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    Kalmbach Media Sells Railroad Portfolio

    Longtime publisher of Trains, Model Railroader and other magazines has sold their rail portfolio.... which is their bread and butter.

    WAUKESHA, Wis. — Trains Magazine, the company’s other rail magazines, and Trains.com are among assets that have been sold by Kalmbach Media to Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Firecrown Media, the two companies have announced today (May 1). Other Kalmbach titles involved in the transaction are Classic Trains, Model Railroader, Classic Toy Trains, FineScale Modeler, and Astronomy, as well as Kalmbach’s online stores. The publications



    WAUKESHA, Wis. — Trains Magazine, the company’s other rail magazines, and Trains.com are among assets that have been sold by Kalmbach Media to Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Firecrown Media, the two companies have announced Wednesday.

    Other Kalmbach titles involved in the transaction are Classic Trains, Model Railroader, Classic Toy Trains, FineScale Modeler, and Astronomy, as well as Kalmbach’s online stores.

    The publications involved will continue to be based in Wisconsin.

    Firecrown publishes Flying and some other boating/aviation/fishing publications, and owns AvWeb.com

    While I hate to see a family company like Kalmbach disappear,this seems like an ideal fit.





    Last edited by eric; 05-03-2024, 09:01 AM.
    If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

    #2
    Fortunately, I have sufficient time remaining on my Trains and Classic Trains subscriptions to evaluate the coming changes before I have to make a decision on renewal.
    __________________________________
    MMC(SS), USN (Ret.)

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      #3
      Well this is very sad, but like Eric said, it was a family run company and I'm sure revenues are nothing like they were in the peak years of the hobby. This was probably a second or 3rd generation family member deciding to get some cash up front instead of trying to limp along.

      A bit of a shame - Kalmbatch books and magazines have been at the center of US model railroading for my entire life.

      They did a book on an N scale Clinchfield layout that I spent many hours looking at as a kid:
      image.png
      I actually got to see the layout on display at a mall as a kid and it was really impressive.

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        #4
        I have a Kalmbach piece of Rolling Stock in my collection, and it's one of only a few pieces I have in brass. Articulated SP coach Diner that came from the estate of Lynn Wescott. Only one side of the car is actually finished with numbers, and according to someone I spoke to, that's pretty indicative that it was photographed for the magazine.
        Last edited by eric; 05-03-2024, 08:20 PM.
        If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by eric View Post
          I have a Kalmbach piece of Rolling Stock in my collection, and it's one of only a few pieces I have in brass. Articulated SP coach Diner that came from the estate of Lynn Wescott. Only one side of the car is actually finished with numbers, and according to someone I spoke to, that's pretty indicative that it was photographed for the magazine.

          Sent from my SM-S911U using Tapatalk
          Sounds like a neat conversation piece to have in your collection!

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            #6
            I wonder if the model train hobby is so declining? With all the new companies, Rapido, Scale Trains and such plus all the small internet based manufacturers of resin, 3D print models and detailing parts, we never had so much choice for every aspect of the hobby.... So I'm wondering if it is really over the hill? Same thing for model kits....More and more manufacturers, and so many detailing parts available, and countless garage kits guys... Although for the model kit industry in 20 years down the road, I'm not sure of its future, when all the kids from the 60's and 70's have passed away or shaking too much to hold parts.....

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              #7
              I've spent a little time reading up on the new owner. I'm cautiously optimistic. Although mergers rarely deliver all they promise. I like what I hear - sounds like an investment in content, new business ideas and a personal and passionate involvement from the owner who was a model railroader. Might be time for a new business model, maybe Kalmbach as a business had run its course?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Royalhudson View Post
                I wonder if the model train hobby is so declining? With all the new companies, Rapido, Scale Trains and such plus all the small internet based manufacturers of resin, 3D print models and detailing parts, we never had so much choice for every aspect of the hobby.... So I'm wondering if it is really over the hill? Same thing for model kits....More and more manufacturers, and so many detailing parts available, and countless garage kits guys... Although for the model kit industry in 20 years down the road, I'm not sure of its future, when all the kids from the 60's and 70's have passed away or shaking too much to hold parts.....
                I think it found its bottom, but yes that bottom is significantly lower than what it was in its glory years. But this is also multiplied by the fact that magazines and print are also in major decline.
                There will still be model railroaders in the future, but the shape of how we learn about products and how we buy them, has changed.

                Youtube videos and forums about model trains will largely replace magazines and books about trains.

                The Trip to the hobby store seems to have been replaced with fevered online shopping, trying to find the very best deal.

                Plus, I wonder, have the prices gone up in terms of real dollars?

                When I was a kid, I'm nearly certain we sold athern bluebox boxcar kits for $3 And I have a vague memory of engines being like $30. (I'll have to ask my father if he remembers this better than I do) Anyhow back then a McDonalds meal was $3 So an Engine was 10x a value meal.
                Today a value meal is, lets say $9, Can you walk into any old hobby shop and get an HO Engine for $90 today?

                Model railroading feels like it's gotten more expensive comparatively, than items like food and gasoline.
                And then don't even think about comparing it to hobbies that got cheaper over time: Computers and TV's

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by TrainSimJack View Post
                  Today a value meal is, lets say $9, Can you walk into any old hobby shop and get an HO Engine for $90 today?
                  Possibly, without all the digital sound/control dooohickeys.... I bought an unpainted Athern Dash 9 not too long ago for around $80. Motor, shell and handrails only.
                  If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think the model train and model kits hobbies have gone up sky high in price.... For example before the pandemic you could buy a Revell Peterbilt snap tite 1/25 for about 23 $ Canadian.... The very same kit sells now for 64$ !!!! That is totally crazy, I bought half a dozen in 2012 for 18$ !!!! Talk about inflation! And that kit's tooling dates back to early 80's, so it's paid for since 40 years, so somebody is making big bucks on our backs.... Same thing for all other model kits..... A Revell 1/25 Chevy Camaro at 46 and some stores 50$ !!! You paid 18$ for such a kit a few years ago....So I think the industry is killing itself when asking such ridiculous prices... No kids nor teenagers can afford that.... Even adults think twice about buying one.... I've always been a DDA40X buff, I'd really like to get the Athearn Genesis DDA40X, but am I gonna spend over 600$ Canadian for a loco? The answer is no.... I was at the hobby shops this morning and was looking at old Bachmann tooling freight cars.... 40$ and up.... 65$ for an Athearn Kenworth W900 and matching trailers....Really Athearn???

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                      #11
                      im waiting for my next train magazine to come in the mail

                      Comment


                        #12
                        In decline? MASSIVELY! The average age of a model railroader in the US is in his 70s.
                        Dave Nelson
                        sigpic
                        Seldom visiting, posting less often that that.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by muskokaandtahoe View Post
                          In decline? MASSIVELY! The average age of a model railroader in the US is in his 70s.
                          Maybe, but Jack and I were at the Great American Train Show in Wheaton two months ago, and while there were a good number of people older than me, there were also a bunch of 30-50 year olds walking out with bags full of stuff...
                          If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I see a parallel with Vinyl record collecting - both hobbies peaked decades ago, yet both have survived to this day in some form.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by TrainSimJack View Post
                              I see a parallel with Vinyl record collecting - both hobbies peaked decades ago, yet both have survived to this day in some form.
                              Vinyl is making a bit of a comeback. Because of the sound quality if nothing else.

                              Randy

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