Blessed Past, Bright Future: Visiting Rossville with Shane Wilson of Scaletrains.com

In a passionate and sometimes emotional presentation, Shane Wilson, CEO of Scaletrains.com returned to Rossville, Illinois on a hot afternoon in August. Shane discussed the origins of the company, a relatively new, but already well-regarded manufacturer of HO and N scale model railroad equipment, right here in Central Illinois. Held at the Danville Junction Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society‘s Rossville Depot Museum, Shane kicked off a lengthy national tour today by returning to his Rossville roots. Besides his deep faith, Shane placed a lot of credit for his company’s success in the nurturing atmosphere provided by the Historical Society’s members, who accepted him as a teenager into the organization, encouraging his interest in railroads, which eventually lead to his founding Scaletrains.com.

Shane and Michelle of ScaleTrains.com ready their presentation for old friends and new at the Danville Junction Chapter of the NRHS’s Rossville, Illinois museum on August 28, 2021.

A couple of dozen interested model railroaders from Illinois and Indiana crowded together under shady trees on a hot August afternoon outside the depot museum.

Chillin’ with Shane under the shade

Shane spoke beside the ScaleTrains Road Trip rig, which will see extensive miles covering many states as he brings news and information about the company’s HO and N scale prototypically faithful product lines of locomotives and railroad rolling stock cross-country, beginning what will eventually be a years-long nation-wide Road Trip tour. I was thrilled to be able to pick up and examine an example of the fantastic new Museum Quality SDL-39 that I ordered recently and is due around the end of the year.

Rick Schroeder and Shane Wilson recall working out ways to get a 13-year old kid involved in historical preservation and curating his education about railroads.

Besides numerous examples of the upcoming rare-bird SDL-39 in HO, many other examples of ScaleTrains.com locomotives and cars in HO and N on display, some much-appreciated quality swag in the form of ScaleTrains and Rivet Counter pins was available for the asking, along with sharp-looking and quite comfortable writing pens.

Some quality-crafted ScaleTrains.com pins to decorate the hat or shirt

Shane’s presentation is a work in progress, chock-full of interesting stories that are both human and introspective. I suspect he’ll adapt it according to the audience of the day, as most entertaining speakers are apt to do.

Ending his presentation, Shane threw things open to questions about ScaleTrains products and the art of successfully manufacturing through global trade disruptions, including a pandemic that was in no one’s business plan. Yet, despite the tough general economic climate, ScaleTrains.com has grown into solid financial territory in times that have seen an expansion in interest in stay-at-home hobby’s such as model railroading. A steady schedule of releases expands the product line with the quality that ScaleTrains has become known for. Examples were operating inside the depot on the museum layout, a layout that was familiar to Shane.

For everyone present, it was a very special afternoon, marking where a young man came of age armed with the knowledge and skills that would serve him well, while also marking the end of the beginning of a now successful and productive supplier of exquisitely detailed model railroad equipment with a bright future of repeatedly satisfying customers with superior products.

Everyone needs a Road Trip from time to time, so join Shane when he visits near you on the ScaleTrains Road Trip. You can even nominate your club to host a visit. Rossville won’t be the only small venue he’ll visit, as the intent is to visit those who for whatever reason, big or small, want to hang our for awhile and talk trains.

Video: In a Land Far Away, Steam Still Runs

Last Wednesday’s Central Illinois Train Talk brought a return of one of the regular guests from vacation. Craig lives in New Zealand and it was his first real time off in about 20 years. He made the best of it, visiting with various kin and his daughter, who now works on the South Island. There was time for some railfanning though, and with his permission I’m happy to share with you this short clip of a 42″ gauge Pacific doing the honors on a passenger train.

Craig also had a chance to see steam afloat, visiting a one-time New Zealand Rail-owned steam boat, powered by two locomotive type boilers.

https://youtu.be/eEz53Ed7bgs

Unfortunately, Craig’s trip was cut a little short due to a COVID lock down, but fortunately for us he was here to tell about it on Central Illinois Train Talk. While Craig can’t always make it due to other responsibilities, you can probably find him on Train Talk several times a month.

If you’d like to visit with us on Zoom, the meeting code for our get together every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm is 819 5434 5485 and the code (if needed) is 088555. Come on by and hang out, tell us about what’s getting done on the layout or tell us about some prototype news.

Thanks again to Craig for sharing some of his vacation video with us!

ScaleTrains.com CEO Return Road Trip to Rossville Roots, August 28

As ScaleTrains.com looks down the road, their late summer and fall Road Trip dates are starting to come into view. In a recent note to its mailing list, ScaleTrains.com announced a major model railroading event in Central Illinois.


The Danville Junction Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) in Rossville, IL holds a special place in his heart.  Throughout Shane’s teenage years, the members mentored him in model railroading, full-scale trains, and life.

The Danville Junction Chapter museum is located within the beautifully restored Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad Depot.  Inside are numerous railroad artifacts and a large HO Scale model railroad in the baggage room.  On a side note, the crossing flashers in front of our Tennessee headquarters came from the depot attic.

The depot will be open from noon to 5:00pm local time and everyone is welcome to attend.  We’ll be setting-up the RV on the lawn and have our latest models on display to see, touch, and hear.  We’ll even be running trains on the layout.  At 1:00pm, we’ll share our story, give an overview of how model trains are made, and answer all of your questions.  Be sure to bring a lawn chair.

Saturday August 28th from noon to 5:00pm; presentation at 1:00pm

Danville Junction Chapter
210 Benton St
Rossville, Illinois

We’re planning to add dates during this trip in Central/Southeastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Southwestern Indiana, and Western Kentucky.