6

Is time our hobby’s real enemy?

Posted 2 days ago by Bob Keller
What is the greatest foe to the hobby of model railroading?  High prices?  Video games?  Young people who don’t know what’s good for them?  Nope. To me, the biggest enemy to model railroading is time.  But it isn’t just model railroading. Traditional hobbies, traditional print publishing, and even traditional television are reeling from systematic change that nobody really understands or knows how to counter (if it is preventable). Everyone...
0

CTT issue no. 1 now available as a digital download

Posted 8 days ago by Bob Keller
The hobby and Classic Toy Trains magazine have experienced quite a few changes in the last three decades. Our very first issue is now available as a digital download!  Hey, I'm the product guy and nobody told me! Yikes.  You can see where it all began and take a trip down memory lane with vintage trains and vintage ads from long-gone shops.  You'll also note changes in graphics and how we present stories now, versus in days passed. Heck, I'm, starting to get a little sniffly!...
4

Hail to the chief: RR Headquarters building from Menards

Posted 14 days ago by Bob Keller
    Hail to the Chief, baby  Is it wrong to feel, well, giddy when you open a product box?  If it is, then, I plead guilty. At a time when you wonder what could Menards do that would top the York Hotel Royale, well, they top it. Other than a cryptic “O World Headquarters” on the shipping notification I received, I had no idea what the building might be. But the size of the box and the photo on the side got the heart racing. “Holy cow,” was my ...
0

Wrap up of the week

Posted 15 days ago by Bob Keller
A few odds and ends to finish the week! And you may yet see one more HUMONGOUS blog post before the day is out! ...
0

Ride in a Sally's ride! Sally's Restorations from Menards

Posted 16 days ago by Bob Keller
If you have watched reality shows like Pawn Stars, American Restorations, or especially Counting Cars, you know that vintage wheels can be pretty hot candidates for restoration (and being re-sold for considerably more than their original new-from-the-factory price). Menards taps into this movement with the no. 279-4032 Sally’s Restoration Shop where new life is breathed into old Ford Mustangs. The structure features an illuminated showroom with three cars and an additional two cars par...
3

Menards update 09/27

Posted 24 days ago by Bob Keller
Received a box of goodies from Menards last week ... I still have two items that have not been announced yet, but here are some nifty products that are available now! Six railroad herald and two new 1:48 die-cast box trucks. The trucks are for Jack Links and Penske Rentals. Go to www.Menards.com/trains for more information. And since we all know Jack Links for their beef jerky and their Messin' with Sasquatch commercials, here is a link to their 10 best "Messin'" commercials. cs_set...
5

The York Hotel Royale mega-structure from Menards!

Posted one month ago by Bob Keller
A few issues back I wrote a review called “Rise of the Mega Structures.” Little did I know that the product designers at Menards were just getting warmed up! I have got to say that it is thrilling to be surprised, seemingly every few weeks, by receiving a box from Menards with something in it that falls into the “Nobody will ever do that in O,” category. This is another one of those times. Not just a hotel, but a giant structure. The no. 279-3973 York Hotel Royale has...
0

All-Star Electric Trains ships to the printer!

Posted one month ago by Bob Keller
This year’s annual special interest publication from Classic Toy Trains is on the way to the printer! All-Star Electric Trains salutes 30 years of toy train history with Classic Toy Trains magazine. Shown here are some photos I took at the SIP’s “pin up” several weeks ago. A pin up is where the Art Department meets with the editorial staff and shows them the provisional story layouts. These are literally pinned up on a wall.  The stories are posted in the order...
7

Something is up in the workshop (Updated Wednesday 10:30 a.m.)

Posted one month ago by Bob Keller
Those guys from Model Railroader Video Plus are up to something down in the workshop! Hey, I wondered who hijacked the Menards buildings! Why that's the MTH police station from our closet, too! No wonder the workshop "Stay out" sign is posted! There is probably somewhere on-line that they can be observed live streamed ... ...
0

Get thee to a bus barn! The O gauge Bus Garage from Menards

Posted one month ago by Bob Keller
As any veteran of riding one of those slow, yellow greyhounds to and from school – and who might have left their textbooks on it, the only place you can retrieve it is (Dum-Dah) the school bus barn! Thanks to Menards, the kiddies can now see where their bus is maintained, cleaned, and just maybe where they can find that O scale text or homework assignment they forgot! The no 279-4033 O Gauge Bus Garage is a nifty structure that appears to utilize some of the design elements of the no. 2...
4

Ending a high-intensity week

Posted one month ago by Bob Keller
It has been a wild couple of weeks. We’ve had deadlines for the November issue (on the way to the printer), our annual special issue (finalizing the story layouts), and a half dozen other things getting ready for the December issue.   Sometimes you just have to wander down the hall and run trains in a circle for a bit to clear the mind! Oh, and a trip to Sommerfeld's Trains up in Butler to pick something up doesn't hurt either! ...
0

CTT's Anniversary Boxcar is in the house!

