One More Year

Motorcyclist in Morse, SK
Motorcyclist in Morse, SK

I listen to a lot of podcasts.

Most have nothing to do with model railroading, but a few do. I started out with The Model Railway Show, by Jim Martin and Trevor Marshall. It’s over now but it is well worth listening to the archives.

Then I tried The Scotty Mason Show but it’s not really to my taste.

My friend William Brillinger mentioned A Modeler’s Life, hosted by Lionel Strang and featuring several other characters including Jim Rindt, “Bruce the Mail Boy” and “Uncle Larry”. It took an episode or two to get into it, but I like the podcast very much. It’s not very serious – sometimes not at all serious – but there’s a good rapport between Lionel and the other guys, and his interviews are very good.

Early morning podcasting
Early morning podcasting
Lionel Strang
Lionel Strang

The podcast is good to listen to in the background when you’re driving or working on your model railroad layout.

Lionel was a regular Model Railroader columnist, has written a few model railway books and has hosted a number of videos over on TrainMasters.tv.

Today on Facebook I noticed an ad from Fast Tracks that mentioned Lionel and his cancer. His.. what?

Lionel was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer two years ago. At the time he was told he wouldn’t live another year. I had no idea. Lionel never mentions it on the podcast.

He’s been counting the days (up) since he was told he was terminally ill. He’s at around 735 now, a bit more than twice the year he was told he had. That’s the inspiration for “One More Year”.

Lionel seems to be living life to the fullest and enjoying what he has left, and I think we can all take inspiration from that. Life is too short to spend it doing stuff you hate.

Motorcycle, Canola and a Train
Motorcycle, Canola and a Train

Lionel has a GoFundMe page, not for him, but to raise funds for the Psychosocial Oncology Clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto (Lionel is Canadian). The clinic helps patients and family deal with cancer and improve their emotional well-being. It sure seems to be working for Lionel! It’s important to help people not only with the physical effects of cancer, but also the mental effects on the person who has cancer, and their family and friends as well.

I encourage you to visit his GoFundMe page or buy from Fast Tracks (they’ll donate 10%) to support Lionel’s cause.

Also, go check out Lionel’s podcast, A Modeler’s Life. It’s good.

(The two motorcycle photos aren’t of Lionel, but I know Lionel likes motorcycles and trains, so they seemed appropriate)

Tipping the Scales on Train Pricing?

More about pricing!
More about pricing!

Yesterday I was listening to an episode of Lionel Strang’s podcast, “A Modeler’s Life” (iTunes / Stitcher / web siteFacebook) while waiting for a train to roll south on the CP Emerson subdivision. I listen to podcasts a lot, and I have been searching for good model train podcasts. You may know Lionel from his writings in Model Railroader and others, and he’s been doing a podcast with Jim Rindt and Bruce the Mail Boy for a while now.

Anyway, after my rant about prices, I was glad to hear about a new line of lower priced model railroad equipment. Lionel was talking with Shane Wilson, the president of the new company Scale Trains, about how the company was formed and what they plan to do.

Shane comes from Athearn, famous for its inexpensive “blue box” locomotives and freight cars. Scale Trains has big plans – they intend to have four levels of quality in their lines.

  1. Kit Classics
  2. Operator
  3. Rivet Counter
  4. Museum Quality

The intent is for the “Kit Classics” to be inexpensive, and it sounds very much like the old Athearn “shake the box” kits. Their first in that quality level is an Evans 5100 boxcar kit, listed for $13.99 (US), which is quite inexpensive compared to, say, this $50 newsprint boxcar. The quality is not the same, of course, but if you want to get into the hobby without remortgaging your house, this is the way to do it.

I should point out that Accurail has been making relatively low cost kits for a long time and have a great selection.

So, kudos to Scale Trains and Accurail for also providing models at reasonable prices, and let’s hope others follow suit. Not all of us need museum pieces to run on our layouts.

PS – go listen to Lionel’s podcast – it’s good!

PPS – this may sound like a sponsored post, but I am writing about Scale Trains because I believe in their approach. I don’t know anyone involved with them and I’m not getting paid to write about them. 🙂