2

The Passing of Fred Dole

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
      With the passing of Fred Dole, the hobby is a little bit poorer.  Fred was a consummate modeler and an enthusiastic devotee of promoting the hobby. Fred had been the Editor of O Gauge Railroading magazine and later became a regular contributor to, and photographer for Classic Toy Trains. I had the pleasure of editing several of his feature stories and was struck by how complete his projects were, and the willingness he expressed for sharing his techniques. Fred was...
2

New Woodland Scenics O scale Theater

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
We just received the no. BR5854 O scale Theater from Woodland Scenics. This is a great model of a Deco-era theater with interior lobby decoration, illuminated billboard, and a fairly model footprint. The fully-assembled structure can be run off of transformer power or with the Woodland Scenics Just Plug system. The structure costs $169.99. Go to www.woodlandscenics.com for more information. ...
3

Seeing toy trains for the first time

Posted one year ago by Rene Schweitzer
Do you remember the first time you saw toy trains operating? I got to experience this through my 8-year-old my nephew a couple of weeks ago. My parents visited and brought my nephew, Louis, along for the ride. It's more than a two-hour trip, which, to a child that age is "forever." Our circle of three-rail track, leftover from Christmas, was still up in our dining room. Louis noticed it immediately and started asking my husband questions. I soon realized that he had probably never seen a toy tr...
1

F40PH in Amtrak/CSX in the new Lionel catalog

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
A new arrival to the Lionel lineup is the F40PH diesel. Lionel will be offering the locomotive in three Amtrak paint schemes as well as in the CSX Business Train livery. The Amtrak version will also include the cab/baggage car combination control unit with the side baggage door.  Amtrak F40PH units will have road number specific detailing, as well as Legacy command and sound systems. The units will be offered in Amtrak Phase I, Phase II and Phase III paint schemes with livery specific de...
0

The new Menards Three-dome tank car

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Here are she photos of the new three-dome tank car from Menards. This car is in Wisconsin Central colors and additional road names will be added to the line. The plastic car has die-cast metal trucks and the coupler-to-coupler length is approximately 10 1/2 inches. The car costs $19.99 plus shipping. An eight car set is available for $139.92 plus shipping. Menards offers  free to your local Menards store. Order online at at www.menards.com.  ...
7

RMT to close in April, Walter Matuch to retire in February

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
From a press release: READY MADE TRAINS, LLC President Walter M. Matuch announces retirement in 2016. "After a lifetime  career on actual railroads (Jersey Central, Rahway Valley, Erie-Lackawanna, Conrail, US Navy) and in model railroading that spanned almost 50 years, I’m coming to the ‘end of the line’ says Walter M. Matuch, president of Ready Made Trains LLC. On February 24th, I will be 67 years young and will retire to fully enjoy my family and finally com...
1

The new Milwaukee Road Hopper from Menards

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
As teased in the most recent Bob's Train Box, here is the new hopper car from Menards. A few weeks back they released a Santa fe hopper, and now the Milwaukee Road is added to an expanding list of road names (I'm not telling what comes next, either!). The car navigates O-27curves, has die cast trucks and couplers, and measures just under 12-inches coupler-to-coupler. The car costs $19.99 plus shipping (free ship to you local Menards store) order online at Menards.com. ...
0

Lionel expert Joe Algozzini visits Classic Toy Trains

Posted one year ago by Roger Carp
There have been many changes at Classic Toy Trains since the magazine released its premier issue in the autumn of 1987. Editors have changed, and the contents have varied, with emphasis on the great trains of the past becoming more balanced as the magazine has showcased layouts using contemporary models. One constant over the years has been the different contributions from Joe Algozzini. Among the most knowledgeable experts on Lionel trains from the post-World War II era, Joe has shared his out...
9

What would YOU recommend to a newbie?

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
What would YOU recommend to a newbie?  This year Classic Toy Trains has had more calls and e-mails from people trying to get started in O and S gauge trains. While this isn’t unusual for a November or December, it has been several years since we’ve had a spike like this.  So this time of year when there are many new people discovering the hobby, or folks with previous train time under their belt re-entering the hobby. Many of them call for advice, and I generally ...
3

It was 20 years ago today. . .

