The Birth of TrainMasters TV, part 3

07 Oct 2013

TMTV Station Agent

In part 2, my Wheels on Steel TV show idea got shelved by the TV network. Now what?

For many months, nothing happened.  Then one day a conversation about the growth of the internet got me thinking:  If I can't get a broadcaster to pay me a modest $25,000 per episode for a show about trains, maybe I can get 25,000 people to each give me a buck?

Bang!  That was the answer.  

As it turns out, this is where the world of TV and film is headed.  It shouldn't be surprising that cable networks are losing audiences to services like Hulu and Netflix at an alarming rate.  Why would cable viewers continue to pay $70-and-up every month for channels that they never watch when they can pick and choose what they want for a lot less?  

All I needed to get into the world of internet TV would be an online presence - and an audience.  The first part would be easy.  Services like Vimeo offer premium accounts that are perfect for vidcasters.  But getting the word out to potential viewers would be a bigger challenge that would involve a marketing team, and that would require time and a lot of advertising dollars.  

There had to be a better way.  

With the world of video broadcasting moving to internet vidcasting, my problem was how to reach an audience with my idea of producing a video show for railroad hobbyists.

That's where Model Railroad Hobbyist came in.  With over 80,000 unique device views per month and growing at something like 40%+ year-over-year, MRH is the perfect portal for introducing railroad modelers to such a vidcast.  So in early 2013 I whipped off an email to MRH publisher, Joe Fugate.   

As it turned out, Joe had already been trying to figure out how to launch such a service for many months already, so my entrance was well timed.  Luckily Joe and I have similar visions about what we want to achieve.  We quickly determined what a TV show for railroad hobbyists might look like, how it would serve them, and what it would be called.  

TrainMasters TV was born.

A lot of time and energy has been spent since then setting things up and getting the show into production:  studio set-building, purchasing video equipment, creating animated graphics and theme music, archiving vintage footage, the list goes on and on.  

But with the pre-production completed, the real fun begins.  Whether I'm on the road shooting layouts and documentary segments, or in the studio recording clinics with other modellers, it's going to be fun.  I hope you enjoy it just as much.

Right from the start of this project I've been given nothing but green lights from The Universe, which makes me believe that TrainMasters is the right project at the right time (It's tempting to say I think I'm on the right track, but that would just be way too corny).  

I'm glad to have you all here to share this wonderful thing with me!

Barry Silverthorn
Executive Producer/Editor, TrainMasters TV


joef's picture

Yes, the day Barry contacted me is a day I will never forget.

I could see clearly what we should be doing as to model railroading media on the web, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how we could make it work without impacting the magazine.

Then along comes Barry, a passionate model railroader AND a person with network TV production experience. I had to pinch myself.

As we discussed how this thing ought to work, I also was pleasantly surprised how well aligned our visions were.

Working with Barry at the Atlanta NMRA National Train Show just confirmed for me how much of a seasoned pro Barry is at shooting and producing video. If there was anyone on the planet who could do an MRH-sponsored web vidcast exceptionally well, it was Barry. And he was now affiliated with MRH!

I'm very excited to be rolling out TrainMasters TV, and thanks to Barry, I think TMTV will be high on your list of model railroading web media sites to visit regularly.

Joe Fugate
Publisher, Model Railroad Hobbyist

It is so great you two guys found each other!

I am really looking forward to see this project unfolding.



allanbishop's picture

Can't wait to see it all come to life!!!

Just purchased my 2 year subscription today. Just a little disheartened that some of the videos are clips from the DVD set I have already purchased from MRH. I am confident that new unseen videos will be added soon.


joef's picture


Unless you have every single DVD we sell (15 titles now, I think) then you will get some new material you haven't yet seen in the archive. We also have other videos from other publishers that we can access for use on TMTV ... so yes, it's coming. Plus we're talking to other video publishers and hope to get still more videos for our archive. Basically, we're taking your investment and using it as leverage to get other video producers on board. Hang in there. Given that a single model railroading DVD sells for $20-$30, it only takes a couple DVDs you haven't seen on here for you to break even - and that's not even counting the new TMTV program every month - also a DVD's worth. A year's collection of TMTV shows alone would be over $100.

