The National Train Show was held in July 2010 in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Association's 75th annual convention. This year I was able to talk to many of the manufacturers at the show and got some audio for everyone to hear with their new announcements. Unlike the Trainfest episode last year, this episode has all of the audio in one long chunk. This episode is about 5 times longer than usual, but here it is.
We start this episode with a look at the preparations for the Snow Train at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Then, we review the legacy of the "last great railroad fair" which occurred in 1948 and 1949. Finally, in the Modeler's Moment, we discuss tips and strategies for building a prototypical freight car fleet on a model railroad.
This took a little longer than expected to get online (previous posts on The Rip Track home page have all the details), but here it is. In this part, we'll finish hearing from the manufacturers that were showing their products at Trainfest 2009. So, without further ado, let's get back to the show floor.
In part 1 of this episode we heard from a few manufacturers who were showing new products at Trainfest 2009. It's time to pick up where we left off, so let's jump right in and hear from some more manufacturers.
There are three major model railroad shows in North America that have become known in the hobby as shows where many manufacturers announce and debut new products: the National Train Show held in conjunction with the NMRA's national convention, the International Hobby Expo held every October in Chicago, and Trainfest held every November in Milwaukee. Last weekend, I went to Trainfest and recorded quick interviews with as many manufacturers as I could to find out what we can expect from them this model railroad year. I was able to talk to so many different companies that each had so much to say that Episode 11 is the first mulitpart episode of The Rip Track Podcast. We'll hear from several manufacturers in each part of this episode, and each part will have photos and links in the show notes that relate to the announcements that were mentioned therein.
Athearn sent a special announcement to their email list today with sad news for kitbashers and modelers with lower incomes. Rather than paraphrase, here's the important part of the notice:
Effective immediately, we here at Athearn have made the difficult decision to discontinue the production of our Blue Box line of kits. There were several factors that contributed to this extremely challenging decision however, the primary issue revolved around affordability and ensuring that our Blue Box kit pricing remain aligned with what the market can bear. Unfortunately, due to increased manufacturing and labor costs it has been determined that we are no longer able to continue offering kits at competitive price points as compared to our already assembled products.
That means that you won't be able to buy new kits from Athearn very soon, and will instead have to shell out more money for a fully assembled product. One consolation in this is that Athearn's line of assembled models is one of the better quality lines that I've seen in the industry, and their production runs aren't always quite as limited as some other manufacturers that I can think of.
For this episode of the podcast, we're going to focus on model railroading and save the prototype history and data for a later show. It's October, and now that the days are getting colder and the nights longer, that means that model railroad season is well under way in North America. Model railroaders are home from summer vacations and are getting together to build, operate and just talk about their layouts with each other. Also, model railroad shows are increasing in frequency as we head toward the end of the calendar year. Last week I spent some time asking exhibitors at the Green County Model Railroad Club's annual model railroad show here in Wisconsin for their favorite model railroading tips.
Okay, so this is a day and a half later than the schedule that the first four episodes have followed. Well, here it is anyways. First we hear a narration from a model railroad operating session, then we hear an 1899 musical recording describing one sad passenger train ride. We continue with an excerpt from Jerry Pfeiffer's industry and freight cars clinic where he discusses coal deliveries in the Midwest. Finally, in the Modeler's Moment, we look at some model railroad uses for items that you might otherwise throw away.
Prototype railroads are sometimes a little hesitant to throw things away when they can easily be repurposed. For example, BN 953186, seen here in Wisconsin last summer, was originally a CB&Q two-bay covered hopper (there were a few small CB&Q markings at the car's B end), probably for carrying loads like powdered cement. Judging by the shape of the discharge bays, this car is now used in ballast service, and features a roof that appears to be now fully removable for easier loading. A car like this would make a wonderful candidate for kitbashing to complete a model for the Master Builder - Cars certificate.