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February 14, 2008

Owner Of One Of The Largest Toy Train Collections Passes

Members of the TCA are probably familiar with the name of Al Cox.  His collection of tinplate trains is infamous.  Sadly, Mr. Cox passed away this week in Shorline, WA at the age of 87.  Read more about his passing here.  Here are some other sources of information about Mr. Cox and his collection:

Tinplate Times Profile of Mr. Cox
TCA Train Collectors Quarterly qagazine article

Model Trains The Focus Of A Fund Raiser For Local NJ Food Pantry

If you live in the area of Freehold, NJ, be sure to check out the train show being held on 2/17 at the Knob Hill golf course clubhouse on Rt. 33 in Manalpan, NJ.  Admission to the show is free but the organizers are asking that attendees bring a food donation or make a monetary donation to the Open Door Food Pantry of Freehold.  The show runs from 10 am to 3 pm and a silent auction will be held from 10 am to 2 pm featuring a 1940 Lionel train set and a 4' x 4' layout.  Get more information about the show here.

February 07, 2008

NJ Man In The Midst Of Recreating Lionel's Showroom Layout

The Asbury Park Press ran a story on their website about a Freehold, NJ resident that is in the process of recreating the 16' x 32' layout that was on display in Lionel's New York City showroom from 1949 to 1957.  Read the article here.  View a short video here.

Trainz.com Purchases SP Smoke Pellets

Spsmokepellets Trainz.com (a sponsor of OGaugeWatch) has purchased the SP Smoke Pellet business from Toy Trains Unlimited of Dallas, TX.  Here is the press release:

Buford, GA - Trainz.com has purchased the SP Smoke Pellet business from Toy Trains Unlimited of Dallas, TX. Made using the exact same chemical mixture and pill size that was used in the postwar years, the new SP pills are just like the original’s and have that same distinctive scent. It has been over 34 years since Lionel made Smoke Pellets and there are literally hundreds of thousands of old Postwar Lionel Engines out there that are starving to smoke again. Available from your local hobby shop, or Trainz.com. The retail price is $14.95 per Bottle of 50 pellets.

January 03, 2008

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Raymond Lowey

Most model railroad buffs know Raymond Lowey as the person who designed Pennsylvania RR's GGI electric locomotive.  He also was commissioned by the PRR to design the S1 an T1 streamliners.  If your knowledge of Lowey stops there you should read the article about the designer posted on the Antiques and The Arts Online site.  It's a quick and interesting read about the French born designer.  Read the article here.

December 29, 2007

The Train Lady

There is a great article on ChicagoTribune.com about Elaine Silets, a.k.a The Train Lady. The Train Lady owns a high-end model railroad layout design and construction company called Huff & Puff Industries.  The article describes Ms. Silets $1.5 million dollar 44' x 27' O Gauge interpretation of the City of Chicago.  There is a video as well.

Check out the article and video here.

Here is another interesting article about The Train Lady:

North Shore Magazine

November 29, 2007

If You Have A Spare $600,000...

Have a spare $600,000 burning a whole in your pocket?   Ever wish you owned a train collection worthy of a toy train museum?  Well, you can own such a collection complete with the museum building for a mere $600K.  The only catch is the museum is located in Brazil.  The latest crazy toy train auction on eBay is for a museum of toy trains, collection and building, in the city of Fortaleza, Brazil.  Not only is the price hilarious but the broken English descriptions are funny too.  Check out the auction here.

November 28, 2007

Old News Worth Mentioning...

My daily routine of maintaining OGaugeWatch was interrupted over the past month or so as I was searching and eventually landing a new job. Some interesting news items broke during that time that didn't hit OGaugeWatch as a result but are worth mentioning....

  • After over 30 years in the business, Korber Models, maker of fine HO, O and G scale buildings, was sold to Kirk Mitchell, the owner of Just Trains of Delaware.  The transaction closes on January 1, 2008.  Also, Ernest Korber, the founder of Korber Models, passed away recently.  My condolences to the Korber family.
  • Lionel released the official instruction manual for their new Legacy Control system.  You can view it here. Lionel also started shipping the long awaited Legacy equipped Big Boy locomotive,  however, the included Legacy Control System will be sent separately at a later date as it is still under development.
  • Atlas started producing a quarterly all scales catalog.  The 4th quarter '07 catalog is available on-line and can be viewed here
  • There are several new posts on the Lionel centric Hi-Rail Times blog with one vaguely predicting more legal issues on the horizon for Lionel.
  • The Williams Electric Trains website now features a landing page announcing Bachman's acquisition of Williams along with a short list of FAQs.
  • Lionel's Harry Potter Hogwart's Express train set is now available at your local train shop.
  • The Model Train Journal forum has started a 3-Rail Scale forum for those who play with trains at a different level.  3-Rail Scale layouts would be considered to be scale to real life in every sense with the exception of the 3rd rail running down the center of the track.  I would consider Norm Charbonneau's layout to be a great example of 3-Rail Scale.  Thanks for the tip Al.
  • Ready Made Toys new 2-bay coal hopper sets have started shipping.
  • Weaver Models released a Fall Sales Flyer that is available on-line here.  Sale ends Nov. 30, 2007.
  • The TCA Eastern Division released the statistics from the Oct. '07 York train on their home page.  More than 14,500 people attended the meet.
  • Golden Gate Depot's new coaling tower has shipped.  I recently got a good look at one at Just Trains of Delaware and it is a beauty.

Be well everyone and look for more frequent updates to OGaugeWatch as a settle back into my daily routine.

Dave

October 16, 2007

Bachmann Confirms Purchase of Williams Electric Trains

Back in late September rumors were circulating that Bachmann had purchased Williams.  Today Bachmann Industries circulated a press release today officially confirming the purchase Williams Electric Trains.  From the press release:

Mr. Jerry Williams, President/Owner of Williams Electric Trains, Columbia, MD and Mr. Bud Reece, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, along with Mr. Ed Winter, Senior Vice President Finance & Operations, Bachmann Industries, Inc., Philadelphia, PA announce the acquisition of the assets of Williams Electric Trains.

Read the rest of the press release here.

October 07, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #24

OGW NewspaperIts been awhile since the last issue of Model Railroading In The News.  Enjoy.

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #24" »

October 02, 2007

Profile Of Auctioneer Ted Maurer In The Oct. Issue of Toy Collector Magazine

The October issue of Toy Collector Magazine features a profile of Ted Maurer, the now former owner operator of Ted Maurer Toy Train Auctions (according to the article, Mr. Maurer turned over the business to his daughter Kathy Maurer-Wilson on January 1 of this year).  A former school teacher, Mr. Maurer has been in the business since 1971 and has sold over 50,000 lots of trains.  Read more about Ted Maurer here.

September 28, 2007

Photos of Massive LeNature's Collection

Remember the story of the Lionel collection amassed by LeNature's CEO using company funds?  Well, the new owner of that collection, Grzyboski's Trains, posted some photos of the huge collection packed in a large amount of shipping containers as it was being prepared for transport.  Check out the photos here.

Related Posts:

CEO Used Company Funds To Buy $1M Worth Of Trains
Corrupt CEO's Trains Sold

September 22, 2007

Bachmann To Buy Williams?

Rumors about Bachmann Industies purchasing Williams Electric Trains have been circulating around the web over the last few days.  Bachmann produces model trains and accessories for almost all scales of model railroading and is known for it's reasonably priced products.   An administrator on the Bachmann trains on-line forum denied that a deal had been finalized but did state that Bachmann is in talks with Williams.  Read the statement here.  This is an interesting play for Bachmann but seems to make sense since Williams is also known for its reasonably priced products.

Thanks for the tip David.   

9/23/07 UPDATE:   No official word from Bachmann yet but a supposed copy of the letter Jerry Williams, owner of Williams Trains, sent to model train dealers has been posted on several on-line model railroad forums including Bachmann's.  The letter states that Mr. Williams retirement is the reason for the sale and that the settlement date will be on or about September 30, 2007.  Read the text of the letter here.