Posted one month ago by Bob Keller
Our custom-run, Made in the U.S. of A. 30th Anniversary boxcar from Lionel is in our warehouse now! The car, no. 69013, features die-cast metal sprung trucks and couplers, opening doors, and O-27 operation. The car costs $89.99 plus shipping. Order online at: www.KalmbachHobbyStore.com/Boxcar Check out our video of Bob unwrapping the boxcar! ...
2

Rene visits the Titletown Brewing Co.

Posted 2 months ago by Rene Schweitzer
Note: click on any photo to enlarge More vacation photos ahead! After the visit to the National Railroad Museum, we stopped at Titletown Brewing Company (a mere 3 miles away). Bob Keller had suggested visiting because their beers have won awards, and it's located in the former Chicago & NorthWestern Railroad depot. We stopped and learned that the brewery is in one building, and the restaurant is across the street in the depot. You can take a tour of the brewery and/or eat at the restaurant...
4

Rene visits the National Railroad Museum again

Posted 2 months ago by Rene Schweitzer
I was on vacation last week and I took a bunch of photos for blog posts that I'm excited to share! You might remember that Jim and I visited the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay about one year ago. If you missed that post, check it out here. Lots of good photos there. Note: Click on any photo to enlarge. We both took a week of vacation and returned to the museum (along with other places). I was particularly interested in their special display of railroad china, and I was not disappoi...
11

Train songs: Readers' picks

Posted 2 months ago by Rene Schweitzer
We've compiled some of the train songs our readers suggested in comments and on Facebook. Enjoy and keep the suggestions coming! Midnight Flyer by the Eagles cs_setInnerHtml('video_e456dc5f-5f14-4c70-a7c1-3dfc840f85db',''); Southern Pacific by Neil Young cs_setInnerHtml('video_c50bd6ac-517c-4d8d-ba55-72e320ebee5a',''); Wabash Cannonball by Roy Acuff cs_setInnerHtml('video_7d1294ea-8484-4644-8f4d-710ebbf0fde8',''); City of New Orleans (Willie Nelson version) cs_setInnerHtml...
7

So, what have I been buying this year?

Posted 2 months ago by Bob Keller
I have more rolling stock than I’ll ever need. Sure there is a heavy skewing toward the New York Central, but you'd also the familiar roadnames that I saw as a kid: Pennsylvania, Nickel Plate, Erie, and a few others. So when I add new cars to the fleet, it tends to be in surges and the price must be right. This is because I am, generally, a self-proclaimed tightwad. Oh, I’ll entertain the concept of paying $100 for a freight car but I’d be happier paying under $30 for it. Ac...
1

HIMARS to the rescue

Posted 3 months ago by Bob Keller
The latest addition to the Menards line of military cars is the no. 279-3964  military flatcar with High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher. The removable vehicle has a launcher that can be rotated and elevate and costs $19.99 plus shipping. The car is also available in the no. 279-3965  six-pack for $69.96 plus shipping. Order online at www.Menards.com/trains and select free shipment to your local Menards store. Check out this link showing a HIMARS ...
1

MTH BL2 diesel on the test track

Posted 3 months ago by Bob Keller
One of the most unusual diesels to come out of EMD was the BL-2 diesel. Designated a branch line (Hence the BL) locomotive, The styling was "postwar graceful," and while the locomotive never caught on, some were operated into the 1980s. Here is the MTH Premier line no.  20-20697-1 Florida East Coast locomotive in the Champion livery. The model costs $499.95. See but MTH retailer or go to www.mthtrains.com for more information. ...
2

Container well cars from Menards

Posted 3 months ago by Bob Keller
I'll brag that I usually have a box of buildings and freight cars from Menards handy, that I shoot for Product News and put up on the blog. But when the new no. 279-3688 TTX container car with two containers was announced I was a total surprise. I broke out the plastic to order a pair and they arrived at my local Menards store over the 4th of July weekend. The car was well-protected for shipment and the car comes with extra "pegs" to secure the top container to the lower container.  Th...
0

New CTT billboard! (Updated w/new photos)

Posted 3 months ago by Bob Keller
Wow, go on vacation for a week and new stuff slips into the company store without my being aware of it. Check out our new billboard from Town & Country Hobbies. Just $10 plus shipping. Check it out.  https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/layout-accesory/69014 When I find one, I'll post more pics! ...
4

Three new military freight cars from Menards

Posted 4 months ago by Bob Keller
There is no shortage of air defense gear available in the latest O gauge releases from Menards. Just released are the no. 279-3384 11 ½-inch flatcar with half-track load for $29.99. The car has a painted deck, a half-track armored car and two pallets with artillery shells. The vehicle had a quad .50 caliber machinegun (great for anti-aircraft or anti-personnel use). The car is also available in the 279-3385 four-pack for $88.96 four-pack.  Next up is the no. 279-3691 14 ¾ i...
1

