Jump to content
Users will currently see a stripped down version of the site until an advertising issue is fixed. If you are seeing any suspect adverts please go to the bottom of the page and click on Themes and select IPS Default. ×


RMweb Premium
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Profile Information

  • Location
  • Interests
    NER, Boston & Maine, Maine Central

Recent Profile Visitors

1,151 profile views

RichardT's Achievements



  1. After the above I took a look at the Kalmbach Media website - which is still showing all the rail titles as their brands! Checking the original sale press release it did say that there’s a 60-day transition period to the new owner starting on May 1st, so probably that explains it. There doesn’t seem to be a lot else to Kalmbach than the titles they’ve sold, so I’m wondering/assuming that the sale is actually part of the process of liquidating the company after 90 years in the business. Time will tell. Richard
  2. A little more news on the Model Railroader etc sale in this US YouTube model railway news show: What’s Neat This Week in Model Railroading They’re interviewing the new owner of the ex-Kalmbach railway titles plus David Popp of Model Railroader. Health warning: there’s about 15mins of content spread over 40+ mins of waffle - the presenters are *not* very good interviewers, and it can be a bit of a tiresome watch. However, some snippets of interest emerge which might modify my previous cynical view of this development: - There’s a strong implication that Kalmbach couldn’t wait to dump the titles - the new owner started talking to Kalmbach in early spring and six weeks later the deal was concluded. - Kalmbach have already sold the MRR building and they have to get out by July. The Milwaukee Racine & Troy staff layout is hard-wired into the building in a purpose-built room, so whether it survives the move is doubtful. - David Popp it appears is busy searching for new premises for the team - not clear if they’ll still be in Wisconsin or Tennessee (where the new owner is based.) - David Popp doesn’t get much chance to get a word in edgeways but he does at one point emphatically say that the staff are all behind the change of owner, that this is the first time in a long time that there’s an owner with some enthusiasm for the titles, and strongly implies that Kalmbach has been starving the titles of investment and technical upgrades for years and that staff morale has been on the floor. - The new owner (Craig Fuller, CEO of Firecrown) does repeatedly makes all the right bullish noises about investment in the titles and in the online presence; implies he wants to get Model Railroader & Trains over the next year up to the quality of the annuals (MRP etc) with heavier paper, better photography etc. and invest in the digital side. This is where the programme presenters could have done to ask some more searching questions. - He’s not from a railroading or modelling background and his grasp of the modelling hobby seems to me still at the “motherhood and apple pie” stage. However he makes a good point about how Lego have reinvented the hobby of building with their bricks from near bankruptcy 20 years ago to a thriving multi-generational hobby today. Richard
  3. I also have no time for the bearded tax dodger and his increasingly shabby brand, but I suspect he’s in with a chance because this is an open access application where lower standards apply because the operator bears full commercial risk. As, of course, do the passengers. (E.g. See the various online rail forums for how Grand Central walks away and leaves its passengers in the lurch when it cancels a train - they don’t regard themselves as part of the network so don’t arrange ticket acceptance with other operators when they cancel their last train of the day.) I was working in the company secretary’s office at Railtrack during the first WCML franchise negotiations. Railtrack had many many faults as a company, but Branson took the biscuit for being an imperial class…think I’ll stop there. Luckily for the passengers he had the sense to hire Chris Green. RT
  4. Bl**dy hell. Wishing you a rapid return to good health and all the help you need. Fingers crossed for your vision. Stay strong. RichardT
  5. This was the OP’s actual question, specifically saying that s/he wasn’t after a discussion of the merits of each gauge, just a visual comparison. So, of course, what we’ve got is a discussion of the merits of each gauge and a distinct lack of comparison photos! RichardT
  6. As I understand it, the remaining road embankment and bridge pier are being temporarily retained as piling platforms for the construction of a new retaining wall to support the base of the Bar wall embankment. After that’s constructed they’ll be removed and the new road laid. York’s mediaeval Bar Walls* are somewhat unusual in that for most of their circumference they stand on top of a high earth embankment rather than rising straight up from ground level (e.g. as in Newcastle, London and Chester). The earth embankment was raised up after the Norman Conquest to cover the remains of the Roman city wall - rather than try to demolish it - and the mediaeval walls built resting on top, initially in wood and later gradually replaced in stone. (The exposed Bar walls with arches in them were re-built to get the tracks into the old station, and go down much further to ground level than the rest of the walls). So maintaining the embankment is structurally necessary to keep the Bar Walls standing. It’s also mediaeval made ground, probably concealing a host of archaeological finds, and is also probably still concealing large chunks of Roman city wall, so it’s a scheduled ancient monument in its own right. As there’s no urgency, or money, to excavate the site at the moment the road project is protecting it for future archaeologists and whatever new investigative techniques they will bring. The on-site archaeologists have already uncovered the pre-bridge Victorian paved road that crossed the lines on the level. It’s known that the current station is on the site of a huge Roman cemetery, only some of which was destroyed during its construction, but again the archaeologists now are going to leave what’s left undisturbed. The old station site itself is on top of civilian Roman York’s forum and again a lot of that was destroyed in the station’s construction. I’ve not yet seen any accounts of this, but I am assuming that George Hudson and his architect GT Andrews demolished and removed (not personally!) a stretch of Roman wall when digging away the embankment to get the tracks into the old station. Going back to York tomorrow for a former colleague’s birthday party and I’ll be intrigued to have a look at the works. Richard *Bar Walls are what the mediaeval city walls are traditionally called in York
