New Product Announcements – 2018 National Train Show

Milwaukee, WI., Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. is pleased to announce several new products in HO and multi-scale during the 2018 National Train Show in Kansas City, MO.

Walthers Controls

Walthers Layout Control System
HO, N, Z, S, and O Scales

Horizontal-Mount Switch Machine
942-102 – $24.98 each
October 2018 delivery
NEW STYLE – Same great features as Switch Machine #942-101 in a compact design!
• Only 1-5/8″ (4.1cm) tall – perfect for multi-deck layouts or anywhere space is limited

Stall Motor Switch Machine Controller
942-161 Stall Motor Driver – $19.98
942-142 Edge Connector for Tortoise® Switch Machine pkg(2) – $7.98
November 2018 delivery
NEW – Easily upgrade your existing turnout control systems
NEW – Works with most popular brands of stall motor switch machines
• When installed, Stall Motor Driver enables easy installation of accessory controllers & indicators
• Fully assembled, servo-based unit

WalthersProto®

70' Heavyweight Railway Post Office - Baggage Car
WalthersProto 70′ Heavyweight Railway Post Office – Baggage Car
HO Scale
920-17400 Series
$84.98 Each
November 2018 delivery for all models

Roadnames available: Pullman Green (unlettered), ATSF, IC, DRGW™ GN, MILW, NYC,
SOO, SP™, UP®

• Prototypes in service 1914 to 1971 – many converted to work train service & some preserved today
• 30′ postal apartment – typical of cars on dedicated mail & secondary passenger trains
• Clerestory or round roof to match prototype as appropriate
• Authentic interior with mailbag stanchions, sorting cases & more
• Separate catcher arms – operate facing either direction
• Highly detailed underbody with separate brake gear, steam traps, generator & more
• Modeler-installed extended drawbars for use on 22″ radius curves included
• Turned metal wheelsets & correct trucks with built-in electrical contacts

WalthersMainline®

WalthersMainline EMD SD70ACe
HO Scale
910-19845 Series with ESU Sound for DCC & DC layouts $199.98 Each
910-9845 Series Standard DC $139.98 Each
February 2019 delivery for all models

Roadnames available: BNSF, KCS de Mexico, UP®, NS Heritage Units; NYC, PC, WAB

• Limited edition – one time run of these roadnumbers!
• Easily handles 18″ radius curves (22″ or larger recommended)
• Available with ESU Sound & DCC
• Constant & directional LED lighting with high or low front headlight and working front ditch lights
• Fully assembled
• 21-Pin DCC plug
• Same powerful drive as WalthersProto® locos
• Molded drill starter points for grab irons – easily added with SD70ACe Diesel Detail Kit (#910-251, sold separately)

WalthersMainline EMD GP9 Phase II w/Chopped Nose
HO Scale
910-20402 Series with ESU Sound for DCC & DC layouts $199.98 Each
910-10400 Series Standard DC $139.98 Each
May 2019 delivery for all models

Roadnames available: BN, CP, CNW™, MILW, NS, WSOR, Undecorated (DC only)

• One of the most widely used diesels ever – based on Phase II units rebuilt for improved forward visibility and in service from the 1960s to the present
• Limited edition – one time run of these roadnumbers!
• Scale width hood with correct contours
• Dynamic or Non-dynamic per prototype
• Front mounted snowplow as appropriate
• Same powerful drive as WalthersProto® locos
• Available with ESU Sound for DCC and DC layouts
• 21-pin DCC plug
• Molded drill starter points – add grab irons easily with the GP9 Phase II Diesel Detail Kit (#910-258 sold separately)

WalthersMainline 60′ High Cube Plate F Boxcar
HO Scale
910-2922 Series $29.98 Each
March 2019 delivery

Roadnames available: CN, CP, CRLE, CSX, KCS, NS, TTX TBOX (brown, patched),
TTX TBOX (yellow, black, red TTX logo), UP®

• Limited edition – one time run of these roadnumbers!
• Currently in service with several railroads & TTX
• Hauls lumber, canned goods, beer, wine, steel, appliances & more
• Prototypically correct roof with both “X” & diagonal panels
• Separately applied latch bars
• Detailed underbody with cushioned underframe & brake gear with correct angle-mounted reservoir
• 100-ton roller bearing trucks
• 36″ turned metal wheelsets
• Proto MAX™ metal knuckle couplers

WalthersMainline Thrall Rebuilt 40’ Well Car
HO Scale
910-5617 Single Cars $29.98 Each
910-55600 5-Unit Cars $139.98 Each
November 2019 delivery for all models

Single Car roadnames available: TTX – Large red Forward Thinking logo, TTX – Small red & Next Road logos, TTX – Large black & white logo

NEW – 5-Unit version! Roadnames available: American President Lines, BNSF Railway, TTX – Large black & white logo, TTX – Small red logo, TTX – Large red logo

• Limited edition – one time run of these roadnumbers!
• Based on shortened Thrall 48′ well cars in service 2003 to present
• Holds 20′ & 40′ containers in well & 40′ to 53′ top-loaded
• Heavy die-cast metal frame for superb performance empty or loaded
• Finely molded 3-D brake rods with chains, brake piping & weld lines on body
• Separate deck-mounted brake detail with piping, IBC storage boxes & realistic walkways
• 70-ton roller bearing trucks
• Correct 33″ turned-metal wheelsets
• Proto MAX™ metal knuckle couplers

