Monday, July 15, 2019

Klaus Travels With Guenter Ruhland


Klaus worked with Guenter Ruhland sometimes just as close as he did with Wofgang Richter and Klaus Baumann. Guenter, the Head Mold Master was as essential to the continued successes of LGB as Wolfgang Richter and Klaus Baumann were. Wolfgang had the general idea, Klaus Baumann knew how to sell it or generate demand and Guenter Ruhland was the one to get it ready for production, making the molds and figuring out the "fine print" for manufacturing Wolfgang's ideas. And (Famous) Klaus was at Guenter and Wolfgang's side when technical problems popped up that required expert knowledge, sophisticated solutions and specialized implementation.

Having fun with Guenter solving LGB technical problems it came as second nature to Klaus to have fun  off-time as well. Klaus was a big fan of visiting museum rail roads and as soon as he knew his flight schedule he'd start searching for museum railroads in proximity to the destination airport. When San Francisco appeared in his schedule in the early summer of 1995 he  knew where to go :
The Dixiana Shay, built 1912 at Roaring Camp

The Tuolumne Heisler at Roaring Camp, built in 1899









The Roaring Camp Rail Road in Felton, CA. Located just 2 hours south of San Francisco it is nestled in between red wood forest. The RR is a narrow gauge railroad featuring at least 4 running museum locos, among them 3 Shays and a Heisler. Please visit their website at Roaring Camp RR

Klaus took Guenter in his cockpit (yes, it was before 9/11) and off they flew to San Fransisco. The spend the arrival night in San Francisco and then traveled by car to Felton the next morning. They boarded the train pulled by the Heisler locomotive for the 3.25 mile long track.

In 1995 the Heisler was the only loco to run on that track. Afterwards they trudged through the rail yard enjoying the other museum locos: The Sonora Shay built in 1911 and the rarely used loco  Kahuku, built around 1890 and bought in 1966 from another museum.
The Sonora Shay, built in 1911


They drove back to San Francisco and later had dinner at the still existing Cliff House, a famous San
Fran institution in its own right.



The next day they took a boat to Alcatraz. They were in for a big surprise: the movie "The Rock" was being filmed on Alcatraz, starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage. To quote Wikipedia:"Most of the film was shot on location in the Alcatraz Prison on Alcatraz Island. As a national park, it wasn’t possible to close Alcatraz down, and much of the filming had to accommodate tour parties milling around.[9]". Klaus still quips:" Yeah and when we were there, we just saw equipment around us everywhere and cables but no actors and no action..!"
Courtesy of sftravels San Francisco

They flew back to Frankfurt the following day.



Friday, June 28, 2019

Klaus Travels With Wolfgang Richter -- Cumbres and Toltec

Travelling the Cumbres and Toltec Line is a great adventure by itself. "The line is a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge heritage railroad running for 64 miles (103 km) between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico, United States. The railroad gets its name from two geographical features along the route, the 10,015-foot (3,053 m)-high Cumbres Pass and the Toltec Gorge. Originally part of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad's narrow-gauge network, the line has been jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico since 1970." (quote from Wikipedia, for detailed information go to Cumbres&Toltec Wikipedia.)

Klaus had visited the railroad already and knew about the excellent trip, vistas and overall fantastic narrow-gauge adventure you can experience. In 1995 Wolfgang Richter joined Klaus in Klaus' 50th birthday celebration festivities in Skagway/Alaska. There they came up with the idea to go on a joint trip along the Cumbres&Toltec line.

The summer of 1996 was  as good a time as any to go on and realize their earlier plan. Said and Done. Wolfgang Richter had some business at  LGB of America/San Diego. He organized his itinerary to fly in and to eventually meet up with Klaus in Chama/NM by late August. They stayed in the Branding Iron Motel in Chama which still exists today. For dinner they went to "Vera" to get a steak dinner. Klaus, the ever creative type, had brought a specialty beer from Germany and had come up with a
deal for the owner of "Vera" : whatever was ordered as beverages that night for his table, this specialty beer would be served. You can imagine the surprise that Wolfgang and his entourage encountered when they were served an original dark heavy German beer in the middle of New Mexico's nowhere.

