Posted by: Roger Farkash | January 18, 2013

Dallas Area Train Show THIS Weekend!

Okay all you Model Train Loving Buddies, here’s your chance to experience DFW area based Model Railroading at some of it’s best!

It’s the 28th Annual North Texas Council of Railroad Clubs Dallas area Train Show, THIS weekend, being held at the Plano Centre,

2000 East Spring Creek Parkway.

That’s January 19-20th, 2013.

Hours 10am-5pm Saturday,

10am-4pm Sunday.

Admission $8.00 per person Children 12 and under are FREE.

Every hour that the show is open we draw a door prize winner. In addition this year, we have one Grand Prize!
The Grand Prize is a completely assembled, tested and ready to run train set from Lionel. The Pennsy Flyer

In addition to the layouts and vendors at the Plano Centre, there are more than 2 DOZEN private layouts that you can tour (self guided) all over the metro-plex area! A complete tour booklet is available at the information desk at Plano Centre.

Plenty of time to take a break from football playoffs and enjoy trains and kids, trains and big kids, train seminars on all kinds of train and model train activities, and the chance to see model train layouts that are only available to the public on a very limited opportunity.

The TW TrainWorx Traingineers will be there with the Texas Special Modular Groups 20’ X 8’  Traditional Lionel “O” Gauge Layout. Come run our trains with the Legacy Control System and see first hand how much fun model Railroading can be!

See you there!




Posted by: Roger Farkash | January 4, 2012

The Train Around the Christmas Tree.

After a year filled with the designing and building of a half-dozen Train Layouts, Train Bridges and Train Stations, and installing and operating various client  Holiday Layouts throughout November,  you would think that the last thing on the Christmas To – Do list would be setting up a train around the family Christmas tree.   Although not elaborate – frankly, this year’s circle of track was about as simple an homage to the tradition as I could muster between all the Holiday commitments – it brought back memories of the many years of making sure there was a train to “toot” in the arrival of Santa’s Big Day and add a dash more of fun to the smell of pine, the twinkle of lights, the endless Christmas songs and the procession of well wishers stopping by to admire the transformation of Home to Christmas Central.

With a Christmas morning surprise of a train around the Christmas tree a part of the memories of so many train enthusiasts, it is no wonder that the tradition of a simple circle of track has become a near iconic image of the celebration of the Holiday. You can just make out  the tinplate metal circle  and a windup Marx steam engine tucked under the branches of a Charlie Brown twig of a tree in Mom’s earliest faded Christmas photo of me taken with Dad’s old Brownie camera.  An image that has been repeated – though not always recorded as endearingly as Mom’s first candid shots – nearly every year for more than a half century by me and by a few million other boys and girls once a year for more than a hundred years.  That image of a tree in the center, with surrounding layers of cheerful skirt or cotton “snow”, circle of track, stacks of presents and family arrayed around as a final ring, there is something universally special about how once a year there really is a peaceful place to return to and reflect on the blessings of our lives.  Not a bad icon at all when you think about it. 

Whether a simple sigle loop or one of the more fantastic and elaborate multi track, multi-level, multi-scene and even multi room versions I have seen created by my many train friends along the way, most of these Christmas Train layouts are indeed just that –  Christmas Trains –  and no matter how long they took to set up, shortly after Christmas they just as traditionally find their way back into the boxes and into the attics or closets to await next year’s grand presentation and tradition.  It’s just part of that Circle of a Toy Train Life and the joy these simple machines bring to so many. 

As I wrap up the Christmas trains this year, I appreciate how much further that first train has taken me on my journey, and the enjoyment I get from my love of these magical toys and the people – family, friends, associates and aficionados young and old alike – who share a passion for steam & diesel, large & small, old &  new, toy or the real thing, and the wonderful addition those little circles have brought to our lives.  Best of all, I have the opportunity to share the talents I have been blessed with in creating wonderful model train worlds out of  those little circles that inspire toy train lovers with even ” just enough” space and the inclination to keep that circle going all year long, enjoying the magic of that Christmas Tree Train every day.

It’s a New Year, and 2012 promises to be filled with lots more train layouts and train structures and train adventures to share.  I am looking forward to doing just that in the weeks and months ahead!

Have a Happy New Year!

Posted by: Roger Farkash | July 23, 2011

A Night at the Museum!