Bob's train-themed tune list

Posted 4 months ago by Bob Keller
In the battle of the railroad playlists here is my merry mix. These are all songs I have on my iPod though scattered in several playlists (no, the only railroad playlist I have are train sounds from old LPs).  cs_setInnerHtml('video_ba25b160-ec39-46df-8fe5-b5a9167774d9',''); SAXON: The British metal band Saxon may have written the best song about a steam locomotive, ever! cs_setInnerHtml('video_3723b25c-c577-4a88-ac4a-56db024a2bcb',''); B.T. EXPRESS: Nice, fast tempo song suggesting...
2

UPS was busy!

Posted 4 months ago by Bob Keller
As they say, when it rains ... I received two big boxes of O gauge power from distribution today: A box from Atlas O with two Santa Fe F7s inside and a box from MTH with five diesels and one steamer inside. As we go to our Fall issues, it looks like Product Reviews will be very colorful!!! ...
7

Train songs: Rene's 10 picks

Posted 4 months ago by Rene Schweitzer
About a year ago, Bob Keller and I tossed around an idea of doing a post about train songs. I found a Wikipedia page about train songs and was blown away by the quantity of songs. . .and the idea faded away. The other day, Bob learned that our sister publication, Trains, is doing stories about train songs in their September 2017 issue. We'll each be doing a post about train songs we like. Some you will likely already know of, but others may be new. I even found one that's not listed on the Wikip...
2

You’re In The Pepsi Generation

Posted 4 months ago by Bob Keller
Menards will help quench the thirst of the residents of your O gauge Traintown with the no. 279-3860 Pepsi bottling factory. The structure has industrial decoration, staff figures, and safety and security lighting provided by 24 LEDs. The structure's footprint is roughly 14 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches. The factory costs $99.99 plus shipping. New to the rolling stock lineup is the no. 279-3985 Union Pacific "We can handle it" boxcar. The traditionally-sized car has metal trucks and couplers, opening ...
9

ACHTUNG, BABY! New Flatcar with Leopard tank load from Menards

Posted 4 months ago by Bob Keller
Menards continues to win the O gauge arms race with the release of the no. 279-3989 Military flatcar with Leopard tank. The 11 1/2-inch flatcar has a hand-painted deck, a skid of cannon shells, and a rendering of the German Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank. Leopard 2 tanks are currently used by at least 18 armies and is cutting edge combat gear. This model has an interesting feature: Press one of the exhaust fans and you hear "Fire, fire" and the sound of gunfire and flickering front and rear LEDs ...
2

An evening at Three Brothers Restaurant

Posted 4 months ago by Rene Schweitzer
Wait a minute, why am I writing about a dinner out that Jim and I had recently? I promise you'll enjoy it--there's a brewery, a historical building, AND a model-railroad tie in all wrapped up in one post. As usual, click on any photo to enlarge. We visited the Three Brothers Restaurant in Bay View, Wisconsin, a building that is on the National Historic Register. I'm glad we talked to our server about the building's history, because the information online is scant. They have no website and thei...
0

Sea Hunt: Flatcar with Coast Guard helicopter load from Menards

Posted 4 months ago by Bob Keller
The latest flatcar and cargo load from Menards is the no. 279-3396 Coast Guard flatcar with helicopter load. The 14 3/4-inch flatcar has a die-cast MH-65 search and rescue helicopter load. The chopper may be removed from the car and the rotors can be opened for flight or fixed forward for shipment. The car costs $39.99 plus shipping. Order online at www.menards.com and select free shipment to your local Menards store. ...
3

Sub Hunter!

Posted 5 months ago by Bob Keller
Keep Traintown safe from Nork U-Boats with the no.279-3398 O gauge US Navy flatcar with an MH60R helicopter load. The 14 3/4-inch O gauge flatcar features a wood deck and removable stanchions  The helicopter is mounted with screws and can be removed from the car. The rotors that can be opened for "simulated" operation. The car costs $39.999 plus shipping. The car is also available in a four-piece dealer pack for $139.96 plus shipping. Order at www.menards.com and select free shipping to y...
1

Moving your autos to Traintown

Posted 5 months ago by Bob Keller
Home improvement chain Menards has unveiled a new freight car to add to your O gauge fleet. The no. 279-3912 14 3/4-inch Bi-Level auto carrier is an O gauge car that comes with six die-cast vehicles as well as a packet of road name stickers (two in each railroad name)  so that you can personalize the TTX car for your favorite line. The car costs $49.99 plus shipping. Order at www.menards.com and select free shipment to our local Menards store. ...

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