The next day they started their journey on the Cumbres and Toltec to Antonito/CO. Back then you could move through the whole train, each and every car, throughout your time aboard the train. That way they also got to experience the open air gondola.
Arriving in Antonito they stayed at the hotel directly across the railroad depot. Antonito is a very small town, then and now. After an uneventful snack they went to bed to get back to Chama the next day. Another fantastic, scenic train ride brought them to the end of their joint journey.

Wolfgang went back to San Diego to fly back to Germany. Klaus drove to Denver to catch a Lufthansa flight back to Frankfurt. The restaurant Vera doesn't exist anymore. The little hotel in Antonito has gone through a lot of owners. The Friends of the Cumbres And Toltec have a fantastic webcam at  Friends of CST . Enjoy the views!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

LGB # 2040 -- more than one loco

In 1968 Wolfgang and Eberhard Richter opened the L-G-B part of the company Lehmann Patentwerke with an 8-page catalog offering 3 locomotives and 9 cars ( 3 passenger cars, 3 open/flat cars 2 boxcars and one tank car), 6 different track items, 3 cable sets, 4 figurines, 1 throttle and 1 transformer. The big headline on the front page was " Das War Noch Nie Da" (verbatim "that was never there- yet") which translates somewhat into "You've never seen anything like this" or Nothing like that ever existed".

On page 4 they showcased their very first ever garden locomotives in a scale yet unheard of in toys : 1 : 22

Page 4 of the very first LGB catalog from 1968
The life size models for these locomotives where loco KL 1994/1889 Bn2t Nr.1 of the Austrian Salzkammergut Railway (LGB 2010), the loco 2774/1892 Bn2t Nr.2 of the Steiermaerkischen Railway (LGB 2020) and the loco Krauss XXXII 2700 1923 Nr.4 of the Huettenwerke Siegerland
Life size model Krauss 1923 for the LGB 2040 steam loco
The Krauss locomotive was very similar to the two Austrian locomotives but had a slightly longer boiler. Eberhard Richter saw the general similarity in those types and the chance of making one model and get 3 locomotives out of it by changing cabin color, smoke stack form and offering lighting or not. And so was born the LGB 2040 No. 4 -- and as well the 2010 and 2020.

LGB manufactured the 2040 until 1975. Meanwhile the LGB 2010 (affectionately known as the Stainz) and somewhat less the LGB 2020 turned real shooting stars. Customers couldn't get enough of the cute little locomotive , available as set or single. The price was decent ( DM 95.00 or US$ 30.00) and you didn't need a wooden plate or anything to mount it on. Tracks worked on almost any surface, soil, garden, driveway, floor - you name it. With the lowest price and pretty basic configuration for the 2040 (no engineer, no light) the demand turned more and more to the 2010. The ongoing "Wirtschaftswunder" in Western Germany, namely the enormous economic growth spanning 3 decades helped LGB to sell more and more every year, expanding their offerings from 3 locomotives in 1968 to 20 locomotives (steam,diesel,electric) by 1978.

By then the LGB 2040 was retired for a while replaced by the 2015 and ever more configurations of the 2010. So, when Wolfgang and Eberhard needed a number for the newly constructed Crocodile the number 2040 was just coming in handy. In 1993 they had sold so many locos and had come up with so many new types, series and configurations that LGB expanded the numbering system by one digit to 5 digit numbers.

Hence the Crocodile got the LGB # 2040 and thus became known as such. No matter what configuration or coloring scheme she came in.





Monday, April 8, 2019

A Benevolent Angel -- Frau Grimm and the OLD LGB Parts Department

Klaus' Plea: I want to keep you informed and entertained with our blogs without ads or the need for subscription.It takes great effort and time  to entertain the blog sites. Please support us in our endeavor of keeping the blogs ads-free, the LGB history alive and promoting this delightful avocation by donating any amount you feel comfortable with. Send me a check or go to our Go-Fund-Me page at .https://www.gofundme.com/keep-the-lgb-traincraft-blogs-alive







Wolfgang(left),Klaus Baumann (center) and Eberhard Richter

THANK YOU for keeping the LGB hobby alive!! And God Bless!