A long week last week criss-crossing the country with a client train layout installation northwest of Chicago, and then traveling east to the National Toy Train Museum and A Night at the Museum sponsored by Lionel and the Train Collectors Association. 

I always enjoy visiting Strasburg; the Choo Choo Barn and the Strasburg Train Shop (seriously large and fully animated Train Layout!) the Strasburg Railroad (I could listen to that whistle blowing ALL day long!), the Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum, the Red Caboose Motel around the corner (seriously, you HAVE to check out the FORTY -SIX Cabeese ),  and the National Toy Train Museum next door.

This trip was special, as fellow  T W TrainWorx Traingineer George Watson and I would be assisting a group of Train Collector Association volunteers under the supervision of Jane Boyce, Director of Development  for the TCA, in guiding Twenty Four kids and their parent / grandparent chaperones on a 14 hour adventure –  from 6PM friday until 8AM Saturday morning  – exploring the Toy Train Museum and then designing and building a two loop, 9 ‘ X 5’ train table.  This was a great opportunity to interact and establish an encouraging  relationship with the future toy train operators and train collectors who would be attending this event. 

Broken up into three groups of eight each, the kids and adults spent two hours in each phase of the layout building process – track application and wiring, tree building and mountain carving, and structure assembly and painting –  and then everyone worked  together to put all of the finishing touches on the table so that by 4AM.  With about half of our dedicated bunch  still standing – we  cranked up the transformers and took turns running trains until 6AM!   Throughout the evening, all of the kids were enthusiastic and enjoyed learning all about  Toy Trains and asking dozens of questions about the how to’s of model railroading.   An actor portraying Joshua Lionel  Cowen, guided the kids through the museum, personalizing the story of Lionel trains and creating memories these future toy railroaders were not likely to forget.

There’s no question that live events change lives, as many of the kids excitedly thanked us as we handed out certificates of achievement just before they departed, many of them  – and parents too – assuring us they would be back next year to participate in the fun again.  Toy trains have been a part of my entire life. It is reassuring to know that I am taking part in planting the seeds of the joy of model railroading in the hearts of so many !


Posted by: Roger Farkash | July 20, 2011

End of the Line for Galveston, Texas F-7A’s

I had the opportunity to travel down to Galveston, Texas recently and made a point to swing by the  Galveston Railroad Museum.  It had been a few years since I last visited – in fact , it had been before Hurricane Ike had devastated the Island in 2008 – and having a rare afternoon off, what else would I do but find a train related site to entertain and spark my imagination for new layout or modeling ideas. 

Arriving at Galveston

The museum is easy to spot , as the Art Deco office building that towers over the Union Station that was the home to the former Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway,  can be seen from just about anywhere on the island and I quickly made me way through the Cruise ship traffic, and parked in the near empty Museum lot.   Although the museum has made a lot of progress since the hurricane and the flooding, much of the damage is still obvious, and many of the displays – including their HO scale layout  –  were destroyed, or like the china collection and many of the paper archives , severely damaged.  Many of the displays in the old Santa Fe Freight House, as well as the theaters that showcased early films of the Station, early Texas Railroad history and the story of  Galveston were still very much in ruin.

Much work has been accomplished on the rolling stock, but there is still much to do, and the most seriously damaged equipment has been scrapped or is destined to be in the near future.  Unfortunately, at the far end of the museum yard, I came across a few workers in the process of cutting up  the Museums former Texas Limited  #100 & #200 F-7A units as they were being put to the torch and cut apart for scrap.

Under the Torch

I can still recall that as a little kid, I could see these beautiful engines pulling not only freight, but sleek and shiny stainless steel passenger cars in long threads at the many train crossings that Dad’s old Pre-War Buick would stop at during my family’s travels in the Mid-West in the early 1950’s.  Heck, these engines were practically brand new back  then!

It was obvious that the toxic and highly corrosive effects of the salt water that had covered most of the Museum property with about eight feet of seawater had taken a severe toll on these units – when the roof steel was removed,  the frame of Unit #200 literally bowed downwards.

Let’s be realistic – eight to twelve feet of sea water pushing everything in it’s path, mixed with every toxic liquid that was spilled in the wake of this hurricane, along with  many years of existing in the corrosive sea salt and moisture laden air of Galveston simply made the inevitable end of these engines come that much sooner.  Diligent – and costly – preventive maintenance might have given these grand beauties a more years than were their eventual fate, but Hurrican Ike hastened the end.