Cornerstone®

Cross-Dock Truck Facility KitCornerstone Cross-Dock Truck Facility Kit
HO Scale
933-4131 Cross-Dock Truck Facility Kit
$49.98 Each
August 2018 delivery

• Completely new structure kit!
• Used by trucking companies large & small from the 1940s to the present
• Prototypes receive, sort & reload freight shipments
• Also used by plumbers, contractors & similar small businesses today
• Detailed street side front office w/brick walls, separate gas & electric meters
• Correct height truck dock doors with weather bellows/seals – accommodates up to 12 trailers or trucks
• Includes two paving sections – expand & customize at any time with Gas Station Parking Lot (#933-3540), sold separately
• Great destination for SceneMaster trucks & trailers (sold separately)
• Molded in 6 colors
• Finished model measures: 15-3/16 x 19-3/16 x 3″ 38.6 x 48.7 x 7.8cm

Traveling Crane with Brick Street KitCornerstone Traveling Crane with Brick Street Kit
HO Scale
933-4096 Traveling Crane with Brick Street Kit $59.98 each
933-4097 Brick Craneway Base & Street Kit – pkg(3) $19.98 each
September 2018 delivery for all models

• Perfect for modeling industrial areas from the steam-era to the present
• Authentic detail alongside docks, shipyards & heavy industries of all kinds
• Highly detailed traveling (nonworking) crane features postionable cab, boom & hook
• Includes parts to build 3 complete straight brick street sections with craneways
• Center paving section accepts code 83 rail (sold separately)
• Molded in 3 realistic colors
• Crane measures: 4 x 4 x 9-1/8″ 10 x 10 x 22.8 cm
• Each Brick Street Section measures: 12-5/8 x 5-1/2″ 32 x 13.9cm

Cornerstone Coal Trestle Kit
HO Scale
933-4093 Coal Trestle Kit
$29.98 each
September 2019 delivery

• Prototypes sped unloading hoppers using gravity
• Typical of ramps used from the 1900s to the 1960s
• Compact size fits city or rural locations
• Molded berm simplifies modeling track on grade
• Detailed trestle with supports, abutment, railing & walkway, and bulkheads to build optional below-track storage bins
• Great addition to trackside coal dealers, lumber & building materials yards, heavy industries and more
• Molded in two colors
• Measures 24-1/2 x 4-3/8 x 1-3/4″ 62.3 x 11.1 x 4.4cm

Cornerstone Modern Shopping Center II
HO Scale
933-4116 Modern Shopping Center II Kit
$39.98 each
October 2018 delivery

• Contemporary design with decorative front wall for added realism
• Three stores in one compact structure – use alone or combine kits to model a typical strip mall
• Molded cut lines for easy kitbashing
• Highly detailed brickwork, large glass windows & entry doors
• Colorful signs for a variety of businesses
• Looks great alongside Modern Shopping Center I (#933-4115) or The UPS Store® (#933-4112) sold separately
• Molded in 3 colors
• Measures 10-1/2 x 4-15/16 x 3-1/2″ 26.6 x 12.5 x 8.8cm

SCENEMASTER™
HO Scale
949-8650 20′ Smooth Side Container
Retail Price – $9.98 each
January 2019 delivery

Roadnames: REA (right-side & end doors), CN, NYK, Y.S. Line, APL, Blue Compass, CP Ships, Manchester Lines, Mitsui, Undecorated
• All-new container model in standard end door & right side door versions
• Widely used during 1960s & 1970s
• Authentic rivet, door latch & hinge details
• Colorful period schemes
• Perfect period loads for WalthersMainline G85 & 60′ Pullman-Standard VTTX container flatcars (each sold separately)

2018 NMRA National Train Show

Walthers NMRA 2018

Walthers will be exhibiting at the National Model Railroad Association Inc. National Train Show between August 10th and the close of the show on August 12th.

The National Train Show, established in 1988 by NMRA, is celebrating its 30th year as a nationally sponsored combined industry trade show and public train show to promote the hobby of model railroading.  This year’s show is taking place in Kansas City, MO, and will feature “Ask The Collectibles” Appraiser, LEGO® mini land, a children’s play area, and free Thomas train rides, in addition to many exhibitors and manufacturers.

If you’ll be in attendance, please stop by and check us out at booth #1606, we’d love to see you!  If you’re not able to visit you can still see all the new products and several new announcements on display at the Walthers booth by watching our Facebook Live stream the morning of Friday, August 10th at 8:30a.m. CDT, and by checking out our Instagram.

Founded in 1935, NMRA currently has over 18,000 members and serves 19 Regions which cover the United States, Australasia, Canada, the British Isles and Europe.

#WalthersTrains #WalthersNMRA

Give a young person a gift that will last a lifetime by introducing them to model trains.

Model Trains

We here at Walthers believe model railroading is the world’s greatest hobby and we love to help bring others aboard. Model trains have been around for nearly 100 years and have seen changes that have taken the level of sophistication and accuracy to new heights never dreamed of before. What used to take many of hours of work can now be purchased off the shelf at your local hobby shop or ordered online from one of hundreds of different retailers.

Why so popular?

Model railroading has so many facets as a hobby. Engineering, electronics, sculpting, carpentry, history, teamwork, and exceptional creativity. This makes it very appealing to creative and intelligent people who love watching the giant machines roll down the tracks. They want to preserve the awe struck feeling they have every time a behemoth locomotives pulls its cars past. For some there is a specific place in time they wish to capture, for others its specific models of locomotives and cars…right down to the engine and car numbers. All over the country people have these same memories that they share with each other, building bonds that last a lifetime. For some people, they like to create the world in a way they would like to see it — a world of their own design.

