We bought several Ross switches for the Casey Jones Hi Railers modular layout from the Electric Train Outlet because they were relatively close to the Memphis area. Orders only took a couple of days to  get to our club.

They were very nice folks. I hate to see them go.



TCA 86 23495

Casey Jones Chapter TCA

Casey Jones HI Railers


Visit www.memphismodelrailroaders.com for information about all the train clubs and their activities  in the Memphis and Mid South area

Entertaining article.  Bob Jacobson, the shop owner, says the hobby is dying with all us grandpas.  Warren Ferber, a customer, says he refuses to shop online (which some may argue led to the demise of the store, which has a respectable online presence).  76-year-old Art Ames isn't sure the hobby has caught on with his kids (expect he would know by now).  Dave Swanson, representing a nonprofit promoting model railroading suggest there's light at the end of the tunnel (but we know that's a double entendre).  Worthy of a back-and-forth on these very web pages.

What, me worry?


Why I looked at this thread, I don't know. But I then went ahead and glanced at the news article. Not sure why, as it's a long way from me.

"Running out of steam". How many times has that phrase been used in the civilian press (or RR press) to describe something railroad-y (real or model) that is coming to an end? Then there's "off the tracks"....

Funny, though - they never describe such things as "running out of diesel fuel". I guess that culturally, if not technologically, the reciprocating steam locomotive wins as the eternal face of railroading. (Really - which looks truly more "modern": a Dreyfuss Hudson or that diesel you saw this morning?) 

Before we get all misty-eyed about LHS's and this shop in particular, let me add a little local perspective.

I've been in this shop on three occasions.  On the surface, it was the best O Gauge train store in St. Louis metro.  It was a dedicated 3-rail shop, it was large, clean and well organized.  It had an operating layout, and it had a good amount of inventory.  By all accounts, the owner was an excellent Lionel repairman.  That's the good stuff.

My experience was the guy who ran the place ranged from surly to hostile.  Folks who were familiar with him would chuckle and say "Oh, that's just Bob" but I didn't find it amusing.  My first experience with him was around 2001.  I was in my late 20's.  I did not grow up around trains and knew nothing.  I'm sure I had some annoying newbie questions but I have little memory of what transpired other than I walked out of that store thinking "What a ____".  I bought nothing and my interest in trains took a hiatus (he was a real ambassador for the hobby ).  My next visit was around 2004 and it was more of the same.  I had young kids by that time and wanted something for around the tree.  That visit went so well, I left the store and ended up buying a G-scale LGB set from a different LHS.

I left St. Louis for many years and moved back in 2017.  By this time I was 45, the Internet had taken over, and I was determined to get into O Gauge (again).  On my last visit to the store, I have to be honest and say the owner's attitude had changed quite a bit.  He was still rough around the edges but he did stoop to talk to me and was somewhat helpful explaining Legacy.  However, I also overheard him telling his buddies that he wanted to retire, close the store, etc. (I since found out from others that he'd been saying this for 15 years).  I was left thinking "why should I buy from this guy and try to establish a relationship with him?  He could close tomorrow."

That was November of 2017.  I joined OGR about the same time.  I learned everything I needed to know about O here on OGR including the fact that his prices were full MSRP + 8% tax.  I bought my first engine from (forum sponsor) Mario's Trains for $485 to-the-door.  The same engine would have been $702 at that shop.  I'm not sure what premium I'm willing pay for a good LHS but it's less than an additional 45% per item  At that rate, I can afford a few shipping problems.

Before you say I'm piling on, the guy isn't going broke.  He's retiring.  And on the way out, he's pointing the finger at everybody else and talking trash about the hobby.  My opinion is it was a bad shop and good riddance.  When you hear about a LHS going away, sometimes they should.


Farmer_Bill posted:

Could not read.  Why do "news" sites require pop-ups and disallow ad blockers? 

+1 on what Farmer Bill says!!!!

MikeH has a good post!


Formerly Historic Frederick County, Maryland.  Now close to Baltimore.  Modeling both the Reading and B&O Railroads.


Alastar 'Bear' 3/8/06 - 8/24/15, one heckuva great dog!

Sad to see this. 

BUT - every hobby shop owner, as much as they know any particular hobby, needs to be open-minded to know it’s customers and learn from them as well. Just makes for better customer service, sales and reputation. 

My own little slice of happiness in 5' x 9' 

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Joe CongemiMikeH
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653