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News Archive
The news shows up on the home page. But here's the older posts in case you're bored...

See video of Darren and Mark in 2010 at the

Quick Update

posted Feb 29, 2016, 12:22 PM by Randy Hammill   [ updated Aug 15, 2016, 2:11 PM by Darren Altbaum ]

PSC Cabooses
Shipping now. The CN NOODLES, INTERNATIONAL SCHEME, UNDEC MODEL and KITS are available at stores now.

Awaiting more decoders, so more will be shipping to dealers soon..

Klasing Handbrakes
Working on fitting a run into the production schedule ASAP. So we'll have more soon. Due to the process of getting these produced we may not be able to do another run in the near future, and almost half of this run is already sold. So order now!

Warranty, non-warranty, parts requests
I have a huge backlog (due in part to a technical error on my part). It will take a little while to just get back to everybody. So we appreciate your patience.

Things are moving along at the factories very nicely. We've been very happy with the results we've been getting (some delays are still inevitable).


posted Feb 10, 2016, 9:42 AM by Randy Hammill

Pointe St Charles Caboose

So the Year of the Monkey officially started February 8th (Happy New Year!). While the factory had given us assurances that the PSC Cabooses would ship before the Chinese New Year, once we (and you) had a chance to take a closer look at the pre-production model that we received, there were a few things that we just weren't happy with.

For example, the lettering on the sample was not right, it was missing white handrails and the side sill was not painted black. All of these are relatively easy to fix, but these fixes alone impact 7 different schemes, if I recall.

In addition, since we only received one sample, we are requesting that they don't run any other scheme until we can at least have photos of a sample shell. Ideally we'll get physical samples, but that would also delay things a bit more.

It will be a couple of weeks due to the Chinese Holiday before we have an update. We know you've waited a long time for these, but we think that you'd rather wait just a little while longer so we can make sure they are correct.

Klasing Handbrakes

Yes, it's true. We sold out. Again, we have to wait until after the holiday to make more. We'll let you know when they are back in stock.

Next Models
The SW1200RS and wood and transfer cabooses are still on track. Delivery dates are unknown at this point, and will remain that way until the PSC cabooses ship, at the very least.

The other models that we are working (feverishly) to ship this year are the plow, the NYC/Rutland Standard Caboose, and the first variation of the Fowler box and stock cars.

We'll have updated (correct) drawings for the NYC/Rutland Standard caboose up in the near future. The current ones are simple mock-ups and have a lot of dimensional errors. The working plans are very accurate, and the Historical Societies are extremely pleased with how they look.

Please Help

If you see something that you think/know is a mistake, let us know. If you hop off to some other site or forum to complain about it there, we might not know about it. We collaborate with great folks that are among the most knowledgeable in the hobby, but that doesn't mean that we (or they) know everything. New photos, original plans, or new photos that prove the original plans are wrong, crop up again and again. So if you think you know something we don't, let us know.

Remember it's just the two of us. (Ha! Now I've got that song stuck in your head). And we thank everybody for their support. It's much appreciated.

What's going on here?

posted Feb 3, 2016, 8:41 PM by Randy Hammill

Ahh, the good old rumor mill. As there has been a lot of discussion about us and our models (generally a good thing), and folks have questions, I'll cover as much as I can here (again). Basically things haven't changed all that much from the usual, such as what I posted here last year:


Wait, that's not entirely true - we actually have some models!

As I'm sure you know now, the C-Liners (4-axle freight for MILW, PRR, NYC, CP and CN) are here. Due to the last few years being extremely tough for us, we're having to do some of the work ourselves. By ourselves, I mean Darren. He has the locomotives up north and is installing decoders and couplers, then testing each one before shipping out to dealers. So they are getting out there a little at a time.

PSC cabooses are in production and should ship very soon. The plan is for the factory to ship to us before the Chinese New Year (starts Feb 8th if I recall, although production might continue a bit longer). However, we finally received our pre-production sample just before the Springfield show. We (and others) have noticed some minor issues, so we're working on correcting what we can. We're hoping this won't cause further delay, but we do want to get it right. There are a lot of dates that I've seen posted on the net, from 'they have already shipped' to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and I've probably seen more. I'll be clear, neither Darren nor I have given a specific date to anybody. The stock answer is "The factory has assured us they will ship before the Chinese New Year, but they also assured us they would ship before the end of December, so..."

