NMRA 2012 National Train Show

Grand Rapids, Michigan
In conjunction with this week’s NMRA National Convention, the three-day National Train Show is taking place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Foot traffic was brisk today, with several manufacturers commenting on the strong attendance.  Several new announcements were made and samples of new N scale models were shown.  2012 is setting up to be the year of the Alco switcher with Atlas announcing an S2 and Bachmann announcing an S4.  Kato’s next complete passenger train is the Silver Streak Zephyr!  Check out our show report below for all the photos:


Besides the 40ft covered hopper, tank car, and caboose samples that have been traveling with the Athearn booth for over a year, the only fresh models appeared to be a new run of the ex-MDC mechanical reefer in several PFE schemes.  Hopefully Athearn is on the cusp of some new N scale announcements in the near future.


Atlas’s big new announcement is a new locomotive – Alco S2 switchers in N scale.  There will finally be a replacement for the venerable Arnold-Rapido S2 that is 20+ years old at this point.  Atlas is only showing a poster at this point.  Look for test shots later this year.  Also at the Atlas booth were painted samples of the upcoming ACF 89′ Flatcar, several PS-1’s, and the 42′ coil cars.  New paint jobs on existing models filled the glass display cases fronting the booth.


Two new Alco switchers are better than one, right?  Bachmann had a running sample of their newly announced S4 switcher.  Also shown were a new 50′ single door boxcar, a triple-dome version of their new tank car, and test samples of the bodies for a new 2-6-0 steam engine. 


BLMA was showing samples of the TTX brown F89J flat and the preproduction pipe loads for the more modern pipe-flats.  While the sample pipe loads were bare plastic, the final version will be painted so they have the right sheen and opacity. 

Custom Model Railroads (CMR)

CMR had built-up examples of their N scale laser cut acrylic kits.  Several of the larger buildings are modular and can be expanded in height as space and desire allows.

deLuxe Innovations

deLuxe was showing samples of the upcoming Maxi IV double stack cars, with sample 38″ wheelsets in the articulated trucks.  There were also a lot of paint schemes shown on the older wood chip car tooling.


Exactrail was showing a flyer announcing a Trenton Bulkhead Flat in N scale, but only HO tooling samples were on display.  No N scale versions of the announced USA made wheel sets have been cut to date.  But the HO ones were on display.  ER was selling out of their booth at this show, which is new since they moved to a direct-sales only business plan.  Lots of waffle sided Southern boxcars were available, including DME paintouts. 

Fox Valley Models

Fox Valley Models had test shots of the shells for the upcoming GP60M and GP60B engines on display for the first time.  Painted samples of the 50′ Ribside Boxcars and NS Heritage Fleet Gevo’s were also looking sharp.

Kato USA

Kato’s big announcement, as previously posted on M:160, is the Silver Streak Zephyr.  The train will use existing Budd corrugated cars, which are correct, and pair them with a newly tooled E5.  Also on display were the updated Amtrak F40PH’s, and four new special order KOBO items: The Postal Train, 2 GG1 Schemes, and a BNSF version of the Business Car.


Aside from his typical table of etched brass gems, if you asked the right question an RP sample of the upcoming Flexi-Van Mark IV flatcar appeared.  This will be an injection plastic model when released. 


Walthers had one wall of N scale diesels (GP60’s, GP20’s, and RS-2’s) on display but no new announcements.  But, as Walthers is also a distributor, there were some interesting Tomix items on display in their booth as well.  Check out the modern articulated trolley, street trackage, and a Foundry building.

Wild West Scale Models

Wild West was showing an extensive line of laser cut kits for old west style structures.  We were particularly impressed with a log built store with false front.  The log gaps even had simulated fill.