What Online Hobby Retailers do you do business with?

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NP2626

Active Member
#1
It has been a while since this topic has been discussed and I'm sure new businesses have sprung up that it would be good to know about.

Over the years I have used many different retailers, when I started this layout in 1988, I shopped almost exclusively at Standard Hobby. I'm unsure when they went out of business. All of my track and turnouts on the older portion of my layout were purchased from Standard. Then for a while I was using First Place Hobbies, until they closed their doors. Lately I have been using M.B. Klein's ModelTrainStuff. I do use Walthers, as they seem to carry the obscure stuff I need every now and then. I also buy much of my DCC stuff from Steve's Depot. When going out to buy something, I also look at some other places; but, have not been able to connect with them; but, it's good to know the people I am doing business with have as good of prices as anyone.

Because I love to build models, I do a fair amount of purchases on Ebay as few manufacturers of rolling stock, make kits anymore. I find Ebay has a good selection of kits.

So, who is it you likey to buy your Model Railroad Hobby items from?
 
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#2
So, who is it you like to buy your Model Railroad Hobby items from?
Whomever has the best deals, so I guess I don't have a "favorite". I've purchased from so many vendors I am not certain I could even remember to list them.
ChooChooAreUs
Spring Creek Models
ebay obviously
Trainworld
HogzTrains
Factory Direct Trains
Spring Valley
Blue Ridge Hobbies
Dallas Model Works
Spring Creek Models
Valley Model Trains
etc.
 
#3
I won’t include retailers that I have only used once.
in no special order
MB Klien
Micro Mark
Tonys Trains
TrainWorld
CreditValley Railway

and for UK/European trains
Hattons
Britannia Model Trains
Howes
EuroRail Hobbies
 
#4
I generally buy on Ebay or direct from the manufacturer when I can't find what I'm looking for elsewhere.

I preordered two engines from Trainworld. The BLI NYC Commodore Vanderbilt and the streamlined PRR 4-6-2 K4S that have been backordered forever.... They seem to have the best price on both. But that doesn't matter if BLI never delivers....

Micromark prices are high, but sometimes I can't find things elsewhere.

Yankee Dabbler gets most if not all of my Digitrax business. That is partially because they are at the train shows I attend. However, if their prices aren't the lowest they are at least competitive.
 

Selector

Active Member
#5
M.B. Klein's (modeltrainstuff.com)
ModellbahnOtt (purchased his last new Trix GG1 in 2009)
Factory Direct Trains
trainworld
BLI's "refurbished deals" page (if you're a steam guy, check it every day!) You get their full warranty, and you know 99% it is fixed and will work. 40% discount...at least. I have four steamers from them that way, all good runners.
DiscountRails (before they went solely N scale in 2009-ish) I got an Atlas Master Gold FM H24-66 for $140, a gem of a locomotive.
traintrack.net - pricey at times, but he came through when I needed a long curved turnout.
Valley Model Trains
Tony's Trains
Litchfield Station
Caboose Hobbies
internettrains.com (iffy reputation, but he came through for me. Since out of business for second time if I recall)
Fast Tracks (handlaidtrack.com)
Micro Mark
 
#6
I'm still pretty lucky that I have a great brick and mortar store, Waltz Hobby which gets 90% of my business. Otherwise Hobby Link and Trainworld are my online go to's.
 

NP2626

Active Member
#7
If you have a Hobby Shop that you like and their prices are competitive, you are one very lucky person! My nearest hobby shop is more than 100 miles away, their selection of items is limited; but, their prices are suggested manufacture's retail; or, maybe slightly higher.

Some of the suggestions here are for retailers that sell at prices higher than ModelTrainStuff's prices. These types of retailers are a dime a dozen and all you have to do is search on the internet to find them. I was hoping for suggestions of places with prices competitive with M.B. Klein's ModelTrainStuff. Possibly there are no retailers that can beat ModelTrainStuff and that's O.K., I'm happy with them and the fact that they take a few days to ship, doesn't bother me!
 
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#8
I generally buy on Ebay or direct from the manufacturer when I can't find what I'm looking for elsewhere.........
In my experience buying direct from the manufacturer usually costs far more than than buying from most retailers...especially MB Klein or Trainworld.
 
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NP2626

Active Member
#10
I have found the sticky above's last entry in HOBBY SHOPS ON THE WEB was in the spring of 2016 and the suggestions of online hobby retailers suggested by Logandsawman has companies which it would appear have gone out of business since then. This thread was an attempt to get more accurate and current data posted.
 
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otiscnj

Active Member
#11
Trainworld
Toy Train Haven
BLI(several years ago)

I do a lot of my shopping these days at my local Greenberg show, + a few hobby shops within my region.
 

NP2626

Active Member
#12
Although selection might be bigger at Trainworld-Trainland, I have found price wise they have never beat out M.B. Klein ModelTrainStuff.

I guess for myself, looking around at the other suggested Model Train retailers here in this thread, has proven out that for service and price, where I am shopping is about as good as it gets. Thanks to all for your suggestions!
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#13
I'll use any that have what I need. Trainworld is one of the, Internet Model trains, Dallas Model Works is another and my first go to place is MB Klein. Recently though, I did have to swallow hard and order from Walthers because no one retailer had everything that I needed.
 
