Lighting the fire inside young railfans

on Friday, January 28, 2011

Trains4Kids in Toys R UsToday’s kids are not short on stimuli from TV to Nintendo DS to iPods. My 5-year-old daughter is convinced that if the late Jack LaLanne says his Power Juicer is the best, then she needs one. She also thinks I need PajamaJeans, and her brushing would improve tenfold if I got her the Touch-N-Brush toothpaste dispenser. Of course, she learned about all of these products during TV commercials. TV is a great way to reach kids, but where can a children’s magazine about trains reach kids?

I knew Kalmbach struck a deal with Toys “R” Us to sell Trains4Kids magazine in its stores, but it was awfully cool to actually see it. Trains magazine intends to reach this new generation of railfans, and Toys “R” Us is a great venue. A Toys “R” Us employee displayed Kalmbach’s magazine all about trains and just for kids right next to Disney’s Tinker Bell, J-14 (about teen celebs), and Taste of Home magazines. (In the photo, Trains4Kids is stocked on the bottom rung. I swapped it out for whatever teen magazine was on the top, before I left. The Toys “R” Us checkout girl didn’t say a word.)

Trains’ trade sales team is gearing up now for the upcoming tourist railroad and museum season. You should see Trains4Kids in gift shops across the country this spring. After kids take their first steam train ride or climb all over vintage rolling stock, we’re hoping that Trains4Kids will be the perfect souvenir after an exhilarating early “railfan” experience.

We’ve received a lot of good feedback on the first issue. Trains readers seem to believe that this stepping-stone magazine is just what’s needed to foster the next generation of train enthusiasts, and I couldn’t agree more.

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