Historical HO Scale Model Trains

Model trains preserve history

Real trains, like everything else in this technologically driven world, are changing very quickly. But for many modelers, preserving the past is a key part of their hobby fun; while an actual steam locomotive may have been scrapped decades ago, a three-dimensional working miniature becomes a snapshot in time like no other.

Why hobbies are so important to people

Hobbies are very important, because without them we live day-to-day habit-filled lives that don’t give us much escape. Hobbies, especially model trains, provide many positive experiences and effects:

  1. 1. Meeting new people
  2. 2. Experiencing new things
  3. 3. Building self-esteem and worth
  4. 4. Flexibility and creative satisfaction
  5. 5. Clearing your mind
  6. 6. Having something to look forward to
  7. 7. Setting and accomplishing goals

Model Railroading is a great hobby because it will give you an opportunity to relax and build skills at the same time while expressing yourself in fantastic ways.

Father and sons working on a model train layout

Share the love for model trains

Connecting with family is also much easier when common interests are shared and enjoyed. Model trains appeal to curious young people who enjoy solving problems, and have an eye for detail and like to challenge themselves to acquire new skills and learn new things.

Imagine how much fun it can be to enlist and receive help from a young person on a part of your layout or a kit project. Nearly every skill that can help young people develop can be found working with model trains.

Toddler boy playing with thomas model train

A great way to start

Simply throwing young people at an existing layout can be stressful for everyone involved — kids are inclined to touch things – as are a lot of adults. Instead of using your prized models, make the investment in some basic equipment everyone can share. A few minutes spent learning how to handle and operate less fragile cars and locos now can really pay off down the tracks, opening the doors to helping them start their own model railroad. So, where should you begin?

First buy a set, you can find hundreds of train sets on walthers.com.

Expand the basic track from just an oval to something a little bigger by adding a track expansion set.

Take a couple of hours and build a model railroad layout base with grass mat together, or buy a kit like this one from Woodland Scenics.

Add some landscaping or points of interest.

Add some structures using kits or pre-built buildings.

From there, the sky is the limit. As young people grow their interest in model trains will grow as well and before you know it they’ll be teaching you things!

More information

The places to find model railroad information are abundant with programs across the country designed to help get young people into the hobby. There are also programs and websites to help kids who are already engaged in the hobby. Model railroad museums around the country are great places for young people to really get a look at mature layouts.  Milwaukee’s Trainfest and other model train shows have programs that help young people get involved. Each year young people absolutely love the layouts at model train shows. Online articles like this one and several forums are also great places to find information to bring young people into the hobby of model trains. More and more social media content around the hobby is being developed as well as video.

Walthers is leading the efforts to bring younger people into model trains. If you have ideas that you’d like to share with us on how to find success while getting young people involved in the hobby or if you are currently helping to pass along your love of model trains, send us your thoughts to growthehobby@walthers.com

We love hearing from and learning from you! Some of your ideas may be featured in future blog posts or features here at Walthers. We are committed to this cause, and know that some of the very best ideas come from you!

John Tews Cornerstone® Engineered Bridge System Project

Summer is often the busiest time of year for construction work along prototype railroads, and for modelers it’s a perfect time to begin those bigger modeling projects before the fall rush!

John Tews from nearby Sussex, Wisconsin, recently finished rebuilding and expanding part of his HO Scale Timber River Railway with new Walthers Cornerstone® Engineered Bridge System kits. Local railfans and the company photographer were on hand to document the project from start to finish in the following photos… John, take it away!

 

My Timber River Railway is a point-to-point layout set in 1974 that connects the iron range of Minnesota with the ore docks in the Duluth-Superior harbor. Heavy coal, taconite and iron ore trains make up the bulk of traffic, but we also run various local jobs as well as Amtrak service. For years I’ve hosted regular operating sessions, but casual visitors like to see trains in action without stopping and starting. While I’d install removable “bridges” to permit access to the railroad there was no continuous run trackage available for display. Giving some thought to a permanent solution, I dispatched a TRR survey crew who found a suitable location near Emco Junction. A check with a 6′ level showed only a 1/4″ difference in elevation between County Shops Siding and the Chisholm Yard. The proposed route provided an easy grade for long, heavy trains and a continuous run for visitors.

 

Walthers would like to thank Mr. Tews for his contribution to our blog and the hobby. About the author…

Celebrating its 50th year of operations this summer, John Tews’ HO Scale Timber River Railway continues to inspire modelers worldwide. An active member of the National Model Railroad Association, John achieved Master Model Railroader certification in 2002, and is well known for his 20+ years as Executive Director of Milwaukee’s own Trainfest®. John and his layout have been featured in numerous magazine articles and videos, as well as recent Walthers Showroom Updates. Retired after 36 years with Wisconsin Electric, John, his wife and two dogs make their home in nearby Sussex, Wisconsin.

A new generation takes the throttle at Wm. K. Walthers

Stacey and Phil Walthers

Four generations of family leadership

May 30, 2018

Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. is pleased to announce that on September 4, 2018, Stacey Walthers Naffah will become its fourth President. Current President Phil Walthers will retire from day-to-day operations of the company but will remain Chairman of the Board and be available to work on special projects.

“I couldn’t be more proud and excited to turn over the leadership of Walthers to Stacey,” said Phil Walthers, “She brings an enthusiasm and vision to the company that will continue to support our dedicated customers while helping to bring new people into the hobby.”

