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@scott5011 posted:

Bobbye Halls in Dallas,Tx. I got in on the last 5 or 6 years of the store being open. If you can find her book "Tracks from Texas to Tokyo" it is a fast and enjoyable read. RIP Dragon Lady!  ... Thanks, John.

I enjoyed Bobbye Halls.  I went there often when I was doing HO with my son.  Packed full of hobby supplies of all kinds, literally from floor to ceiling. She was warm and welcoming to EVERYONE.  I bought one of the 50th anniversary "Bobbye Halls" HO box cars.  I still have it.    She did lay-a-way for customers.  They paid over time and then picked up the item on final payment, usually just before christmas.  She was still doing lay-a-way in the 1990's when it had fallen out of favor in most department stores.  Pre-order isn't new, just a little different now. 

Everyone seemed to have a smile when they were in Bobbye Hall's store.

What is left of my HO is going to my son next month, including the anniversary boxcar.

I also miss Olsen Toy Train parts and Just Trains for hard to find lionel parts.  Great online suppliers of O gauge parts that are now gone.   I started in O gauge by buying post war fixer uppers.  Their huge assortment turned many of my purchases into complete, pristine operating items.  Everything fit. functioned and was the correct part when recieved.  

@VHubbard posted:

I also miss Olsen Toy Train parts and Just Trains for hard to find lionel parts.  Great online suppliers of O gauge parts that are now gone.   I started in O gauge by buying post war fixer uppers.  Their huge assortment turned many of my purchases into complete, pristine operating items.  Everything fit. functioned and was the correct part when recieved. 


You might be calling 'game over' a little too soon.  I believe that Olsen's still has an eBay store.  Seller name: partslionel.

Check it out.


Almost any Hardware store here in Michigan that sold trains or carried train parts back in the heyday of Lionel and Marx.  Most recently lost P&D Hobby here in Fraser Michigan.  Pat had everything you ever need for scratch building and even the hard to find little parts for trains.  I really miss Pat.  Had lunch with him a few times.  About the only one left is Brasseurs' up in Saginaw Michigan a little ride from the Detroit area but Bob is now one of the last old time shops around with thousands of parts and a highly experienced train repair crew,  and just a great place to visit and B.S. with the crew for a few minutes.  Lucky for me it's on the way to Northern Michigan and my cabin and it's not like it's out of the way.  Almost forgot Wild Bills Trains in Clinton Twp.  Bill and I go back to way before he opened his train shop.  In fact when I was building my layout he used to come over and pick my brain for ideas for a layout.  Bill and I go back to the late 60's up to the day he passed on.  We were like family and great friends.  Now even his wife has just recently passed on.

Last edited by Lary

In Maryland, we were hit hard by closures, and on line only conversion. Concotin Mtn Trains, Purkeys, Klein’s  were the  three I miss the most. Klein’s always had everything and was close, even after they moved, which was a necessity because of neighborhood decline. They’re still around as an on line only business.

Purkey’s and CMT closed. Miss trips there for everything and anything, including friendly, knowledgeable owners, and repair guys.
Tom Schwartz, was the repair guy at Purkey’s, and he’s still around at another shop. But he’s the only friendly guy in the shop where he’s working . Good thing is, they do have a diverse selection of new and used trains.

Davis Electric, Cincinnati, Ohio…. Back in the early 2000’s, we visited this store, three floors of all gauges of model trains, tracks, scenery supplies, a model train store like no other…. Now days, Hobby Express in Cranberry (or near Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania, is a close second. Today, with the Built to Order profile, many of the smaller hobby shops simply do not stock many of the higher end models unless ordered. This has changed our hobby. Happy Railroading Everyone

Davis was the best!!!!!! Joe Davis ran some operation. His collection was out of sight! I always was there and would hang out on Saturdays with many other guys. When he died his son couldn't wait to cash in, sold the collection, the inventory and the property and that was that. Thanksgiving weekend at Davis was something to see, he opened his collections and private layouts.

There was another store in Cincinnati, Garden Railways, it was on Madison Rd in O'Bryanville. It has high end European trains and Lionel. He was there for about 6 years and even got one of those Visa commercials, where you can't take it home with American Express.

  When we lived in central Florida there were several good train stores.  My favorite was DeWitt's Model Railroads in Winter Park.   Small but well organized and Joyce was the nicest person, unfortunately she passed many years ago and while the shop went on for a while it was eventually purchased by Stew Marshall from Chicago who changed the name to "The Train Depot".  Stew was really involved in the hobby and our club, expanded the store and coordinated events, but he and the store are now gone.

Another in Orlando was "Southern Model Railroads" which is where my wife surprised me early on by bringing home a Lionel (MPC) Southern Crescent set for Christmas.   Earlier that year we had been to DC where I couldn't get enough of the 1401 in the Smithsonian.  I'm not sure when that store closed but being in Orlando on South Orange Blossom Trail it was not convenient for us.

Finally another in Orlando but closer to us was Colonial Photo and Hobby where I first introduced to N-scale and the Orlando N-Trak club.  The store is still in the same location, an old Publix grocery store right in the middle of Little Saigon neighborhood.  Since one of our favorite restaurants is next door I always get a chance to visit every time we travel back to Florida.   While their train selection is still good it just doesn't seem the same as it was back in the 80's.

Now we live in North Carolina and fortunately we have several train stores to visit and support.   The closest is in Raleigh, Nick's Trains which is my primary place of purchase for most anything.  And if Nick doesn't have it, he will get it.   A couple hours away close to the NC Transportation Museum in Spencer is "The Little Choo Choo", one of the best model train stores I've seen.   It is quite a drive but on those adventures there are two other train stores worth visiting.   The "Train Loft" in Winston Salem is excellent Lionel/MPC/Atlas, and Mike's Trains in Thomasville.

We spend a lot of time in the western part of the state so I did find the Hobby House in Hendersonville which I highly recommend and do my best to,...   support. 

Of course being NC we have the Lionel Store in Concord which while it's nice, it is located in that huge mall which presents it's own set of issues.  We stopped in once, it was an adventure.

So that was something about the stores I miss, and a bit about the local ones that we still have and want to keep open.  I do my best to support local stores,

-Mike in NC,


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