Your donation will help in our efforts to have a new blog at least every week!


The Old LGB Parts Department
At the Old LGB factory at Saganer Street in Nuremberg LGB entertained a parts department that until today still has to find its match. It was most important to Eberhard and Wolfgang Richter to offer every part that was needed to built their LGB locomotives as a spare part for purchase to their customers.
It was in 1968 that they had started their Lehmann Grossbahn manufacturing model trains and at roughly DM 300.00 for a train, A German hobbyist had to spill out the modern equivalent of  US$ 950.00 for a Stainz Starter set. It was therefore of utmost importance to provide spare parts on such a luxurious object and preferably at low costs so customers would not loose interest in a hobby that was sort of expensive in the first place.

A look at the LGB 2018D blowup sketch of the loco shows the enormous number of parts that goes into e.g. the Mogul (shown is page 1 of 4 pages). And remember, there were no computers, no internet. Nothing to help you remember or look up the number of a spare part the customer would ask for. And these blow up sketches were NOT part of the train/loco when you bought it. So, lets say you were missing the bell from the loco. You went and called LGB parts department and said" I need a bell for my LGB loco". Yeah, right. Which loco? Did you know you had a Mogul, a Stainz, a Field Railway loco? This is were Mrs. Grimm comes in.

Mrs. Nelly Grimm was the angel of the repair and parts department. She is the wife of LGB head Meister of Production/Manufacturing Rolf Grimm. Mrs. Grimm had an extensive knowledge of each,every and any LGB spare part ever made. Not kidding. You lost a tiny screw on the bottom of a Salzburger steam loco 2010- she knew and did mail you the right one. You needed a bumper for the blue electric loco 2030? She knew and mailed you the right one. You called and said:"Mrs. Grimm, My Steyrtal loco (U-Series) has its dome cracked, do you have a new one for me. And she would know to ask,:"Is it the one with the ring around the dome or without?"' and you would get the right part. Mrs.Grimm breathed LGB parts. They were here blood and soul. She didn't have to check any blow up sketch, no manual, no list. She knew them by heart. 50.000 parts. By heart. And that is only for locomotives. Add to this the passenger cars, freight cars and box cars. AMAZING!

You can imagine how well liked Nelly Grimm was. She and her husband Rolf were invited to almost every important LGB occasion. Be it a toy fair, a company anniversary, LGB Club affair, big LGB dealer parties. Wherever the who's who of LGB was invited, Nelly Grimm and her husband where right there at Wolfgang Richter's side. Always humble, always very nice and more than often bringing a self-made cake to the occasion so nobody would go hungry and the event would  - for sure - have a "gemütlichen"( homey) feel to it. It might happen that people who collected LGB trains did not know (of) Wolfgang Richter or later his son Rolf Richter as the CEO. But everybody knew Mrs. Nelly Grimm.

Today, Nelly Grimm and her husband Rolf just celebrated his 80th  birthday anniversary. They still live in the same house with their beautiful garden and their LGB train layout.  I don't know of anybody within the (German speaking ) LGB community that would or could ever forget her. I think we all wish she would still be reachable to give us that fantastic help when we need a spare part on a LGB loco that we can just describe as :" That thingy on top of the round body with the wheels on"...

Mrs. Nelly Grimm -- a big Thank You from a far away place, the USA, to you and your husband. And a wistful thought back to good old times....

Klaus' Plea: I want to keep you informed and entertained with our blogs without ads or the need for subscription.It takes great effort and time  to entertain the blog sites. Please support us in our endeavor of keeping the blogs ads-free, the LGB history alive and promoting this delightful avocation by donating any amount you feel comfortable with. Send me a check or go to our Go-Fund-Me page at .https://www.gofundme.com/keep-the-lgb-traincraft-blogs-alive
THANK YOU for keeping the LGB hobby alive!! And God Bless!


Your donation will help in our efforts to have a new blog at least every week!


