Thursday, November 24, 2005

Black Friday - Christmas Shopping at the Big Little Railroad Shop

Avoid the crowds at the malls by coming to the Big Little Railroad Shop in downtown Somerville on "Black Friday." We have all sorts of wonderful model railroad items from full sets to individual cars, locomotives, track, buildings, scenery supplies, etc. And if you don't know exactly what to get your modeler, we have gift certificates. We also carry books, videos, and calendars. We have items in all the popular scales: G, O, HO, N, and Z. And, if we don't have what you want in stock, we probably can order it for you.

For your holiday shopping convenience we are open the following hours through Christmas:

Tuesday - Friday 11AM - 7PM

Saturday 11AM - 5PM

Sunday 12noon - 4PM

Saturday, October 22, 2005

New product lines – Trains, Planes, Ships, Automobiles, Military Vehicles

In addition to a full line of model railroading “stuff,” The Big Little Railroad Shop is now carrying plastic model kits for airplanes, ships, automobiles, and military vehicles. We also have some RC (radio control) items. If we don’t have something you want, we can order it for you. Please stop in and check us out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Canadian Pacific Changes in New Jersey

Sunday, September 17th, 2005 at 09:20 EDT
Effective Thursday, September 1st, 2005, Canadian Pacific closed their intermodal terminal at Oak Island Yard in Newark, NJ. The reason cited for closing the facility was that the business never developed enough to justify the costs. Additionally, the intermodal business never rebounded after the 1996 flood at Solomon's Gap, PA. During this period Canadian Pacific gave Conrail their intermodal traffic to move while the Lehigh Line was being rebuilt. Canadian Pacific subsequently lost most of this traffic to Conrail. Concurrent with this closing, Canadian Pacific entered into an agreement with Norfolk Southern to handle their remaining intermodal business at Dockside, NJ. Norfolk Southern will now move this traffic between Dockside, NJ and Allentown, PA as a block on their existing network. This agreement is similar to the reciprocal operation which the two carriers have in effect between Harrisburg, PA and Philadelphia, PA where Canadian Pacific handles an intermodal block for Norfolk Southern between these two points. As a result, Canadian Pacific train 166 (Norfolk Southern symbol 38T) now terminates at Bethlehem, PA, while Canadian Pacific train 167 (Norfolk Southern symbol 39T) now originates at Bethlehem, PA. Canadian Pacific will now concentrate on handling bulk freight and the Transload America demolition debris traffic to and from Oak Island Yard in Newark, NJ. This traffic will now move in the form of a road local, symbolled as Canadian Pacific train D18 from Allentown, PA to Oak Island, NJ and as train D17 from Oak Island, NJ to Allentown, PA. It is still unclear what symbol Norfolk Southern will assign to these trains. These locals will run as needed, although it is expected that they will initially run close to the old three day per week schedule in order to connect with trains 166/167 at Bethlehem, PA. It is anticipated that this traffic will eventually connect to and from Canadian Pacific trains 410 and 411 at Allentown, PA. It is currently projected that the frequency of trains D17 and D18 will ultimately increase to five or six days per week in order to handle the expected increase in the lucrative construction and demolition debris business.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bizarre Accident on Conrail North Jersey Shared Assets

Saturday, September 17th, 2005 at 20:00 EDT
At approximately 03:40 this morning northbound CSXT train Q-418-16 operating from Pavonia Yard in Camden, NJ to Selkirk, NY was involved in a bizarre vehicular accident. Train Q-418-16 powered by CSXT 9023, CSXT 8667, and HLCX 8141 and consisting of two loads and fifty-five empties that totaled 2,320 tons was struck by a garbage truck that crashed through a guard rail and off an overpass down onto the train. The accident occurred at Paterson Plank Road in North Bergen, NJ located at milepost QRN 1 on the Northern Branch. The truck crashed into the 41st car in the car in the train, PLMX 35190, an empty haz-mat car containing residue liquefied petroleum gas. Luckily, the car did not leak and there was no explosion. Unfortunately, both the driver and passenger were fatalities. The mishap shut down all rail traffic through the area for several hours resulting in delays to many trains.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Book Announced – Rails Across New England – Volume I

Railroad Explorer magazine has announced a new, all-color book to be published in November 2005. Rails Across New England – Volume I will cover the northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont during the period 1989 – 1999. Volume II, to be published at a future date, will cover the southern New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island during the same period.

This will be a 128-page, all-color, soft cover book in landscape (horizontal) format. Over 250 photos reproduced from original color slides by over thirty of New England’s best railroad photographers. Retail cover price is $39.95.

If you are interested in this book, please call, write, or stop in to reserve a copy.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Store Now Open in New Location

The Big Little Railroad Shop is now open in our new location in Somerville, NJ.
63 W. Main Street
Somerville, NJ 08876

Phone: 908-685-8892

Please stop in and check us out.

Great Tourist Train in middle of Pennsylvania

Press Release from the EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD.

