Trains’ first-ever children’s magazine

  • Comments 13

“Daddy, when I get big, can I work on trains with you?” says Michael, 4, son of Casey Thomason, a Norfolk Southern engineer. Michael’s already hooked on trains because his dad works for the railroad, takes him train-watching, and often goes to Duluth, Ga.’s Southeastern Railway Museum. Michael is a Trains magazine reader in the making. What about the other kids that don’t have parents that work for the railroad, train tracks running through the middle of their towns, or  railroad museums to visit?

We’ve been plagued with this question for years. How do we get kids interested in trains and gain future subscribers? Our average reader is 60 years old. In fall 2008, Kevin Keefe and Jim Wrinn called a meeting to discuss a target demographic, potential content, the viability of a children’s product, and what staff would put a children’s magazine together. Many more meetings followed.

Less than two years later, and I’m staring Trains4Kids right in the face. Jim and Kevin said, “You’re the editor. Go to it.” So, I pored over my daughter’s magazines, thought about railroads … A LOT, came up with magazine content, and began assigning stories. I wanted kids to learn about railroading and have fun at the same time.

Trains4Kids is an exciting railroad adventure from cover to cover. Railroads play an integral part in our daily living by transporting goods and people. Kids will enjoy finding out how trains are a part of their lives in so many ways. The magazine includes exciting stories about places they can go to see trains in action, watch model trains zip past, and learn basic concepts about railroading while doing fun games and activities. Trains4Kids will tell young readers how fresh fruit arrives at their grocery stores and where they can ride a steam train. And, kids will find out what it’s like to be an engineer in a Q&A with Casey Thomason, Michael’s dad!

One of the magazine’s gems is an 8-page tale about Casey Jones. Senior Editor Matt Van Hattem adapted the story from a longer version written by none-other-than David P. Morgan.

One of my fun ideas was to find a recipe served on a dining car, and apply Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade technique to it. My family became guinea pigs. Lucky for me, they like my cooking. My daughter declared the final version, “Scrumdidlyumptious!”

I’m totally stoked! Trains4Kids hits newsstands on Nov. 23, but you can pre-order your copies today at!

—Angela Pusztai-Pasternak


  • Great project.  Put me down for three copies!  (Where applicable, siblings will share).

  • What a wonderful idea come to fruition!  I can't wait to order subscriptions for my grandkids.

  • I want to wish Kalmbach good luck with this idea, and I hope it pans out for all of us.  Our 70-member model railroad club only has a handful of members under the age of 40, and none under 30 years old.

    However, my concern is how is Kalmbach going to get this magazine into the hands of the kids?  IMHO, this magazine needs an internet presence of it's own that points out the existance of this magazine.  It needs a YouTube channel at the very least, plus a Facebook & MySpace page, an iPhone app, etc.  You've got to get this out there where the kids are, and there aren't too many hanging out at magazine stands these days.  

    I have seen YouTube work for kids in model railroading.  I know a guy that does all kinds of custom painting on YouTube and other "How To" vids, and he's relatively young (20's-30's).  He set up a table at the Springfield show, and got a lot of response from his young fans at the show...much more than he ever got from the Kalmbach Forums (which seem to be a much older crowd on average).  I was surprised, but I shouldn't of been.  A 10-15 year-old kid today was born in 2000 or 1995, after all, and use the 'net for everything.

  • The Trains4Kids will be great for my grandchildren.  Is this a single publication or will it be a monthly mag???????  That was never made clear in any of the ads.   Keep up the good work.

  • Great Concept,  I still have my copies of Model Trains that you produced many years ago. As a young teenager I had a couple of items printed there and still treasure those copies today.

    I agree with Paul3, to be successful we have to go to the young folks and not expect them to come to us. The electronic media is where they are, so hit those areas hard with your ads.

    Best wishes for a long run with the new publication "Trains 4 Kids"

  • To: Stu@Clark

    Trains4Kids is a special interest publication. It will be sold on the newsstands this fall/winter 2010 and in the spring/summer 2011 at tourist railroads and museums. Depending on its success, there may be more issues! Thanks for asking.

  • I was pleased and proud to see the Q&A with Casey Thomason in your new publication dedicated to our youth. Casey and little Michael are dear friends of mine and I have logged many miles with Casey and HIS dad, Richard, chasing trains all over Georgia. Young Michael will no doubt follow suite. Here's to the next generation of "train guys".

  • I have ordered multiple copies of this magazine to distribute to my friends. Sometimes it takes a little generosity to get the ball rolling. ;)

  • Is this going to become an ongoing magazine? My son has read it cover to cover more times than I can count and he's only had it for five days! I'd love to buy him an annual subscription.

  • @ SamMom:

    Trains4Kids is a special interest publication. It is on newsstands now. In spring/summer 2011, it will be sold at tourist railroads and museums. Depending on its success, there may be more issues! Thanks for asking.

    Thanks for asking!

  • This magazine is a MUST to be published monthly!!!

    It keeps the attention of my 4 year old nephew at church so he is quiet. This is according to his mother. I think the issue will be worn out before a new one is published!! Hope you make a new one soon!

  • @crewshuttle

    Thanks for your feedback!


Trains’ first-ever children’s magazine