August 29, 2007

UPDATE: Corrupt CEO's Trains Sold

Remember the story of the CEO that ran LeNature's into bankruptcy and used company funds to purchase more than $1 million in O Gauge trains?  Well, the bankruptcy court sold the trains to Joe Grzyboski, Jr owner of Grzyboski's Trains in Scranton PA.  Mr. Grzyboski out bid Scott Griggs, owner of Trainz.com (an OGW sponsor) with a bid of $680,000.  Bidding started at $595,000 and continued in $5,000 increments.  Afterward, Mr. Griggs stated his limit was $675,000.  Read the entire story from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review here.

Related Posts

CEO Used Company Funds To Buy $1M Worth Of Trains

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.

July 29, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #23

OGW NewspaperIssue #23 of Model RR In The News is packed with articles from around the country. 

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #23" »

July 22, 2007

A Familiar Story With A Few Mistakes

I found an article on the Advertiser-Tribune website, a newspaper out of Tiffin, Ohio, about a man and his trains.  It's a familiar story - man buys trains when he is a young boy, trains get packed in storage for years, man retires and breaks out old trains and builds his dream layout.  It's a nice read but there are two mistakes concerning Lionel trains contained in the article.  See if you can find them.  You can read the article here.

June 08, 2007

The Sopranos and Trainland

The Long Island Press published a nice article about Trainland, a train shop on Long Island.  Trainland was the location used to shoot the scene in the Sopranos where Bobby Bacalla was taken out by a rival mafia crew.  Read the article here.

UPDATE:  Newsday also ran an article about the Sopranos and Trainland.  Read it here.

June 06, 2007

Railroading Merit Badge

RailroadingmeritbadgeWhile making the rounds to all the O Gauge websites searching for story ideas or news items, I stumbled upon an interesting announcement by the Atlas Model Railroad Company.  The announcement proclaims that Atlas is now selling a package of HO track and components (for $100) that will help a Boy Scout groups complete the Timesaver or shunting puzzle requirement for the Boy Scouts of America Railroading Merit badge.  Find out more about shunting puzzles here.  Having never been a Boy Scout, I had no idea there was a merit badge for railroading.  I did some digging and found the actual BS of A Railroading Merit Badge requirements and application here.  Look it over and see if you have what it takes to earn your RR Merit Badge. 

June 05, 2007

The Sopranos "Blue Comet"

Bobby Baccala gets whacked while purchasing a Blue Comet.  Lionel trains played a prominent role in the scene.  Someone posted the action on YouTube.  Check it out here.  UPDATE:  YouTube removed the video clip.

June 03, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #22

OGW NewspaperChristmas is long gone and model railroading is still in the news.  I started the Model Railroading In The News posts a while ago to demonstrate that the model RR hobby is covered by the media well after Christmas.  Articles about model RR show up in newspapers large and small across the country all year long.  Click on the link below to read the most recent batch of stories.  Enjoy.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #22" »

June 01, 2007

New Toy Collector eMagazine Launches Today

The first issue of the new eMagazine, Toy Collector Magazine, is now available on-line.  It contains a nice article about the National Toy Train Museum.  Visit www.toycollectormagazine.com to download the inaugural issue.

May 11, 2007

Train Shop Of The Stars Changing Hands

Allied Hobbies in Culver City, CA was frequented by famous train enthusiasts Frank Sinatra and Tom Synder.  Bruce Springsteen, Donald Sutherland and Rod Stewart also were customers.  The owner of Allied Hobbies, Allen Drucker, has sold the shop to new owners and is retiring after 32 years in the business.  The new owners will be re-locating the shop across the street from its current location.  The article detailing the history of the store and Mr. Drucker's take on the state of the model train hobby is an interesting read.  Read the article here.

April 27, 2007

Chicagoland Diner Will Be Serving Meals By Lionel Trains For Last Time on Sunday

Snackville Junction is a small diner located outside of Chicago in Evergreen Park, IL and is famous for delivering meals to it's customers using Lionel trains.  It has been doing so for over 60 years.  Jeff Silhan has owned the diner for the past 21 years and is hanging up his engineer hat for the last time on Sunday, April 29th.  Read all about Snackville Junction in this Chicago Tribune article or view WMAQ NBC 5's news story about the diner here.

 

UPDATE 4/30/07: Another good article about Snackville Junction can be found here.

April 21, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #21

OGW NewspaperSpring is here and the model railroading coverage in local media is waning a bit but there are still some stories out there.  Click on the link below to read on.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #21" »

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 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 hr@kalmbach.com.

February 28, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #19

OGW NewspaperThis installment of Model Railroading in the News includes stories about an O gauge locomotive in the UK that sold for £12,000; a private layout 40 years in the making depicting the town of Pulaski, VA that has been donated to the town but they can't afford a space to display it;  a Minnesota hobby shop going out of business after 40 years because of the usual suspects - competition from Internet retailers and fewer young people showing an interest in model building.  Click on the link below to read these and other stories.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #19" »

February 27, 2007

Lionel's Jerry Calabrese Interviewed by The Star Ledger (NJ)

The Star Ledger, a Northern New Jersey newspaper, ran a story about Lionel's CEO, Jerry Calabrese.  The story's focus is on how the New Jersey native is turning around Lionel.  The most interesting news gleaned from the article is that Lionel is in negotiations with the owners of the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ with hopes of opening a Lionel Museum or exhibit there.  Rumors had been circulating around the O Gauge community that Lionel was looking to establish a presence in New Jersey.  Maybe the museum is that presence.  There were a few other interesting quotes from Calabrese in the article.

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Lionel's Jerry Calabrese Interviewed by The Star Ledger (NJ)" »

February 08, 2007

Add some spice to your layout

Check out this article in the German magazine Der Spiegel about the new model railroad items displayed at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg Germany.  Warning, the pictures after the jump are not suitable for youngsters.

Toy Fair Takes an Adult Turn

February 04, 2007

Bruce J. Walthers 1919-2007

Bruce J. Walthers, chairman of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc, passed away on January 28th.  Bruce Walthers was the son of Wm. K. Walthers, the founder of the W. K. Walthers company which first produced a model railroad catalog in 1932.   In the beginning, Walthers catered to the O Gauge community but was instrumental in making HO popular.   Bruce Walthers is credited with taking the company his father founded and making it the leading distributor of model railroading products that it is today.  The majority of the pages of the now infamous Walthers catalog are dedicated to HO scale products.  J. Phillip Walthers, son of Bruce Walthers, is the current president of W. K. Walthers.

Read more about Bruce Walthers on the Walthers website.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also has a piece about Mr. Walthers found here.  Read more about the history of W. K. Walthers here.

February 01, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #18

OGW NewspaperThe holidays have past and so the number of stories about model railroading is starting to drop off but there are still some good ones out there.


   

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #18" »

January 18, 2007

MTH Announces Addition of "Wireless Drawbar" to some Premier Steam Locomotives

Mth_drawbar MTH announced yesterday in their electronic newsletter that some of the Premier steam locomotives appearing in the 2007 Volume 1 catalog will be produced with a wireless drawbar.  The  wireless drawbar will replace the Proto-Sound 2.0 wire tether that was used to connect the locomotive to the digital soundboard in the tender.  This wireless drawbar setup was first introduced by MTH on their new HO scale locomotive.   

The list of models to get the new drawbar includes:

Greenbrier 4-8-4 Steam Engine w/Proto-Sound 2.0 (Hi-Rail Wheels)
Class A 2-6-6-4 Steam Engine w/Proto-Sound 2.0 (Hi-Rail Wheels)
Canadian National 4-8-2 Steam Engine w/Proto-Sound 2.0
Z-6 Challenger 4-6-6-4 Steam Engine w/Proto-Sound 2.0

These locomotives will also receive an number of other tweaks that will make them look even more prototypical.  None of the tweaks were listed in the 2007 Volume 1 catalog descriptions for these models. 

