RIP O Scale Trains magazine


It is with great sadness I that report the passing of O Scale Trains, the craftsman magazine started by Joe Gio and bravely continued after his passing by his spouse Jaini. I always looked forward to receiving the next issue.

David had articles published in two issues, the first in #5, November 2002. Below is one of the outtake photos shot for David’s first article on constructing a yard tower. If I recall, David, Jay and I were there on the evening of the photo shoot. We fiddled with ambient light, and Jay held a card over a single incandescent bulb on the ceiling in Ricksburg until we got the ratio of ambient to tower light about right.

At that time my camera was an early digital point & shoot E5000 from Nikon. The attached photo was an 8 second exposure, f/6.3, ISO 100. In the background we see David’s beautiful Alco C430.

The final photo which graced the cover of OST was a vertical close-up of just the tower.


Bob, sad news but print is getting harder to make money at I guess.
That said, MR has been getting smaller, now less than 100 pages per issue.
Where RMC has grown and gone over 100 pages.

Here is the O Scale Trains site link that has a one liner about the last issue being 95, and not else…



After Joe passed, the momentum seemed to be heading this way. Too bad. Huge thanks to Martin Brechbiel, Brian Scace, and Joe’s wife Jaini Giannovario for carring on as long as they did!

Allen Miller from O Gauge Railroading is posting on his magazine’s forum that he would love to pick up more O scale 2 rail and narrow gauge content. OGR has done a few 2 rail pieces, mostly layout tours, but I would be surprised if they ever run an in depth “scale” “modeling” article. It is a pretty big leap from 3 rail/tinplate/collecting to scale modeling. There isn’t a lot of common ground between 3 railers and 2 railers. Maybe I’m wrong, or change is a-foot, but I don’t see pre-war price guides next to fine scale brass scratch building. I think the financial issues with modern day paper publishing will drive this to the biggest group… 3 rail!

My guess is that the O Scale Resource e-magazine will fill any void left. Most of the same ads already and the on line cost effectiveness is a huge advantage for publishing. Maybe there will be enough band width of material to move the “Resource” to a monthly publication?

Of course, I’m going to soap box a little here…

The hobby is NOT dying, the paper publishing business IS dying! The hobby is NOT dying, the hobby shop business IS dying! There is more hobby communication, manufacturers, scales, and merchandise available now than ever before. What is happening is that the traditional methods of pursuing the hobby are changing. Clubs are giving away to individuals, magazines to the internet, and retail is cutting out the “middleman” hobby shop. Change is hard for those who loose, especially those with money involved. The hobby is still healthy, its just different.


Magazines are dying all over the place. Which is sad. Although, it does seem odd that the last few RMCs, always the number 2 mag if that, I have picked up have had more pages than MR… Holding a laptop or a phone is just not the same as flipping through the pages of a hand held magazine. If you pick up a magazine there is no game or social media wanting your attention. You are focused on the mag. You see it laying there and it catches your attention and you pick it up for the 5th or 20th time. There is none of that with e-mags. I have never re-read an article in an online pub. I have tried a few and have no complaints about the content; just the format.



I agree with Jay, digital is nice, even much better way to store than a shelf of magazines, but its not the same.

About 15 years ago, I used to take the ‘Silverton Standard & Miner’, the oldest newspaper in Colorado. Every week I enjoyed getting it. I would sit on the back porch and enjoy reading it that even the day it came in. I luv’d the local small town articles. But emails and websites were becoming come and I complained how I was getting last week’s news… as the weekly Thursday print, did not arrive until the following Wednesday for me in Texas.

Gather me and couple others pushed for digital, so they started a digital service and would email us every Friday morning with the latest issue. It was great… and after about 4 or 5 months, being a PC Tech all day, I found myself downloading the PDF but not reading it at the end of the day, I got off the PC instead.

Today I download every issue of the ‘Model RR Hobbist’ each month. I used to read each issue. Now I skim through the issue when I save it but hardly every go back and actually ‘read it’, on PC or tablet that I have available. Its not the same.

O Scale Resource, I download each issue… I like it, but hardly read a full issue. I have pulled out the last issue or two of O Scale Trains a couple times each time after reading it… digital to some of us, is not the same. We loose interest when holding the tablet or monitor on the back porch or toilet. (haha)

OST will be missed.



Both Jay and Frolin hit on something I have never thought of; I too never re-read any digital product (except this forum)! Conversely, I am always re-reading back issues of magazines. Some of these are decades old! I also over the course of the month (in my “readying room”), read every word of a printed magazine. I start with a new issue hitting the most interesting things and end a month later by reading the classified adds and publishing masthead! I NEVER do that with digital. As a side note, I have never experienced a magazine’s battery dying!

I grew up reading magazines. My Grandfather subscribed to at least a dozen mags ranging from U.S. News And World Report to Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, and American Shooter to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. Over the years I have managed to find and read nearly every published issue of Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette, Railmodel Journal, Model Railroading, and The NMRA Bulletin. There are numerous other hobby mags mixed in too. As a hobby shop employee in my past life, I read everything on the shelf in the store, R/C, gaming, plastic modeling, etc! After 9/11, my job changed and I needed to “lighten” my possessions; I filled a dumpster with printed hobby magazines! Digital just isn’t the same!

As one can imagine, when I was in Afghanistan, digital magazines were a real bonus. Available and current! But I still had my wife forward my Model Railroader magazine with my care packages! I left them there along with the models I built while there. I imagine there are some very confused Afghan nationals, trying to figure out the significance of this stuff after they took over my area! Almost nobody in Afghanistan has ever seen a railroad, let alone a miniature of one! Probably now embedded in some local Islamic codex as a forbidden imperialistic sin!

I still hold my belief that the change in the hobby from print to digital is not driven by preference, but by finance. Paper printing today is cost prohibitive, period. Several of the lost magazines were available because the publisher was able to slip production in the excess or margins of larger magazines. As the costs paired back printing, the excess dried up, and the hobby mags fell off. Even today, the only hobby mags still getting printed are the result of consolidated production and publishing. Like it or not, I believe these “stronger” magazines are ultimately doomed. As the infrastructure that supports printing expires (printing presses wear out…) there is less capacity, it will eventually all be gone. But I bet the hobby will still exist!

The next time I am over at David’s, I’ll bring some old (1960s and 70s) model railroad printed stuff I recently found! Like a old NMRA national listings of model railroaders! You might be surprised who’s name showed up!


I still say if you had called me we would have found a way to save all those mags… You were tossing them in a dumpster, could have tossed them in the bed of my pickup… I don’t keep magazines like I used to but they have been thoroughly read before I recycle them or sacrifice them to the kids. I do keep going back through issues of MRP from time to time. I wonder how many mags close due to falling subscriptions vs higher printing costs.


Great news! The magazine will be continued by White River. These folks have done a wonderful job with Model Railroad Craftsman. I wish them all the best!


Awesome! Maybe we should see if we can throw them bone or two from the A&O?


Well, Rick, you are doing some very fine work on your buildings for Mount Union. There should be an article or two there…