Audio Episode

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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!

Train Life – and a Notable Life

The Model Railway Show

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In this episode…


John Pestana, CEO, TrainLife.

Bob Brown, editor and publisher, Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette.



It’s a wonderful TrainLife


Model railway enthusiasts were quick to embrace the Internet. We joined bulletin boards and, later, news groups. We have created web pages to share our layouts and preserve our favorite fallen flags. And with the advent of social networking, we embraced blogging, YouTube and Facebook.


There have been a number of attempts to create an online home for the hobby, but TrainLife is proving to be one of the most successful. TrainLife brings together layout builders, collectors, real railroaders, and others interested in railroads and offers space to write blogs, post videos and photos, create groups, advertise hobby-related events, and more.


That “more” includes posting digital, searchable editions of many railfan and hobby-related magazines, including the 1940s era Model Builder, the excellent but sadly short-lived Prototype Modeler, and 20 years worth of Model Railroading and Railmodel Journal. And it’s all free to hobbyists.


TrainLife Founder and CEO John Pestana – who is also the CEO of manufacturer ExactRail Model Trains – joins Trevor to explain why he’s created TrainLife, who’s online, and where he hopes to take this social network in the years ahead.



Model Railroading with John Allen


That’s the title of a much-sought-after book originally published in the early 1980s, chronicling the life of John Allen and the development and construction of his famous Gorre & Daphetid railroad.


John Allen was a master modeler, writer and photographer – one whose work influenced legions of model railway enthusiasts. Even today – almost four decades after his death – Allen’s modeling, his Timesaver switching puzzle, and the Gorre & Daphetid itself are kept alive through tribute sites, newsgroups and offerings from manufacturers.


And there’s good news for those who were not able to secure a copy of Model Railroading with John Allen the first time around. Benchmark publications – the company that brings us The Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette six times per year – has struck a deal with the original publisher, Kalmbach, to release a new, expanded edition of what has become for John Allen fans so much more than “a book”.


Jim welcomes back Gazette editor and publisher Bob Brown to talk about John, his influence on the hobby, and how this new edition of “The Book” became reality.