All of which is to say, when you have the opportunity to visit these living repositories of our railroading heritage or are approached to support the efforts financially or in another volunteer capacity, dig a little deeper and forgo a few cups of Starbucks or buying one more hopper to add to your already well-appointed consist string and put some dollars where your heart is to protect and preserve these great monuments to the might and beauty of these wonderful machines! Give generously, before we lose them all!

Posted by: Roger Farkash | March 8, 2011


“… it is time and I am ready to take my Train of Thought to the world of blogging.  My goal is to share my life long passion for trains: real trains, toy trains, the rich history of trains, the fun of the train hobby as well as the business of trains from a different perspective.”

And so started my blogging adventure, eleven months ago.   I jumped into a journey that I really hadn’t quite gotten my brain wrapped around, but had an itching to explore.  Five months later, in October of 2010, I was also  jumping into one of the busiest seasons of our companies 29 year history and some of the biggest Train Layouts we have built to date. I am definitely learning the fine line between blogging and building!

There is nothing that compares to the smile that brightens the faces of children of every age when they approach a toy train layout for the first or the thirtieth time!  For the very youngest, it surely is the cacophony of sights and sounds that fills their initial contact to this new experience.  To those who have been there before, it is the brilliance of the youngster’s vision enhanced with the countless smiles that have been shared over the years of enjoying trains in many shapes and forms.  Young or old  – but always young at heart – the crowds that experienced the Ronald McDonald House/Trains at NorthPark this year showed their joy by sharing generously to this great community organization.  Proceeds from this year’s event more than doubled over last year’s contribution to the operations of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas for this year!

The train layouts we created for the five Lionel L.L.C. Holiday Pop Up Stores were a huge hit with the sales results meeting or exceeding the projections that Lionel had for this venture now in its second year. Exciting news ahead as Lionel plans for 2011’s Holiday efforts!

Of course the Holiday season wouldn’t be the same without the Holiday train displays that TrainWorx has created and installs each year at Grand Central Terminal, Macy’s SantaLand in Herald Square and other location in and around the New York City area.  A number of the display layouts we have created were included in a display at the Paterson Museum, located in the former Roger’s Locomotive Works near the Great Falls in Paterson, NJ during the Holidays as well.

On top of the major displays we created, we also built a number of small family displays as well, and a table we donated to the Ronald McDonald House to raffle at this year’s Trains at NorthPark event.  All in all a very busy Winter.










With Spring once again upon us, my goal will be to share more of what’s going on at TrainWorx as we develop new and more exciting layouts and accessories for the Toy Train collectors and operators.  We will be adding our second structure to our Limited Edition Train Stations of the USA offerings soon, and new and exciting bridge designs to our limited edition bridges as well.

Check back soon!

Posted by: Roger Farkash | October 4, 2010

Having way too much fun on this Train Ride!

Wow!  What a whirlwind adventure trains have been this year!  Denver & the LCCA convention once again proved that the Best Train Club on the Planet sure knows how to put on a convention!  From the excursion run up to Cheyenne pulled by not only  #844, but the Centennial diesel as well, to the biggest crowd of parents & kids ever viewing our excellent Lionel Display Layout, it was non stop fun from sunup to sundown!  And to top it off, my 93 year young Mom & Dorcie came along from Dallas to see what all the hoopla was about as well!  What a treat!

And the excitement didn’t stop when we returned to Dallas either, as all of our Train projects and more have been rolling out the door like a High Balling Fast Freight with a Green Eye taking the High Rail !  The Grand Central Terminals shipped out on schedule and are now in the hands of the Lionel distributor.  The artists and crafts folks of the entire T W Design / TrainWorx team put their hearts into this project like never before and the results are nothing short of spectacular!  Lionel will have one of these beauties on display in their booth at York, Pennsylvania,  October 14 – 16th, at the TCA Eastern  Division Train  Meet.

Our very Cool North Pole Express themed layout enhancement was delivered last week to our client in Illinois and has been declared AWESOME by all who have seen it  – with a special WOW for our elf  hand car climbing to the top of North Pole Mountain.  We were humbled – and delighted – when our client declared his layout better than Museum quality!  The layout includes various scenes from the Polar Express Story, including the crossing of the reindeer  herd to the arrival of Engine #1225 through the streets of  North Pole city!

