News Archive, 2009 - 2010
We have published a revised version of the Rolling Stock Library entry for our LGB Amtrak trainset, including lots of information on the prototype.
In other news, LGB has announced their new products for 2010. Notable among these is the return of the F7 A- and B-unit locomotives and accompanying streamliner coaches, available in Santa Fe livery. You can download a PDF of the brochure or view details on LGB's website (German).
Today we took delivery of the newest piece of rolling stock on the layout, an LGB 40820 Santa Fe center flow hopper. Pushing 20 inches in length, the hopper is reportedly close to 1:29 scale, the same as our relatively new LGB Amtrak rolling stock and as our Aritsocraft pieces. The hopper has opening loading and unloading hatches for each of the three storage compartments. We hope to have a picture- and detail-filled Rolling Stock Library entry for the hopper online soon, along with an entry for our USA Trains Moosehead Ale refrigerator car.
In other Rolling Stock Library news, the Stainz entry has a new, better, and bigger picture.
Coincidentally, just as we relaunched our website, LGB has relaunched theirs. Rolled out two years after Marklin bought the assets of Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk, the new LGB website replaces what was basically a placeholder website that offered little more than downloads of price lists, availability schedules, and product brochures.
The new site closely follows the design of Marklin's own website, with sections for products, service, and online shopping. There is also a product database split into narrow gauge trains, standard gauge trains, and track and accessories. However, the database only covers products available under Marklin's LGB and, as such, is a far cry from the much more complete database that was available on E.P. Lehmann's site.
Currently, the website is only available in German. However, it is already partitioned into a German version in the same way Marklin's bilingual website is, so hopefully an English version will be coming soon.
Visit LGB's new website
Two years to the day after we relaunched E&A Trains, we have refreshed the site's design. While the overall layout, function, and navigation remain the same, the design as a whole is much lighter. The altered layout also provides room for more content even though the site itself has the same width. Because the right-hand column found on most pages has been moved out of the main content area and into its own, we can reclaim previously wasted space for content. The new layout also makes it easier to access subsection pages. For example, the Archive section has subsections for the News Archive, the Rolling Stock Library, and the Building Library. Now, those three subsections are easily accessible from any page in the Archive section. We believe that this updated design will make it easier for E&A Trains to adapt and grow and we will continue to tweak the site as we adjust to our new look.
A new building has arrived at the layout, in the style of a traditional downtown building with two connected spaces. The structure has two stories, though it is at a slightly smaller scale than most of the items on our layout. The building has no back wall, so we will have to build either our own back wall or an extension to the building. The latter would give the building a more realistic depth. There is also no built-in second floor so we would need to add that as well in order to outfit the structure's interior.
The building is unpainted save for the second-floor window frames, so we're looking into how we might want to decorate the building. Most of the building is brick but there is also a variety of other materials in use. Some ideas floated for possible occupants include a bakery/restaurant (perhaps a new location for the currently MIA Fred's Cafe) and an art gallery. We have not considered a location for the building on the layout or an estimated date of installation.
We have posted a new movie. It takes you on a tour of our new Park at Town Plaza, which was completely redone in April. It starts during the day and shows the various amenities the park offers, as well as some of its animal inhabitants. It then turns to nighttime, where you can see the park's lights. During both segments our LGB Amtrak Genesis passes by pulling a passenger train consisting of, among others, LGB Amfleet and Pennsylvania coaches. The movie is one minute and 22 seconds long.
Watch the movie »
Over the weekend, Ron Gibson, head of LGB sales at Walthers, posted a list of the LGB products being delivered soon. On the list is a wide variety of track pieces and accessories. Smoke units, wheel sets, figures, Multi-Train System units, and catenary parts are all among the items on their way. Various pieces of rolling stock are also on their way. Included are the 21423 RhB Ge4/4 III UNESCO diesel locomotive, the 24841 Rugen steam locomotive, RhB and DR passenger cars from various epochs, and three different RhB COOP container cars. Gibson didn't give a timeframe for delivery but did say that the items were on their way. He also said that an LGB shipment received a week earlier had been 95% sold out to LGB retailers.
In other LGB news, we've recently noticed that both lgb.com and lgb.de now go to the current LGB website. Previously, the addresses went to holding pages run by Silvergate Distrubtors, LGB's previous American distrutor, and directed visitors either to Silvergate's website or to Marklin's. The current LGB website is still available via its original address, lgb-bahn.de. While this change is certainly a sign of progress, the site is still only available in German and has a very limited amount of information. One feature of the old LGB site that we'd like to see return is the very useful database of new and old LGB items.
As part of our ongoing effort to refresh and enhance the site's content, the Rolling Stock Library entries for our Aristocraft Santa Fe FA-1 and LGB Furka-Oberalp Tm 2/2 locomotives have been updated with stronger prose, more information about our models, and new information about the prototypes. Check back for more updated library entries coming soon.
