YourToyTrains is on hold during major site reconstruction

Posted on December 19, 2014 · Posted in About YourToyTrains.com, Model Train Stories, News From YourToyTrains.com

With the Christmas shopping season nearly over and we at YourToyTrains having plans to provide the online model railroad shopper the ultimate shopping experience, we have had to shut down our site temporarily due to the major changes we are implementing. The new YourToyTrains will have all new categories and will be designed to be extremely user-friendly. By early January 2015 we will have our product loaded and the new categories working. Believe us, we hated to bring the site down, but this step must be done, and the sooner the better! Our entire goal since we started was to make our site about you- hence YourToyTrains- we can no longer wait to present the absolute best model train site possible! Please be patient and as they say during road construction in some states “Pardon Our Progress!”. It will be worth the wait. We promise!

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New Website Structure is Under Construction!

Posted on December 8, 2014 · Posted in Bachmann trains

Yes! The project is in the works. After months of planning and detailed work YourToyTrains is now constructing a user-friendly website where the model railroader will easily find products by scale and type, and be able to compare brands in each category side by side. This may all sound like some marketing mumbo-jumbo; here is how it will work for you:

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Lionel O Scale Canadian Pacific Diesel Passenger Set

Say you were looking for an HO Scale church to complete your small town or village. The pictured church is found on our “Bachmann HO Accessories” page at this time. However, only Bachmann accessories are displayed. And all accessories- electrical, figures, buildings- are all on the “Accessories” page. With our new structure you will find a “Buildings and Structures” category on the Home Page, which when you click on you will come to the Category Page for “Buildings and Structures” with a selection of gauges. Simply click on “HO Scale” and all the buildings we sell- Lionel, Woodland Scenics, Bachmann, Atlas, etc.- will all appear on that Product Page. Shopping just like you would in a retail store!

Second example. You are searching for a Lionel Train Set for that special loved one for Christmas or Hanukkah. Right now at YourToyTrains.com you would look under “Lionel”, then by Gauge, then under “Train Sets”. Once reconstructed, there will be a “Train Sets” category on the Home Page. Click on this link and you will be taken to the “Train Sets” Category Page. Then click on your Scale- in this case O- and every O Scale Train Set we sell will be displayed on one page. Just the item you want. With product from every manufacturer we sell.

YourToyTrains will be second to none in shopping ease and convenience.

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Bachmann HO Church. Church is a great thing at Christmas Time!

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Resurging Railroads mean better service to smaller communities

It is in the news today how the railroad industry is coming back. All the major American railroads did quite well during our hard times. Being environmentally friendly and extremely fuel efficient are not bad qualities to have, and these attributes describe modern railroading. Sure, owning BNSF Railway has made Warren Buffett a happy man, and major industries like coal, grain, chemicals, and import/export are benefitting (Although you would not know this if you listened to their trade associations) from a highly efficient, well-maintained, quality railroad infrastructure.

924REV-Union Pacific Railroad grain train backing up to pick up cars at an Abilene silo

Union Pacific Railroad road train switching the grain silo in Abilene, Kansas. With this route kept in excellent shape, Kansas small towns benefit from a resurging US rail industry.

But what about small towns? I will take one example of a small city I recently visited- Abilene, Kansas. For background information, Union Pacific Railroad has spent many millions of dollars rebuilding their Kansas City-Denver line with 136 pound welded rail, new ballast, and ties. The line was rebuilt to handle part of the huge amount of coal traffic originating in Wyoming and travelling to the Midwest. Abilene is on this route, and with its agribusiness and grain silos in this rich agricultural region of Kansas rail is used to move the grain to market. With all that investment, grain trains on this route can travel at track speed, 60 miles per hour or greater, rather than the slow speeds that most branch and secondary routes are limited to. Result? A silo operator in Abilene benefits from a better maintained national rail system just like the giant trucking companies who ship rail, the major importers of products from Asia (And who isn’t?), or any other large concern that at some point depends on rail transportation. Sounds like good railroads are good for America. I think this fact is true.

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Early Pioneers and the challenge of crossing the prairie

Posted on · Posted in Discovering America, Travel Ideas/Tips

In the 1840s, railroads had come to America but of course had not reached the West. Families seeking new homes in Oregon or California and men seeking riches in California travelled by wagon, horse, and usually on foot to cross the Great Plains. It is hard today to imagine what it must have been like to cross all that wide open space, or is it?

There is a place in Kansas where one can capture the immensity and emptiness of the Great Plains before the Americans settled the plains. At the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (Owned by the Nature Conservancy, managed by the National Park Service) trails can lead you away from the Visitor’s Center where all you can see is the wide open prairie. At such a place it is not so hard to imagine trekking day after day, mile after mile, seeing nothing but rolling endless fields of grass. Beautiful today, but day after day of this emptiness could work on the minds of those hearty pioneers. All this isolation and open space can impact the mind if you are on foot (and not in a car), and there were recorded incidents of “Prairie Sickness” where random acts of violence were set off by minor incidents.

