Audio Episode

Brought to you by:

Jim Martin: Jim's radio broadcasting career includes both the private sector and the CBC, Canada's national network. During his many years on air he was a reporter, announcer, news director, talk show and news magazine host, and his favorite part, interviewer. For many years he was also the book review and video review editor for Canadian Railway Modeller. More recently he has been writing articles for Railroad Model Craftsman. He also enjoys presenting backdrop painting clinics to local groups and train shows.

Trevor Marshall: Trevor cut his teeth in radio at Standard Broadcast News, a national radio newswire service in Canada. The radio news writing style has served him well in his current profession as a freelance writer for clients in the transportation, life sciences, and government sectors. Trevor's articles for the hobby press have appeared in Model Railroad Planning, Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman and other publications and he regularly presents model and prototype railway clinics on a variety of topics. He finds everything about the hobby interesting, but is particularly interested in the process that goes into a well-thought-out, prototype-based layout.

Chris Abbott is our Technical Director. Jim and Trevor would still be talking to each other without his help.

Otto Vondrak is our Creative Director. That awesome badge and banner on the site? That's his doing.

David Woodhead is our Music Director. If you find yourself humming our theme song, well - you're not alone. Jim and Trevor have had it stuck in their heads for weeks now. Well done, David!

Builders in the Hobby

The Model Railway Show

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In this episode…


Mary Miller, the NMRA’s first female Master Model Railroader.

Pierre Oliver, Master Car Builder, Elgin Car Shops.



Building the presence of women in the hobby


Mary Miller is a well-known and accomplished modeler, whose work has appeared in several major hobby publications over the years. With her husband Bill, Mary has built one of the hobby’s best-known O scale layouts that showcases Colorado narrow gauge: the On3 Ohio Creek Subdivision of the Colorado & Southern. Mary and Bill also run a hobby business: Miller Models creates and markets sound effects modules – everything from birdsongs and babbling brooks to water tank stops and mine explosions.


In pursuit of this rewarding hobby, Mary also achieved an important model railroading milestone. In July of 1991, Mary became NMRA Master Model Railroader #175 – the first woman in the hobby to earn the MMR designation. Out of several hundred MMRs, Mary is joined by just a handful of other women – including June Maier (MMR 243), Leslie Eaton (MMR 289), Mary Barstow (MMR 292), and Gail Allen Komar (MMR 349).


As someone who is an enthusiastic and accomplished modeler, Mary has a unique perspective on how well the hobby welcomes women and what we can do to encourage more women to become model railway enthusiasts. She joins Jim to share her views.


Related Links…
NMRA interview with Mary Miller
Elizabeth Allen, SP modeler
Cinthia Priest, Paired Rail Publications
Linda Sand, layout designer



A Builder for Hire


Go have a look at your “to-do” pile. Pretty big, isn’t it?


There are so many great “must-have” kits available in the hobby these days that it’s hard to keep ahead of the new offerings. With a layout to build, plus family, work and other commitments, only those with very modest model railroading ambitions have time to build everything themselves.


One area where many of us can use help is rolling stock. A layout of any size requires lots of rolling stock and small manufacturers have done a great job of producing resin, laser cut and mixed media kits to add the variety that makes a model railway look more realistic. But building dozens of boxcars or covered hoppers isn’t everybody’s favorite activity.


The good news is, there’s help. In recent years, some hobbyists have turned their love of rolling stock into a business building kits for others.


Pierre Oliver at Elgin Car Shops got started building Intermountain cylindrical grain hoppers for a local hobby shop. In addition to working on his own models and layout, Pierre now builds rolling stock kits professionally, including offerings from Westerfield, Sunshine Models, Funaro & Camerlengo, Rail Yard Models, Southern Car & Foundry, and others.


Pierre joins Trevor to talk about why one might want to hire a professional car builder, and what one needs to know before putting those kits in the mail.


Related Links…
Some photos of Pierre’s work on our Flickr gallery.