Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Carstens Publications has gone out of business

It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of Carstens Publications. Carstens, publishers of Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan and Railroad magazines, closed down on August 22, 2014.

The roots of the company go back to 1933 with the initial publication of Model Craftsman magazine. Harold "Hal" Carstens joined the company in 1952 and purchased the company in 1969. Hal started Flying Models magazine that year, and in 1974 started Railfan magazine, In 1979 he purchased Freeman Hubbard's Railroad magazine and combined it with Rainfan magazine to create Railfan and Railroad. Hal passed away in 2006, and his son Henry took over operations.

Besides their two rail oriented publications, the firm also published several annuals, such as the On3 Annual, the HOn3 Annual and Great Railroad Photography.

On their website, the following notice from Henry Carstens was posted:

"It is with regret that Carstens Publicatons, Inc. will be closing permanently at close of business on Friday, August 22, 2014. Carstens Publications, Inc. has been a leading publisher of leading hobby magazines for over 50 years. Unfortunately the current economic climate has placed us in this position. Discussion is continuing with several parties who expressed desire to take on the continuance of the magazines. At this point there is still hope that all three titles will remain in existence. But I can offer no guarantees. We thank you for your patronage over the years, and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors."

Carstens publications has always been a strong supporter of model railroaders everywhere, especially in Manitoba. Who could ever forget the publicity they gave Railway Jamboree, 1983 NMRA national convention held in Winnipeg, by publishing all those articles of Winnipeg's great model railroads? Hal Carstens was there himself, sitting at a table with a big box of his magazines that he was giving out.

They did the same for us for the CARM's 2005 Golden Rails convention held in Winnipeg, and for the TLR's 2010 Steam on the Prairie convention, they sent over Associate Editor Ken Goslett to do a special presentation. Ken was best remembered for chasing the Prairie Dog Central through a terrific rainstorm during that convention.

According to a post by Chris Lane, former editor of Carsten's On3 Annual, negotiations are under way between Carstens and two interested buyers to purchase RMC and Railfan, but no deal has been reached yet.

Going to the hobby shop isn't going to be the same without those Carstens publications on the rack.

Monday, August 25, 2014

No. 1 Northern Division readies for Manitoba Mega Train Show

The Manitoba Mega Train Show is only a month away, and the NMRA's No. 1 Northern Division's Free-Mo Group is ready to go with their most spectacular layout ever, measuring a staggering 95' x 22'!
Last year, their layout was the largest in the show. It was so large that during set-up organizer Maurice Dorge called No.1 Northern Superintendent Dennis Rietze just to double check that he got the measurements right (he did).

This set-up should be called the long, long layout! Being 95 feet long, it'll provide plenty of room for some long run-throughs! Much thanks to Ian Plett (the driving force behind the No. 1 Northern's Free-Mo group) for suppling this plan.

The Manitoba Mega Train Show will be held on September 27 and 28 at the CanLan Sports Centre, 1871 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg. The hours for both days are from 9AM to 5PM. General admission is five dollars. Admission for children ages 3-12 is three dollars. Free admission for children two and under. Admission includes unlimited rides on the Mega-Train which encircles the entire show. Vendors, a huge Lego exhibit and plenty of model railroads on display. Free parking, handicapped accessible.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Manitoba Live Steamers open house August 23 and 24

School's still out until after Labour Day, but the model railroad and railfan season is opening early, and it's starting off with a blast of steam from the Manitoba Live Steamers! They'll be holding their annual open house this weekend, August 23 and 24. 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Manitoba Live Steamers and Model Engineers, which means they've been around since 1939!

The hours of the open house are from 10:30 – 4:30 on Saturday and 11:00 – 3:00 Sunday.  There will be displays of Model Engineering, with model engines running.  These include stationary engines in the club house, model traction engines – sometimes as large as 1/4 scale – and model locomotives.  The public is welcome to ask drivers who are running for train rides on both tracks.  There will be craft demonstrations as well.

A canteen will be open, selling burgers, hot dogs, pop, chips, and coffee.  All proceeds go to the club.  Donations are appreciated to help defray the costs of maintaining the facilities.

Rides may be available, but they're at the sole discretion of the owner of any individual train that is running on the track, so ask first before you attempt to hop on!

They're located just east of Sturgeon Rd. and Inkster Boulevard. If you're travelling west on Inkster, be sure to take the turn-off before you get on to Centrepoint. Check out their location on the map by clicking here.  

The club features 1000 feet of Elevated Track, which can accomodate (4) different gauges of locomotive:  2-1/2″, 3-1/2″, 4-3/4″, and 5″. The Manitoba Live Steamers’ track features a park-like setting with a clubhouse and caboose, steaming bays, and watering facilities for both ground level and raised track. There are 1100 feet of Ground Level Track for both 4-3/4″ and 7-1/2″ gauge locomotives. The unloading facility consists of two hoists for unloading from trailers to either the raised or ground level tracks.