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…
Category: Model Railroading
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…
The U.S. model hobby industry, like the economy, is making a slow but meaningful recovery, according to a recent survey of manufacturers and distributors. The Hobby Manufacturers Association announced today that the industry’s projected sales grew 3 percent in 2012 at $1.31 billion compared to actual sales in 2011 of $1.265 billion. However, revenues reported in HMA’s third U.S. Model Hobby Industry Study lagged the $1.47 billion in 2010 and $1.379 billion in 2009. “The 2011 actual sales of model hobby products show a 9 percent decrease from the 2009 actual sales reported by survey respondents,” HMA President Fred Hill said in a statement. “This decrease in sales was due in large part to the industry’s later recovery from the economic recession that impacted other industries in 2008 and 2009. Our industry also saw more mergers and consolidations among member manufacturers and an increase in more web-based sellers of hobby…
The World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour, a popular show that introduces model railroading to the general public, likely will reach an attendance milestone in 2013, and either Fort Worth, TX or St. Louis, MO could be in on the celebration. WGH on Tour announced in July that the one millionth attendee will be recognized at one of its four shows next year. Since opening in 2004 with one show in Edison, NJ, WGH on Tour has attracted 968,285 and averaged more than 25,000 per show. For the first time in four years, the show makes return engagements to Fort Worth and St. Louis, and one is likely to mark No. 1,000,000. Fort Worth starts the slate on Jan. 5-6 at Will Rogers Memorial Center, followed by St. Louis at America’s Center Jan. 12-13. San Diego, CA (Feb. 9-10) and Sacramento (Feb. 23-24) complete the schedule. Unless Fort Worth has a better turnout than it did…
Keith Edwards, who co-founded Kadee Quality Products Co., passed away Thursday at a Medford, OR hospital of natural causes. He was 91. In 1940, Edwards co-founded Kadee Quality Products Co., best-known for its HO-scale coupling devices, with his twin brother, Dale. By the early 1960s, the brothers began to manufacture their Magne-Matic® coupler system in N scale. Gradually, the company added wheels, trucks and under frames to their product line. In 1972, Keith Edwards led the company’s efforts in N and Z scales to form Micro-Trains Line Co., a separate division that at first specialized in N scale trains, Magne-Matic® couplers and accessories. Eventually added to the product line, were cars and couplers in Nn3 scale, and Z scale were eventually added. In 1996, Edwards joined his brother as a member of the Hobby Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame. Four years later, Keith Edwards retired. “Keith inspired all of us…
Current Issue: Nov/Dec 2022
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
With some painting and hand-crafting, workers come to life and improve a scene on the On3 Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington model railroad. Owner and Master Model Railroader Pete Leach, a frequent Cowcatcher contributor, explains how he studied the techniques of others to improve the appearance of two figures in a secondary scene on the layout. The final product is now a featured spot on the WW&F.
Railroad in Focus: The NDW
The Meteor had to make tracks to beat the Katy from St. Louis to Oklahoma City in November 1946. Pat Hiatte records the action on his trek across the U.S. in the golden age of passenger travel.
A solid year since model train shows have returned, the new Great American Train Shows is drawing crowds similar to those before the pandemic. …
Travel on Amtrak and public transit rail lines is moving closer to a full return of levels prior to the onset of covid-19. …
Model railroaders should be thankful they are part of this hobby and think before complaining, says columnist Michelle Kempema. …
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Product News & Review
InterMountain HO ADM Corn Syrup Car
The Cowcatcher reviews InterMountain Railway Co.’s newly released HO-scale Trinity Industries 19,600-gallon corn syrup car. The tank car is one of several in the company’s second release.
Railroad in Focus
Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad
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