  7. I can see where you’re coming from Rob, and if MRJ eight times a year was at the expensive end of what we spend on our our hobby then I’d very much agree with you. But I’ve just had a sales email from Rails reminding me that a new N gauge four wheel tank wagon now sells for £25 (after discount)! I suspect that, for its target market, there’s quite a lot of price elasticity in what you could charge for MRJ provided that the quality of the paper, quality of photographic reproduction, and the standard of prose were all maintained at their current high levels. Heck, we might even get an online index! Richard
  8. Hmm. In my not-so-restricted experience use of the word “banter” almost invariably means “I know full well I’m being offensive but I’m going to claim that it was all a joke if challenged.” See also “I’m just breaking your balls”. No it isn’t. Only in the heads of - well, insert name of tabloid newspaper of your choice here. What’s that word which means the fittings on a gunwhale of a boat which serve as a fulcrum for the oars and help keep them in place? Rhymes with that. RT
  9. A quick first look indicates that collectors of original Triang TT should definitely take an interest.
  10. They had a stand at this year’s York model railway show at Easter, so they were in existence then. Richard
  11. I’d be disappointed if my magazine arrived damaged, and in that situation I’d contact the publisher and ask for a replacement. Which also alerts them to the damage-in-transit problem. Or I’d set up a standing order for it at a newsagent or model shop that could order it for me in decent condition. But saying “I’m done with it” because of this seems a tad…excessive? Incidentally, how much do you think a specialist magazine should cost? In my, admittedly relatively limited, experience many modellers have no idea what it costs to produce, print and distribute a niche magazine with a restricted advertising base. I noted a lot of complaints, on the thread about Kalmbach selling their railway mags to another publisher, that Model Railroader was now very thin for the price. Well, that’s the size of magazine you get when you have to pay proper journalists out of the revenue from the cover price only, because advertising has dried up thanks to the internet. And yet I remember lots of moans from modellers in the old days about how much advertising they had to wade through before reaching the content… Personally I think MRJ should be nearer £10/issue. (And posted out in board-backed envelopes again.) And people need to realise that decent stuff has to be paid for at a realistic price, because the people producing it have to live. RichardT
  12. I would say not so much retro as “classic and timeless”! Richard
  13. Entirely agree. The trick with these kind of snow jobs is to look at what they don’t say. I get a strong feeling from all the macho rubbish about how much railroad enthusiasts have in common with “avgeeks” (vomit) that the real target for this takeover was Trains magazine, which the new owners see as having an “industry insider” fit with their existing aviation business title. I note that the model railroad titles (MRR, SMT and Garden Railways) get next to no mention: I suspect that Kalmbach insisted that they be taken as part of the deal for selling Trains. (Because Kalmbach was making a loss in them? Or not as much of a profit as they wanted? Advertising revenue in MRR must have really dried up over the past few years). I’d lay a small bet that in six months or so we’ll get another breathlessly excited press release from the new owners announcing an “exciting new development for railroad hobbyists” - the merger of MRR, Classic Toy Trains and Garden Railroads into one magazine “for all model railroaders”. And then they’ll wonder why sales drop off a cliff (or perhaps not, because it will just be a device to engineer closure of the titles they don’t want). Just hoping if that happens they maintain the online magazine archives as a paid-for service. I also agree with @Keith Addenbrooke that our thoughts should be with the staff. I get the impression from the rather more terse statements on the Trains.com site that this announcement was dumped on them out of a clear blue sky yesterday. I also note the rather sinister phrasing in the press release that “the intention” is that all staff will transfer to the new owner “subject to screening”! (I.e. are you too old and will cost us too much in health benefits?) No TUPE or employment protections in the USA! The new owners talk of finding a new building in Wisconsin for the ex-Kalmbach titles, so yes, I suspect that means farewell to the staff layout and all the other nice to haves. I pick up hints that some knew this was coming - on Trains.com there’s actually a Classic Toy Trains listicle from last weekend flatly denying rumours they’d heard at a train show that the magazine was for sale! Also a few issues back in MRR Tony Koester wrote a highly positive profile of the new MRR editor, about how he was a great bloke and a genuine lifelong railway modeller and was worthy of readers’ support. I thought it slightly odd at the time but now… Finally, always good to be reminded that, no matter what cuddly and “down-home” image they like to project, when it comes to the bottom line: history, heritage and sentiment mean nothing to capitalism. RichardT
  14. Yes it was and is, but whether that illustrates a general principle about mainline/heritage rail connections or whether it’s because the Middlesbrough-Whitby train service makes “vestigial” look like a synonym for “cornucopia” is very much up for debate. RichardT
  • Create New...