TrainMasters TV came along at the right time for me.

I was debating about getting  the DVD collection ( which has stuff I don't need).

Now I can choose  what I want to watch that's relevent to me.

It's a simple choice for my wife to make for a Christmas present.

Thanks to you & my wife.


Hi Joe!!

I have been watching some of the new videos reciently added and the one on the Static grass applicator is well worth my membership fee !!  Glad I did join

Thanks and great work!!


John Frankforther




Signed up for triall month subscription. Just to see where you are going.  Will have to judge before I go for more than month to month.

Also (and for free) see Jason's 30 minute interview with RMWEB and British Railway Modelling magzine's Andy York over Jason's thoughts about Rapido in general and possibly entering the British 4mm scale (00) market with products to the quality of current Rapido production.

Ken Adams, Walnut Creek Calfiornia

Who has a model of Padstow, Cornwall, UK in 1946-47 period ,a growing collection fo new models for recreating the Walnut Creek station on the long abandoned SP San Ramon branch Cheltenham St. James 1950's joint WR/LMR  (UK)  and about 40 years of SP HO modelling equipment in the back of a closet somewhere.  Oh and some interesting F scale work on the North Pacific Coast at Cazadero.



I went ahead and jumped in for a 2 year script. Glad I did. Yeah, a good bit of the vid content are segments of the DVD collection that has been out for some time now, but look at the quality of the additional videos, and check out the previews for content yet to come. I think this is just the infancy of an outstanding idea that really is just scratching the surface of what we'll see in the coming months and years. Like MRH, the mag, this is another example of how the internet is changing long-lived paradigms in the delivery of entertainment.

Thank you Joe and Barry. I am so glad that there are people in our hobby with the vision and energy to make this happen. There will come a day when MRH and TMTV will be "institutions" in this hobby, as other printed material was for so long. 

          I know it might be to much to ask , buy might you add a little more on O-scale 2-rail. I have been working on my layout depicting logging in western BC. It is a small layout with a lot of rocky areas and a lot of hand made trees. Any way I have enjoyed what you have done so far, and I hope and wish all the best in your future endevours. Oh yes I have purchased your 2 year subscription.  Thanks for now ,Pat Rivard.

Joe Fugate and Barry Silverthorn: a marriage made in heaven. If this is their first child together, let's hope they they are planning a big family..

As a new subscriber (today!), I want to say how much I look forward to seeing the Trainmasters TV idea progress and grow.

I met up with Barry Silverthorne in Spencer NC in May '14 and we had a chance to discuss a project that is near and dear to my heart - The moving of the Aberfoyle Junction MR (AJ) from Aberfoyle, Ontario to St Jacobs, during 2012 and 2013.  It was amazing to hear Barry state "Oh, that is something that I have wanted to video and take to the TMTV audience for some time!". 

 An idea was born, dates set and now I can hardly wait till December which is the anticipated release date for the St Jacobs and Aberfoyle Model Railway video program. 

The AJ is one of the largest model railways in Canada and is known for its amazing level of detail and operation.  From the outset in 1970, the AJ was designed and built to introduce model railroading to the public who previously may have known little or nothing about the subject. To date thousands of people - both young and old - novice and experienced, have marvelled at the intricate details and the subtle humour that is built into the railroad. 

I hope that everyone enjoys the video program that was filmed by Barry in September 2014. It was our pleasure to host Barry during that time, and we wish to extend our thanks for what has been done, and anticipation towards viewing the resulting program. 

If your plans can include a visit to Ontario, Canada, please try to include the St Jacobs and Aberfoyle MR in your agenda. See our website for details.       

Pete Wright, Pres, 

St Jacobs and Aberfoyle MR


Hi All,

I subscribed last Christmas (one of my Christmas presents!!) and this year I'm back and just signed up for 3 years.  I've been enjoying some great programs on TMTV and really look forward to many more hours of enjoyment.

Thanks All and Merry Christmas!! 

Andy Keeney  Dewitt, MI