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Favourite "One Stop" Suppliers in the USA, UK (or anywhere)





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#1 trisonic

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 15:18

Who's your favourite Store in the 'States (most will be "internet" shops)?


If you have a good competitive supplier somewhere else list them separately.


Consistently fast supply.

Largest selection of stock, in stock! Etc.

If necessary separate into "Big Box" type vs interesting detail, track components etc., etc. You know what I mean I don't have to spell it o-u-t...........

Please no annoying, negative reports - if you have nothing good to say just do not mention them.

Thanks, Pete.



#2 JWB

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 15:38

MB Klein is pretty good on price and selection. Walthers has sllloooowwwly been waking up to the fact that shoppers are going by price, and they do monthly specials, discount certain items, and now have a "valued customer program" that allows people who apparently have a good record of buying from them to get discounts on certain lines. Their service is consistently the best.

Some of the better-known houses have less-good service. I had to demand that one very well-known place delete my account entirely when they charged my credit card for a purchase I hadn't made. I would say that in the age of the internet, you simply should not deal with any outlet that gives less than 95% satisfaction, but this is going to have to come from your own experience.
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#3 Ozexpatriate

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 15:48

Walthers has sllloooowwwly been waking up to the fact that shoppers are going by price, and they do monthly specials, discount certain items, and now have a "valued customer program" that allows people who apparently have a good record of buying from them to get discounts on certain lines. Their service is consistently the best.

I think Walthers is caught between wanting to be both a direct internet-based retailer and what may possibly be the US' leading wholesaler. They clearly don't want to set prices that undercut their biggest customers - the local hobby shops.

At this point, since I can, I prefer to use local hobby shops rather than purchase on-line and many of the items I buy come through Walthers but via the local shop. There are at least three local hobby shops in Portland. For UK items everything I buy is on-line/mail order.

#4 Adrian Wintle

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 15:52

I mostly use my local (i.e. within 45 miles of home) hobby shops. I can get (or order) just about anything mainstream through them.

I try to visit model shops in other areas when I'm visiting them (including two of the ones in Portland when I was there last - they are good).

Adrian

#5 Oldddudders

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 17:21

For DCC items and related hardware Tony's Train Exchange is hard to beat, and they also sell locomotives, at competitive prices. They are also front-of-house for QSI sound systems, who have just released stereo for HO and larger.
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#6 trisonic

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 20:35

Pleasing to see reliance on local stores. I actually have two very good ones nearby too:

The Model Railroad Shop of Piscataway.

The Big Little Railroad Store of Somerville.

Both in New Jersey. If anyone is in NYC they are both on the Raritan Valley line accessible via Penn Station. You may need a taxi at one of them.


Best, Pete.

#7 warbonnetuk

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 21:55

If I'm importing from the US into the UK I tend to use either Walthers, Caboose Hobbies and Pacific Western Rail Systems mainly as they carry a large range of bits and bobs. I've also had very good experiences with Highball Graphics who, apart from their decals carry a v good range of detailing bits. For RTR I've also used Trainworld in Brooklyn a couple of times with no problems and v good prices esp for clearance items

In terms of stores I've actually visited on my trips to the US, The Train Shop in Santa Clara had a excellent range of both RTR and bits & bobs and keen pricing. Also in CA Railroad Junc & Hobbies is worth a look (opp Lodi Amtrak California depot) as well as Bruce's Trains in Sacramento and Railroad Hobbies in nearby Roseville (a block from the UP yard).

Dan Spalding

#8 PaulRhB

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 22:32

Veering into Canada I'd recommend Trains N Such in Calgary. Excellent range of HO and N and friendly service. They gave us maps for some other shops before they knew we were going to buy anything. Pleasant browsing experience.
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#9 071

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 23:56

Online I have used MB Klein and Trainworld. Have also visited Trainworld's store in Brooklyn on both occasions I have been to NY. Both are good for mail order and have shipped everything to Ireland for a decent rate. Once used Factory Direct Trains to buy a BLI AC6000 for buttons. I believe they are BLI's factory store. They were also good.