MTH announced recently that all of the above models are in danger of not being produced because of low early order volume.  Maybe the addition of the wireless drawbar and the other tweaks will spark enough interest for MTH to produce these models.

The decision to build these models will be made on 2/1/07 so get your orders in by 1/31/07.

January 13, 2007

Model Railroading In The News #17

OGW NewspaperPlenty of model railroad articles to read in issue #17 of Model Railroading in the News.

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #17" »

January 07, 2007

Opinion: Are the "old guys with deep pockets" the lifeblood of the O Gauge hobby?

On 12/29/06 The Record, a northern New Jersey newspaper, ran an editorial response by Peter W. Kruimer that took issue with an Associated Press article The Record ran before Christmas about the model train hobby . Of course, as with most news stories about model trains, the article makes the assertion that model trains are for older men with deep pockets.  The article also mentioned that the future of the hobby was unclear because kids are more interested in computers and video games.  Peter's editorial response takes issue with both points and can be read here.

I had originally intended this post to stop at the end of the previous sentence but reading the AP article and Peter's editorial response provoked me to get up on my soap box and spout a few thoughts of my own. 

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Opinion: Are the "old guys with deep pockets" the lifeblood of the O Gauge hobby?" »

January 04, 2007

Famed Railroad Artist Gilmore Reid Passed Away on January 2

Gilmore Reid, famous for his railroad watercolor paintings and former art director of Kalmbach Publishing died on January 2, 2007.  Many of you may have some of Gil's work hanging in your train room.  You can view Gil's work at www.gilreid.com.  There are several videos of Gil discussing his paintings and career posted on Google Video.  Find them here.

December 23, 2006

Another "Model trains are making a comeback" news video

KARE11 News in Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota ran a nice story about the resurgence of model trains.   You can check out the the video on KARE11.com.

The Molar Express?

What does a train collecting dentist do when his trains are banished from the living room in his Florida home?  You guessed it.  They now travel around Todd Weiner's 2,400 square-foot office on 160 feet of track.  The shelf mounted dual track loop features bridges and tunnels where trains including Lionel's new Acela Express traverse the office.   Read the entire Tampa Tribune article here.

December 20, 2006

O Gauge Trains on NBC's Nightly News

NBC aired a piece entitled "Toy Trains Make a Comeback" on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  You can view it here (you have to watch a 30 second commercial before it plays).

Related Posts
Old Lionel Videos

Model Railroading In The News #16

OGW NewspaperThis will be the final installment of Model Railroading In The News for 2006.  As Christmas approaches newspapers and websites are filled with stories about model railroading.  Enjoy!

Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #16" »

December 19, 2006

World's Largest O Gauge Layout Proposed

According to an article in The Morning Call, a Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania newspaper, Steven Brenneisen of Ross Custom Switches in Norwich, Conn. is proposing to redevelop a 107 year old railroad storehouse outside of Jim Thorpe, PA.  Mr. Brenneisen wants to build the world's largest model railroad (the article doesn't say but I'm assuming it's going to be O Gauge because Mr. Brenneisen's company manufactures O Gauge switches and track)  as part of the redevelopment plan for the 42,000 sq. ft. two story building.  He also is proposing to relocate his manufacturing operations into the building, bringing 10 full time positions into the area.  The redevelopment will be privately financed. 

Mr. Brenneisen's  offer is falling on deaf ears as the article states local commissioners are determined to have the building razed now that the county has purchased the building and awarded a contract to have it demolished.   Hopefully the commissioners will take a closer look at Mr. Brenneisen's plan and reconsider because having a model railroad manufacturer and the world's largest model railroad in an area rich in railroad history seems like a perfect fit.

Read The Morning Call article here.   

UPDATE:  Sign an on-line petition here to save the building.

November 25, 2006

Model Railroading in the News #15

OGW NewspaperAs is always the case this time of year, stories about model railroading and the people who love the hobby are plentiful in newspapers around the country.  The tradition of model railroading and its affect on family and friends is a common theme found in many of the stories in the 15th installment of Model Railroading in the News.  If you ever dreamed about retiring and opening a train shop, the story about a Minnesota couple and their hobby shops will make you jealous.  Read this and many other stories by clicking on the link below.

Continue reading "Model Railroading in the News #15" »

November 12, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #14

OGW NewspaperThere are plenty of news stories about model railroading in the 14th edition of Model Railroading In The News.  Articles about public holiday model railroad displays like the one in the Duke Energy building in Cincinnati and those about train shows like the "S" Fest in Chicago are more frequent now that we're entering the start of model train "season".  The USA today got into the act with a different take on model trains and there's news that President Nixon's library and President Rutherford B Hayes' center will feature model trains over the holidays.  Also, the Union Tribune in San Diego published a nice article about prominent banker and renowned model train collector, Thomas Sefton, who passed away recently.  Read these and many other interesting stories by clicking on the link below.       

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #14" »

November 10, 2006

Target and Lionel

If you haven't heard, Target will be selling a Lionel starter set this year.  As of last weekend, the set hasn't hit the shelves of my local Target yet.  If you have to have this set and can't wait for it to show up in your local Target you can order it on-line from Target with free shipping.  One catch, the free shipping expires on 11/11/06 so you better hurry.  Check out Target's website for details.

UPDATE 11/14/06:  Free shipping extended to 11/18/06.   Also, you can get and additional 10% off using the following link to access Target.com:  www.target.com.  You won't see the savings until you get to the page where you choose the method of payment at checkout.  [via Gizmodo and Dealhack]

"Kool Jock" Interviews Classic Toy Trains Magazine Editor Roger Carp

Radio DJ Jon Brooks of WKOL "Kool 105" radio in Vermont is a big O Gauge fan.  He is such a fan that he interviewed Roger Carp, editor of Classic Toy Trains magazine during his drive time morning rock & roll radio show.  A member of the Classic Toy Train forum, darianj, was nice enough to record the 2 segment interview and Joshua over at the Prewar Times blog has the links posted here.

Check out photos of Jon's (aka Kooljock1) layout in the OGaugeWatch flickr group.

November 09, 2006

Lionel A Hall Of Famer

Lionel was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame today.  Lionel Trains along with the Easy Bake Oven were the latest inductees into the Strong National Museum of Play Hall of Fame located in Rochester, NY.  Both became the first electric toys to be inducted and join 35 other toys that include such classics as Candy Land, the bicycle, Tinker Toys and Play-Doh.

Read the complete story at Playthings.com.

November 03, 2006

Lionel's Jerry Calabrese Interviewed by New York Sun

LionelJerry Calabrese, Lionel's CEO, and Lionel Trains are the subject of an interesting article published in the NY Sun today.  Mr. Calabrese was interviewed by the Sun and discusses Lionel's return to New York City and how he wants to "re-establish what Lionel's tradition was for its first 65 years and stake our flag back in the world of pop culture".  The article also mentions that Lionel has signed a licensing deal with the makers of the Harry Potter movies.

Read the New York Sun article here.

October 28, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #13

OGW Newspaper In this, the 13th edition of Model Railroading in the News, there are a couple of the typical "trains are for big kids" articles and an interesting story out of Wisconsin about a couple selling a house complete with it's own 7 1/2" guage model railroad.  Click on the link below to read these and other interesting stories.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #13" »

October 17, 2006

Atlas O Golden Spike Club

It's York week so you can expect plenty of announcements from all the major O Gauge manufacturers this week.  Atlas O started the fun yesterday by announcing the formation of the Atlas O Golden Spike Club.  From the Atlas O web site:

“The purpose of this club is to give dedicated consumers an opportunity to obtain valuable information about Atlas O, LLC products and services, and provide them with the ability to purchase special items,” said Jim Weaver, vice-president of Atlas O. “Members will be able to purchase special products designed specifically for club members. Most importantly, any special cars offered to club members will always be decorated in prototypical paint schemes, a hallmark of Atlas O products.”

