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It all started when I was browsing through my family pictures from my mother's hard drive, and I stumbled upon four pictures that my father took of me in front of Wild Bill's train layout.

Now, as my experience with Wild Bill's Trains goes, it was located on Groesbeck Highway in Clinton Township, just outside Downtown Mt. Clemens and south off from 16 Mile Road. My dad and I were once-in-a-while customers, just to see their massive train inventory and train layout. What really stood out to me was their inventory of old train catalogs they had in the back of the store. The downside was that it wasn't as big as Whistle Stop and Great Lakes, and the owner wasn't too keen on running the train layout anyway. (Either he was crabby, or that he didn't want to waste the power. I'll never know for sure.)

Regardless, the items my dad bought for me were a Lionel Central of Georgia boxcar and an ACL hopper to go with the Southern GP-38 diesel I received for Christmas 2005 and the Southern caboose and searchlight car from the Lionel Visitor's Center, a Lionel Chesapeake & Ohio 0-4-0 switcher engine (glad Lionel has been catching up on those), a Lionel 1990 Vol. 2 catalog (the Circus set was worth gazing at), and TM's Lionel Nation 4 DVD.

As my family and I moved around the Metro Detroit area over the years and found three extra train store to visit (Empire Hobbies, Troy, MI; Carlton Hobbies, White Lake, MI; P&D Hobbies, Fraser, MI), we sadly more or less forgot about Wild Bill's Trains up to the point that I read the store went out of business. As much as I felt sad inside, Empire Hobbies as I knew would also be another victim of the online shopping trend. (I'm part of said trend, too.)

But, all is not lost. I have these four photographs here for you to see, and I have the link to their website on Internet Archive. I hope you enjoy.

(https://web.archive.org/web/20...wildbillstrains.com/)

WB_Layout_1WB_layout_2WB_posterswild_bill_layout

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Images (4)
  • WB_Layout_1
  • WB_layout_2
  • WB_posters: Gentlemen, do NOT show the third poster on the right to your children or grandchildren
  • wild_bill_layout: Here's me in front of the layout at 11 years old.
Last edited by Andrew Steiner
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But, all is not lost. I have these four photographs here for you to see, and I have the link to their website on Internet Archive. I hope you enjoy.

(https://web.archive.org/web/20...wildbillstrains.com/)

Andrew,

Thanks for the photos.  This is one place I wished that I had made it to before it was gone.  I don't live too far away and could easily have done so, but the trains were all packed away at that time due to work, night school, and a thousand other things at the time.

By the way, the Internet Archive link doesn't seem to work.  The "..." in  it means that the middle of the URL is missing.

Mike

Andrew,

Thanks for the photos.  This is one place I wished that I had made it to before it was gone.  I don't live too far away and could easily have done so, but the trains were all packed away at that time due to work, night school, and a thousand other things distracting me

By the way, the Internet Archive link doesn't seem to work.  The "..." in  it means that the middle of the URL is missing.

Mike

Wow, I miss that place and the people! I loved getting over there on a Friday night to pick up my latest order and hang out. A lot of my trains came from them and it was a good source of blowouts. Mike Wolf and Dick Maddox came in and demoed new products on the layout. Those were fun times, it was like a second childhood.

I too am totally bummed out WBills is gone.  I was no longer living in Detroit but loved to visit P&D, Wild Bills and Great Lakes one after the other.

Great experience - purchased many great items. Moral of the story - when buying I try to support as many shops like Wild Bills as possible.  One often has to go to the biggies but I still try to buy from P&D and Great Lakes. 

With the passing of Phil, this year, the juggernaut behind all the amazing things he/P&D have done for decades, I'm holding my breath.

I had a long talk with his son this Summer when I was in town and he expressed a commitment to keep his fathers legacy going at P&D.  Also, HATED to loose Skip - Michigan Model Trains.  Phil and Skip two Titans - RIP.

Andrew,

Thanks for the photos.  This is one place I wished that I had made it to before it was gone.  I don't live too far away and could easily have done so, but the trains were all packed away at that time due to work, night school, and a thousand other things at the time.

By the way, the Internet Archive link doesn't seem to work.  The "..." in  it means that the middle of the URL is missing.

Mike

Tell me about it. It's happening to me as well. I'm attaching this screen shot of the website to avoid any further problems for all of us here. Technology.

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 12.08.45 PM

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Images (1)
  • Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 12.08.45 PM

Wow, I miss that place and the people! I loved getting over there on a Friday night to pick up my latest order and hang out. A lot of my trains came from them and it was a good source of blowouts. Mike Wolf and Dick Maddox came in and demoed new products on the layout. Those were fun times, it was like a second childhood.

Wow, I didn't know you used to live here in Michigan! Plus, I've seen your layout in the TM Videos you appeared in. Nice to meet you!

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