Ride the only narrow gauge steam railroad east of the Mississippi, and only a 3 hour day trip from Pittsburgh in Orbisonia, PA! The EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD, named a National Historic Landmark in 1964, runs three steam excursions daily on Saturdays and Sundays with historic passenger cars and caboose, all original to the railroad. Just across the tracks visit the Rockhill Trolley Museum, Pennsylvania’s oldest operating trolley museum. Within a short drive from Orbisonia in the coal mining town of Robertsdale, visit the Friends of the East Broad Top Railroad museum in the Robertsdale train station and the Broad Top Area Coal Miners museum just up the street. This is a great day trip (3 hours from Pittsburgh), so take a picnic lunch and get off the train at Colgate Grove, and come back on the train two hours later! or call 814-447-3011 or 412-259-8020.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

BNSF Railway: THIRTEENTH consecutive quarter of year-over-year volume increases

received the following via email

BNSF reports record quarterly revenue (7/27/2005)

BNSF has reported a 15% increase in freight revenue for the second quarter of 2005, at a record $3.04 billion, reflecting revenue increases in all four of the company’s business groups.

Record quarterly operating income at $710 million was up 40% year-on-year, while the quarterly operating ratio decreased four percentage points to 76.7% from 80.7% in the second quarter of the prior year.

Consumer Products revenues increased by $201 million (19%), partially as a result of double-digit volume increases in the international, truckload, automotive, and perishable sectors. Industrial Products revenues increased by $98 million (16%) to $718 million, reflecting strong demand in the building products, petroleum products, and construction products sectors.

Agricultural Products revenues were up $69 million (16%) to $493 million, which included strong corn, soybean and wheat export moves to the Pacific Rim countries. Coal revenues rose $38 million (7%) to $591 million, despite operational and maintenance disruptions caused by adverse weather conditions in the Powder River Basin.

“The second quarter of 2005 was our thirteenth consecutive quarter of year-over-year volume increases and the company’s sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit freight revenue growth,” said chairman, president & CEO, Matthew Rose. “Also, we were able to continue lowering our operating ratio, compared to the same prior-year period, a trend we have been able to maintain for seven consecutive quarters.”

For the second quarter of 2005, BNSF reported a pre-tax income of $590 million and a net income of $366 million on total operating revenues of $3.14 billion (Q2 2004: $402m, 249m and $2.68bn respectively).

For the six-month period ending June 30, 2005, BNSF reported a pre-tax income of $1.11 billion on total operating revenues of $6.12 billion (H1 2004: $713m and $5.17bn respectively).

Author: Newsdesk /

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

ROCO Declares Bankruptcy

Received the following via email.

Roco, a large Austrian model railroad-manufacturing firm with products
in HO and N scales, has declared bankruptcy. For many years Roco's main
operations were in Salzburg, Austria, but it recently moved its
operations to a new factory in Hallein (in the Salzburg area, 370
employees). Roco also has facilities in Gloggnitz, Austria (200
employees), and in Slovakia (230 employees).

The European train market has been in a slump since the German economy
weakened, and several of Roco's competitors are now offering lower-cost
items made in China. The German train market has declined from sales of
204 million Euros in 2002 to 181 million in 2004. Germany is Roco's
largest market (approximately 65 percent of Roco's sales are in
Germany). The firm, which according to Austrian sources has debts of
approximately 24 million Euros and losses of approximately 5 million
Euros per year, will remain in operation under receivership. Leopold
Heher will serve as receiver. Employees have not been paid their wages
for June or their vacation pay as of today, July 15. Substantial layoffs are expected as the firm reorganizes.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Walthers buys Life-Like

from a Walthers press release:

"We're pleased to announce that Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. acquired the assets of the Toy and Hobby division of Life-Like Products, LLC. on Thursday, July 14, 2005 with the mission of elevating model railroading to a whole new level.

The synergies this alliance creates will allow for innovations in new model railroading product design that would have otherwise been impossible. If you thought 2005's massive new product offering was incredible, just wait until you see what we'll deliver in 2006!"

What's next? Hoizon Hobby bought Athearn and Roundhouse, and now Walthers buys Life-Like. Will we see more consolidation?

Please note that we carry all major brands of model railroad supplies and equipment, including Walthers and Life-Like, and a lot of minor brands too. Stop in and check us out.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Big Little Railroad Shop Moving Back to Somerville

We are in the process of moving the store back to Main Street in Somerville, NJ. Much of the stock in our current location has been packed in preparation for the move, but don't let that stop you from visiting us here in Hillsborough. If it hasn't been packed, we will be glad to sell it to you. And, as always, we are taking special orders. We expect to be open for business in the new location on Tuesday, August 2, 2005. (Maybe sooner. Check back here for the latest.)
Our new address will be 63 W. Main Street, Somerville, NJ. New phone number will be posted when we are there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

CN Train Collision Claims Four Crew Members

Received via email:

BENTONIA, Mississippi -- Two Canadian National freight trains collided and partially derailed early yesterday, killing four people and forcing residents to evacuate dozens of nearby homes, authorities said. The victims were all believed to be crew members from the trains. Rescue teams searched the wreckage, but no other injuries were reported. The collision happened northeast of Bentonia in west-central Mississippi. CN spokesman Karen Phillips said the cause is still under investigation, and it wasn't immediately clear why the trains were on the same track. One car leaked vegetable oil and caught fire, but the flames were extinguished, said Amy Carruth, a spokesman with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Aristo-Craft July/August Sale

Aristo-Craft has also announced a SALE from July 1st until August 31 st. Purchase 4 cars, either 53' Evans Boxcars or 3-Bay, 100 ton hoppers and receive one of the same car type free.