“I am excited, and humbled to take the helm and to pursue the opportunities presented by this great family business,” added Stacey. “I’m honored to carry on the legacy of the hard work of those before me. Model Railroading is truly one of the classic and timeless hobbies. It transcends ages from the young child with his or her first train set to the adult hobbyist creating highly detailed worlds in miniature.”

Stacey’s promotion will begin a fourth generation of family leadership at Walthers, which recently celebrated 86 years of serving model railroaders. Founder Wm. K. was succeeded by son Bruce, and Phil succeeded Bruce as President in 1984. Now Stacey will succeed her father.

Stacey is a graduate of Boston College and earned her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she studied best practices in operating multigenerational family businesses and entrepreneurship. Stacey has been with the company for nine years, serving most recently as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She is a past President of the Model Railroad Division of the Hobby Manufacturer’s Association and is the current President of the World’s Greatest Hobby, Inc., a non-profit industry organization which exists to promote the hobby of model railroading.

Phil, who has been with Walthers since 1972, has served as President of Walthers since 1984 and was elected to the HMA’s Model Railroad Hall of Fame in 2010. During his tenure the company has grown to be the nation’s largest exclusive model train distributor and also one of the nation’s leading full-line model railroad manufacturers.

Stacey noted the impact that Phil has had on her career: “I am profoundly grateful for the time I’ve been able to work with my father preparing me for this role, and for his example, his guidance and his stewardship. The impact he has made on our business and on our industry cannot be overstated; the model railroading hobby is better for his thoughtful leadership over the course of his career.”

“Our hobby helps people relax, build, learn and grow. In an age when so many things are virtual, it’s a real, tangible, experience, and through it people create real connections in our fast-paced world,” Stacey added. “Our customers have been DIY’ers and makers from day one, and the hobby’s unique combination of technology, creativity, history and connectivity are as relevant as ever.”

Established in 1932, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. is a distributor and direct seller of model trains, accessories, and related items from more than 200 manufacturers. Walthers also manufactures its own branded items for its WalthersProto, WalthersMainline, WalthersTrainline, Cornerstone, SceneMaster, Walthers Controls, and WalthersTrack lines. To view the press release, click here.

Tips and Tricks for Searching Walthers.com

 

Our mission here at Walthers is to provide everything you need to build a great model railroad. One of the ways to ensure we fulfill that mission is to make our catalog of products easily accessible to our online customers. As a service to those of you who enjoy browsing or shopping our online catalog, we’ve provided a few simple tips and tricks for searching Walthers.com.

Basic Search

On your desktop, the easiest, most efficient way for you to find a product is to enter the exact name (Merchant’s RowI) or SKU number (ex: 933-3028) into the search bar on our main page. Unfortunately you may not always have access to that information, or you might only have a general idea of the product you’re looking for. In these instances, start with the most basic search term, such as, “locomotives.”

At the time of publication, searching for “locomotives” on Walthers.com issues over 10,000 results. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who have their product pop up on the first page, you’ll want to utilize the search filter to narrow down your results.

Whether or not you have a specific item in mind for purchase, chances are you know which scale you’ll be buying. If you’re buying a gift, or are unsure of the scale you need to buy, navigate to the “Getting Started” page on our website, under “Resources,” for a quick Scale Reference guide.

Drop down the Scale arrow and choose the size you’re modeling. After deciding your scale, there are a few different options for narrowing your results further. Perhaps you’re modeling a particular railroad, in which case, filtering by Road Name would be your best option. If you tend to favor a particular brand, you can search by Manufacturer Name.

For purposes of this article, we’ll search for the Roadname Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.

Our product results have went from over 10,000, down to a more manageable 243 locomotives. From here, you can filter by Price, Sound (DCC), and Category (Diesel, Rail Car, or Steam). If you’d like your train to ship as soon as possible, filter your results by choosing in stock items only.

Now that we’re showing in-stock items, you can browse through the individual results, or refine your search for items on sale.

If you’re happy with the search results, go ahead and click on the product to learn more or place an order. If you’d like to see a wider variety of products, you can eliminate select filtered criteria.

For example, perhaps waiting for an item to come into stock isn’t an issue, or it’s not necessary that the item to be on sale. Uncheck the boxes to populate larger results.

This brings the search results back up to 243, giving you a wider variety of locomotives to choose from. We’re no longer exclusively showing items on sale, but if you’re conscious about price, you can utilize the “Sort By” filter, located on the upper right hand side of the results, to organize products from least to most expensive.

You’ll see the displayed products went from more than $300 down to roughly $40. Maybe you’re looking to invest a little more into your layout, and you budgeted $250 for this locomotive. Head over to the filters and select a price range of $100 – $250 to see what that price range delivers.

Once you’re in a price range you’re comfortable with, you can either browse through the results, or select a Manufacturer Name. We’ll select WalthersProto(R).

Again, you can now sort by price, best match, or click on a specific item to purchase. The combinations of what and how you can search are many. You can quickly drill down the results when looking for a particular product, or you can use the interactive filters to explore new additions to your layout.

Advanced Search

When you know that you want a particular product and don’t have the product name or SKU #, the Advanced Search is an efficient way to narrow down item choices. (is it the best option or simply a different option, based upon preference?). It provides the same search parameters as the filter search, but you’re able to check all your boxes at once for a streamlined process. You can also search for discontinued products here, by checking the “Include discontinued out of stock products” box.

Start an advanced search by clicking on the Advanced Search link under the search bar on the main page.