We have a baker’s dozen of Christmas layouts under construction, including the largest Holiday Train Experience  we have created to date – the all new Ronald McDonald House of Dallas – Trains at NorthPark Exhibit, opening November 20th !  This is going to be The Must See train event of the year, with more than two dozen operating trains on more than 1600 feet of track, running across the United States, in and out of the Ronald McDonald House Rail Road Station!  All aboard for Fun!

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I once had a visitor to our shop ask, ” Is it legal for you all to be having this much fun at work?”  At this twenty-eight year young, family owned business with a passion for creating the Art of the Train, the answer is a resounding – YES ! ! !

Posted by: Roger Farkash | July 15, 2010

Next Stop – Denver!

San Antonito, CO

From my previous postings, you are already aware of my penchant for all things train related, and railfanning, train travel and train chasing are all part of the big picture of the journey for me.  As the crew behind the Lionel traveling displays, I will have the pleasure this month of combining a lot of what we do at TrainWorx every day with what I love to do as often as I can – traveling to Denver, Colorado for the Lionel Collectors Club of America’s 2010 Convention.

I would like to again thank the LCCA members for my recent election to join the Board of Directors of this great organization.  Officers and board members will be attending business meetings prior to the start of the Convention, and I am looking forward to contributing to the future of the LCCA with my interest and support of all of the activities that focus on promoting new membership – especially young people  – to become involved with the Greatest Toy Train Club on the Planet!

The itinerary for the week is a busy one – from a train ride on UP’s 3985 Challenger (or if not available, the 844 Northern), to the setting up of the Lionel 20′ X 60′ display in the Marriott Tech center Atrium, to the swap meet where TrainWorx will have an assortment of bridges for sale, or the always excellent banquet, it should be an exciting week of trains, train friends, toy trains and train aficionados!  I am certainly looking forward to it!

The Lionel Display in the Atrium of the hotel will be open to the public Wednesday through Saturday and the swap meet will be open to the public on Saturday.  Check the Lionel Collectors Club of America website for the complete schedule.

LCCA Sacramento, CA '09

In the meantime, I’ll be working on all of the exciting projects we have going on in the shop right now – the production of the Grand Central Terminal structures for Lionel  (Third Quarter Delivery!) a Polar Express Holiday layout enhancement for a client near Chicago, and the biggest Holiday Train Display in Dallas to be revealed this year – more information will be announced soon!  Throw in a generous mix of our exhibit industry clients, the posting of the latest Chick-fil-A  3-D Billboards, and you have one very busy Summer for this Creative Director/Traingineer!

Looking forward to seeing you in Denver or wherever else this Summer’s journey has our paths crossing!

Posted by: Roger Farkash | June 29, 2010

It’s not the destination …. it’s the journey..

Although I have been creating train layouts since I was old enough to work a pair of scissors around a piece of colored construction paper, I never tire of the excitement of starting on a new layout or working with a new client as they begin to share the ideas they have for their dream model railroad empire.

Our work at TrainWorx is not limited to building layouts or products for layouts.   Many train enthusiasts  have the passion and the talent to build their own layout, but look to our crew of  Traingineers to collaborate with them to evaluate and refine their plans or suggest alternatives to enhance operations or add visual excitement to their model railroad experience.  As guys who ” play” with trains as well as design and build them, we enjoy suggesting unique ways to view operations and routing,  selecting industries and destinations to highlight the journey or choosing scenic vignettes to  establish space, place and time.

This past week , I had the pleasure of traveling to an area that I had not been to before  – the Chesapeake Bay area – to visit with a couple who I met at Spring York.  They are in the process of building their own layout and asked me to fire up the creative process with them to get the most out of their plans and guide them in the scenery building options they are exploring.  A great space, a workable trackplan, a great selection of track and a willingness to be open to enhancement suggestions delivered a most enjoyable day’s efforts with excellent results.  We pushed the space vertically to include three effective levels of track; created an exciting and practical track plan requiring little additional trackage and a more efficient use of existing inventory & space; sketched some very exciting new visuals – and best of all created new train friends all around! I will be documenting the ideas this week and looking forward to my next visit to evaluate progress  – and enjoy more fresh crab & shrimp as well! 

