When Derick and I moved the hobby shop to the Marshall square in 2015, one of most fun things for Derick was stocking our model train section. He filled it with HO and N scale train cars, locomotives, track and accessories. What began as a small and modest one-room collection...
...grew over time into three rooms filled with model trains.
For Halloween 2015, we both wore engineer hats to hand out candy on the square. We began going to several train shows that year and had so much fun looking at the different layouts, merchandise, and meeting so many interesting people who shared a love for trains. Derick would get SO EXCITED to go to train shows. We came to love the train show atmosphere, and that was part of what sparked the dream in Derick that became Value Trains USA.
In December 2015, the Kansas City Southern Christmas train came to nearby Slater, so we excitedly went to see it. Covered in lights, it was a very merry and fun sight. We left right before the event closed that evening, and we decided to park along the street around the corner to watch the train leave town. We imagined seeing it go by, lights blazing in the darkness, on its way to the next scheduled stop. We waited in our dark vehicle by the side of the road for nearly 3 hours before we decided to check the train’s progress, so we drove back to the Slater depot and found the train in the train shed, tucked in for the night. We still laugh about that memory a lot.
Derick even stopped in Wyoming last year on his way to a car show to see the Big Boy Locomotive in Cheyenne.
Even I have come to enjoy seeing a steam engine or a diesel chugging down tracks, and I probably don’t even need to mention how much Rafe loves Thomas the Train characters and anything train related! Trains connect us to a past era, one where travel was suddenly made faster and hauling large quantities of items from one end of the country to another was made possible.
So Derick began to pursue a dream of developing a made-in-the-USA train car, completely crafted, painted, assembled, and packaged right here in the United States. The process was expected to take less than six months, but due to several bumps in the road, the progress was delayed. But Derick never gave up on his dream. He decided to call his venture “Value Trains USA,” and to unveil the new products at Train Fest 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We launched www.ValueTrainsUSA.com earlier this year, along with the Value Trains Facebook page so we can keep everyone up to date on the progress with updates and photos.
Train Fest 2018 is next week! After 20 months, Value Trains USA has products ready to be shown and unveiled one week from today. We hope to share our love of trains and to be able to spark that same love in the hearts of many generations. Derick has so enjoyed creating these train cars.
We hope you'll like them too.
I’m not sure exactly how long the railroad has been a fixture in Marshall, but I know we can hear the train several times a week from our house. The whistle of the locomotive is unmistakable. Some days we can hear it louder than others. Sometimes I can even hear it around 5 a.m.
I actually think living in a town with a railroad track is pretty FUN! I enjoy seeing the railroad crossing signs when we drive around town, and the sight of the old, dusty railroad ties sometimes feeds my (overactive) imagination.
Where is the next train coming from?
What is this train carrying?
How long have these train cars been operating?
Why does the train stop sometimes by that new grain elevator north of town?
My husband and my son love, love, LOVE trains! We watch steam train videos and love seeing pictures of old trains from the 20th century. What a great idea those train inventors had, and what a fun machine the train is!
I guess that’s why we also love selling model trains in our hobby shop. The vibrant colors of all the different train cars combine to create something really beautiful. With some scenery props and some glue, you can put together a realistic nature layout in a matter of hours, depending upon how much detail you want it to have. My favorite layouts are those with lots of trees and rocks, and I especially love fall layouts that feature lots of different autumn colors.
The trees in Marshall are BEAUTIFUL in the fall! If you drive from Marshall to Columbia, or even to Jefferson City as the leaves are changing, I think you can see some of the most beautiful fall scenery in the state. Limestone cliffs, riverbeds, and the oranges, yellows, and reds that paint the tree leaves make the whole landscape come to life as if it were on fire with color.
There is a spot on Highway 240 northeast of Marshall where if you catch it at the right moment, you can sometimes see the Kansas City Southern as it’s coming into town below the bridge. It’s not just the train that catches my eye, but the leaves on the trees as I look down. How LONG have those trees been watching that train come into town? The answer is – a lot longer than I have. That’s fun to ponder.
I can’t help but get excited about trains in the fall. Maybe it’s just me, but since yesterday was the official first day of fall, I am thinking about trains more and more.
What do you love about fall?
Thanks for stopping by! I'm a student turned teacher turned writer turned part-time tutor, postcard hobbyist, and landscape photograph enthusiast. I have zero formal training in photography, but I love the art of visual documentation. I lived the first 30 years of my life in Oklahoma until I made a major life change (long story and I'd love to tell it sometime!), met my husband, moved to Marshall, and became a bonafide Missourian. My husband Derick owns our hobby shop, and we have a 2-year old son Rafe who loves just about everything these days (except spinach). If you ever see me around town with a camera pointed at a sunset, please say hi. I'd love to be friends. :)