By STEVE WILLIS/Cowcatcher Magazine Many model railroad and rail enthusiasts have plans to attend an upcoming regional NMRA convention. Whether it’s the Mid-Continent Region Convention in Omaha, the Lone Star Region meet in Arlington, TX, or the Rocky Mountain Region Convention in Colorado Springs, there’s plenty to get excited about. These conventions offer a world of attractions. Well-known modelers who can help you do anything from painting locomotives to scratch building turnouts are ready to teach. Contests spotlight exquisite models that have taken months to build, all vying for Best in Show. Friendships are made and renewed. Personally, I love the layout tours. Building a layout is the ultimate expression of model railroading. It demonstrates skill plus shows the hobby’s dynamic nature: running trains. A regional convention features the best examples of the layout art. Visiting famous layouts is too good to pass up. Seeing a railroad like the Virginian…
Category: Model Railroading
H. Lee Riley, whose innovations in model railroading spanned simple to complex in 29 years with Bachmann Trains, died Friday, March 4, in Philadelphia just weeks after announcing his retirement. Riley, Bachmann’s vice president of product development, was well known in model railroading circles and achieved some of the industry’s top honors. In 2004 he was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Association Hall of Fame. An active member of the NMRA, he also received its Pioneer Award. Riley led development of Bachmann’s top-of-the-line Spectrum brand of cars and locomotives and created the E-Z Track system. His name is on a number of patents for track and controllers. He was instrumental in popularizing On30 narrow-gauge railroading and was a member of the Narrow Gauge Hall of Fame. Richard Janyszek, Hobby Manufacturers Association president and Bachmann senior vice president sales and marketing, said Riley’s knowledge of the model railroading industry was…
A long-running model railroad show in East Texas is taking a station stop. Bill Pyle, chairman of the 2015 Longview Model Train Show, announced today that the show won’t go on as planned in March because of “circumstances beyond my control.” He said notifications are being sent to vendors and clubs who were scheduled to participate at the annual show hosted by Junction & East Texas Train Society (J.E.T.T.S.). The event was set for March 7-8 at the Fairgrounds Exhibit Building. Pyle, one of about a half-dozen of the original organizers, decided Tuesday to cancel the event, which has annually attracted vendors and model railroad layouts from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. While he didn’t elaborate on specific reasons, he said that declining attendance in recent years has been an issue. For years, the show was well attended and a source for locals to buy and sell trains. At its peak…
Fox Valley Models took a turn from its usual focus on N scale products and announced Friday at the National Train Show in Cleveland a new GP60 locomotive series in HO. FVM will run GP60Ms and GP60B diesels in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; BNSF Heritage and Maersk. GP60s will be released in early and late versions of Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Norfolk Southern; Southern Pacific and St. Louis Southwestern.. N scale models will also be offered. All are expected to begin arriving in the fall. FVM released GP60M and GP60B locomotives in N scale last year. After their releases, the model maker received numerous inquiries to produce the model in HO scale, says President Matt Gaudynski. The models feature numerous separately applied parts and details that include metal grab irons and lift rings, see-through fans, MU hoses and cables, brass bells and horns and detailed trucks and underbodies. Models will be available in DC (DCC…
James Pekarek joked that his hands and wrist would probably need medical attention. Every few minutes, he turned the key and wound vintage locomotives that pulled a handful of cars around a couple of loops of track. When the trains stopped, another quick wind revved them up again. The trains, on display at March’s Ozarks Model Railroad Association spring train show in Springfield, MO., offered a glimpse of early-day model railroading that didn’t require the then-luxury of electricity. “I got my first train set when I was 2½ years old,” said the Strafford, MO, resident, who also dabbles in 12-gauge railroading (a hand-built Frisco caboose flanked the windup display). “These are kind of a forgotten thing, and I like them because they represent basic fun. I like to buy them and fix them up.” Pekarek, 43, estimates that he has about seven dozen locomotives. He relished a find at the…
Michael Stephens, Walthers’ Vice President of Proprietary Products, died Tuesday after a long illness, according to a company statement issued today. Stephens, 59, spent much of his life in the model railroading industry, working first at age 14 to help his dad, Hugh, in the family’s model train importing business, Amro Ltd. in Cedarburg, WI. He advanced to senior level management with Kalmbach Publishing and Athearn Trains before joining Walthers in 2010. In the mid-1970s, Stephens took his first position with Kalmbach Publishing, starting as a researcher for Airliners International magazine. His career path took him into both advertising and marketing for various Milwaukee-based agencies, eventually bringing him back to Kalmbach in 1998 as vice president of marketing. While at Kalmbach, Stephens was instrumental in creating the firm’s online presence, and helped develop and guide the World’s Greatest Hobby promotion campaign, sponsored by Walthers, Kalmbach and several other model railroad…
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The fourth generation of leadership took charge at Wm. K. Walthers Inc., in September when Phil Walthers handed off to daughter Stacey Walthers Naffah. Managing the company into model railroading’s future prompted Naffah to take the helm. Like her grandfather, Naffah is operating a hobby business at a time when technology competes for the world’s leisure time. She believes the answer may be to get the next generation of model railroaders involved by meeting them on their own turf.
One Final Ride
Thousands waving American flags and snapping photos on their cellphones lined rights-of-way from Spring to College Station, TX, on a cold gray day to bid farewell to the nation’s 41st president as he took one last ride on the rails. A 13-car Union Pacific train that had been 10 years in planning and headed by his namesake locomotive carried the body of George H.W. Bush to his final resting place, next to his wife of 73 years, Barbara, on Dec. 6 at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
State of the Hobby: Readers rate the state of model railroading good based on value, selection and quality…
Steam returns to the Alamo City with the restoration of the Texas Transportation Museum’s 1925 Baldwin 0-4-0…
Project layout: Scenery and technology bring to life the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific HO-scale shelf layout.
BONUS WEB COVERAGE: Learn more behind the making of Main Street in Downtown Norwood on the Cowcatcher’s project layout, the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific Railroad…
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Locomotives and rolling stock once again dominated new offerings announced by manufacturers at the NMRA National Train Show. Among them were ScaleTrains.com’s new SD40-T2 Tunnel Motor locomotives that feature see-through radiator grilles.
Walthers Layout Control System Switch Machine
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