Whether at  Train Club Conventions, Train Shows or RailFan events , everywhere I go I have the opportunity to experience the best thing about this great hobby – the people who enjoy sharing their enjoyment of  model railroading and the  love of toy trains. It can be a childhood memory of the trains we saw or had the opportunity to ride, or a newly discovered appreciation for the machinery of the modern railroad that we see every day.  Whatever the source, our enjoyment of these images of power, commerce, and passage become icons that we want to include in miniature detail in our own railroad worlds – and most importantly, share in the fun of creating them with other like-minded friends.

We have some spectacular projects underway at TrainWorx right now that will be the center of conversation for a whole lot of train friends in the weeks and months ahead.  At the same time, we are always interested in talking to our train friends about the spectacular train layouts they are envisioning .  I’m looking forward to the journey, every day!

Posted by: Roger Farkash | June 7, 2010

Father’s Day – a Special Train Day for Dad.

Okay, it’s shameless self promotion time!

The response has been really exciting since we launched our TrainWorx Lionel Licensed Bridges at York this past April with bridge orders coming in nearly every day!  Our free shipping for TCA members incentive has been well received,  and seeing as it is June and with Father’s Day just a couple of weeks away, TrainWorx is going to make it a special one for all the Dad’s out there in model train layout building land – as well as those train collector Dads who simply want a great looking themed display to show off a few prized Lionel engines.  So we are extending our Free Shipping offer on all of our bridges and ‘EL’ Trestle & TrussRail Systems to all you great Train Loving Dads!  On all orders placed before Fathers Day, get Free Shipping , and for $9.99 more, we’ll add in one of our Lionel Posters !  Enjoy!

Posted by: Roger Farkash | June 5, 2010

Catching Up and Staying ahead

Wow! When I started my Train of Thought postings, I had no idea that the whirlwind of the past month was about to sweep away my time like it has!  From York to Dallas, Omaha to New York, Dallas to Chama and back and forth again, it has been an amazing and exciting  journey  in our Art of the Train adventure. 

Many of you who subscribe to our TrainWorx email notifications have already seen the photos of Lionel’s Bob Kerekes, TrainWorx’ George Watson and myself at last months Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting, operating Lionel’s 8′ X 40′ Train Layout, and speaking with Warren Buffet during his early morning walk-through of “Berkyville” – the  Trade Show segment of the meeting.  Talk about a moment in time that will live in your memory forever!  Mr. Buffet is indeed a train collector like no other – from his purchase of the BNSF Railway to his own 60′ attic train layout in his home, trains and Lionel have been a part of his life since he was a child.  He shared the story of his first trip with his father to New York City which included a visit to the Lionel showroom as well as a visit to the New York Stock Exchange.  When asked which he liked better, trains or stocks, he replied, “Well, I have obviously done a lot better with stocks.” Despite the crush of news crews and photographers, he was disarmingly pleasant and comfortable to talk with, and appreciative of the train layout that Lionel had equipped with BNSF locos and rolling stock and branded with the BNSF logo for the event.  It was a crowd pleaser for the 40,000 attendees , as well as the millions of news hungry cable TV viewers of CNBC and FOX Business news, as both networks used the layout as a backdrop for numerous interviews all day Friday and Saturday.  What an adventure!  

Trains continue to take me to places and connect me with people whose love of the train inspires deep motivations for all things train related and the adventures that are associated with the pursuit of that passion.  In our own TrainWorx experience during our visit to Omaha, we searched out train shops like Grand Central Limited, visited the Union Passenger Terminal – America’s first  Art Deco Station – (now the Durham Museum)  and the Burlington Station one block away.  We saw UP Big Boy # 4023  and the UP Centennial #6900 at Kenefick Park,  and the car yard and repair facility at Lincoln, and had a chance to walk through BNSF business train that was brought in for the Berkshire Hathaway event.  And each stop along our way, we ran into folks who were delighted to share their time, speak to us about the history of trains in the area, or their own enjoyment of trains.

As busy as my schedule is, and as hectic as the events we attend can sometimes be, please take a moment to introduce yourself – or re-introduce as the case may be –  the next time you happen to see me at an event, or I happen to stumble upon your part of the Train World we share!   I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with you and your vision of  this great hobby, and I will enjoy hearing from you! 

Next time, I will fill you in on some of the cool projects we are gearing up on that are tied into a lot of the traveling I have been doing this past month. It’s all fun!

Special freight from Antonito to Osier Colorado, criss crossing the Rockies!

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