Posted one year ago by Rene Schweitzer
Twenty years ago today, I started at Kalmbach Publishing, working for Classic Toy Trains and Collecting Toys (now defunct) magazines. It seems surreal that I've been with KPC this long, and yet, feels like almost no time at all. Instead of boring you with a long ramble, I chose five things I've learned in my years here. I hope you enjoy. 5. Publishing has changed, (and will continue to change). When I started at KPC there was a room full of people who cut the films and lined up the pieces for e...
2

Trainfest Milwaukee, 2015

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Trainfest 2015 in Milwaukee is now in the history books. This huge show is a magnet for families, model railroaders, fans of prototype railroading, and people who might be a bit nostalgic about yesteryear in general.   The layout of the floor was a major departure from previous years. Manufacturers had been set up in a single area on the south side of the hall to allow a Friday night special event. This year that area was filled with operating layouts and a children’s activity a...
1

Menards watch 8: New track at Menards

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
The sunflower seed was on sale at Menards, so I swung by and, of course, checked out the trains. The new tubular track is starting to arrive. The only track on hand was O-31 curves. Don't know if they had straights that sold out.  We did receive a selection of straight and curved track for Product News, and it had a good, strong feel to it and curved track ran from O-31 to O-96 (yes, O-96). We also received two small boxes with veeeerrryyyy interesting things inside them that will be...
2

Exclusive Lionel set available at Hallmark stores

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Hallmark stores have a new O gauge Christmas starter set available at your local Hallmark shop. http://shop.hallmark.com/ornaments/keepsake-ornaments/lionel-toymaker-santa-express-complete-ready-to-run-electric-train-set-1QHG5297.html ...
2

New at Menards 7: Menard's Power & Light

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Another new structure from Menards is the no. 279-3051 Menards Power & Light building. The O gauge compatible building has two illuminated signs (“Menards Power & Light” and “Harvey Hotwatts”), high visibility interior decoration, and LED illumination. The structure comes fully assembled and decorated and costs $99.99 plus shipping (free shipping to your local Menards). Go to www.menards.com to check availability or to  While this might be a tad small ...
1

New from Menards 6: The Sauerkraut factory

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Someone may have offered an gauge sauerkraut factory before, but I sure don't recall seeing it.  In stock on-line at at your local Menards is the no. 279-3073 Herman’s Sauerkraut factory. This is a fully assembled, decorated, and weathered structure sure to bring a smile to many a hotdog fan. The structure features an illuminated and animated “Herman’s Genuine German Sauerkraut” sign, two yard lights, a blinking red light on the silo, three figures, eight sauerk...
6

New at Menards 5: Fire damaged engine house!!!

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
I went through 50 pounds of sunflower seed since last Thursday, so I stopped at Menards for more. Gotta keep the birds happy. Just yesterday I received a box from them with two new accessories (the Menard's Power & Light and Herman's Sauerkraut Factory) but … BAM … this was on the rack just above them! Pennsylvania RR of course, the New York Central obviously had a better fire safety record ... ...
2

Latest Lionel Vision Line Locomotive: The Pennsy GG1

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Just announced: A new scale-sized Vision line model of the ultimate electric locomotive – the GG1. The GG1 is no stranger to the Lionel catalog. First cataloged in 1947, the instantly-recognizable face of a GG1 has captivated generations of fans. It continues to call to us today. In homage to the Pennsylvania, who’s engineers and management alike appreciated the refinement of a locomotive to its zenith, Lionel is proud to raise the pantographs, and the bar against which all other mod...
6

New trains at Menards no. 4

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Carl and Roger might be at York, but a surge in bird seed consumption resulted in my making an early trip to Menards this week. Lots of new flats (short and long) with new vehicle and equipment loads (including the tank on flatcar), and a new display – an end cap at the end of the Toy aisle. And no, I don't have an iPhone. ...
5

My Marx

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Why Marx?  My first introduction to Marx trains was from my Uncle Chuck. Chuck was a great enabler of my train hobby, helped along by the fact that he had a Marx outfit as a kid, in pre-Second World War days. He also gave me my first Lionel set in 1955. When he died in the early ’90s, my family made sure his few trains found their way to me. And imagine my surprise when, as an adult, I started taking a closer look at my boxed up trains, and discovered that all the track and swit...
4

Still more new train cars at Menards No. 3

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
New products in stock this week include large flats with missile, helicopter, and concrete mixer loads, and short flats with vehicle loads. I'm starting to look forward to the weekly bird seed runs! Oh, shot with my not-an-iPhone cell phone. ...
0