The cost to join the club is $50 per year.  See the Atlas O web site for more details.

Related posts:
First Steam Locomotive For Atlas O Announced
Atlas O Announcements (Oct '06)

October 13, 2006

Korber Models Announces New Building

Fans of Korber Model's buildings will be happy to hear they are adding a new O Gauge building to their collection.  A new single stall engine house with an attached machine shop will be unveiled at the Fall 2006 TCA show in York, PA.  If you going to the show stop by Korber's booth at FF06 in the Orange Hall.  Hopefully they will post pictures on their web site as soon as it is unveiled.  I got a good look at some of Korber's products at the Spring TCA show including their new modular system and was impressed.

October 07, 2006

Atlas O Announcements

Atlaso_1 Atlas O made two announcements this week.  First, they announced the offerings in their monthly "mini catalog" which includes 2 new items in the Atlas O Trainman line. Items include:


Atlas also announced they will be doing something new at the Fall '06 TCA York meet.  "Behind the Booth" seminars will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, 10/19 and 10 am on Friday, 10/20 at the Atlas O booth (#LL-1, in the Orange Hall).  Limited seating will be available and will be first come, first serve.  The seminar will consist of 3 20 minute presentations.  According to the Atlas O news flash email, speakers will be:
Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Atlas O Announcements" »

September 29, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #12

Ogwnewspaper_1 Installment #12 of Model Railroading in the News marks my first post since my return from an enjoyable family vacation at Mickey's house in Florida.  In this installment we start off with a not so model railroading related article involving Richard Kughn, ex owner of Lionel.  Next is a piece from the New York Times chronicling the travels of a recording specialist who is recording NY subway sounds for Lionel's new MTA subway model (this one requires free registration at the NY Times site before you can read it).  And news out of Germany is that G scale train manufacturer LGB has filed for bankruptcy.  Click on the link below to read these and other interesting articles.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #12" »

September 12, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #11

Ogwnewspaper In the 11th installment of Model Railroading in the News the North Central O Gaugers club receives some nice press coverage in the Mundelein Review,  a collector running O Gauge outdoors is featured in a the Reno Gazette Journal and a man in Alabama is selling his huge layout and will throw in his house for free.

Click on the link below to read these and other interesting articles.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #11" »

August 16, 2006

Lionel To Offer Another Version Of the "Big Boy"

Lionel will be offering another version of the Union Pacific "Big Boy", #4012, which is currently preserved at the Steamtown National Historic Site.  The #4012 will be the same configuration as the #4014 shown in the 2006 Volume 2 catalog.  The TMCC II Legacy promotion will also apply to the #4012.

Coors Light Silver Bullet Train?

A post on the O Gauge Railroading Magazine forum indicates that MTH Electric Trains has signed a deal with Coors Light to produce the Coors Light Silver Bullet train is appearing in the latest Coors Light marketing campaign.  I couldn't find anything on the Molson/Coors web site to confirm the news but it seems to be a logical marketing idea.

UPDATE:  The October issue of Classic Toy Trains Magazine will have a story in the "News" section of the magazine announcing the MTH deal.

UPDATE #2:  MTH announced the following in their MTH News Letter dated 8/26/06:

August 15, 2006 - M.T.H. Electric Trains has announced that it has secured a licensing agreement with Molson-Coors and will begin producing a series of products utilizing many of the brewery's beer labels, including Coors and Coors Light.

One of the first licensed products to appear in the M.T.H. lineup will be an O Gauge version of the popular Coors Light Silver Bullet train featured in Coors Light television commercials over the past two years. Any sports fan who has watched NFL, NBA and Nascar broadcasts has undoubtedly seen this sleek, bullet-nosed train speeding across the screen. It's popularity within the model railroad community, judging by the number of product requests M.T.H. received since the spots first began airing, helped spur on the decision to seek a licensing agreement with Molson Coors.

The RailKing set will feature a powered unit and three trailing "reefer" cars, all from brand new molds. The set will include M.T.H.'s Proto-Sound 2.0 digital sound system and include special sounds and features designed to simulate much of the action seen in the television commercials. Like the commercial's train, the M.T.H. model will feature a shiny chrome plated finish and include automatically activated reefer car doors that open to reveal their refrigerated load, complete with billowing frosted air.

The set is featured on the cover of M.T.H.'s 2007 Volume 1 catalog and is expected to ship to M.T.H. Authorized Retailers in the first quarter of 2007. Additional images f the set will appear in future issues of the M.T.H. E-Newsletter right up to the debut of the catalog in early October. The set can be ordered now through any M.T.H. Authorized Retailer. Item No. 30-1433-1. MSRP: $499.95

While searching for news on the MTH deal I found that Coors has developed a replica of the Silver Bullet Steam Train that is currently traveling around the country through the end of October.  Unfortunately it's not an actual train but a replica built on an stretched tractor chassis.  Get more info here.

Related Posts

PODCAST: MTH's Coors Light Silver Bullet Train 
MTH Announces New Pittsburgh Themed Items
MTH 2006 Volume 2 Catalog Now Available On Line

August 14, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #10

It has been awhile since the last installment of model railroading in the news.  In Installment #10 there is a pair of interesting articles out of Florida that contradict each other, one explores the resurgence of the hobby while another claims interest in the hobby is on the decline.  An article from the Courier News in Bridgewater, NJ explains explains how one shop owner stays on top in a very competitive market.  The National Association of S Gaugers and the LOTS National Convention received some coverage in the press but no articles of significance on the web covering the LCCA convention in Denver.  An article in a metal working magazine features Ross Custom Switches for keeping manufacturing in-house instead of outsourcing to China using the latest equipment to cut costs.  Click on the link below to read on

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #10" »

July 23, 2006

"Lionel Trains: On Track" for Nintendo DS

Lioneltrains DSI Games will be releasing Lionel Trains: On-Track in Q4 of 2006 for the Nintendo DS game system.  The game is supposedly like Railroad Tycoon and will feature 20 different Lionel trains. The game lists for $19.95 and has a release date of 10/17/06.  This is an interesting branding play by Lionel to attract the attention of the video gaming crowd (or is it a play by DSI for kids interested in Lionel Trains?).

Clyde Coil Post About TMCC "Legacy"

Clyde Coil of the Hi Rail Times blog posted a few details about the new Lionel TMCC "Legacy" system.  As reported by OGaugeWatch.com back in April, the system that everyone has been referring to as TMCC2 will be making it's debut at the LCCA convention in Denver, Colorado.  Clyde mentions  retrofit kits will be available to upgrade older locomotives and hints that you will be able to upgrade Atlas O locos as well.  He goes on to mention that DCS will still have the same compatibility with Lionel's TMCC systems.

Read Clyde's post here.

 

Related Posts
TCA Open House Part 4


July 16, 2006

The Men Who Loved Trains

For most model railroaders, me included, the fascination with model trains started with a fascination with the real thing.  As a young boy in the early 1970's, living less than a block from what is now the New Jersey Transit's River Line, I spent plenty of time running to the end of the block and watching the freight trains rumble past.   As the trains passed I would love reading all the different road names on the engines and freight cars.  The Penn Central was just formed a few years earlier so I got to  witness the transformation of paint schemes on some locos and cars from Pennsylvania to Penn Central.

