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Darren's Blog
Darren usually has something to say.
We try to stop him from doing it in public, but sometimes it slips out.
Posts will be infrequent.


posted Jan 28, 2014, 2:29 PM by Darren Altbaum

   It was bound to happen at some time.  ATLAS RR announced that they are releasing the same car as we are.   Are we going to cancel it?  HELL NO.   Based on comments from people like you, our customers and friends, we are going ahead with the project, although it won't be this year...well, maybe not....
    We will continue our tradition of hand applied detail parts, detailed underframe, photo etch pieces (like our new Brake wheels!) and our attention to detail.  While the comments I have heard about the cars that ATLAS has released are directly related to quality and price, our cars will stay at our SRP of $44.99 (or less if we can get away with minimal tooling from our NSC box cars!).  The cars, like all our cars in new production will feature our new stainless steel CODE 88 FINE wheels and KADEE couplers.  The doors still won't open and the brakes still won't work, so don't ask.  
    We aim to keep our quality up and our cost down (you don't see us remodeling our houses with your money, we put it right back into tooling!).  Come visit us on FACEBOOK or stop by the office (you should make sure we are there first though....) or call us to chat!  We always love hearing your stories and point of view!

Thats it for now.

If you have any questions of concerns, please feel free to ask.

China Blog....from China!

posted Mar 1, 2013, 1:36 AM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Mar 1, 2013, 1:36 AM ]

Hello all,
    Sorry for the delay in blogs but I have been super swamped!  I am in China at the factory, looking to see what is going on with the delivery schedule, new tooling and delayed projects.  While I know that some of the delay was due to the Chinese New Year, there are of course other factors involved like cash flow, scheduling conflicts and QC.
    While we have done our best to address all the issues, lets face it, some things are just beyond our control.  The good news is that we are slowly getting through the mess.  I am overseeing the re-do of the CN NOODLE 8 HATCH REEFERS, MP36 production, new code 88 wheel production amongst others.  Today was a full day (and by full day, I mean 7 am to currently 5:30 when I am still at the factory) of meetings, QC checking, project meetings and others.
    Today we managed to complete several items, putting us a little ahead of schedule to where I was hoping to be at this time.  While I can't post to Facebook or Twitter (or even access youtube) from China, I have posted a photo of lunch....I will be emailing Randy more photos and he can post them on facebook and twitter later.  In the meantime, I am happy to let you know that all is well.  Look forward to this year:
1 - 1200RS CP
4 - NEW CN caboose (revised tooling)
5 - New run of box cars
6 - MP36 locomotives

     Already, we have had 3 releases this year, and it is only February, so I am happy to see things slowly getting back on track.  New releases this year have included CP variation of the 8 hatch reefer, CN variation of the 8 hatch reefer and the EXPRESS reefer trucks.
  Stay tuned!

Springfield! 8-hatch Reefers! MP-36's!

posted Jan 18, 2013, 10:49 AM by Randy Hammill

I'm hijacking Darren's blog. We're a bit past Trainfest...

The Springfield show is next week! Yay! This is one of the largest, if not THE largest model train show anywhere. Last year was around 25,000 people over two days. And this is definitely a two day show.  

468 exhibitors! That's vendors, manufacturers, layouts. It's HUGE!.

We'll be there!  Mallary Complex #148C

Stop by and say 'Hi!'

We'll have a new announcement!

We'll have fun!

We'll visit our chiropractors and podiatrists on Monday!

We'll have some samples of our 8-hatch reefers and MP-36's. 

Yep, we know you're still waiting for them.
So are we.
We're not sure where they are. 
There's this mysterious and legendary place called...


Darren's been there. Well, he says he has. He says it's real.
I'm not so sure.
He insists that they will be sending us models.
He hopes so, anyway. He's sent them lots of money.
It sounds a lot like a South African lottery to me...

...and now back to our irregularly scheduled programming...

