Train Hobby Mile-marker – Spring of 2012

changeaheadI’m not a real “in the know” train hobbyist. I don’t hob-knob with the manufacturers, don’t go to all the shows, don’t follow the latest product announcements and the like.



But within the last two weeks or so there have been some changes to our hobby that even someone like me can’t help noticing.

3-staubinslogoFirst, St. Aubin Trains, that mega online discounter of all things large scale had shut the doors, closed the web site, held a closeout sale and faded into the sunset in the course of a week.


I bought my 2-truck Bachmann Shay from St. Aubin and I remember that at the time it was indeed a very good price. Their passing won’t be missed by the local hobby shops that could not complete with them on price but many large scale enthusiasts thought kindly of them.

1-aristocraftlogoNext, AristoCraft, manufacturer of 1:29 scale large scale trains, has changed their marketing model and now sells direct to the public providing a way for users to bypass the many AristoCraft dealers.

Lewis Polk retired from the helm in January of this year and Scott Polk is currently sitting in the president’s chair. Needless to say this change has not been well received by local hobby shops if the one in my town is any indication.

2-bachmannlogoLast, Barry Olsen, proprietor of Barry’s Big Trains, has retired and shut down his drive replacement business for Bachmann electric steam engines. I’ve known of Barry since I got into the hobby and started reading the train forums like

Barry engineered and had manufactured a number of replacement drives for the Bachmann line of 10-wheelers and 2-8-0 engines. While I never had need to replace a Bachmann drive myself I know Barry is very highly thought of by many in the hobby and there are many testimonials to the quality of his work.  Barry did announce that he would provide warranty support for all drives sold.

I’m sure these sea-changes are all market driven. Let me know you think about the changes going on in the hobby. -TJ

(Originally posted 4/8/2012)

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