For this example we will use some of the same search filters as the previous exercise, and choose locomotives for the Category, HO from Scale, enter Santa Fe under Keywords, and we’ll pick only in stock and on sale items.

Upon pressing the search button the site quickly displays items meeting your outlined criteria, without choosing each filter individually.

Wild Card Search

Another way to search Walthers.com is by using a wild card search. Say you have one of the WalthersMainline(R) PS-1 boxcars and you’d like another. Looking at the box you see the number series is in the 910-23xx series. In the search box you can simply enter “910-23* PS-1” and the result will be all of the cars numbered in this series.

But, say you simply want more WalthersMainline 40′ boxcars, regardless of body variation. You can simply put in “910-* 40′ boxcar” and they’ll all come up as results, plus possibly a few other items towards the end that contain the word “boxcar” in the description.

We hope these help get you to what you’re looking for faster, and opens up the ability to explore even more product for your railroad. If you would like additional search tips and tricks, click here for more information.

Fun facts regarding WalthersProto’s newest name train: Union Pacific’s 1960s City of Los Angeles

1. Faced with ongoing problems with long-time partner, the Chicago and North Western Railway, Union Pacific (UP) shifted its trains to the Milwaukee Road (MILW) in October of 1955. UP insisted all equipment match its own – repainted Milwaukee cars and diesels soon roamed across the UP railroad. Milwaukee soon standardized on the yellow and gray scheme for all of its passenger equipment.

2. EMD E9s were the typical power for the train. Between Chicago and Omaha, both UP and Milwaukee locomotives could be used. From Omaha west, UP locomotives with Automatic Train Stop (ATS) led the train.

3. From the fall of 1956 until 1971, when Amtrak took over, the City of Los Angeles (COLA) with its Pullmans, and the lower priced coach train, Challenger, were combined for the winter months when ridership was declined. Coaches were placed up front, and sleepers at the rear. However, both were still shown as separate named and numbered trains in public timetables.

4. The City of Los Angeles carried a great deal of express and storage mail. In 1953, UP purchased 33 baggage cars from American Car & Foundry, and these cars were often found on the COLA. These long cars were equipped with six-wheel trucks so they could handle heavier loads. All were built to the same plan, but eight had separate roof vents, while 25 had a single large vent (these are the prototype for our model). After 1967 when postal contracts were terminated, most were reassigned to work train service.

5. To reduce the number of stops en route, dining car crews remained on board for the entire trip. They slept in Baggage-Dormitory cars, which were equipped with two- and three-tiers of bunks, along with lavatory and toilet facilities that took up roughly half of the interior, with the remainder used for express or checked baggage.

6. Dome cars were the standard by which all western trains were judged and by 1955 UP offered Dome-Coaches, Dome-Lounges and unique Dome-Diners. While UP had used the name “Streamliner” for its luxury fleet since the 1930s, the competition was so strong that the flagships were rebranded “Domeliners” although the name was actually coined by the Wabash.

7. Dome-Diners were the signature car of the COLA. Like a standard diner, they had a complete kitchen and seating for 36. Eighteen seats were located directly under the dome offering an unequalled dining experience. Competing with Santa Fe’s Super Chief, the lower level included a private dining space with seating for up to 10, known as the “Gold Room,” where special gold-pattern china and gold-plated utensils was used in place of traditional silver.

8. Although constructed as tail cars with an observation end, the added time and costs of switching Dome-Lounge cars at the end of each run led to them being rebuilt for mid-train service in 1956; the end windows were plated and a diaphragm added.

9. Typical of many long-distance trains, Union Pacific provided lower-priced and more informal dining facilities in Café-Lounge cars, first delivered in 1948. As demand for affordable meals increased, UP rebuilt the assigned cars in 1959 with a lunch counter and extra storage space.

10. The Pacific series 10-6 sleepers represented UP’s first order of Budd-built stainless steel cars. Although built of stainless steel with Budd’s signature fluted sides, UP ordered 25 in yellow and gray for the Streamliner fleet, and the remaining 25 in two-tone gray for overnight trains. Yellow and gray was adopted for all passenger cars in 1952, and these distinct and colorful cars were standard equipment on the City of Los Angeles into the 1960s.

11. UP was one of the last roads to order new passenger equipment, with final deliveries in the summer of 1965.

Click to find out more about the WalthersProto HO Scale City of Los Angeles or preorder today (deadline is May 31, 2018).

10 Reasons to Visit your Local Hobby Shop

Walthers Cornerstone® Hobby Shop Kit

Whether you’re just getting started with a new train set, or you’re a longtime modeler, visiting your local hobby shop (if you have one) can be a fun and inspirational learning experience.

 

  1. Inspiration

If you’re thinking of expanding or adding to your new train set, you may not know where to start or what’s available on the market. A good way to get inspired is to visit your local hobby shop to see what types of products they carry and how they’re displayed. Often times, the store will have a variety of layouts and themes on display.

Take your time and notice the details and different components of the display. Seeing all the elements together as a cohesive system can put things into perspective. It can be hard to see the big picture while looking at products online. Acquaint yourself with the different brands, trains, accessories, tools, and controls, as well as any reference books. Even if you don’t make a purchase your first time into the shop, you’ll leave with a better understanding of the hobby than when you came in.

For longtime modelers, you may be experiencing a plateau with your layout and need a catalyst for change. When was the last time you went to a hobby shop that isn’t your regular, go-to store? Take a look at our store locator (link), and dedicate an afternoon to visiting a new shop. A new shop means new layouts, new staff, and possibly different products. Seeing these things in a different light may inspire you to try something new, or give you new ideas.