122REV-A view of the Flint Hills is a reminder of the struggles the Pioneers experienced crossing the Great Plains by wagon and on foot

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve north of Strong City, Kansas. Away from the highway, you can imagine yourself in an 1840s wagon train…isolated and grassland spreading forever….

We take so much for granted. I was rolling across Kansas on Old US Highway 40, quite content with a well paved road, travel services, air conditioning, and XM Satellite Radio. But less than 200 years ago, quite a different story.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is located on Kansas Highway 177, the Flint Hills Scenic Byway, which is a beautiful highway running north-south from El Dorado to Council Grove, Kansas. The nearest town is Strong City, which is located 16 miles west of Interstate 35 (The Kansas Turnpike) on US Highway 50. Council Grove is a historic old town on the Santa Fe Trail with a historic downtown, lodging, and locally owned restaurants.

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With last roadbed items added, O Gauge Track is all loaded into YourToyTrains.com

After a very long process, YourToyTrains is nearing the complete loading of all the product into our website. Of course railroad track is not very authentic without roadbed, and to make our O Gauge Track Category complete we just added about fifteen new products in the “Roadbed” section. Over the months our staff has been very busy, and they have worked without too much complaint working their fingers to the bone trying to keep up with a relentless driving management…oh, I’m sorry, that would be me! I would say our staff has been lead with a gentle but firm hand and despite long hours and little pay our staff at YourToyTrains has soldiered on. From a management point of view, that is exactly how it is.

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Atlas O-36 Left Hand Switch Roadbed. Just $4.79 at YourToyTrains. Inexpensive because it is the Roadbed only! Track is sold separately! But you need Roadbed.

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Atlas O 90 Degree Crossing Roadbed. For $4.79, all you would expect would be the roadbed. And that is what you get!

Did we save these Roadbed items to the very end because they are so cheap? Could anyone think we are mercantile enough to load the most expensive items first? I guess you will never know. Nevertheless, Roadbed items are in our catalog. That is what really matters. Happy shopping!

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YourToyTrains is now researching key words to boost traffic!

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The Woodland Scenics N Scale Built N’ Ready Drive N’ Dine. $55.95 on YourToyTrains Woodland Scenics site. Soon using key words you can find what you want, and find it fast!

10-BNSF Railway westbound (South through Central Kansas) intermodal train approaching the Meyers Lane Bridge north of El Dorado,KS090914REV

Myers Lane just north of El Dorado, Kansas, is the perfect spot for a great shot of a BNSF Railway intermodal train on the Transcon.

Say you are looking for a Woodland Scenics’ N Scale Built N Ready Drive N Dine Structure on YourToyTrains right now. Easy, right? Not so fast…Right now, without proper key words you will search long and hard to find this wonderful item on our website. However, our team is researching Key Wordswe will add the key words most often entered when someone is searching for a Woodland Scenics’ Built N’ Ready Structure, and presto- YourToyTrains will take you exactly to the item you are searching for.

It reminds me of a trip I just took to Kansas. I was in El Dorado, on the BNSF Railway very busy Transcon Line. How hard could it be to find a place to watch trains? As it turns out, El Dorado is on the Walnut River, and the busy main line is on bridges all through the city. Not so good for photography. Using my Iphone, I found Meyers Lane north of the city had an overpass over the railroad. Soon I find this bridge where I get this great shot of a BNSF Railway westbound intermodal train rolling across the Great Plains. With just a little technology, I can zero in on just the spot I need to be at for a great photo opportunity. Can we expect anything less from YourToyTrains? I don’t think so.

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TheToyTrain Blog cuts loose in a new direction….

Posted on November 5, 2014 · Posted in Love of trains, News From YourToyTrains.com

My name is Clyde Smith. I am the owner of YourToyTrains.com. I have been using this Blog Site to promote my website, YourToytrains.com. A professional web marketing company I am working with has explained to me, still a bit of a Internet marketing novice, that these links are ineffective at best, and may be hurting my site in Google’s eyes as well.  However, I love to write and I will continue to Blog away on TheToyTrainBlog.com. I do love history and now am free to not reference my web site with every post so I can now diversify my topics. My love of history, especially American history, and my deep love of all things trains will drive this Blog Site moving forward.

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Clyde Smith, Owner of YourToyTrains, with “General A. P. Hill” at the meeting of the Civil War Roundtable in Dallas, Texas. If history is involved, I, Clyde Smith, will be there!

