Well, day one is over. For those following along from yesterday, it ended up being the brewpub last night, with the Italian place in the old WP depot tonight. Today started with a quick coffee and roll, then into the show to unpack the Canadian and the rest of the samples before the doors opened. We figured we had plenty of time to do final prep work before the door opened at 9:00. In fact, based on prior experience, we felt that it would be a slow morning as “just the conventioneers” would be coming through before 12:00. Everything was going according to our plan. Then they opened the doors….

Dan at workDan unpacks the Canadian in preparation for what should have been a slow morning…

This is Dan’s sixth National Train Show. I’ve done… well… a few more. After displaying at these events for a while you get a feel for what each day will be like. Friday morning is normally relatively slow with only convention goers attending.  Friday afternoon is the local hard core modelers who can take the day off. Saturday is the rest of the local modelers who couldn’t get Friday off. Sunday is family day – kids, wives, strollers – you get the idea. Every day has its own crowd, and we “know” what to expect. Between us we had this down pat.

Then they opened the doors at 9:00 AM and the flood gates opened!

Based on first impressions, this year’s NMRA convention and NTS have been both very well publicized and very well attended, and it showed in the number of folks that stopped by our booth today. By noon Dan and I both agreed that we had likely spoken to more people than we did over the entire three days of last year’s show! At noon they allowed the general public in.

Recall the “known” pattern as outlined above. Now throw it out the window. The afternoon crowd was a great mix of modeler’s, interested locals and families. Yep, the “Sunday crowd” came in early. I had a chance to talk briefly with a friend in one of the aisles who commented:

“The hobby is dying. We’re all a bunch of graying off dinosaurs. Nobody is coming in to the hobby. Right!! Look around you – there’s young kids, teenagers, college students, adults of all ages, and all from all ethnic backgrounds and walks of life! So much for the end of the hobby!”

It was a great sight. Sorry, I didn’t have time for too many more photos….

Given that we’re miles from the Canadian border, response has been much better than I had expected to our Canadian at the show.It seems that true passenger car enthusiasts know no borders! We also had several requests for additional models, and some we will be taking very seriously. As mentioned yesterday, we did show off our latest samples of the new HO GARX meat reefers, and again the response was very enthusiastic. We will be announcing production schedules and order deadlines soon on these, so keep an eye on the web site and newsletters. Also, the guys from Model Railroad Hobbyist took a rotatable 3D photo of this car which will be displayed on their site or in the magazine soon.

GARX meat reefer

American Stores meat reefer

Dubuque meat reeferNew pre-rpoduction samples of our HO reefers. Do you have your orders in yet?

Another project that has received many comments at this show has, of course, been theHO Osgood Bradley coaches in the Cotton Belt and SP configurations. Many modelers came up to ask us for the latest news on these, and most indicated that they had ordered several cars through their hobby shops. To all of those who ordered, thanks. To those still on the fence, we urge you to let your dealer know what you want so that they can get them reserved. Although all of the design work is done, the project needs to have enough reservations to show that it can at least cover the costs of new tooling (which is fairly extensive including all new sides, roof and interiors) before we can proceed further. I have no doubt that the SSW, SP, KCS and SAL guys will come through for us on this one!

Page 1 of 2 | Next page