Continue reading "The Men Who Loved Trains" »

July 13, 2006

Trains.com Web Site Upgraded

On July 12, 2006, Kalmbach Publishing released a new version of www.trains.com.  Trains.com is the web portal for the collection of real and model train related magazines Kalmbach publishes including Classic Toy Trains, their magazine dedicated to O Gauge trains. Besides a major upgrade to the look and feel of the site, which looks magnificent, there is new magazine subscriber only content.  Fans of the Trains magazine news wire who are not Trains magazine subscribers will be disappointed to learn that the news wire is now only available to subscribers.  Visit Trains.com's subscriber benefits page to learn more about the magazine subscriber only benefits.  There are also some other notable changes.   Click on the link below to read the rest of this post.

Continue reading "Trains.com Web Site Upgraded" »

July 12, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #9

Model railroading in the news installment #9.  It's been more than a week since the last installment so there are plenty of news stories (10 to be exact).  The National Train Show receives plenty of coverage in the Philly area including a funny article in Philladelphia Weekly.  Another article covers MB Klein, popular Baltimore area train shop.  Also, there's a story out of the UK about Sir William McAlpine containing only a brief mention of model railroading but is an interesting story about one man's passion for railroading.  Click the link below to read these articles and more.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #9" »

Model Railroading In The News #9

Model railroading in the news installment #9.  It's been more than a week since the last installment so there are plenty of news stories (10 to be exact).  The National Train Show receives plenty of coverage in the Philly area including a funny article in Philladelphia Weekly.  Another article covers MB Klein, popular Baltimore area train shop.  Also, there's a story out of the UK about Sir William McAlpine containing only a brief mention of model railroading but is an interesting story about one man's passion for railroading.  Click the link below to read these articles and more.

Continue reading "Model Railroading In The News #9" »

June 26, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #8

Model railroading in the news installment #8:

Former Executive Takes To The Rails, Akron Beacon Journal, OH
Train Store Going Full Steam Ahead, Monroe News, Monroe County, MI
Railroadiana Show Generates Scholarship Dollars
, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, IL
Tiny Tracks, The Mercury News, San Jose, CA
Sid Meier's Railroads, WorthPlaying.com

Related Posts

Model Railroading in The News #7
Model Railroading In The News #6
Model Railroading In The News #5

"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.

June 11, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #7

Model railroading in the news installment #7.

Train Enthusiasts Make Tracks To Olive Branch For Yearly Convention, Memphis Online
Circuses and Trains, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, IN
Model Trains On Display This Summer, East Texas Review, Longview, TX
Rail Exhibit Gives Sense Of Corona's Citrus Days, The Press Enterprise, CA
A Model Of What Was, Ocala Star Banner, FL

 

Related Posts
Model Railroading In The News #6
Model Railroading In The News #5
Model Railroading In The News #4

"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.

June 08, 2006

NJ Hobby Shop Up For Auction On eBay

Back in the beginning of April I posted that The CB Train Depot, a train shop in Hillside, NJ,  was being sold by it's owners.  Yesterday, the owners put the shop up for auction on eBay with a starting bid of $65,000.  This one will be interesting to watch.  (I wish I could buy it!)

 

Related Posts
Train Shop For Sale In NJ

June 03, 2006

Model Railroading In The News #6

Model railroading in the news, installment #6.

Landmark Hobby Shop Closes,   Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA
Hornby Tracks Down Foreign Profit, BBC News, UK
"No, I Didn't Have A Train Set As A Boy....", Telegraph, UK
Rail Society Showcases Model Trains, Chico Enterprise Record, Chico, CA
Railroad Buffs Plan Museum In Athens County, The Columbus Dispatch, OH
City Man Puts Mark On Train Set, The Daily Journal, Vineland, NJ
Very Small Trains Delight This Nampa Master Railroader, The Idaho Statesman, ID

"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 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 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 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 19, 2006

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 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 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 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

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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.

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 25, 2006

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.

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.

April 24, 2006

Model Railroading Media Coverage #2

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

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 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

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

 


March 25, 2006

Several New Products "In Stock" on Weaver Web Site

Be sure to check out the Weaver web site becasue they have announced this week that they have several products now in stock.

March 22, 2006

Korber Models O Gauge Products To Be Sold By Walthers

Korber Models, makers of model railroad structures, announced yesterday on their web site that their O Gauge product line will now be available through Walthers, the world's largest distributors of model railroad products.

March 18, 2006

Ready Made Toys Has A New Customer Service Number

As a cost cutting measure, Ready Made Toys has discontinued their 800 customer service number.  You can now contact RMT's customer service at 908-479-1279.  In a post on the O Gauge Railroading forum Walter Matuch, owner of RMT, explained that the savings would be used to increase spending on color print media advertising and new product development.

View Mr. Matuch's post on OGR

 

March 16, 2006

Latest Issue of Lionel's Inside Track "in the mail"

Bob Cosgrove, editor of the Lionel Railroader Club, announced on the OGR forum that the latest issue of Lionel's Inside Track news letter is in the mail.  This must be welcomed news to Lionel Railroader Club members as it has been a long time between issues.  Back on February 7th I posted that Lionel had announced the hiring of Mr. Cosgrove and issued an apology to club members for the delay between issues.  You can join the Lionel Railroader Club by visiting Lionel's website.

March 15, 2006

John H. Armstrong Collection Up For Auction

Bob Charles Auctions will be auctioning off the collection of John H. Armstrong, a noted O Gauge model railroader and author.  Mr. Armstrong authored many books and articles on the subject of model railroading and built what was to become a famous and influential O Scale layout, the Canandaigua Southern Railroad, in the basement of his home.   On line bidding for the pieces in the collection will close on March 23, 2006.  The  live auction will be held on March 24 & 25, 2006 in Harrisburg, PA.  There is a total of 417 lots listed for auction on the  Bob Charles site.

Read the discussion about the auction on the OGR forum

March 11, 2006

Hi Rail Times Reporting Another MTH Lawsuit

D. Railer of Hi Rail Times is reporting today that MTH has filed a patent infringement suit against Lionel.  From Hi Rail Times:

MTH's view is that LIONEL's command controlled trains featuring the Odyssey speed control system with synchronized smoke and sound effects infringe MTH patents.

According to D. Railer the lawsuit asks for $15 million.  Stay tuned.

View the entire article on Hi Rail Times

March 07, 2006

K-Line Web Site Down

If you visit the K-Line website you will get the following message:

The Web Site for K-Line Trains is currently unavailable.  If you have questions regarding the site for K-Line Trains you can contact the web host for information.

The site is still accessible if you link to it beyond the home page.  Click here to get in.

UPDATE:  I missed this yesterday....in a thread on the OGR forum a response from the web host of the K-Line site is posted.  The response indicates that the site was "shut down" due to lack of payment from K-Line.

March 02, 2006

New Catalogs from Lionel and MTH Due Out Soon

Charlie from Nassau Hobby posted on the OGR forum that both Lionel and MTH will be releasing new catalogs soon.  In Lionel's catalog, due out this weekend, he hinted that there will be add ons for the Polar Express.  According to Charlie, the MTH catalog, 2006 Vol. 2 is due out in a "few weeks"

View CharlieNassau's Lionel catalog post on OGR
View CharlieNassau's MTH catalog post on OGR

March 01, 2006

Lionel Makes VH1's List of 100 Most Famous Toys

VH1 will air a show entitled "I Love Toys" in which it will count down the 100 most famous toys from your childhood.  The press release lists the top 90 toys and Lionel Trains come in at #26.  VH1 will air five 1-hour daily episodes starting on March 6 at 10 pm ET/PT continuing until March 10.

View the VH1 press release on Yahoo finance.

February 28, 2006

An "Oldie but Goodie"

Yesterday I found a very informative article about the MTH lawsuit on INC magazine's website.  The article is from February 2005 and is entitled "Train Wreck".  It's worth a read if you haven't seen it yet.

February 25, 2006

2006 East Coast Hobby Show Canceled

The East Coast Hobby Show which was scheduled to take place on March 10, 11, 12, 2006 at the Fort Washington Expo Center in Fort Washington PA has been canceled.  The show's website has the following message:

The East Coast Hobby Show has been canceled for 2006 due to circumstances beyond our control. Please check back with our website for 2007 East Coast Hobby Show date and location.

