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Bernard

Where do you purchase most of your model trains?

Where do you purchase most of your model trains?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you purchase most of your model trains?

    • Foreign Online Retailers
      11
    • Domestic Online Retailers
      1
    • eBay
      8
    • Local Hobbies shops
      0
    • Swap Meets and/or Friends
      1
    • Other
      1


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Bernard

I was going to one of the local hobby shops I frequent and saw that it went out of business. And I got to thinking, how much did I really purchase from this store and where do I really buy most of my model trains. So I decided to start a poll to see where other members make most of their purchases.

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bill937ca

Local hobby shops going out of business is nothing new around here.  In fact, I can't recall a new hobby shop opening.  The market is too splintered now, split between train show vendors, internet dealers, eBay and local hobby shops. Even once you have a shop there are so many interests: exotic Japanese trains, narrow gauge, traction, N gauge, HO gauge, O scale, tin plate, G scale, etc. that it's almost impossible for one dealer to please everyone. If you look back to model trains in the 50s and 60s you would find the market was far more cohesive, basically O scale and HO scale, and that was when the local hobby shop thrived and there was money in it.

 

It's one of those things that vanishes with changing times. and changing tastes.

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bill937ca

I was going to one of the local hobby shops I frequent and saw that it went out of business. And I got to thinking, how much did I really purchase from this store and where do I really buy most of my model trains. So I decided to start a poll to see where other members make most of their purchases.

 

The economy is a big factor here.  I've heard of model shops where there are days when no one goes into the store.

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Bernard

It's kind of sad, this was a fairly new hobby shop and had a nice selection. I remember when I was a kid every town had a least one hobby shop. Now I think there are maybe about 2 in a 20 mile radius in the area where I live. 

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to2leo

I just bought from that online auction site for my own Christmas present.  I really want to support my local hobby store but it is hard when there is nothing of interest.  They are too focus into HO Scale and eras that I don't feel I have any connection with.  If it does have the products I want, they are usually overpriced!

 

I do hope with the governments' emphasis on the environment and a focus into aging infrastructures, a railway revival will be upon us soon in North America.  This revival might enable many more people to make trains the ideal choice of commuting or traveling and thus more interest into the hobby.

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SubwayHypes

my local hobby shop is only good for power packs and maybe a few n scale vehicles or trucks.

 

 

they do not carry any Japanese Kato products, only US freight trains and locomotives that i am not very interested in.  they do have a very good selection of US N scale stuff, but i am just not that interested in american stuff, i only desire Japanese trains.

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Guest ___

Hobby shops come and go around here like chain restaurants, and even then they don't carry all that much. It's either a mix of everything from trains to model rockets and everything in between or it is an all train shop, but is mostly Lionel, and related with HO stock at a minimum. So, the thoguht of buying anything Japanese from them is pretty much out of the question. As a result, everything I order is from HobbySearch only at this point.

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serenityFan

I did buy most of my unitrack from the local shop (although it's not really local, as it was on the other side of Melbourne, 80 minutes by car), however it was still a brick and mortar shop in Melb ;D

 

They mainly stock british OO, and US HO and N scale. They did have a shinkansen set (I think it was an E2) and at least one other japanese Kato set, however not near as many as the US stock. At least they seem to have plenty of scenery stuff like WS.

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alpineaustralia

The experience is equally dire in Sydney. Imagine that for a city with a populaton of 4.3 million people we have less than 5 hobby stores that sell N scale. As with most of the other guys, the concentration is HO and other scales although at least some are recognising that N Scale is fast growing and have promised to stock more of it.

In Sydney, I know of only one store that sells Kato (at approx. 2 or 3 times the internet price) and you can even forget about Tomix etc.

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Martijn Meerts

Not much better here. While the local trainstore is actually a really good one and stocks a LOT of items, they're specialized in Marklin. They do have some N-scale as well (minitrix and fleischmann mainly), and can import Japanese N-scale that Noch (a German scenery company that has an agreement with various non-european companies to import stuff. Kato and Woodland Scenics are 2 of them for example) imports to Europe. I got my Kato 800 series there, as well as my Sunrise Express.

 

Other than that, I've mainly used Japan Model Railways in Germany. I've also use Newhall Station for my Doraemon train and Plaza Japan for some accessories. Japan Model Railways mainly does Tomix (he's an official dealer) as well as MicroAce, so I'm tempted to start using a Japanese online store for some Kato stuff.

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CaptOblivious

We have four LHS store: One is entirely Lionel, one has a good range of products but their prices are through the roof, one is one of those inclusive hobby shops where service is terrible (although they do have a pretty Tomix 300-series sitting in the display), and the last went out of business years ago. I tried to frequent this last one, being the only one not out in the 'burbs, and a genuine model train store (i.e. not a generalized "hobby shop"), but they were just downright mean to me, so I left.

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SubwayHypes

Wow its surprising how these business owners and clerks can be so rude and mean.  When i visited my last hobby store and owner was practically wining and dining me because i bought $80 dollars worth of stuff.  You can tell they really need the business nowadays.  He shook my hand like 2 times.  Too bad they dont carry Japanese stuff or i would patronize them more.