Read the Aristocraft Santa Fe FA-1 entry »
Read the LGB Furka-Oberalp Tm 2/2 entry »
We have installed new trucks on our Aristocraft "Sierra" Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car. Replacements for newer versions of our car, these trucks pick up track power which we are using for the interior lights. Previously, power had to come from the locomotive. Now, this car can power the lights in all of our coaches, eliminating the need for a compatible locomotive adjacent to the coaches. We are preparing an article which will go over the installation, including the resolution of a serious malfunction we had with the trucks.
Also, LGB has uploaded the June revision of their 2009 Planned Delivery Dates document. Only two products are slated for release this month: the 24410 SBB Tractor Tm 598 and the 24900 "Park Train" Diesel Loco". Scheduled for the third quarter of 2009 is the first North American rolling stock LGB has made in the years since Lehmann became insolvent and its assets were sold to Marklin. When those products actually show up in North American remains to be seen.
Walthers has updated their in-stock list for LGB. They currently show 71 items as in-stock, representing a wide variety of LGB products. Track, locomotives, passenger and frieght cars, accessories, and power and control products are now available to North American resellers and consumers.
Also, LGB has uploaded the April revision of their expected 2009 delivery dates. Many products, including most with North American prototypes, are listed as becoming available in the second half of the year.
We have completely redone the Park at Town Plaza. What was once a neglected stretch of elevated sidewalks and dilapidated fencing is now a clean and pristine field of grass with lighting, stone edging, and a brick and wrought-iron front gate.
Read more »
DelawareOnline has posted an interesting article on how Amtrak's portion of the latest federal stimulus package is benefiting the Bear Car Shops. $58.5 million of Amtrak's $1.3 billion of stimulus money will go toward rehabilitating and refurbishing 60 currently-inoperable railcars. The price per car, roughly $1 million, is a third of that of a brand new car. The 2.5 year job repairs any body damage on the cars before stripping them down to the metal and installing modern materials and amenities.
Read more at delawareonline.com »
Yesterday, the sad news broke that Märklin's Nuremberg offices had closed, ending LGB's 41-year presence in the German city. With the closure, all former Lehmann employees working for Märklin lost their jobs. We'd been in contact with some of them when we ordered replacement parts for our LGB Genesis and LGB Pennsylvania Mogul and they were nothing if not friendly and helpful. Yesterday was also the beginning of Märklin's insolvency hearings in a Göppingen court.
On a happier note, Ron Gibson, the head of LGB Sales at Walthers, has announced on the LGB Family Forum that the first container of LGB products destined for American retailers was unloaded at Walthers headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 31, with another on the way. This first shipment has LGB track items.
We run our layout with MRC's Command 2000 DCC system and use their Power Station 8 booster to allow us to run more trains at a higher speed than the Command 2000 alone could provide. Recently, we began experiencing layout-wide short-outs, most notably when using our new LGB Amfleet cars. We've sent our Power Station 8 to MRC for repair.
Read more »
We've added the ability for Rolling Stock Library entries to have more than one picture. The pictures can also be enlarged to roughly twice the current size. The first entry to get a picture gallery is for our LGB Amtrak Genesis. More will be coming.
View the pictures »
It seems that good news is invariably followed by bad. A few months ago, it was announced that LGB would finally be returning to North America after years' absence following the insolvency and liquidation of Lehmann. LGB was acquired by Marklin in 2007, but reentry to the North American market was delayed due to trademark issues. Once those were resolved and Walthers was named the American distributor, it appeared that the tumultuous narrative of LGB's sale was starting to settle down. However, looks can be deceiving. Earlier this month, Marklin itself filed for insolvency.
Marklin's insolvency proceedings are proving to be as dramatic as LGB's. Coincidentally, both companies' insolvencies happened during significant anniversaries: LGB during its 125th year, Marklin during its 150th. During the weeks following the takeover of Marklin by a court-appointed trustee, a complex web involving investors Kingsbridge and Goldman Sachs, hefty consultants' fees, and the always suspicious transfers if large sums of money has started to unravel. But for those of us whose main interest is the trains, the signals are green, for now at least. Production and other day-to-day operations at Marklin are continuing while the company is being restructured and a buyer is pursued. Product is supposedly on its way to North America and sellers are preparing for inventory. The distributor Walthers and resellers such as Wholesale Trains and Pizza Trains already have price lists and estimated arrival dates online. The question now is whether or not that inventory will ever actually get to America and, if it does, if there'll still be an LGB to support it.
We have published a new article detailing the recent renovation of our Apple Store. Filled with photographs, this article takes you through the planning, process, and results of this extensive project that rehabilitated the store's exterior structure and added a complete and detailed interior.
Read the article »
As part of our ongoing effort to refresh and enhance the site's content, the Rolling Stock Library entry for our Aristocraft Santa Fe GE U25B locomotive has been updated with stronger prose, more information about our model, and new information about the prototype. Check back for more updated library entries coming soon.
Read the entry »
Over the Holidays we welcomed a new arrival to our layout: a USA Trains Moosehead Breweries refrigerator car. This is our first piece of USA Trains rolling stock. Moosehead Breweries Limited, founded in 1867, is located in Saint John, New Brunswick, and is Canada's oldest independent brewery. More details to come.