Monday, March 11, 2019

What happened on March 16 1995

March 16 1995 was a Thursday. And you ask yourself what made this day special? Well, in world history terms-- mainly nothing. Nobody famous was born or died.

BUT

in LGB history terms, 3 guys met on a plane..................   

Klaus, as you know, is by trade a Lufthansa flight captain for A 340. Now retired,  in 1995 he was in the dream years of his career.  LH  456 was to fly from Frankfurt to Los Angeles departing FRA around 10.00 a.m. and arriving in LAX around 13.30  or 1.30 p.m.. Klaus had worked with LGB by then for well over 10 years  having established close relations with Wolfgang Richter himself and the LGB family.
In the early 1980's Klaus was introduced to the Massoth company by Klaus Baumann, then Vice president Sales&Marketing LGB. Klaus  had developed and pre-designed the firebox for the Mogul and had built a prototype firebox in a Mogul. Klaus demonstrated this prototype to Mr. Massoth Sr . Mr. Massoth Sr saw this and said: "This has to go to Nuremberg (LGB) instantly. They are working on putting a cab light into a Mogul 2019S and need to see this."


The following day Klaus traveled to Nuremberg demonstrating this prototype to Mr. Ruhland (Head of Molding), Wolfgang Richter and Rolf Richter. The idea was instantly accepted. The Massoth Co. was chosen as the manufacturer for the firebox electronic while Klaus was to deliver  a producible reflector for the firebox as to ready the unit for serial production. The Mogul 2019 s was the first model train worldwide to feature the firebox light and was presented to the market in 1983. Gradually the firebox light was implemented in many more LGB steam locomotives.

So- as you can see, Klaus knew the top tier at LGB quite well as well as the guys at Massoth. Now, Klaus did all this important work for LGB while being a flight captain. As Klaus likes to say:" On some flights you really have time to think a lot. Technical stuff is what I do best next to flying".

Fast forward another 10 years when in 1995 Klaus was approached by Christoph Massoth who had joined his father's company by then. Christoph wanted to accompany Klaus on a special flight  from Frankfurt to Los Angeles with the goal in mind to get some sound recordings. The focus was on Disney Land in Anaheim/CA which featured a real life Mogul. The sales rep for LGB of San Diego had worked out the meeting arrangements.

Christoph was to fly on a so-called 'cockpit-ticket' which put him in the observer seat behind the Captain and Co-pilot in the cockpit of the A 340. While boarding Christoph told Klaus "Somebody else is on this flight today who we both know" and pointed out Rolf Richter among the passengers ready for boarding. Rolf  was to fly to San Diego on a regularly booked First Class ticket and was completely unaware of Klaus being the Captain and Christoph being another passenger.

There you have it.  No multi-billion company does permit what happened on March 16, 1995 : 3 men who did and were to impact LGB in awe-inspiring, extraordinary and also shocking ways on the same flight to further the abilities of LGB trains.
And to top it all off Klaus did invite Rolf into the cockpit for landing.

Courtesy www.ocregister.com-KnoxBerryFarm trains
The Disneyland visit was later cancelled due to repair problems with the Mogul. So Klaus called Knott's Berry Farms and was able to arrange a visit and recording admission  for Knott's Berry Farms' real life narrow gauge steam loco in their amusement park. Rolf Richter left Klaus and Christoph to see to his LGB business in San Diego.

Update:
Rolf Richter passed away in 2009. Christoph Massoth retired in 2012 from Massoth Co. and went into sheep breeding and herding.

And Klaus? Klaus retired from flying in 2001 and went to establish a series of technical companies of which TrainCraftbyKlaus is still active and operating. As of March 2019 Klaus is again open for installation, restoration and repairs of LGB trains. Call him for an appointment for your LGB treasures. And please check out our blogs TrainCraftbyKlaus and  TrainCraft Trove.

Thank You for Your Support!




