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.


  1. Would have been nice if they had the courtesy not to renew my subscription 3 weeks before they went of business. I mean come on they new they were on the way out

  2. The new owners have promised to honour all commitments to all new and existing subscribers.