The day the 4449 Southern Pacific Daylight came to Milwaukee

Posted one year ago by Rene Schweitzer
One of husband's favorite locomotives is the 4449, so when he heard it was coming to Milwaukee in July of 2009, we had to see it. The engine made a trip from Portland, Oregon to Trainfestival 2009 in Owosso, Michigan and had a number of stops along the way. Milwaukee's stop was at the Amtrak station. A few things impressed me that day: * How BIG that engine was. It's impressive to see such a beast up close. * How many people had gathered to see it. While there were people of all ages, I wish...
3

Still more train stuff arrives at Menards No. 2

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
The toy and train section has expanded a bit with several new Lionel sets, more Woodland Scenics scenery material, buildings on display (and illuminated), and a box of un-packaged flatcars for $7.99 each. I've now bought four of the NYC boxcars (one more this morning) and none have had the same number! What a concept. I can't wait to see what fills the shelves the closer we get to Christmas! ...
1

The story behind the November issue cover

Posted one year ago by Roger Carp
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frank Sinatra, possibly the greatest entertainer of the 20th century and an enthusiastic member of the toy train hobby. Classic Toy Trains looked forward to marking the occasion in its pages. Of course, doing so meant plenty of planning and research although the magazine had previously featured Sinatra’s O gauge layout in its February 1998 issue. The process of developing an article began in March, when an essay about Sinatra in the Wa...
5

O gauge arriving at Menards No. 1

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
One of the recent surprises in the hobby has been the introduction of O gauge compatible buildings, rolling stock and vehicles from home improvement chain Menards. I stopped by the local Menards on the way to work (to pick up 100 lbs. of bird seed, but that is another story). Some of the O gauge product is starting to arrive in stores now. I took some cell phone image (attached). These show a selection of O gauge freight cars, a Lionel Large scale Canadian Pacific set, and many, many vehicles...
4

Our two best failures

Posted one year ago by Bob Keller
Our two best failures: In toy train publishing there are few “sure things” Let me introduce you to two very handy books that you have probably never seen, nor will you ever read an updated edition thereof. These were based on the twin assumptions that train guys buy trains, and that train guys who buy trains, might want extra information about them before they plunk their money down. I believe both books filled a need, but the marketplace didn't agree. What are these two Titanics o...
4

World of Lionel Displays

Posted one year ago by Roger Carp
Excuse me if I seem out of breath and slightly exhausted. I have just finished writing and editing what may be the best special-interest publication Classic Toy Trains has ever assembled for you. I'm referring to Lionel Trains: Best Layouts & Store Displays, the fifth in our ongoing series of special-interest publications devoted to spotlighting the long and memorable history of Lionel. Not counting the many years of research I have conducted on these remarkable relics from the prewar and ...
6

A day at the National Railroad Museum

Posted 2 years ago by Rene Schweitzer
Recently, my husband and I visited the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. Both of us had been there about 20 years ago, but a lot has changed in those years! (Note: click on any of the photos to enlarge. You know you want to!) The main building houses several exhibits, the newest  being "From Generation to Generation: The Love of Toy Trains," which opened on January 30. The collection features primarily vintage Standard Gauge pieces on loan from John Casperson. It also houses a ni...
3

Reference Shelf: Britsh Toy Trains, Vol. 1

Posted 2 years ago by Bob Keller
British Toy Trains by Michael D. Foster is a colorful and handy resource for anyone seeking to get a wee bit more knowledge of the history of British toy trains beyond Hornby or Bassett-Lowke. I recently received a copy of the first volume in a projected series of four books covering firms of Whitanco, Burnett, Chad Valley, Palitoy, and Astra (I had only previously known of Chad Valley). The book is a terrific assembly of newly photographed locomotives, rolling stock and accessories and well a...
5

Do you have a hobby?

Posted 2 years ago by Rene Schweitzer
Say you’re having dinner with a friend or relative you haven’t seen in a while. Have you ever asked them what their hobbies are? I find it interesting to ask someone about their hobbies, and see where the conversation leads. My husband Jim has two primary hobbies—toy trains and action figures—but has dabbled in a number of other things over the years. He also has a long list of projects to do or try, especially in model trains.  I have a stepdaughter and step son...
2

26,000+pages at your fingertips

Posted 2 years ago by Carl Swanson
We were happy guys around here when we got the green light to begin work on the Classic Toy Trains: 25 Years and Counting on DVD-ROM. Every page from every issue of CTT from Volume 1, Number 1 in the fall of 1987 through the December issue of 2014, right on our computers! How cool is that? Even better, every article is linked to a powerful search engine. Past issues can be revisited by flipping pages one-by-one or, if you know what you’re looking for, just type it in the search box and &n...

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