The Trainfest Weekend

posted Oct 25, 2012, 4:36 PM by Darren Altbaum

So, Milwaukee is only 16 days away!  Randy and I are super stoked for a few reasons - first and most importantly, I have been told (by several people) that travelling with me is always an adventure - and Randy found that out last time - it's like traveling with an 8 year old on speed - although I usually say lots of things that an 8 year old wouldn't - and I think that Mr.Moses and Mr.Moses jr. can attest to that!   
     Second reason - I have never been to Milwaukee but I heard that it is native for "the free land" - looking forward to seeing how free it is - what are the tax rates?  If anyone is from the area and has some good tips on what there is to do in the area stop on by - or better yet - join us!
     Third reason is that we have lots of great things to talk about - and when I says great I mean great in a global model sense, please don't ask any questions that involve the any names that have the letters "C" or "M" or "T".   I really have no interest in fuelling the rumour mill or beating a topic that has been talked about so many times...awe....who am I kidding?  I love to hear myself talk.  I just may not give u the answers you want to hear!  
     The fourth reason I am looking forward to going is simply said - road trip.  Travelling with Randy is good fun.  He's a good guy and I am glad to say that he certainly is a welcome addition to the TLT family.  I had my first experience with Randy driving to Michigan -  and I can't wait to do it again.  
     The last reason that I am going to type about - but not the last reason is that I have made several great friends in the model rain industry - and I can't wait to see them all again.  I also don't mind getting out of my house full of girls to hang with the boys and to see my girlfriend! (Thanks Randy!).  Of course. -  it's always better when I come back home.
  C u all soon!

The CMT conundrum

posted Oct 1, 2012, 2:18 PM by Darren Altbaum

Hello all -
  First off, let me start by saying that I am sorry for the delay in my blog, as you may well know, there have been several goings on at Hobbycraft Canada / True Line Trains.
  Before we get into that, I also want to say to everyone that I hope that their summer was fantastic, and now that your kids are back at school (or you are back at school?) that I hope things are becoming more routine.  Personally, I am looking forward the days getting shorter, which means I can go to sleep earlier and pretend that its later!
   First order of business is that Randy, Mark and I are VERY excited to bring you some great news.  We just got in a re-stock of TLT paint as well as the new colurs for the WEST COAST!  Including colours for PGE and BCR.  These colours are blended using the same formula as the original paints, so they are non-toxic, and airbrush ready.  The silver is absolutely killer and will look good on many different schemes. 
   Next - the new DALMAN Bi-LEVEL TRUCKS and EXPRESS REEFER trucks are en route, and will be in the office around the 12th of October along with some other goodies, including the new STAINLESS STEEL CODE 88 WHEEL SETS!  These are available in packs of 100 (25 cars) and are pre-weathered and include a steel axle with insulator.  Please note that you should contact Randy (randy@truelinetrains.ca) to learn more about the CODE 88 Wheel sets and to see if they will work on your layout or track.  I have asked Randy to do a write up on the axles, but he hasn't gotten around to it yet.  I figure that if we all just email him at once he'll get the point (he he he).
   Third, we have the 8 HATCH CN REEFERS.  Please note that we are 110% sold out on these at the moment, and unless there are customers who are in arrears, we can't fill any more of your orders - this is why pre-ordering is important!  The 8 HATCH REEFERS will be available in CN NOODLE, LEAF schemes and GTW.  Each car will feature exquisite detailed printing, free rolling trucks and axles and made of etch metal and plastic.  The models are limited in production so I would suggest checking with your store as they are around the corner.
  The MINI BOX CARS and 1200's have been pushed back a bit and will be out early next year, sorry - but there are a lot of things happening in China right now and right here in our back yard that are making things a bit tough.  Although we are doing the MINI BOX car in "N" scale so that should make up for some of the delay.
   The MP36 units are also in production (YAY!! FINALLY - Yeah, I know Kyle, its been a while :-[) - the last hurdle is over come and they are now making them.  I am going over to China to over see final assembly on the 8 hatch reefers to ensure that all the assembly issues were addressed and that the MP36's are right on.
    I know that the majority of people are wanting to know what is going on with Canadian Model Trains and its owner, but I can't comment on this.  It was a situation that I am certainly glad we are able to help with and I really can't say more than that - other than I hope to see Tom back in full force soon.  For information on your orders with CMT - whether pre-orders, deposits, etc, go to the "CMT-UPDATE" page (https://sites.google.com/a/truelinetrains.ca/tlt/home/news/cmt-updates).
   Until then,
if you need, we are only a phone call away.


