Trains’ first-ever children’s magazine

on Thursday, September 2, 2010

“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


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