Please note that the "Great Train Expo" show scheduled for March 18th and 19th has not been canceled.

No news from the promoter's of the event as to why it was canceled but folks are speculating in a post by prrhorseshoecurve on the OGR forum.

Harry Turner, Owner of Largest Mobile Lionel Train Display, Dies

The Post Gazette of Pittsburgh, PA is reporting that Harry Turner passed away at age 63.  Mr. Turner was known for his large mobile train display, The Magical World of Lionel, that he transported around the country in an 18 wheeler.  In 1989, his display made the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest mobile Lionel train display.  Mrs. Turner will be selling the display and states in the article "I'd love to be able to find someone who would take it on as a business and continue the legacy."

Mr. Turner's layout was featured in Volume 2 of "The Magic of Lionel" video series.   

View the entire Post Gazette article.

View the discussion thread on OGR

February 23, 2006

Fred Dole, Editor and Art Director of OGR Retires

O Gauge Railroading Magazine announced yesterday on their forum that Fred Dole, editor and art director of the magazine has decided to retire after 19 years with the magazine. 

View the announcement on the OGR forum

February 20, 2006

UPDATE: Lionel Acela Prices Dropping on eBay

Since my last post on this topic, the price of a Lionel Acela set on eBay is coming done.  Over the past month, the Acela sold for as high as $2,224.99 on 1/29/06.  The lowest price paid to date is $1,609.90 on 2/19/06.  Lionel limited production of the Acela to 2,000 sets and the retail price is $1,999.99.  The chart below shows the Acela prices on eBay since 1/22/06.  Click on the chart for a larger view.

Acelaprices_1


February 17, 2006

Another Statement from Lionel's CEO

Lionel CEO Jerry Calabrese has issued another statement on the Lionel web site today.  The subject of this statement addresses Lionel's reaction to Sun Model Corporation's attempt to liquidate K-Line locomotives.  In the statement Mr. Calabrese explains that Lionel had asked Sun Models to stop shipping models that were covered by a permanent injunction issued by a Federal court when Lionel brought suit against K-Line for stealing it's technology.  The Lionel CEO goes on to explain that Lionel has decided to allow Sun Models to continue to liquidate the models in question "even though we have no legal or moral obligation to do so" in what could be interpreted as a sign of good will toward K-Line fans.

Mr. Calabrese seems to take a shot at K-Line's current owner when he states:

Lionel intends to make K-Line products as part of a larger plan to expand our own middle line offerings that we believe have a greater role in our catalog and overall business –  offerings intended to give more people a chance to own quality Lionel products at many levels.  This includes engines and rolling stock that are more manageable in size and price, but yet strong on value.  Having said that, selling highly detailed, die cast, steam engines that contain state of the art electronics for not much more, or in some cases, less than they cost to make, is a devil’s bargain and not a good deal for anyone.

Manufacturers and dealers who do that kind of business do not survive in the long term.  In their wake they leave broken companies, broken hobbies and broken promises.  Who takes responsibility for unshipped orders and pre-paid deposits?  Who provides service and repairs trains that don’t work?  Who invests in new tooling for next year’s products and keeps the hobby fresh and alive?  Worst of all, this kind of irresponsible opportunism poisons the market for merchants and manufacturers who are committed and deeply invested in the next 20 years of the model train business, not the next 20 minutes.

Read Mr. Calabrese's entire statement on the Lionel web site

 

February 16, 2006

Lionel Announces Takeover of K-Line

In a news flash posted on the Lionel web site today, Jerry Calabrese, Lionel's CEO, announced that Lionel will be taking over K-Line's assets including the brand, tooling and unsold inventory and will be making new products under the K-Line brand.  He also stated that Lionel will make good on all prepaid orders for K-Line club products.

Mr Calabrese also stated that Lionel will be opening a new office and showroom in New York City at 33rd and Madison.

On an unrelated note, Lionel has recently posted an Acela FAQ page on their site.

UPDATE: View the trains.com article

Sun Models Shipping K-Line Locos with Cruise Control

The buzz on the OGR forum is that Sun Model Corporation is shipping the K4 locomotives, originally manufactured for K-Line, with the controversial K-Line cruise control included.  K-Line is in bankruptcy court and was unable to pay Korea Brass, the manufacturer of the models, so they are being sold through Sun Models in an attempt by Korea Brass to recoup manufacturing costs.  O Gauge enthusiasts were hesitant to order these locomotives, at a savings of over 40%, because it was not known if Sun Models would be able to include the cruise control component.  K-Line's use of the cruise control technology was part of the subject of a lawsuit filed against K-Line by Lionel, LLC.  Lionel alleged that K-Line stole the technology from Lionel and was installing it in it's products.  Lionel won the case.  Part of the ruling stated that K-Line could not sell any products that contained the stolen technology.  Cruise control technology keeps the locomotive's speed constant through curves and up grades.

February 15, 2006

Union Pacific is at it Again!

Union Pacific, who recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Lionel and MTH, has filed a similar suit against photographer Nils Huxtable for publishing a calendar.  A group has set up a web site and a legal defense fund to assist Mr. Huxtable in his fight against UP.  Here is an excerpt from the site:

Ron Paludan, working on behalf of the Steamscenes Legal Defense Fund, stated recently, "Union Pacific Railroad Company's use of its vast legal resources is harming Steamscenes, a small company that produces publications that ironically enhance U.P.'s public image. In no way could Union Pacific Railroad Company's calendar and the Steamscenes' calendar be confused, as "A Steamscenes Publication" is printed right on the cover of every calendar. In our opinion, the Union Pacific Railroad's case lacks merit and its interference with Steamscenes' business is unwarranted. We seek to ensure that this suit is settled by revelation of facts and fair application of law, rather than won by the company who has the most financial resources.".

UPDATE 2/16/06:  More information on this story can be found in the  2/15/06 edition of the Trains.com newswire.

February 14, 2006

Norm Charbonneau is Blogging

Norm Charbonneau, a celebrated O Gauge modeler that I have posted about in the past has started a blog. It's called Norm's Train Blog.   It should be an interesting read.   Norm's layout is unbelievably realistic so be sure to check out the photos posted on his website.  Looking at one of his latest photos it is hard to believe it's not a scene from a real town.  In Norm's first blog entry he announces that his layout will be featured in Issue #29 of O Scale Trains magazine due out around November of '06.

February 10, 2006

Atlas Responds to Switch Issues

Tom Haedrich, Chairman/CEO of Atlas O, LLC and Atlas Model Railroad company, through a post Atlas' O Scale Model Railroad forum, responds to  posts on the O Gauge forums, including their own, that question the quality of Atlas' switches and Atlas' commitment to fixing them.   In Mr. Haedrich's response, he admits that there have been a number of problems with their Atlas O switches, all of which have been rectified.  The post states:

Some noted Atlas O problems relate back to the insufficient rail joiners that arrived with the first shipment of O track back in 1997. Atlas O quickly redeveloped that rail joiner and supplied free replacements that consisted of a heavier stock and redesigned joiner. We found the initial switch machines were not stable enough and so we quickly

Continue reading "Atlas Responds to Switch Issues" »

February 09, 2006

The Latest K-Line Update

A post on OGR Forum contained details about K-Line's December '05 financial filing with the North Carolina federal bankruptcy court.  Points of interest include:

  • 19 employees terminated in month of December
  • Maury Klein was paid $8,882 and Anna Szajnert-Klein was paid $8,822 for the month
  • K-Line's law firm was paid $40,037

Also, I found a comprehensive breakdown of the Lionel vs K-Line and Lionel vs MTH lawsuits on the Lionel Operating Train Society web site written by Erol Gurcan, Esquire (the same Erol that is passing info about the cases to Charlie of Nassau Hobbies).  The write up is not new, seems to have been posted in mid 2005 but it's worth a read if you are interested in the details of the Lionel cases.  Here is an excerpt from Mr. Gurcan's report:

"Lionel claims that Grubba, its former director of engineering, with the knowledge and consent of his current employer K-Line, knowingly schemed, conspired contracted and acted as a liaison with then Lionel senior electrical engineer Marty Pierson, to provide K-Line with Lionel's technology, consisting of trade secrets and copyrighted  computer circuits."