posted Jul 10, 2012, 4:41 AM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Jul 10, 2012, 4:41 AM by Randy Hammill ]

   Will you be going?  The 77th annual NMRA convention is being held at the DeVos Convention centre this year in GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN. 
    You can read more about this fantastic show here (http://www.nmra.org/convention/) and check out a list of all the vendors as well.  While we are still undecided about going - perhaps you can sway the decision?  Check out our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TrueLineTrains and let us know if you want us there!  Don't forget to check the like button while your there!
    Search the site (both face book and here) and check out the upcoming releases of MINI BOX CARS, 1937 / 1944 AAR BOXCARS with modifies tooling, the MP36, the 1200RS, new trucks and wheel sets!   Stay tuned!
    Contact our office at 905 738 6556 or email Randy at randy@truelinetrains.ca!

Paints coming on in....

posted Jul 1, 2012, 7:33 PM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Jul 1, 2012, 7:33 PM by Randy Hammill ]

New colours and a restock of existing paints.
   Sorry for the delay but we just got word that our paint re-stock is arriving on TUESDAY and that the NEW COLOURS will be here Sept. 20th - just in time for painting season!  YAY!!
    Don't forget - your orders for MINI BOX CARS and CP / GTW 8 HATCH REEFERS are due this FRIDAY!  Make sure you have them ordered! 
    MP36 orders are due this month as well for final production quantities.   We have a new run of Box Cars coming soon as well - don't forget!
     Hope you've all had a great long weekend and will see you soon!
Stay tuned for a list of upcoming shows too!

Get your orders in!

posted Jun 20, 2012, 11:06 AM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Jun 25, 2012, 8:04 AM by Randy Hammill ]

Ok - so now that we have a "more-or-less-precise-but-not-really" schedule from the factory, I would encourage your orders for the CP MINI BOX CAR.  This box car, originally made in 1929 was used across Canada in CP RAIL service.  A handful of cars eventually made their way to BCOL for MoW service and icicle duty as well.  What makes the cars so unique was the interior height of only 8'6" instead of 10'. 

You can also still preorder the CN 8 HATCH REEFERS and GTW 8 HATCH REEFERS, so if you were sitting on the fence to see the CP units, you should get off that fence!

Also check out the new run of 1937 and 1944 era box cars including new variants with 4/5 Dreadnaught ends and Express Reefer trucks.  For those asking, the Express Reefer trucks will soon be available separately, part number 900914 (SRP $6.75).  These trucks are also commonly used on EXPRESS variants of the CN 8 HATCH REEFERS.

Hope the summer is keeping you busy!

Yes - We're sold out.

posted Jun 20, 2012, 10:47 AM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Jun 20, 2012, 10:47 AM by Randy Hammill ]

Thats right!  The CP/PGE/BCOL 8 Hatch Reefers are SOLD OUT! 
    Sorry for the long delay, but the cars needed to be perfect!  With over 100 parts on each car we wanted to make sure that they were as good as we promised.   We are completely OVER SOLD on these cars, so please make sure you check your local dealer first for availability!
    Check out more photos on facebook at www.facebook.com/truelinetrains

4th Run Box Cars will feature NEW paint schemes and trucks!

posted Jun 11, 2012, 12:39 PM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Jun 11, 2012, 12:39 PM by Randy Hammill ]

    Thats right!  The new 40' box cars (1937 and 1944) will feature NEW PAINT schemes for ONR and CN!   Green and Gold, Green and Black and 1961 scheme!  Plus a new variant with BX EXPRESS trucks and 4/5 Dreadnaught ends.  Stay tuned for more information or check out the BOX CAR page for images and more information! 

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