Both of these Aristo Craft Sales are great ways to increase your outdoor rolling stock.

For further details, contact us at

Aristo-Craft Trains May/June Sale

Aristo-Craft has announced they are having a SALE . Purchase 4 freight cars, any combination of 40' Steel Boxcars, 40' Stock cars, and 40' refrigerator cars between May 1st and June 30th and Aristo-Craft will give you a freight car selected from their in-stock merchandise.

For further information, contact us at

Friday, May 20, 2005

Wall Street Journal Amtrak Poll

Subject: AMTRAK funding poll
The following link will let you vote. This is run by the WALL ST. JOURNAL. Let's show them how the public really feels. So far, Amtrak is in the lead.No registration is required to vote.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Additional May Atlas News

Atlas has also announced they will be doing New Road Names for their HO Dash 8-40C locomotives. The Silver series (without decoder and sound but DCC ready) will offer Undecorated both Phase 1 and Phase 2, Chicago & North Western (one road number in traditional yellow/green and one road number "Safety & Reliability" in traditional yellow/green, and another road number "Wyoming Centennial" - yellow/green, and one yellow/green with NO road number), Conrail Quality ( blue/white two road numbers and one with NO road number), CSX gray/blue ( two road numbers and one with NO road number), Norfolk Southern black/white ( one with a road number and one with NO road number and one "Horsehead" with a road number), Union Pacific yellow/gray/red ("Baby Wings"- two with road numbers and one with NO road number.

The Gold Series will be done in the above paint schemes and will feature Electronic Dual-Mode Decoder which allows the locomotive to run in DCC or traditional DC and QSI Quantum System for all those Great sounds.

The expected delivery date for these locomotives is September 2005 with the Silver MSRP being $ 134.95 and the Gold MSRP being $ 244.95.

Atlas HO Scale New Items

Atlas has announced that they are doing a run of 2-Bay Offset Side Hoppers w/ Flat Ends. These hoppers are modeled after the open hoppers of the 1930's and 1940's used to transport coal. The NEW Road Numbers will be on models of Northern Pacific, Boston & Maine,& Chesapeake & Ohio. The NEW Road Names are: Canadian Pacific, Chicago & Eastern Illinois, Delaware & Hudson, Jersey Central, L&N, New York Central, & Pittsburg & Shawmut. They are also doing several three packs. They are: Chessie System (B&O), Monon (three schemes), Reading (Roman lettering and Speed lettering), & Santa Fe. The estimated delivery for these cars is August 2005. The MSRP is $12.95 for the single and $41.95 for the three pack.

Atlas has also announced Decorated Code 100 Plate Girder Bridges. These will be based on a common prototype and decorated for Erie (black/white), New York Central (silver/black), Rio Grande (silver/black), and Santa Fe(black/white). The MSRP for these bridges is $ 9.95 and delivery is expected August 2005.

GM terminates licensing of 1:87 scale models

GM ( General Motors) has terminated all licensing of 1:87 scale models of their products. This policy is said to cover all GM vehicle brands worldwide. The reasoning behind this move may be ignorance of many things. Firstly, if they are reasoning that models larger then 1:87 present less of a choking hazzard for children - what about the detail parts present on the larger models. These it would seem, present the same hazzard. Also , some 1:64 scale models are actually smaller than certain 1:87 models.

Secondly - if they feel that 1:87 vehicles do not reach a market of significant size, they have no idea of the size of the HO railroading market in the United States alone ( forget about the rest of the world). It is estimated that a quater-million people participate in model railroading in the US. Approzimately 60% of those people identify HO or 1:87 as their primary scale. Now if you are populating a layout you need at least one vehicle per driveway, many vehicles per parking lot and some aditional vehicles to make your highways look "alive". That's going to be a lot of Fords and Chrysler products!!!!

Perhaps GM will see the error of their ways and "recall" their decision to limit their licensing to models 1:64 and larger; however, if not I've seen rumblings suggesting that no new HO GM models might translate into no new 1:1 scale models in the driveways. Time will tell.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Kato has announced they are releasing an N scale SD70MAC in the green and cream "Executive" scheme of Burlington Northern. There will be three (3) new road numbers. The model will have the traditional KATO five-pole motor with brass flywheels, DCC- friendly mechanism, KATO magnetic knuckle couplers, illuminated number boards, and directional LED headlight. The ETA for this locomotive is August 2005 and the proposed list price is $ 105.00.

Any pre-orders that we receive for this locomotive by June 15,2005, will sell at $94.50.

The Shop
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Welcome to the Big Little RR Shop Blog

We intend to post information from manufacturers about new releases.

Send us an email to order, and we'll give you a 10% discount on pre-orders.