As there has been some confusion, SRP is $84.99 CAD in Canada, and $84.99 USD in the US. Your dealer may charge less (or more?), but that's our SRP.

For the last several years, we've been challenged by a lot of business and personal issues. I'm the one responsible for communication, the website, etc. and have been largely failing spectacularly.

As I've mentioned before, it's all about cash flow. No models to ship? No cash flow. Which impacts how quickly we can get models as well. So Darren and I are both working multiple jobs, just for the privilege of making models for you. Well, and us too. Me mostly, Darren doesn't have a layout. Most of our additional help do and they like models too.

Combine that with the usual and some not so usual life events, sometimes (frequently) things go by the wayside. My day starts at 6:00am and usually doesn't end until 1:00 or 2:00 am. Midnight if I'm lucky. I'm usually a moderately disorganized procrastinator, so squeezing everything into a day can be a challenge.

This weekend reminded both Darren and I why we keep doing this. We had a blast at the Springfield show, and especially hanging out with each other. It has been quite a while (two years?) since we've been able to actually get together in the same room. That also makes it difficult to do what we do, but we do the best we can.

This year is starting strong, and if our factories continue to deliver it should be a very good year for us. In addition to the things on deck, we have a number of new announcements we'd like to make, but it's a bit too early for that.

Right now we can say that after the PSC cabooses, we should be seeing the Canadian wood and transfer cabooses (including the GTW one) following shortly behind. The SW1200RS locomotives are also in the production queue for this year, along with the plow and the NYC/Rutland cabooses. It's an aggressive schedule, and we're looking at possibly working with another factory to make it work.

I wouldn't expect any other announcements until later in the year. Those projects alone will take us through most of 2016.

What you will not see us doing is providing specific dates. While things have improved immensely, delivery dates are still too fluid to say anything specific until it actually happens. We don't mind sharing what we do know, but most of the time it's very tentative and we're a bit wary (from past experience) to be specific when we're not confident that we'll meet a given date.

You now know what's in the immediate production queue. If it's not in the list I mentioned above, then it's probably not shipping this year. We can't even guarantee that everything on that list will ship this year. But that's our current goal.

Something I have heard from a number of people, and not just about our models, is that they are waiting to place an order until after they can see if a particular error is corrected. Hello! If you see an error in our drawings, or sample models, tell us. Maybe we missed it, maybe we didn't. But if you don't let us know until after it's made, then we probably can't fix it. You should do that for every manufacturer. Really.

While we (I) have not been making regular updates, I always try to answer emails, even if it takes me a while. We try to be as open and transparent as we can be. I'm an avid New Haven prototype modeler, and I'm a stickler for detail on my own layout. I don't presume to think that my way is the right way for everybody, but when it comes to producing models being a 'rivet counter' helps. A lot.

Another thing that is really important to understand is that we're not in this alone. While I'm sure it's not always obvious online, anybody who comes to see us at the show will tell you that we're here for you and because of you. We want to produce the models that you want, and do them right. But there are only two of us. We consult with a lot of experts in their fields, but we are also always interested in honest, but civil, feedback from you. Sure 'we should hire somebody else' you say. Well, OK. Perhaps we should hire ourselves first and start actually getting a paycheck too. Just not going to happen any time soon. Some companies have lots of cash, or a benefactor that likes to spend their cash. That's not us.

We're a small company. We're often overwhelmed. That's life. Despite that, commentary along the lines that we're disappearing or closing is inaccurate and unhelpful. We've had more than enough reason and opportunity to close up shop over the last several years. Certainly neither Darren nor I need the headaches that come with it. This is what we do. You are the reason why we do it. If you're concerned and have a question, just ask. And be patient with us. We will continue to produce models that nobody else is...just for you!

What's New?

posted May 1, 2015, 6:30 AM by Randy Hammill   [ updated May 1, 2015, 6:52 AM ]

Hey, we're back with more of the usual. That is, people want to know when models are coming, etc. etc.

The answer is...So do we!

Delays, delays, delays. The C-Liners are getting ever closer to shipment, and then we'll see what's next.