 

  1. Begin with the basics

After visiting a hobby shop for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of products and accessories it took to create the in-store train layouts. Understand these types of layouts take a very long time to build. Talk with the staff on what they recommend for someone just starting out. They’ll be able to show you the basic building blocks of any model layout (track, freight and passenger cars, buildings) and walk you through the pros and cons of various aspects of model railroading. By starting with the basics, and building step by step, you’re more likely to finish all of your necessary components, rather than starting and abandoning ambitious projects.

 

  1. See products before you buy

If you’re just starting out as a model railroader, you may have a lot of questions or lack direction for your layout. Sure, you know that N and HO scale are different sizes, but what does that size difference look like? Do you want DC or DCC? Should you buy Code83 or Code100 track? The benefit of going into your local hobby shop is seeing the products firsthand. Sometimes the actual packaging conveys more information than you might see in ads or on the internet, and you’ll be able to view the product in different angles versus one picture online, or no pictures at all. In certain circumstances, your hobby shop may be willing to let you demo a product that you’re interested in! Being able to physically touch, see, and hear the different components allows you to make a well-informed purchase, and can save you from buyer’s remorse down the road.

 

  1. Compare similar products

Multiple manufacturers may offer similar trains, vehicles, figures, and scenery materials. Small details can be the deciding factor in the products that you purchase, especially amongst similar items. Often times, pictures on the internet cannot accurately depict the exact color, emphasize minuscule details, or give you that sense of assurance that seeing something in person provides. If you’re deciding between two similar products, make a visit to your local hobby shop. Chances are, you’ll be able to quickly tell which model is best for you.

 

  1. See store displays

Manufacturers like to promote their products in stores via displays, models, and interactive tools. These allow you to compare products side-by-side, or see a range of compatible products. Your hobby shop may have scenery, hardware, vehicles, paints, adhesives and more displayed on special racks. In many cases, the racks have informative signs and graphics showing the basics of how the products work together. This can remove a lot of the guesswork for a new modeler, and make for an expedited shopping experience for more experienced modelers.

 

  1. Ask the experts

Most hobby shops employ modelers on their staff. Even if they don’t model trains, they may build military models, aircrafts, or vehicles. In such instances, they can usually answer questions about construction, painting, weathering, and scenery. By talking with an expert, you’ll be able to talk about what you are doing, and let them know any general products you’re interested in receiving a recommendation about. Your hobby shop should be willing to provide feedback and make recommendations — after all, they’re counting on you to return and become a lifelong customer.

 

  1. Books and DVDs

Are you a picture person? Imagine ordering a scenery how-to book online, only to find out that it’s completely text, or worse, receiving a DVD in a different language! Hobby shops aren’t libraries, but they should carry a number of model train books and DVD’s for you to browse. If you’re just starting in modeling, take time to flip through and choose some how-to books that fit your needs.

If you’re a seasoned modeler, or building a layout, books and DVDs about real railroads are great modeling reference. Not only can you see the train action on your favorite railroad, era or region, you can also look at features in the background for scenery and detailing ideas.

 

  1. A learning experience

Many great hobby shops foster the personal growth of their customers. It’s becoming more common for stores to host lectures and offer how-to classes on model railroading topics. Subjects can range from scenery, to DCC, to weathering and detailing. In addition, many shops sponsor or advertise local model railroad clubs and railroad events. Check out the bulletin board – you might find something you want to visit!

 

  1. Model railroading ideas sometimes come from other hobbies

 Don’t limit yourself by exclusively purchasing products made for model railroading. Yes, in general, those items are your safest bets, however, you could be missing out on nuggets of information for your layout. Full-line hobby shops often carry military, aircraft, vehicle, and other modeling supplies that can also be used for model train layouts. Craft supplies are also common in hobby stores.

Additionally, are there dioramas on display? Check them out, and if you see a scene or painting technique you can apply to your model railroad, ask how it was done. By expanding your product base, you’re tapping into numerous new, unique looks and techniques for your model train layouts.

 

  1. Meet other modelers

Model railroading can sometimes be a solitary and isolating hobby. Staying active in your community by visiting your local hobby shop can connect you with other model railroaders and hobbyists. Some hobby shops encourage camaraderie between its customers by running contests, hosting events, and even sponsoring a local model railroad club.

Often times, there will be a wide range of experience amongst your fellow shoppers, from novice to experts. Engaging with those on the same skill level as you serves as a way to gauge your progress and share similar experiences. Seasoned hobbyists can act as mentors, and are typically eager to give advice and guidance.

Even if you’ve been in the hobby for decades, sometimes a chat with someone new to the hobby can provide an insight you haven’t considered, and interacting with other modelers can revitalize your interest and reignite your passion for the hobby.

 

One thing is for sure, when you are visiting a local shop, look for Walthers products. Shops that carry the Walthers brand are good shops, and if they don’t they are missing an iconic brand that has led the industry for 85 years.

New Year’s resolutions for model railroaders

With the holiday season coming to a close and the New Year upon us, why not consider a few model train resolutions? Chances are, if you’re reading this blog post, model railroading has touched your life sometime before or during the holiday season. Whether you just received your first train set, or you’re a seasoned model railroader, there are all kinds of hobby ideas, or “resolutions” to consider in 2018.

Excited about receiving a new train set for the holidays? If so, that’s great! You or your family has embarked on a tradition and hobby that’s fun year-round. So why not make a resolution to keep the fun rolling into the New Year?