A mention should go to the UK's very own Model Junction. Have bought freight cars, wheel sets and Kadee's and once again recieved very good mail order service. A great place for all different bits, but the exchange rates and prices push their loco prices a bit too high for me personally.

#10 John B

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 01:35

Colonial Photo and Hobby (N. Mills Ave) was my "pusher" of choice when I lived in Orlando, FL. Great selection, friendly & knowledgable staff, discounts a-plenty for regulars.

Arnie's Trains, in Westminster CA, is my favorite in SoCA. Reeds, in La Mesa (San Diego) is also pretty good.
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#11 shortliner

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 08:36

Shipping stuff from USA to UK I have had great service from all US suppliers (including those with ebay stores) - Phoning with a question has always been answered by people who are very knowledgeable, and helpful. Micromark decals are outstanding! Customer service seems to be something that the USians have learned is a valuable commodity, bringing with it the likelyhood of repeat orders and word of mouth advertising, unlike some of their UKian counterparts - In UK I'd recommend McLaren Models in Falkirk - a shopowner who is willing to order stuff in for customers - great service. I haven't dealt with the new Macs Models - the old one was very good - and Model Junction, together with very good service from The Hobby Shop in Faversham.

#12 071

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 11:14

Colonial Photo and Hobby (N. Mills Ave) was my "pusher" of choice when I lived in Orlando, FL. Great selection, friendly & knowledgable staff, discounts a-plenty for regulars.


Excellent, I'm off to Orlando later this year. Will have to look them up. My girlfriend will be delighted :laugh:

Now to research any good lineside spots in Orlando or surround areas for a video or two....

#13 F-UnitMad

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 12:30

For much of my O scale supplies I've used P&D Hobby Shop of Michigan - very quick response to email enquiries too. I've also dealt directly with Atlas at times - their spares supply is very good.
My own local shop (Tennants Trains) has a smattering of US O scale 2-rail, but is an official Lionel Agent so has a lot of 3-rail - can't see the attraction myself!!
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#14 davknigh

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 13:33

In the Toronto area there are the usual suspects, George's and Credit Valley, Hamilton has Modeller's Choice but a good source that is a mobile feast is here; TMR DISTRIBUTING http://www.canadasouthern.com/tmr/ . Terry is at all the shows and carries a good stock of gear at competitive prices. Usual disclaimer.

Cheers,

David

#15 Ian Holmes

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 13:39

I'll order from wherever the price is right i.e cheapest, and I've never had a problem anywhere.
I'd much rather shop in person though to that end I love hub hobby in Richfield, MN . If you're going to buy a loco you can't beat picking it off the shelf and see it running before you part with your hard earned cash.
Then there is Bakers Hobby supply in St. Cloud, MN they don't have a huge range but when I need styrene and other bits and pieces they pretty much have what I want and they know me by name too. That reminds me the owner asked me about displaying my layouts there later in the year. I'd better get back to him on that...

#16 Adrian Wintle

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 13:42

In the Toronto area there are the usual suspects, George's and Credit Valley,


Also Panther Hobbies. These are my three primary stores.

Adrian

#17 John B

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 14:44

Excellent, I'm off to Orlando later this year. Will have to look them up. My girlfriend will be delighted :laugh:

Now to research any good lineside spots in Orlando or surround areas for a video or two....


Go to downtown Winter Park - a northern suburb of Orlando. Some lovely High Street shopping for the girlfriend, and the CSX mainline runs through the center of town, right alongside the main street. Some great bars and restaurants here, too.

A good tip at Colonial - give them your phone number (hotel number will do!) and email address, and they'll put you on their computer and mailing list - and you'll immediately get discounts on pretty much everything over and above their already-discounted rates. They were doing that for me while I was still a (business) tourist, before I moved to town. It's also a fantastic place if you like cameras / RC / plastic kits, etc... it's only a couple of miles from downtown Orlando, (on US 17/92 and SR 50) but right in the middle of the Vietnamese neighborhood, so some great Vietnamese / Korean eateries in the area, too.
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#18 071

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 11:01

Go to downtown Winter Park - a northern suburb of Orlando. Some lovely High Street shopping for the girlfriend, and the CSX mainline runs through the center of town, right alongside the main street. Some great bars and restaurants here, too.