Friday, March 28, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story - Conclusion

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

A collection of special trains or Starter Sets may have its own charm. At least as long as one doesn't buy huge volume of one kind (of loco) and store it in the basement hoping for increasing value overtime. There were some fine trains out there like the Pinzgau train (LGB# 20520) or the Furka-Oberalp train (LGB# 20512) mirroring the archetype nicely. Optically pretty 'advertising' trains were the Nürnberger Lebkuchen train (LGB#20526 - Nuremberg gingerbread train), the Philips Train (LGB# 20412) as well as the beer trains Lütgenau (LGB# 20536) and Schweiger (LGB# 20539). Then there were special train(sets) for the American market like the Marshall Field Train (LGB# 20534) and the Dodge City Little Billy Train (LGB# 20701).



































"Auflage" = edition volume

The Red Train (LGB# 20401 RZ) and the Blue Train (LGB# 20301 BZ) were supposed to tie in with the success of the Anniversary train (set) which to some degree they did. There were many, many other train sets; and the Lehman factory did not like at all the fact that quite a number of sets went straight into the basement of collectors rather than into the living rooms of LGB beginners. Regarding this subject my opinion has always been that LGB could very well afford to 'give' the collector a highly subsidized train set once in a while when they were making good money out of him (all the other time of the relationship).
The 'cherry on top' of any collection, of course, was the Golden Train (LGB # 20100) of which just 200 were made due to severe problems during the process of steaming the leaf gold onto the Stainz loco. Original plans were to make 1,000 train sets; now you do the math and figure out how many of the  low and high sided gondolas are still living 'single lives' at LGB fans' homes or are trailing behind ordinary LGB locos...

The collector's dream: the golden train LGB# 20100 NB from 1991. Volume originally planned: 1,000. Executed: 200

Of course there was a lot of rubbish among the special trains and special cars. I don't want to name them here to not insult anyone belatedly; but everyone will know what I am talking about..( this is in reference to some pretty ugly circumstances involving a big discounter in Germany and the authorized LGB dealership in the late 80's and early 90's. And the eventually "unsellable" golden train'set'. Yours Truly)

Sadly, the long planned LGB-Museum in Nuremberg never realized. When the factory extension was built on to the existing LGB lot  in the early 90's a museum was part of the planning but sadly wasn't built. Now other things are more important...(remember, this article is from 2006. In 2012/13 the famous Spielwaren Museum= Toy Museum Nuremberg added a wing for LGB which is serviced and managed by the LGB Booster Club. See LGB Yarner blog 05/2013). Twice in the past there was a " LGB-Museum" at convention boothes, once in 1988 - 20th anniversary LGB- and in 2000 jointly with Uwe Klöting at the International Train Show in Cologne. I (HJN) furnished and managed both which was a lot of work as well as a great honor.
Today you'll find a lot of LGB layouts offered by estates. More than once I received calls from people telling me that their grandfather had passed away and that they wanted to sell their inherited LGB collection. I always asked immediately if they or their children wouldn't like to continue the hobby themselves. Their responses told me that the LGB 'bug' obviously could not be passed on and that they obviously have different interests today. Sad, but nothing you can do...
The driving stock out of these estates are often unfit to go into or extend collections. They have been played with - which they were destined to be, not to forget. Often, driving stock from outdoor layouts was intensly operated; meaning they suffered from weather, screws are rusty and the plastic became brittle or broke off already (parts). In case very rare pieces are part of such a layout (collection) one can try to buy those and restore them. But even the repair department of LGB at the factory - which brought new shine to old driving stock in years passed - have now run out of  historic spare parts. Some (collectors) buy bad looking items at a flea market just to use them as spare part provider.
Maybe the (LGB fan) who has a nice historic LGB portfolio should start thinking about how and to whom he wants to pass on his collection. To see these items end up on eBay is just a pity.

I do hope I was able to take you with me on (my) journey into the world of LGB and want to focus one last time on our (LGB Friends of Much) motto: "back to the roots". To quote a famous citizen: "there is magic in all things new" and I say " but also in many old things, too." Just like no one would get the idea to collect modern cars they do like to see Oldtimers in their garages. They (oldtimers) represent craftsmanship and their engineering is traceable. They are just like-able and something special. Just like you can transfer this thought to LGB ; back to the roots - wholeheartedly  and with enthusiasm.
H.-Jürgen Neumann

Monday, February 24, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story - Part 8

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.
Fine example of the work scope of the"Design Tuning" department. Matching the LGB car "VWSport" the Diesel loco was made by the department. Special limited edition of 3.