Yes, the PSC caboose is coming. Yes, the 1200's, NYC caboose, well, pretty much everything is coming. Just don't know when.

The answer will remain the same for some time. So please be patient with us (or not, I suppose it doesn't really make a difference). They'll get here when they get here.

And for those of you who want more:
We've had numerous issues and delays at the factory. Delays create more delays, for a lot of reasons. Because of the long delays, as well as issues with some of the prior models, cash-flow becomes an issue. This is an industry where we have to pay everything up front, and recoup our costs after the models ship.

The best way to stay in this business is to have a number of projects at different stages of completion, with each release helping to fund future releases.

The worst way to stay in this business is to have a number of projects in different stages of completion with no models shipping. There's money tied up in all of the projects, along with daily business expenses, with income far in the future. 

So it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to get things moving at a fair pace again. And it doesn't happen quickly. In the meantime, we are working additional jobs to pay the bills, which has the tendency to delay other things (like responding to emails), since we only have so much time to do what we do between us.

The bottom line:
We're committed (maybe should BE committed for still doing this), to releasing the projects we have underway no matter how long it takes. In time, things will start shipping on a more regular schedule. It's not something that will happen this year. Yes, we'll complete some projects this year. How many? Don't know. When? Don't know.

We've talked about, written about, and published this answer in many places, and in many different ways. We know you want your models. They're coming...eventually.

Couplers? We don't need no stinking couplers.

posted Sep 11, 2014, 9:40 AM by Randy Hammill


Yes, we just found out that the run of 1937 AAR Box Cars that just shipped from the factory were assembled WITHOUT COUPLERS!?!?!

The joys of being a manufacturer.

So if these were our old couplers, you probably would have removed them anyway, and replaced them with Kadee's. Except we already did. We thought.

Yep. We bought the Kadee couplers and they are supposed to be on these cars. Apparently they're still in China.

So if you need a set of couplers, we'll be happy to send out a pair of genuine Kadee's, gratis.

If you can manage without, that would be great. We are few, you are many (plus shipping).

The usual address - modeltrains [at] truelinetrains.ca


posted Jun 10, 2014, 10:29 AM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Jun 26, 2014, 8:30 PM by Randy Hammill ]

Now in your favourite CN flavour! Order soon, these are really limited.

posted Apr 25, 2014, 1:39 PM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Apr 25, 2014, 1:41 PM ]

Photo courtesy of Dave Minshall


posted Mar 7, 2014, 6:26 PM by Darren Altbaum   [ updated Mar 9, 2014, 5:55 PM by Randy Hammill ]


A message for former CMT customers

As you know, we've been working hard to try to fill orders originally placed with CMT, and we've also been honouring as much as (more than) we could afford of the deposits made on those orders.

By far, the most common questions we've received are regarding the Pointe Ste. Charles caboose.

Well, we've got good news!!!…. 

….and we've got bad news.  

First the good news. We are releasing the Pointe Ste. Charles Caboose.


Now the bad news. We aren't in a position to help with deposits that you paid to CMT.


They won't be available direct. You'll have to order them from your preferred TLT dealer. We're encouraging the dealers to work with ex-CMT customers for this project. Of course, they don't have any obligation to honour another company's bad debts, any more than we do. 

We've thought long and hard about what options we had. Because of the costs associated with acquiring and releasing this model, we had two options:

#1. Do nothing Nobody gets their deposits back, and nobody gets their models. 

#2. Pick up and complete the project. It will be more expensive, and nobody gets their deposits back, but at least people can get their models.

Neither choice was ideal. But in the end we felt the better option was to move ahead and make the model available to the people that really wanted it. 

The best of a bad situation? There is no doubt that not everyone will be happy. But we hope this helps at least make it a little better. 

We're excited we're able to bring the model to you, and we know you'll enjoy it. 


posted Mar 7, 2014, 6:24 PM by Darren Altbaum

I came out from my rock to go to the CREDIT VALLEY!  Always a pleasure to see these guys and the great patrons!
Photo: Darren is actually here! Happy to answer all your questions and show off some of the new upcoming products.


posted Jan 16, 2014, 3:29 PM by Darren Altbaum

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