I mention a post concerning The Village of Greenbrook, an incredible model layout built by Norm Charbonneau.  I didn't realize Norm had a website, where he posts detailed photos of his layout and projects to improve it.  It's a must see.

Visit Norm Charbonneau's site.

January 24, 2006

History of TCA's Eastern Division and York

A post by Jim Mortensen on his blog gives a brief history of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) and their infamous York train meets.  The TCA holds 2 huge meets per year in York, PA but the meets are only open to TCA members.  I never new why the TCA was a "closed" event.  Here is Jim's explanation:

As long as it was a swap meet and what commerce was done, was done between members of the same organization, the state tax department kept their noses out of it, even when the amounts of money would become large.  In order to preserve this tax-free environment, the Eastern Division and TCA declared the meet a closed club event, open to members only.   While TCA members, regardless of what division they belonged to, were eligible to attend, nonTCAmembers could attend only once in their lifetime if, during that once, they were sponsored by a member.  This made the meet very exclusive, desirable, and a big incentive for joining TCA.

Read the entire post on

January 23, 2006

Clyde Coil Sounds Off

In his latest post, Clyde Coil at Hi Rail Times rants about one of Lionel's new Post War Celebration sets.  The issue is with the motor Lionel choose to install in the locomotive.  Clyde is "Dang mad" about this one.

Read the entire Clyde Coil post at Hi Rail Times.

January 12, 2006

Neil Young and Lionel

For those of you that are somewhat new to the O Gauge hobby, like myself, you may not know that Neil Young is a minority owner of Lionel Trains.  Neil, an avid train hobbyist, is known to take train layouts on tour with him.  Neil also designed what eventually became Lionel's Train Master Command Control system, a wireless control system, so his handicapped son, Ben, could operate the trains on Neil's layouts.    In 1995, Neil and Wellspring Associates purchased Lionel.

According to this blog post on the Neil Young News blog site, Clyde Coil at Hi Rail Times is actually Neil Young.  There are some interesting videos on the Clyde Coil site that were made this year and seem to be announcing the coming of a new "system" which is most likely TMCC 2.  Folks on the OGR forum have come to the consensus that the layout in the videos is indeed Neil's.

Interesting web posts about Neil Young's involvement in the O Gauge hobby:
Neil Young and Lionel Trains
Take a ride on Neil Young's Trains

View the Clyde Coil videos here.

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