A good tip at Colonial - give them your phone number (hotel number will do!) and email address, and they'll put you on their computer and mailing list - and you'll immediately get discounts on pretty much everything over and above their already-discounted rates. They were doing that for me while I was still a (business) tourist, before I moved to town. It's also a fantastic place if you like cameras / RC / plastic kits, etc... it's only a couple of miles from downtown Orlando, (on US 17/92 and SR 50) but right in the middle of the Vietnamese neighborhood, so some great Vietnamese / Korean eateries in the area, too.


Thanks for that John, that sounds ace! I will be sure to steer us in that direction and sign up with Colonial! Roll on October!

Another mention must go to Ulrich Models, who were very helpful when I was ordering one of their gas turbine sound chip kits but had a payment issue. Their customer service was second to none, and the twin speaker kit was a joy to install. sounds good too! The tender was left off due to tunnel clearance issues!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__NXyTrAiWc

#19 BR60103

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:11

Another stop in Winter Park is the Morse Museum http://www.morsemuseum.org/ which will delight your girl friend and probably you as well. There is a railway connection -- Morse was part of Fairbanks-Morse.
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#20 CraigZ

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 20:37

I'm a big fan of Trainmaster Models in Buford, Georgia. Scott is a high level RPM modeler and thus 'gets it' when I get a bit esoteric. Been reserving new stuff from him for a while, haven't gotten caught short yet.

Another fellow I've been dealing with is http://www.bnm-hobbies.com/store/ mostly because he's willing to stock undecorated freight cars and freight car parts...easy to deal with.

Just got my first order from Toy Train Heaven - seems packed well and shipped pretty fast. I've not done much with MB Klein lately given that I can't make a hard reservation for new stuff and that they've munged up their webpage and made it hard to search by manufacturer...harrumph!

#21 298

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 21:18

To be honest, I've usually tried to visit a store if it's convenient and not too far out of our way or itenary, and have never been to a bad one. You guys really are spoilt, even one in Nanaimo, BC, that was closing and never stocked much railway anyway produced a couple of Jordan vehicle kits

Special mention must go to the North End Train Center in Seattle, who made a couple of luggage labels for us, and Pacific Rim Hobbies in Port Angeles WA, excellent store and worth a trip on the MV Coho from Victoria, where BC Shaver and Hobby is.

#22 Brisbane King

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:43

Another positive experience for M.B. Klein.

Also have had positive experience with Walthers, although MBK has them beaten on price pretty much all the time.
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#23 F-UnitMad

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 23:21

I've just had some excellent service (via his Ebay Shop) from this supplier :- Bob Bowditch aka Bob the Train Guy of Ohio; who has twice supplied Digitrax products to me very quickly, and despite Ebay's best efforts to thwart adding extra items to orders!!! :laugh:
I also made quite a saving on UK prices - besides which the items I wanted have been listed for ages as "Out of Stock Awaiting Delivery" by the major UK DCC specialists I looked at. :rolleyes:
Being able to shop like this really does make me wonder just how on earth we managed to model US-outline in the UK before the Interweb..!! :blink:

#24 trisonic

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:11

I've "pinned" this topic because I think it useful (at least I hope I've done so).
Please keep adding to it or amending the data if applicable.

Best, Pete.

#25 Gene

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 14:46

I always check my 2 local shops in Montreal first...then I'll go to the US stores for North American stuff I can't find locally...MB Klien are excellent as are Tonys Train Exchange and I like MicroMark for tools.
In the UK I use Hattons and Howes and if really in a jam I'll ask a certain shortlineing friend in Scotland to help me out. In Canada, for UK outline I've had excellent service from British Connection in Ontario and Britannia Models in BC and Eurotrain Models in BC for German outline stuff.

Cheers
Gene