I have had friends tell me they have posted comments on this Blog, but I have never seen one. All my “comments” are from European and American clothiers trying to hustle clothing, perfumes, and high end market jewelry plus NFL attire….somehow I am a big target for mindless spanners. If you have been reading this Blog please respond with a “Comment”. If you are reading this Blog, as I am not sure comments are making this Blog so please also EMail me at clysmith66@verizon.net or call me at 972-768-0951. I would love to hear from you!

-Clyde Smith

President and Owner

YourToyTrains.com

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So Many HO Scale Trains…So Hard To Find….

YourToyTrains busy and underpaid staff has spent many hours loading thousands of model train products into our new web site. If you model in Atlas, Bachmann, Lionel, MTH, USA Trains, or Woodland Scenics chances are you will find exactly what you are looking for on our exciting model train online store. But finding the HO Scale model train product of your dreams on our site is not easy…and we are working to fix that, right now! In Step 1 of our site rebuilding process, we have restructured our store with logical product divisions. Our goal will be to have you be able to see all the products, from every manufacturer, by gauge and type of product exactly as you would see them in a “real” store. Hey, we are a real store! We’re just on line!

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Bachmann HO Santa Fe Flyer Set. A wonderful value at $89.99. How do we make our site so we can be found? We are at work right now!

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Atlas HO Silver GE 8-40CW DCC Ready BNSF Heritage Locomotive. $109.95 at YourToyTrains.com. We want you as our customer to quickly find our products when you search the Web.

Anyway, the next step of this process is to identify key words the model railroad community uses when online hobbyists actually look up products to buy. The difference between “HO Model Engines” and “HO Model Locomotives” sounds small, but depending on the words used traffic can change by hundreds of clicks. Call us greedy or call us wanting to serve your needs- we can’t serve your needs if you can’t find us!- this process we call Step 2 will be completed in the next 10 days. Soon we will debut a site that will be very easy to shop on and intuitive when you insert “key” words, which we all do every day when we search the web for, well, anything. Please be patient. The wait will be very much worth it. We promise.

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Just like YourToyTrains Model Train Sets, it does not get any better than this!

Posted on October 25, 2014 · Posted in Discovering America, Lionel trains, Love of trains, Travel Ideas/Tips

You know that special feeling you get when you buy your son or grandson their first model train set, or when you open up that package with that model locomotive or freight car you have been waiting for that will make your model railroad complete. With a twinge of pride and thankfulness you tell yourself “It does not get any better than this!”  When I am in the right place at the right time train-watching, I experience that feeling as well. It is July 30, 2011. I had attended a conference in Phoenix, Arizona, and was now following the Union Pacific Railroad Sunset Route to Los Angeles (Southern Pacific for you “SP” fans!). Approaching Yuma, I left Old US 80 (Unfortunately Interstate 8 at this point) to follow a county road that paralleled the railroad. At US Highway 95 I turned south towards Yuma, stopping on a grade crossing on a side road off this major highway.

226Revised-Union Pacific Railroad intermodal train charging west-Fortuna Road grade crossing

Union Pacific Railroad intermodal train rolling west towards the Los Angeles Basin at track speed. Just north of Yuma, Arizona. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

I would wait 30 minutes to see if I could get some train pictures here. I can’t believe it! Off to the north, with rugged mountains in the distance, I see the faint lights of a train! Union Pacific is gracing my presence with a freight train! As the huge powerful locomotives close in on me at maybe 70 miles per hour, I go into action…My Canon digital Rebel X3 goes to work and I take the train at every possible angle I can. Just for that moment, I am a boy again waking up Christmas morning to that long-awaited toy. It does not get any better than this. It really doesn’t. 

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How will you know YourToyTrains has this freight car in our Atlas HO Inventory?

How do you know we have the Atlas HO Trainman 70 Ton Hopper Car Central of Georgia in our Atlas HO inventory? We will have it on our Atlas HO Freight Cars Page (And soon HO/ HO Freight Car/ HO Hopper Car Page in our easier new site plan) Website! I came from a major corporation where in my career I was an inventory manager for a number of years. I believed my new YourToyTrains catalog should have every product on it we could possible sell, even if we were temporarily out of stock. It did not hit me if the customer ordered the item and there was no inventory, that would be annoying. In order to have the least overhead and the least expenses (to pass the savings to our customers!) we cannot have a “real time” inventory/ order processing system. However, we can, and we will, take every product on our website that has no inventory off our website, and add the item back in only when the item is received at our warehouse.

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How do you know this Atlas HO Central of Georgia HO hopper car is actually available for purchase? It will be on our Website!

We value our customers and will not compromise on service. To the customer we inconvenienced (and helped us see we had a problem that needed fixing!) we offered that gentleman a $50.00 credit on any item on YourToyTrains.com. We will have the most customer-friendly Website among the online train hobby shops. We will not rest until we become the most customer friendly. Just watch us!

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