(....utilizing the LGB 'tuning department') I had a specialty loco made for me matching my VW-Sport freight car # 4090VW, based on the Diesel loco 2062 and thus had a beautiful complete trainset. Some of my color 'options' like the duo-colored, green/brown and the complete on brown Saxonian car LGB# 3050 were adopted into the LGB product line. The complete gray (car) is still a specialty in my Saxonian train(set).
Nowadays there a collectors who chose their special subject. "Coca-Cola' is one typical example and such cars were bought in addition by those who collect everything Coca-Cola not just model trains or LGB. It was the same for items with teddy bears regarding the Steiff collectors. Collected were: tank cars of every (labeling and color) description, beer cars as well as the various kinds of "Stainz" and her sisters. LGB fans who concentrated on a specific theme on their layout - I don't identify them as collectors. They rather operate  a layout modeled after the Swiss theme, Austrian or German State Railway. And last but not least, technical advance turned some older models into  " passé " models. On a fully digitized layout some of the old locomotives from 1968 don't even operate anymore. And digitizing them would inevitably damage their collectors value. Those who stocked up on green and red Crocodiles in the early years will discover upon trying to sell them today that they are compared to the newer ones with digital driving and sound decoders - and not necessarily to their advantage... This led to a considerable decrease in collecting. At least for driving stock manufactured in such big numbers that they are not considered a specialty in the collector's mind. But there are still exceptions; I am thinking of the LGB Club Rhein/Sieg special cars for their annual meetings with editions of 100 each. Also, editions of 1,000 worldwide are still considered low from a collector's standpoint. Surprisingly, lot size(s) don't always have a significant influence on the (collection) value. The LGB Anniversary Trainset 1981 edition was 20,000 and still increased in value sharply during the following years. Cars by Lütgenau or Roskothen with mini editions of 100 did not show any upward trend. Then again, they don't come on to the market, really.
Example of a STEIFF special train set in friendly yellow with 'limited' bears

 (To define )Collector's values isn't quite easy. There are collectors' catalogs of which the "Christmann Collector catalog" (out of print since 2008 or so, today's "manual" is the "Kompendium for LGB Collector and LGB Friends"  2012) ; but prices printed in there can only be reference points. First of all the condition of a loco is crucial; second someone missing a (loco) in his collection and really wants to have that will be more apt to pay a higher price. And on the seller's side one has to to go the extra mile and look for that person. Within the last years the auction-house eBay has establishes itself  in this area. It is really very interesting (to see)  what (kind of ) LGB driving stock is offered there. But, the condition is important and if that can be determined by looking at it - I dare to challenge that.

I can very well imagine that the thought of starting a 'historic" LGB collection will strongly increase over time. Like the LGB Friends of Much concentrate on the first 10 years of LGB, ranging from the Stainz to the Crocodile, packaging (was) in grey and yellow, brand new locos, blank (no sound) models, and the technical equipment of the first years make for a nice and manageable collection. Old packaging from the very beginning convey a fine sentiment of the dawn of LGB in the early years. The very first manual switches, aluminum tracks and other accessories from the beginnings are also part of this (collection to be). Add to that the literature of those early years. In Sinsheim, in 2006, we displayed  such a small collection in a glass cabinet and the brochures shown, those from the early years, were met with big enthusiasm. Complete this collection (to be) with the special collection of the 1977 and 1978 PRIMUS Series. The 4-axle American low sided gondola LGB # 4061 in green is a rarity -  collectors would give their eye teeth for it... ( Yours Truly could not find any note of that color scheme ever made by LGB/ may be from the tuning department. What I did find was the #4061 from 1991 special edition in dark red with a bottle of champagne as cargo given to very dear business friends, edition 100, and very rare.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued+++++++++++++