15/01/14 @ 8:04AM
I am the same John Mechalas that set up the BRIO Raytracing pages many years ago, back when I had time for that sort of thing. :)
I\'ve been a fan of your site for years. I absolutely love the photos of your layouts, and am impressed at the sheer volume of track and accessories you\'ve been able to acquire. I can only hope that one day I\'ll have such an extensive collection. It\'s good to have goals. :)
Now that BRIO seems to be re-entering the wooden train market in the U.S., albeit with quite a bit more plastic than before, I\'ve gotten around to finally setting up a web site centering on creating large BRIO layouts (well, large by my standards, anyway). I\'m taking a different angle than Tom at wTrak.org, who is concerned with semi-permanent, modular systems...I\'m just putting up tools and advice for generally layout planning.
ANd maybe some day I\'ll get back to 3-D modeling. ;)
Tom D. Stephenson
01/10/13 @ 4:39PM
Given that wooden railways - track and wagons - predate steam and electric railways, model wooden railways deserve to be taken more seriously than as just a toy... Wooden train layouts can leverage concepts used by N and HO Clubs - allowing wooden railways to become a bridge between trains as a toy and hobby. Five years after developing a standard, modular wooden railways are increasingly becoming part of train shows in the Pacific Northwest. Visit wTrak.org for details and ideas. The website and information are intended as a resource for families, Children\'s Museums, Railway Clubs, and other groups. A book available through Blurb is meant to serve as a tool for a group wanting to organize and fundraise for a layout project.
08/12/11 @ 6:32AM
My son Isaac loves his wooden railways. Nice to see some of the great layouts maybe they will inspire Isaac. His creations are not quite on such a grand scale, but I love them all the same. Isaac\'s designs: http://buildingrailways.blogspot.com
24/08/11 @ 9:54AM
Your Web site has been a valuable guide when I first started looking for a train set for my daughter. A lot happened since you updated it the last time.
Eichhorn essentially is gone at least from the US market. They tried moving production to Eastern Europe and experienced quality issues. Brio, the Levis and Coca Cola of train sets, is essentially gone, too. Brio got sold to some investment firm which ran it into the ground by moving production from Sweden to China.
Interestingly enough, Brio, in their Knex alliance, popped up again in the US at Toys-R-Us which is pretty much the only place you can buy them in the US today. At Toys-R-Us, they are positioned as the value brand and sell for 70% or less of from what it sells in Europe. Toys-R-Us has a very limited selection of a few sets. However, they are so competitively priced, that it is cheaper to buy another set when you need more tracks instead of buying tracks individually. You also find Brio mainly used on eBay and and few left overs from smaller vendors. Watch the people who sell to collectors which are often found on Amazon Market Place. You can easily pay 3x or 5x of the MSRP. (Same holds true for Lego, btw).
If you like the simplicity and small size of Brio destinations, you probably also like Maxim and Nuchi, two Chinese companies, which make very very nice destinations which look like Brio but are by far not knock-offs - rather their own clever designs. Those are quiet different from the MDF plastic-wood Learning Curve (Thomas) uses and has actual printing on wood instead of those paper stickers Learning Curve has which are damaged so easily during play. You find Maxim and Nuchi mainly on eBay or via Amazon Market Place.
I also saw Plan Toys, a Tainwanese company, with toys in the style of European 70th and 80th wooden toys. Their destinations and trains look like 70th Brio which simple shapes. Plan Toys has been famous in Europe mainly for wooden toddler toys, early games, and doll houses in the past.
Maxim and Nuchi is very inexpensive. Maxim tracks are made of some softer wood. Brio is made from birch which is harder. Sometimes, Maxim tracks are too tight to interlock with Brio tracks because their peck is a tiny bit shorter. Thomas clickety-clack tracks are also made from some hard wood, perhaps maple. The grooves may not work well with electric engines which may derail but look very nice. Thomas tracks are ultra expensvie compared to the other.
There is also Imaginarium which is sold at places like Target or Toys-R-Us. Their products are inexpensive and look nice - though we do not own them so that I cannot say much about them. Learning Curve Thomas destinations are by far the most expensive one and show the least quality but fit nicely in with the Thomas stories from HIT. I noticed that Thomas products are 40-60% more expensive at Toys-R-Us than they are on Amazon.
How much track do you need? If you have a table, first choose and place the destinations, and then choose the realtively few track pieces you need. If you prefer free play, you may need a lot. My daughter builds tracks in the entire house. We have by now probably in access of 60 feets of tracks which are all getting utilized.
I hope this addition will help some people.
05/11/09 @ 4:11AM
hi love your colection and the setups but i would like to see a list of your roling stock
14/11/08 @ 7:37AM
I really like your site esp. the giant layouts. We\'re just starting to collect pieces for my son to play with and my initial goal is to have enough to fill the living room for a weekend activity. We\'re almost there and now I\'m trying to gather some of the more interesting crossings etc.
09/11/08 @ 11:47PM
Thanks for sharing your photographs. I really enjoyed looking at them.
16/06/08 @ 7:11PM
I love Thomas the TAnk Engine Wooden Railway! Cool site!
23/02/08 @ 10:49AM
27/11/07 @ 9:38AM
Hi, I was doing some research on the internet and came on this great website. I am a fan of wooden railway as well and making a website (under construction) of my collection. My speciality is carriages, mainly Brio. Got over 150 items, not all fotographed yet. Will be published. Kind regards.
27/11/07 @ 8:31AM
Great Site, i see a Set in Ikea and need help to make a Layout and buy best engines
30/09/07 @ 2:33PM
Great site. I hope you will update it some day.
21/03/07 @ 9:01AM
Great job with the trains, though I urge you to sample Whittle Shortline stuff as well.
14/09/05 @ 9:56AM
You have got an amazing collection! I especially liked the pictures in the July 2005 display. I think you have put together a really interesting site - I have bookmarked it and will return regularly. Hooray for wooden trains!
Thanks for sharing your collection. :?)