View OGR discussion about K-Line's December filing

View write up of Lionel's lawsuit with K-Line and MTH on Lionel Operating Train Society site

February 08, 2006

2006 MTH Ready to Run Catalog Now Online

MTH has posted their new 2006 Ready to Run catalog on-line today.  There is a new Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer set which is interesting and the tin plate offereings are very nice. 

View the MTH Ready to Run Catalog

Toys Trains Get Mentioned on Engadget Blog

Many of you may be familiar with Engadget.com.  It's a blog that reviews all types of gadgets and things.  Well, on Feb 6th they posted a entry about Hornby Trains and how they are now offering digital control for their trains.  Engadget thought this was unique, but as all you O Gauge fans know, it is not.  The post's comments section is filled with people trying to set the record straight and most do a bad job of it.  It's worth a look.

View the Engadget blog post about Hornby Trains

February 07, 2006

Lionel Apologizes to Lionel Club Members

In a "News Flash" communication to Lionel Club members found on the company's website, Mark Erickson of Lionel's marketing department issues an apology to Lionel Club members.  In the statement, Mr. Erickson apologizes for the length of time between issues of Lionel Inside Track, the club magazine and what most people feel is the real benefit from club membership.  He also announced that Bob Cosgrove has been hired to the Editor-in-Chief post to oversee production of the magazine to ensure the magazine is produced in a timely fashion.  Lionel will be producing an extra issue of the magazine this year.

Read the Lionel "News Flash"

February 05, 2006

Working' on the Railroad

DIY Network has a TV show devoted to Model Railroading.  The show, Workin' on the Railroad,  is hosted by Chris Chianelli, RC fans will recognize Chris from DIY's Radio Controlled Hobbies show.  Airtime for the show on DIY is Saturdays at 8:30 am EST and 11:30 am EST (repeat broadcast). 

Visit the Workin' on the Railroad on the DIY site.

Visit the post on OGR about this show.

February 03, 2006

Building a 4x8 Layout Live on the Web

This post has nothing to do with O Gauge but it's worth noting.  Model Railroader magazine will be building a 4x8 HO layout during the week of February 6th and they are inviting everyone to follow their progress live over the web through Model Railroader's web cam.   Here's an excerpt from the Model Railroader blog:

Welcome to the Model Railroader Weblog. February 6 through 10 should be pretty exciting around here as the MR staff builds its latest project railroad from start to finish in a single week. A web cam set up in our workshop will allow you to watch the project unfold via live streaming video. If you happen to miss a day, a time-lapse video archive will also be available. 

Visit the Model Railroader blog

Visit the Model Railroader web cam

 

January 28, 2006

Lionel's Acela Set Showing Up in Hobby Shops

The buzz around the O Gauge forums indicates that some hobby shops have taken delivery of Lionel's new Acela sets.  No pictures or videos posted on the web yet but stayed tuned.

Criticism of UP Lawsuit Against MTH

A reader of the Coshocton Tribune, a small town paper in Ohio, had some poignant criticism of Union Pacific's lawsuit against MTH Electric trains.  UP is suing MTH for unauthorized use of it's company logo.  The reader writes:

As I have been a railroad fan for many years, this action by Monstro (the UP whale) to gobble the few minnows of profit earned by small model makers sickens me to the point of nausea. The modest profits of companies like Lionel, MTH and others probably total a miniscule percent of UP's income. And yet, UP can't muster an atom of goodwill toward an industry which has kept UP's name and logo in the forefront for decades (not to mention all the free advertising).

Read the entire article at the Conshocton Tribune

January 26, 2006

Former K-Line Employees Start a Blog

During my endless searching for O-Gauge news on the internet, I found a blog site entitiled "For Former MDK Employees".  An excerpt from a post reads:

This site really is meant for us to keep up with each other and what is going on at MDK. It only works if we make sure others see it and share what we want to share. Pass this on to anyone who hasn't seen it.

Visit the "For Former MDK Employees" blog.

Send Your "Beep" and "Buddy" Pictures to RMT

Walter Matuch of RMT posted on OGR that RMT is accepting photos of customer's RMT "Beep" and "Buddy" trains through a new section on the RMT web site entitled CUSTOMER COMMENTS and PHOTOS

Ready Walter's post on OGR Forum.

January 25, 2006

Ex Lionel Executive Lands at Rokenbok Toys

Members of OGR and CTT forums are reporting that James W. Brady, former head of marketing at Lionel, has been appointed CEO of Rokenbok Toys.  This seems to be old news from 1/16/06 (I missed it when it came out) according to an article on Playthings.com. 

More details on Playthings.com

"Tracks Ahead" back for 6th Season

Trains.com is reporting that Tracks Ahead, a public television TV show about trains big and small will be airing shows for a 6th season.

Tracks Ahead, the Milwaukee Public Television production that tells stories about trains and the people who love them across the world, will begin its sixth season Saturday, Jan. 14, at 5:30 p.m. on MPTV-10 in Milwaukee. It is scheduled to uplink to other Public TV stations nationwide on February 15th (check your local listings).

Read the entire article on Trains.com

January 24, 2006

New Post on Hi-Rail Times

The day after Clyde Coil (AKA the legendary rocker and minority owner of Lionel?) posted some not so kind remarks about Lionel's choice of motors in their new Post War Celebration offerings, a new post by "D.Railer" sings the praises of the Lionel catalog. 

Read the post on Hi-Rail Times

January 23, 2006

Model Train Layout Stolen in Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch reported yesterday that a trailer containing modules for a rural layout was stolen....

The meticulously detailed model was the backdrop for an N-scale model railroad track and was stolen from the 25-member Central Ohio N-trak Club sometime Wednesday or Thursday, said club secretary Craig Sonnen.

Stored outside 3840 N. High St., the trailer had been broken into twice before, but nothing was taken, he said.

Stronger locks were installed, but they couldn’t stop thieves from making off with the entire single-axle utility trailer, said Sonnen. The trailer has Ohio license plate SPD 7907. The trailer and its contents — 12 modules, each from 2 feet to 8 feet long — have an estimated value of $5,000, according to the club.

Read the entire story at the Columbus Dispatch web site.

Read the thread by Buckeye Riveter on CTT forum.

January 20, 2006

Lionel's Acela Set will Ship on 1/23/06

Charlienassau on OGR posted a list of items Lionel will be shipping on 1/23. The long awaited Acela set is on the list.

Read the entire post on OGR

January 18, 2006

K-Line Update

Charlie, the owner of Nassau Hobbies has been an invaluable source of information concerning the sale of K-Line assets.  Charlie has obtained information directly from the bankruptcy attorney, Terri Gardner, handling the K-Line case and has been keeping everyone updated through his post on the OGR forum.  Charlie's received his latest K-Line update through what appears to be his lawyer.  The post reads as follows:

Charlie-I just got off the phone with K-Line’s bankruptcy attorney Terri Gardner. She stated there was a conference this morning with the bankruptcy judge and with Sanda Kan’s attorney participating. Sanda Kan was approved to pay K-Line’s expenses for the period between December 23, 2005 and January 13, 2006. Additional funding by Sanda Kan and Merrill Lynch, the primary secured creditor, to underwrite K-Line’s operating expenses to January 31, 2006 has also been put into place. As you will recall, Ms. Gardner previously told me she that hoped the sale of assets would be completed by the end of January. She still expects that to happen. K-Line is currently operating with a small number of employees, although most were recently laid off.