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bill937ca

my local hobby shop is only good for power packs and maybe a few n scale vehicles or trucks.

 

they do not carry any Japanese Kato products, only US freight trains and locomotives that i am not very interested in.  they do have a very good selection of US N scale stuff, but i am just not that interested in american stuff, i only desire Japanese trains.

 

Pretty much the same here.  The local hobby shop which is really a bicycle shop has WS products, low cost HO and N items and a bit of track.  But the LHS is there and I believe he does a good business in orders from Walthers and other catalogs. Actually some of his stock has resulted from minimum order quantities when I ordered items.

 

Kingston, an hour east of here used to have two hobby shops carrying train items.  Now there is just an automobile oriented store, but with a train section as large as many hobby shops. In Toronto the largest shop has just downsized from a double storefront and partial second floor to one long deep store.

 

Hobby Search will continue to be my primary source of Japanese trains.

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Martijn Meerts

I guess one of the problems is that its usually easier to order online, and most stores don't offer much along the lines of service.

 

I'm still a firm believer that a small, service minded, friendly shop with some nice looking display layouts and/or diorama's, and a small layout for kids to play with would actually do reasonable business. Would also be nice if various similar shops could keep in touch via email or a forum or even MSN or something, and that way be able to ask for advice and get items that are otherwise sold out.

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Bernard

I guess we are a unique bunch, since most LHS don't carry much in the way of Japanese trains.

There is one big hobby shop about 20 miles from me, that also has a huge online business. (They're in most of the Train Mag.) They do have some Japanese train sets and their prices aren't bad. They do get very busy especially around Xmas, but forget it if you have a question about a product, they just want to get to the next customer.

 

What was great about the little LHS was if you had a problem they usually would know the answer or explain the method they used to solve it.

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alpineaustralia

Bernard - are you anywhere near the train store featured in the episode of the Sopranos in which Bobby Bacala gets shot while buying a train? I wonder what scale he was buying?

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Bernard

Alpine - I don't get HBO so I've never watched the Sopranos but I make a bet he was shot in "Train World" in Brooklyn. There are 2 huge stores, "Train World & TrainLand" both near the NYC area. It is a family business now owned by 2 brothers. TrainLand has been around since I was a little kid and that's in the late 50s.

Here is a link to the stores and take a look at the guy holding the train, he looks like he came out of an episode of the Sopranos. They advertise in all the major Model RR mags.

 

http://www.trainworld.com/

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serenityFan

... take a look at the guy holding the train, he looks like he came out of an episode of the Sopranos.

 

LOL, isn't that really the guy from the Sopranos?

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alpineaustralia

Thats exactly the store and scene just before he gets shot.

Fantastic!

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SubwayHypes

its almost all ebay for me.  sometimes you get lucky and catch someone piecing out a collection.  i dont mind buying structures and trains second hand, even thogh 90% of what i buy is brand new anyways.

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Bernard

The photo of the guy at TrainWorld looks like he's about to give you and offer you can't refuse. :D

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alpineaustralia

In the scene from the Sopranos, the guy in the Trainworld picture, Bobby Bacala (played by Stephen Schirripa), is talking to the storeowner/shop assistant about the reduction in train services in the North East of the US and how he laments the cessation of the service called the something or rather "flyer". He is also complaining about the price of the Blue Comet that he is holding when he gets wacked.

 

Fortunately for us he was buying O gauge rather than N gauge and so it is still safe to do what we do.

But one theory for the scene was that the producer was trying to warn hobbystore owners about exhorbitant prices for their trains - see: http://www.ogaugewatch.com/ogaugewatchcom/2007/06/the_sopranos_bl.html

 

Who knows? Perhaps the japanese tv or cinema people will have an equivalent scene from a yakuza film featuring an N scale Kato ?

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Bernard

Alpine - Thanks I didn't know that guy holding the Blue Comet was from the Sopranos. A lot of the guys who work there look a lot like him. TrainWorld & Trainland supply mostly HO next G scale, then O, N, Brio/Thomas wooden trains and last S scale (No Marklin or Z scale) They do have almost everything you need and have a large online market but as I said, you better know what you want, they aren't very helpful and for the most part are extremely rude. Hey did Bobby Bacala ask for help? That's probably why he got wacked. :D

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stevenh

Back to alpine's message on the Sydney stores... I was there on Saturday and happened to see the Tomix 7-Car twilight carriage set.

Due to a seemingly unfounded impulse I bought it.. just because it's so hard to get my hands on.

I don't wish to see any links of where it's half the price I paid, etc... but it was exorbitant!

 

Despite this, it looks cool :)

But that's the first and last time I buy Japanese stock in an Australian hobby store... they just rip you off. Unfortunately the ability to have the model in your hands when you purchase is a big win.

 

..now I just need to work out what cars I need to purchase as add-ons.

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Bernard

Steven - If you don't mind would you post a photo of the Twilight carriage set?

I know what you mean when you've been looking for something for a long time and you finally come across it. I missed my chance on a MircoAce Nankai Railway 50000 set and now it's really hard to find.

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