• Hobby Shops - Danbury, CT area

  • Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.
Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.

Moderators: 3rdrail, Otto Vondrak, stilson4283

  by CNJ999
 
Although perhaps a bit off topic, does anyone recall the days when one of the largest, if in fact not the largest of all hobby retailers/discounters, was located in Dutchess County, going under the name Hobbies For Men? It was situated in Beacon, NY, in a converted supermarket. Nothing on the east coast like that place since, when it comes to scale models and low prices.

Dieter mention's Pat Heneberry's Valley Model Trains, which was started in part with stock bought from Hobbies For Men when it closed. Pat still does a brisk mailorder business in craftsman kits and associated items working out of a converted residence in Wappingers Falls. Unfortunately, that location is not actually open to walk-in traffic.

Incidentally, there was a time when southern Dutchess County hosted as many as six modest to large train stores but today Dutchess Train and Hobby is the only one in operation. One has to wonder just what that says regarding the hobby's future.

CNJ999
  by Marty Feldner
 
Hobbies for Men- many fond memories. Bought my Unimat there, gotta be 35 years ago now. Great place, and friendly.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
I've seen the ads for "Hobbies for Men" in old Model Railroader's. It just sounds dirty. Like there was a display of Spanish Fly next to the Athearn Blue Box kits... lol. I'm sure it was a great place.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
Dieter wrote:is Westchester Hobby still down the street from the Roger Smith Hotel?
No, it's long gone.

If you're in Danbury, you're either heading to Cos Cob, Cannan, Blauvelt, or Poughkeepsie. You could also head out to Branford Hobbies, out by New Haven (about an hour from Danbury).

Branford Hobbies
609 W Main St
Branford, CT 06405
(203) 488-9865
  by Pumpdude
 
My father just told me about a place in Coldsprings off of 9D called Coldspring Trains. He likes the place, its a small hole in the wall by the VFW. My father is just starting to get back into the hobby after 30 years so this guy has been taking good care of him.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
Pumpdude wrote:My father just told me about a place in Coldsprings off of 9D called Coldspring Trains. He likes the place, its a small hole in the wall by the VFW. My father is just starting to get back into the hobby after 30 years so this guy has been taking good care of him.
Was there when they first opened. Looked like a Lionel shop to me... not much in scale trains.
  by umtrr-author
 
We made exactly one trip to Hobbies For Men as part of a general touristy summertime swing through the mid-Hudson Valley and Connecticut. I don't remember what year that was. It was quite the enormous place for a model railroad supply shop.

HFM "went away" some time after that, I believe around the same time as Sal Marino in Staten Island (speaking of "memory lane"...) and some of the other major advertisers in RMC and MR.

I need to figure out how to gerrymander my next business trip east to include a daylight stop in Canaan!
  by CNJ999
 
Mario V wrote:Hi guys, I'm new here and I know this thread is old but I can remember HFM and what happened to them around '81 or so. My stepdad bought a lot of PFM Tenshodo and Ajin brass in those heady old days they were loaded! Valley Model Trains used to be on Furnace Ave in the village but now Pat has downsized. Those were the good old days!

Here's a good trivia question for anyone from that area: Does anyone remember there was another small shop on Main St. in Beacon circa 1982-86 run by a really nice old timer named Sid? It was pretty loaded if you were into loco details. Bought many and Athearn and GSB Rail SD40-2 from him. I'm sure he must be gone by now this being 30 years and Sid was into his 60s if I remember right.
OMG! That shop in Beacon was called Bull Dog Trains. Visited it many times back in the day. I haven't heard anyone speak of them in maybe a couple of of decades now. I don't recall them lasting much beyond 1990. Dutchess Train and Hobby closed its doors too about two years back, leaving the Mid Hudson Valley essentially without even a single model railroad specific shop of note between the NYC line and Kingston! Boy oh boy, how the hobby has imploded over the years.

CNJ999
  by glennk419
 
Wow, this thread brought back a lot of memories. I lived in Mid Hudson Valley in 1983-84 while on a temporary assignment for Big Blue (not Conrail, the other Big Blue) and hit every shop in the area as often as possible. I think I was in Valley Model Trains at least once or twice a week and besides Pat's graciousness and the awesome selection and good prices, remember it always smelling like cutting fluid - I think there was a machine shop or something similar next door. I also remember Dutchess Train and Hobby and managed to get to Hobbies For Men a few times before they shut down. There was a shop out on Dutchess Turnpike across from the old Edison Motor Inn near Noxon Road. I have a couple Atlas FP-7's from there but can't remember the name of the shop and I think they relocated to Rt 9 across from South Hills Mall before folding altogether. There was also a pretty decent shop in Middletown that I hit a couple times and of course, Hi-Way Hobbies on Rt 17 in Ramsey which was a frequent stop on my trips back home to/from Pennsylvania.

Sadly, one other railroad memory that I have from that era is that it was about the time that Conrail lifted the Maybrook line between Hopewell Junction and the bridge. Didn't really know the history of the line at that point but hated seeing it being pulled.
  by FLRailFan1
 
I know this is an old posting...however... there used to be a nice little hobby shop in Simsbury called Valley Hobbies and another in Collinsville. Both about an hour from Danbury. New England Hobby Supply in Manchester, CT is great.
  by CNJ999
 
In line with this thread about a week ago I noticed a post over on the Model Railroader forum indicating that the former trainshop over in Brookfield apparently reopened. Given the reported address - 457 Federal Road - this is the same location formerly occupied by Railworks in recent years. I last visited that establishment about 12-18 months ago and was told by the owner that he was thinking then about closing his doors. Guess maybe he did. Now what, if any, link there might be between that long enduring shop and the reportedly new one at the same address I don't know. The earlier establishment was only about 20'x20' in floor space, but did stock quite a few items in the various scales. The MR poster indicated that during his recent visit he noted mostly Lionel and some gauge #1 trains in the new place, but it was unclear if the owner was still re-stocking. Anyway, be advised that if you go looking for this shop (name never stated) don't blink while you're driving down Federal Road or you'll miss it! It occupies one corner of an old, low, white clapboard multi-use building that may or may not still have the Railworks sign hanging outside it. I figured that this was at least worth mentioning since it's about the only trainshop within 40 miles or more of Danbury and these days we hobbyists beggars can't be choosers!

CNJ999