Tag Archives: New York

Scouting out Train Stores in Brooklyn

Yesterday afternoon, I ventured out to Brooklyn to check out another train store. The trip on the Culver Line was a lot longer than expected because we were re-routed due to construction. When I finally got to Ditmas Avenue, I was utterly disappointed to find Train World closed.

Train World Brooklyn

Is this store open?

I walked past the store thinking that this may just be the loading dock and the store is located around the corner, but at the last minute I decided to try the door anyway. To my surprise, it was unlocked and I found the store open after all.

Inside, a few employees were busy working the phones taking orders and I took a quick look around. The store is well stocked with material in variety of gauges and judging by their flyer they must have much more inventory than what is on display in the showroom. They did have a few PROTO 2000 Penn Central engines but I wasn’t ready to buy anything yet. Prices are decent so the chances are good that I will be back. Can’t make it to Brooklyn? Visit Train World online.

Hobby shop near Penn Station

Last weekend, I was looking through the latest copy of Model Railroader and noticed an ad for another hobby shop in Manhattan – Gotham Model Trains on 35th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue not far from Penn Station. Their ad indicated that they carry American and European trains, so I had to check them out…

Gotham Model Trains is located on the 13th floor in a non-descript office building at 224 West 35th. When I was there, a young and friendly sales clerk was helping another customer so I had a little time to look around by myself.

Upon entering you are greeted by a nice little layout showcasing Märklin rolling stock. Other European brands they carry include Trix, of course, BRAWA, Roco and Hornby.

The store also seems well stocked with American brands, track and accessories, which are neatly arranged around the showroom. Locomotives are displayed in well-lit and clean cases.

Didn’t really compare prices but from what I can tell they are reasonable, so I will definitely be back.

You’ve got mail

Yesterday, I received my first copy of Willy Kosak’s Hp1 Eisenbahnmodellbau heute since moving to this side of the Atlantic. The magazine was mailed in a sturdy outer envelope and survived its maiden voyage without any blemishes.

The publication is of superb print quality and features Kosak’s beautifully set model photos – even though some seem excessively photoshopped. With its many helpful modeling tips, it serves as the quasi trade journal among PROTO:87 fans in German-speaking countries and beyond.

The latest issue of Hp1 Eisenbahnmodellbau heute.

The latest issue of Hp1 Eisenbahnmodellbau heute.

I knew that FREMO:87 was going to be featured prominently in the latest issue, but I had no idea how extensive the coverage was going to be. The article comprises 14 pages of photographs of FREMO:87 members, their beautiful rolling stock and modules plus an additional seven pages of feature content – and even more pictures – including an inspirational history of FREMO:87 authored by FREMO veteran Klaus Weibezahn.

Kudos to Willy Kosak and his crew – hopefully, the piece will motivate fellow model railroaders to become active members of FREMO:87.

Anyone interested in joining me in starting a group in the New York metro area? Post a comment and I’ll be in touch…

In the neighborhood

With my tools still in transit, I have little to report about ongoing projects. Instead, I will share a little bit about what is going in the neighborhood…

Even though I didn’t grow up near the tracks, I vividly remember the comforting sounds of train whistles coming from the little secondary line going through my hometown in Germany. Subsequently, my wife and I have lived next to train stations or railroad tracks – namely the New Haven – Springfield Line in Hartford, CT and the Baden Mainline (Badische Hauptbahn) in Karlsruhe, Germany – and have enjoyed the sights and sounds of trains as a backdrop to our busy lives.

It turns out that our new home in Manhattan is also located close to the rails and a piece of New York City railroad history – it is literally a stone’s throw away from the former 60th Street Rail Yard. There is nothing left of the yard except two mainline tracks of the West Side Line (NYCRR) going south to Penn Station, which are still frequented by Amtrak and briefly emerge from the ground right near our building.

Amtrak Empire Service 242 and 239 near 59th Street.

Amtrak Empire Service 242 and 239 near 59th Street.

Other remnants of the yard include the skeleton of a former pier in the Hudson River that is left behind as a sort of memorial and a New York Central shunter, which is now on display in the Riverside Park South.  Trains were loaded onto barges at the piers and ferried across the river, saving a 140-mile trip north to the next bridge crossing.

Remnants of the 60th Street rail yard rotting away in the Hudson River.

Remnants of the 60th Street Rail Yard in the Hudson River become a sort of public artscape.

New York Central shunter in Riverside Park South.

New York Central #8625 in Riverside Park South.

To get a better look at my photos, click any one to expand – once in the expanded view, you can shuffle through all the photos. For more detailed information on the 60th Street Rail Yard, see Michael Minn’s website.

Uncovering new sources

Having spent just about one week in the New York City area, I ventured out a few days ago to uncover new sources of model railroad material – something I like to do every time we move. I was pleasantly surprised to find a hobby shop named Red Caboose on 45th street not too far from our place.

The somewhat dusty basement store near Times Square is a little crowded but seems to offer products for a wide range of tastes. While they carry plenty of vintage and used European engines and rolling stock, I didn’t see too much new material that was of particular interest to me. They do have a good selection of paints, tools, scale model parts and accessories though, which is always good to know when you are working on PROTO:87 projects.

So I still needed to find a store where I can buy the new BRAWA E 037 open freight cars when they come out in the fall…

Luckily, I located a hobby shop and online retailer catering to European rail enthusiasts just north of the city. The Eurolokshop.com web site looks promising and they seem to offer an impressively large selection of brands and models at decent prices. Hopefully, I can visit their showroom in person soon.