When I asked Ms. Gardner about Mr. Allen Harper’s current status in purchasing the company, she stated he has not taken any action since just after Christmas ( a period of three weeks). It would appear he is now out of the picture. In other words, if a sale of assets goes through in the next two weeks, at least at this point in time, Sanda Kan will be purchasing K-Lines assets.

Erol B. Gurcan
Senior Trial Attorney

Read Charlie's entire post on OGR Forum.

2006 Lionel Catalog Revealed Early

The Lionel Catalog, set for release at midnight on 1/18, was discovered to be available well prior to the midnight launch by an astute O Gauge RR forum participant.  Mark of Mojomark.com discovered the link as a result of some information he gleaned from Lionel's website when Lionel inadvertently posted a catalog link prematurely on 1/17.

Read the entire entry on Mojomark.com

January 17, 2006

New Lionel Catalog - Access Denied

UPDATE:  Lionel has fixed their site and the countdown is back.  Release is set for midnight tonight.  Thanks for the update Mark M.

The Lionel website, which has been counting down the days, hours, minutes to the release of the new catalog,  proclaims that the new catalog is now available for viewing.  Clicking on the link returns "You are not authorized to view this page".  Nice job Lionel.

View the Lionel website.

January 12, 2006

2006 Lionel Catalog

The home page of www.lionel.com has a clock counting down the minutes to the release of the 2006 catalog.  The catalog will be released on 1/17.

K-Line Rumors Flying Around the Web

Seems like everyone has sources that are revealing who is going to happen to K-Line.  Rumors and speculation I've read to date include the following buyers:

MTH - possible
Lionel - in bankruptcy so probably not true
An Italian HO firm - huh?

January 10, 2006

K-Line Cancels "February Fair Days"

According to K-Line's web site, their "February Fair Days", a show to be held in Raleigh, NC,  has been cancelled.  The website reads:

Due to the uncertainty concerning our future direction, February Fair Days 2006 has regrettably been cancelled.

January 06, 2006

Atlas Trains to Increase Prices by 10%

Received an email today from Atlas stating that prices of their products will increase by 10% on February 1st.  Get you orders in now before the increase.  The email reads:

Dear Atlas O Consumer,

Atlas O will increase prices in 2006. The approximate 10% increase will affect all track, structures, layouts and accessories.

Now for some good news! Atlas O will not be raising prices until February 1, 2006. You have a great opportunity from now till the end of January to contact your favorite Atlas O hobby shop stock up on all track, structures, layouts and accessories at the old prices. Some items are limited so don’t delay.

We appreciate your continued support of the fine products available through Atlas O and Atlas Model Railroad Company and we look forward to providing for future railroad needs.

Union Pacific Sues MTH

From the Sun Sentinel's Business Section today:

Union Pacific Corp., the biggest U.S. railroad by sales, sued to stop the nation's second-largest model-train maker from using logos for the Union Pacific and other rail lines it owns. The lawsuit seeks damages from closely held Mike's Train House Inc., based in Columbia, Md. Mike's Train House, owned by MTH Electric Trains, pushed larger rival Lionel LLC into bankruptcy in 2004 by winning a suit over theft of trade secrets.

Read the entire article in the Sun Sentinel.

Read the thread on OGR Forum.

January 03, 2006

Pioneering Hobby Shop Closing It's Doors

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Chicago based Trost Modelcraft and Hobbies is closing it's doors today.  The founder, Mike Trost, is considered by some to be the founder of the American hobby industry.  Mr Trost passed away in 2002, leaving his son Roy to run the shop.  The shop, once very popular for it's Lionel trains and slot cars, has roots that date back to 1928. 

Read the entire Chicago Sun Times article.

O Gauge a "Blood Sport"

This paragraph from an article in the Edmonton Journal sums up the current state of affairs in the O Gauge industry:

Railroad companies are doing remarkably well everywhere but in miniature, Fortune Small Business (December) reports. "After years of placid tinkering in the basement, the model-train industry has become entangled in lawsuits alleging industrial espionage," the small-business magazine says. Suits and countersuits have flown back and forth among industry legend Lionel, MTH Electric Trains and industry marketer K-LINE Electric Trains.

"This used to be a gentleman's business," Lionel CEO Jerry Calabrese told FSB. "But in the last decade it's become very ugly." Author Neil Besougloff says an aging customer base, a supply glut and a technology arms race "have turned Uncle Fred's hobby into a blood sport."

Read the entire Edmonton Journal article.

January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year of O Guage railroading!

December 31, 2005

Clyde Awards

Clyde Coil over at Hi-Rail times has just published his 2005 "Clyde Awards".  See them here.

To Bag or Not to Bag

Lot's of discussion on the OGR forum about Run 213 of O Gauge Railroading magazine.  It was sent without being wrapped in a poly bag and people are complaining.  OGR is looking for input from it's subscribers through a poll posted on the OGR forum.  OGR wants to do away with the bag so if you need a pristine copy of each OGR run and don't mind a slight price increase for the bag then you better take part in their poll and vote for the bag.

Participate in the OGR poll.

December 28, 2005

O Gauge in Iraq!

The OGR forum has posted a picture of an O Gauge layout built by a soldier in Iraq.  Apparently, several prominent individuals/companies in the industry donated parts of the layout.  OGR is planning to do a story in an upcoming issue of OGR magazine. 

Read the forum post and see a photo on the OGR Forum.

December 27, 2005

O Gauge in the Washington Post

In an article entitled "The Rail Thing", the Washington Post dispels many myths about O Gauge model trains including the believe that they are just for kids.  The article goes on to state some interesting statistics about the demographics of those "kids" that are spending millions on O Gauge trains and accessories every year.  Mike Wolf of MTH states that the average age of an MTH customer is 52 years and are lawyers and doctors reliving their childhood.  It also touches on some of the technological advances made in the O Gauge hobby in recent years.

Read the entire article on the Washington Post.

December 26, 2005

K-Line KO'd?

Rumors were flying on the OGR Forum on 12/22 about K-Line shutting down it's operations and locking out it's employees.  The rumors proved to be false but it's apparent that K-LINE's attempt to take on the big boys, Lionel and MTH, head on has failed.  This year's settlement of a dispute with Lionel over stolen technology (Clyde over at www.CoilCouplers.com  has the details of the case - 3/4 down on the page) where K-LINE admitted wrong doing and agreed to pay monitary penalties seems to have been the final blow.   In a statement posted by K-Line's Jeff Cohen  on the OGR Forum next day, he confirmed that K-LINE has cut back operations in anticipation of a sale of assets to an unnamed party.  I liked K-LINE's products and I'm sorry to see this happen, especially during the time of year when model railroading is at it's hottest.  Mr. Cohen's statement made on the OGR Forum is posted below.

K-LINE is currently operating with a reduced staff over the next few weeks in anticipation of a sale of the assets of the company. A sale of assets to Sanda Kan, K-LINE’s primary manufacturing vendor and largest secured creditor, had been imminent throughout the fall, however, it has not happened. Another party is also interested in purchasing the company, however, it may be the end of January before anything is finalized.

Continue reading "K-Line KO'd?" »

Weaver Models - Made in the USA

I came across a nice article touting how Weaver still manufactures it's O Gauge trains in the US.  The company employs 20 and Joseph Hayter, owner and president, speaking to why Weaver's has been so successful  stated

"It's our responsiveness to customer needs and our ability to produce small runs"

It's refreshing to read that a company has been able to construct a business model that allows it to be successful in the hobby while still manufacturing product in the US. 

Read the entire AP article.

The Holiday Rush

The Sacramento Bee published an interesting article that gives some insight into what the holidays mean to hobby shop owners and how the current state of the O Gauge industry is affecting shop owners.

Read the Sacramento Bee article.

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