#14
MB Klein
Trainworld
Walthers
Train Show
LHS

Walthers, has always charged full price + shipping, ostensibly to protect their network of dealers, which is why they are my last resort vendor. However, more recently, they have been offering 10% off of everything more often than not. 10% ain't much, but for Walthers, it says a lot.

Trainworld, is more expensive than Klein's, but accepts pre-orders. they are also more oriented to the "Collector" market, than the "Modeler". But, they generally carry more inventory to sel, than Klein's.
 

NP2626

Active Member
#15
I refuse to do Pre-orders, thereby refusing to do business with companies that feel pre-ordering is the way to conduct their business! I will only buy stuff that is available at the time I want to buy. I realize that this refusal does cut down on some of the items I would like to buy. However, I can live with that.

I have been disappointed with M.B. Klein/ModelTrainStuff with my last order. I could not find where they had taken my last order and had to call them to find out its' disposition. They told me they had record of it and as a matter of fact the item had been picked and would be shipping shortly. This was last week. Today I attempted to see if I could track the order and again the order does not show up. Obviously there was a screw up at order placement which wasn't corrected at the time of my call to them. These things happen.
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
#16
I know that the subject of this thread is Online Retailers. I have never needed to use one. I am fortunate to have had very good LHS's within driving distance. All of them are discounters and can also order anything that they don't have in stock (if it is available). My favorite is no longer there as the owner decided to retire and closed down. The second is Discount Model Railroad in Adison TX, which was located six miles from where I worked which was quite convenient. Both of my daughters live nearby so I still get to visit when I visit my grandkids.
All of that being said, I have actually ventured into online with a pre-order with ScaleTrains for some SD40-s units. No money down so it is risk-free. We'll see how it goes.

Willie
 
#17
Mark D: My most recent order from MBK, also took an inordinate time to get here. Combination of circumstance, Kleins ongoing renovations, high order volume after the holiday temps were let go, and weather. Then the Post Office compounded matters, with a change in destination regional postal centers (Newark to Trenton), and MLK Day. Got them yesterday, ordered on the 7th.
Normally, I expect Kleins deliveries within five day of the order. Trainworld, significantly closer, is usually 1 to 2 days .

Walthers, incidentally, appears to be changing their attitude toward direct sales. They seem to be taking steps to encouraging direct sales, and further backing away from the old "Your Dealer can Get It from Walthers" mentality. Time will tell, but that's where competition comes in.

Willie, As a sidebar I have picked up a couple of "Rivet counter" Series cars from Scale Trains. Very nice cars...although I'm not completely into their proprietary couplers. Considering the effort taken with their freight cars, the SD40s should be fine also. Scale trains also sells through hobby shops, I got mine from MBK, but some smaller shops might not want to carry them.

Joe
 
#18
Similar to Iron Horseman and sometimes who can supply me with my poison:

MB Klein
Lombard Hobbies
Spring Creek Models (but have to do purchase via email)
Ebay
ExactRail (direct)
Moloco (direct)
Bob the Train Guy
Tangent Scale Models (direct)
Caboose Hobbies (before they closed down - I have not ordered yet from that new store with Caboose in the name)
Timonium Train show

In my experience buying direct from the manufacturer usually costs far more than than buying from most retailers...especially MB Klein or Trainworld.
That is generally true for me too, but I still do in a few cases. For Moloco, shipping is cheaper if I order through MBK so long as they have the model (and MBK prices are exactly the same as Moloco). But sometimes Moloco has a hot model that sells out so fast, MBK never gets it, so I order it direct.

I also order direct from ExactRail - MBK carries ExactRail again for the last few years but they are marked up over ER's webstore price so it's usually cheaper for me to order ExactRail models direct.

In Tangents case, it's usually more economical to order their trains from MBK - they are slightly discounted and shipping is always lower. I have ordered direct from Tangent but only rarely.
 
#19
I have to update this thread. I’ve pretty well taken MB Klien( Model Trainstuff) off of my list of places to order from online. Not because of bad service or anything like that. Their new webpage is so badly designed and the user-interface is so bad that I find that after trying to navigate through and trying to actually find things that I want to order from their new webpage is so time-consuming, tedious and frustrating that it’s not worth using anymore. Goodbye MB Klien...from a former very satisfied user.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#20
I too have removed Klein's not because of their website but due to their now appalling/non existent customer service and shipping times.

My last four orders with them, all placed within 3 days of each other, took between 6 to 9 days to process, not ship just process. 4 or 5 emails asking them for info regarding the orders completely ignored, and a request to be notified of when an item was back in stock also ignored.

On the other hand, the "honest" review I submitted when asked to do so got me an email from Klein's within a few hours of that review being returned. Klein's service has deteriorated gradually over the past two years and that deterioration coincides with them hiring a new "Manager" ...

The three places I now use for my every day purchases are:

Midwest Model Railroad
Jim's Model Trains
Tony's Trains, and
Hatton's UK for all of my track and turnouts when needed.


All three of them have very good shipping times and excellent customer service. They will now get what Klein's used to get and no longer will.
 
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