Put away the tree, not the trains!

With the decorations being boxed up and the tree coming down, it’s time to figure out where to move the trains. In many households that often means a table, long shelf in the basement, or lacking a basement, a spare room. Wherever you decide to set them up, it’s important to ensure good temperature, humidity, and dust control. This makes it easier to keep the track and electrical contacts clean and working reliably.

Once you’ve identified where to set up, the fun begins. If you’re just starting out with a train set, there is no need to make things permanent —yet. Simply get it up and running, and enjoy! A lot of folks like to add more cars and locomotives for extra variety. Keep in mind that it takes advanced controls (such as DCC) to run more than one train on the same track without more than basic wiring. If you have questions, some train sets come with basic how-to DVDs, but if yours didn’t, here are a few books about getting started in the hobby.

Are your trains only for the Holidays?

Whether you’re getting started with a Christmas train, or you’re a longtime modeler with equipment you bring out for the season, holiday-only trains require diligence in packing and storage to make it easy to keep the fun rolling in future years. A good resolution is to carefully pack away your holiday trains. Here are some suggestions that can make setup easier next year.

To begin with, keep vigilant when packing up your locomotive and cars. Gently uncouple them and check them over for damage and dirt. Clean the wheels on your locomotive, and check for carpet and tree skirt fibers that may have gotten caught in the wheels and gearing. Carefully place the loco and cars into their packaging or boxes. If you don’t have packaging, wrap them individually with bubble wrap, clean rags, or thick paper towels that can cushion them.

Next, disconnect your power pack from the terminal track and tape or tie the wires to the power pack so you can find them next year. Disassemble the track sections, clean the rails with a track cleaner, and neatly return them to their packaging or box. If you don’t have the original box, bundle sections together with rubber bands to keep them organized.

For storage, add desiccant packs to all boxes or bins before putting them away. These will minimize the chance of corrosion from moisture. Store all boxes and bins away from extreme heat or cold.

Resolutions for longtime modelers

If you’ve been in the hobby for years, you’ve surely got some projects you would like to tackle or complete. Even those with completely operable and scenic layouts or modules can appreciate and enjoy projects to improve and maintain their collection. Not every resolution may be applicable to you, but here are a few to consider for the New Year.

    1. Finish what you started

Those of us who have been modelers for a long time often love to work on several projects at once. However, sometimes life gets in the way and projects get shelved. Instead of starting a new project, why not complete that kit, assemble the parts from a kitbash, or finish painting that locomotive or car? Finishing a model or project is rewarding – enough said!

  1. Try something new

Learning new modeling techniques or working in a new modeling era or scale is fun. If you haven’t, why not build a laser-cut wood, resin, or cardstock kit? Kitbash or scratch-build a loco, car, vehicle, or structure? Ever use an airbrush? If not, try it! You get the idea, trying and learning new things makes us better modelers.

  1. Light up your world

Lighting adds interest to models and scenes. In recent years, lights for buildings, locomotives, cars, and vehicles have become better than ever, thanks to tiny circuits and LEDs. Don’t forget to visualize the bigger picture – chances are, it can use better lighting! Layout room lighting can make dark, dingy layouts spring to life, and they’ll also be easier to see and work on. Well-lit workbenches make for a pleasant workspace and can make model building easier.

  1. Add DCC to your layout and loco fleet

Could this be the year you upgrade your DC railroad to Digital Command Control (DCC)? It’s a good resolution to make and there’s no doubt that it’s the future of the hobby. Although there are many considerations to factor, if you operate multiple trains on a block system, or if you like prototype operations, sound and/or automation, DCC is likely the way to go. Recent advances in DCC systems (Link: https://www.walthers.com/products/power-and-controls/command-control/set/show/120), decoders, and trains make conversion easier than ever. But if you’re happy with your DC railroad, it works well, and you’re having fun, that’s great – fun is the object of any hobby!

  1. Don’t wait until spring to clean

Dust never sleeps, and neither does corrosion. A great resolution for the New Year is to clean your layout, locos, workbench, and train room. Clean track and wheels on locomotives and cars make operations more reliable. An uncluttered workbench means more room to build, detail, or decorate models. Finally, a good dusting with an appropriate lightweight duster can do wonders for the appearance of layout scenes and structures.

  1. Make a few good tweaks

If you’re satisfied with your control and power systems, consider making some small upgrades you may have put off. On DCC railroads, adjust the programming on your decoders such as volume on sound decoders and speed matching on locomotives. On DC systems, how about fixing annoying little dead spots, powering dead turnout frogs, and fixing other electrical bugs? Address minor track repairs wherever derailments are frequent. Fix incidental wear and tear to buildings and scenery. When everything on your railroad runs and looks as intended, the fun keeps on rolling!

  1. So many projects, so little time

Pressed for time? How about resolving to do a few quick projects? Many of these projects take only a short time, require few materials, and are easily interrupted if you’re pressed for spare time.

Weathering trains, structures, track (yes, track!), and scenery can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Dusting up a freight car with chalks or dry brushing takes about an hour. Weathering track goes quickly, and if you get interrupted you can easily pick up where you left off. See this link for many, many weathering products that make adding realism to your layout fast and fun.

Adding small details to trains or structures can greatly enhance appearance, often in a minuscule amount of time. Rolling stock often has drill starter points for adding wire grab irons and handrails. Why not drill them out and add grab irons for extra realism? On your layout, add figures to your scenes for a realistic upgrade. Street details like vendor carts, trash cans, planters, hydrants and more are quick and easy to add. Window awnings, interior details, fire escapes and other parts are fast and fun to install on buildings.

Looking for a sign telling you what to add to your layout next? Try adding signs to your scenes. Street signs, business signs, track side signs, and billboards give scenes a time frame and add to your layout’s value. Thousands of signs are available and they’re quick and fun to add.

Pick one, a few, or none at all

As a fun hobby, model railroading has plenty of opportunities for enjoyment and no two people view it the same. When you’re a beginner, getting the trains up and running is usually the focus, and watching a train roll down the track makes us smile! For seasoned modelers, watching your first train circle the track still brings feelings of joy!

In between, a sense of accomplishment and the fun of doing and learning keeps modelers motivated to take on or complete new projects. At this time of year, however, many of us reflect back on the past year and make plans for the New Year. We hope that this blog post inspires your thoughts and imagination to make a few model railroading resolutions as we roll down the track into 2018!

Browse Walthers categories to get a feel for your next project.

 

 

 

10 ways to prepare and maintain your holiday train

Many of us, even seasoned modelers, have trains we bring out only for the holidays. After all, what’s a Christmas tree without a holiday train running ’round it? It’s a tradition that can be traced back over 150 years. But, to make sure it keeps running reliably there are a few preparation steps you may consider to keep the fun rolling under the tree or for any temporary setup!

  1. Carefully unpack and inspect your train for any damage

Even the most rugged model train is subject to damage in storage. Its box may get kicked, dropped, wet or crushed and the train inside can be damaged, which is common. Check the couplers to see if they’re all there. Re-position dislodged wheel sets. If present, clean off smoke fluid that may have seeped out. Make sure to remove Styrofoam bubbles, paper scraps, foam rubber crumbs and anything else that may stick to your train or track.

  1. Inspect and clean the track

As with the trains, track needs attention to ensure reliability. Inspect for missing joiners, broken clips on roadbed track, loose rails, bent rails and other defects and replace broken parts or sections. Clean the railheads – even though they may appear clean, they may have a thin film of corrosion or dirt (especially in high-humidity regions), and it’s easier to clean them before assembly than crawling under the tree! If you’re not sure which cleaner to use, here’s a link to a variety of cleaners for model trains.

  1. Clean and lube your locomotive

Take a closer look at the underside of your locomotive or trolley. Clean out visible dust, pet hair, carpet fibers, tinsel, glitter, tree skirting and lint. If you find fibers wrapped around exposed gearing or wheels and axles remove it with a toothpick, dental pick or small tweezers. Clean the wheel tread for electrical reliability. If your train has a smoke unit, make sure to inspect for fluid that has leeched out and clean it off. If you’re not sure what to use check out the cleaner link above for a few suggestions.

Sometimes, but seldom, locomotives need light lubrication. Plastic-compatible lubricants must always be used and they should be applied sparingly only to exposed gearing as noted in the lubrication instructions of your locomotive. One drop is normally enough, too much can cause electrical problems and can attract lint and dirt.

  1. Inspect your power pack

Safety is the most important thing to consider. Make sure all of the wires are in good condition with no fraying or missing insulation. If you find a problem you may need to replace the power pack or wires.

  1. Freight and passenger cars need love too

While rolling stock simply follows along, cars have their own maintenance needs. Check for fibers and debris on the wheels and axles and remove them as you would on a locomotive. If the cars are lighted you may want to clean the wheels the same as you might clean loco wheels.

  1. Test run

Before you set up your entire layout hook up your power pack to a couple of pieces of track and test run your locomotive and cars back and forth to make sure everything works. Check the couplers and make sure they stay together, if not then repair or replace. If you have a smoke unit, add fluid according to the manufacturers’ instructions.

  1. Clear the way

Setting up track is much easier with plenty of space to work. Many folks set up the track before setting up the tree, and some set everything up on a board. For best results choose a level, or near-level surface. Make sure to leave a few inches clearance above the train and any tree branches and ornaments. Keep tinsel (especially metal tinsel which can cause electrical shorts) far, far away. Also keep Christmas village buildings and scenery at least two inches away on either side.

  1. Set up your track and hook up your power pack

Roadbed-style track (with a simulated ballast base) can be set up on any surface including carpet with no bad effects on your trains. If you have conventional track (you can see through the spaces between the ties and rails) consider inserting wood, cardboard or even tape that’s wider than the track to provide a fiber-free surface. Just a single carpet or tree skirt fiber, or tinsel can ruin a locomotive if it gets caught in the mechanism. Here’s a hint for reliability: if you’re using conventional track try a piece of duct tape on the underside of six or eight ties at each track joint to hold the pieces together as the track moves under the weight of the passing trains.

  1. Get your trains on the line

When you’re satisfied with your track layout go ahead and put your trains on the track. If you find that the tree, buildings, presents or other decorations make rerailing the trains difficult consider a rerailer track (you may have one already) or rerailing tool. Here’s an assortment of rerailing tracks and tools.  Although there are many choices you may consider a ramp-style rerailer to help with rerailing cars in the limited confines of space under the tree.

  1. Run like Rudolph!

Crack open the throttle and let your trains run! For safety, keep an eye out for obstructions as presents get moved around and track shifts on soft surfaces.

The tradition of having a holiday train is one that still exists because it’s fun. Keeping those trains running takes a little bit of work and when done correctly can make the holiday train even more fun. If you’re considering a holiday train for the first time or giving one as a gift, consider starting with a train-set.