A Time To Build

“For everything there is a season… A time to tear down and a time to build up.”  Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NLT).  ‘A Time To Build’…. This recent title on the issue of Cowcatcher magazine really caught me.  If we take just that part of the scripture, it sure rings true right now.  It really is a ’time to build’.

As a railroad modeler myself, I have been very focused on shipping the many production runs that have been arriving since April, and specifically working earnestly to complete the American Freedom Train’s final release of the Tool Car.  Once that is done, I will finally start working on my railroad, and there will be more about that in another blog story down the road.

I am encouraged right now (and that’s a good thing for me and for you, too) to hear the stories, and see on the internet, the progress that many are making on their model railroads.  I am also hearing that other manufacturers report they are doing well, or certainly much better than expected during the Covid situation.  Shops that have an ‘online’ presence have been pressed to keep up.

Are you making progress on your railroad?  It sure is a different season of life, and I am so thankful that this is a hobby that thrives when we are home to work on it.  The missing part, however, can be the time we spend with others.  Sharing our passion for model railroading whether at a train show, a club gathering, or a friend’s layout is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of our hobby.  I encourage you to reach out to your railroad buddies and engage.

I am a life-long railroad modeler.  One thing I found out many years ago is I don’t need another photo of a train, but would rather have the picture of my ‘friend’ that’s operating the train!  The train may last forever, but friends will not, and recent passing of several rail buddies brings that home.  Reach out, stay connected, and encourage someone, because he/she may need it more than you know.

Please, Stay Well

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Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more


  1. Brian Morgan on July 29, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Well written, keep safe. — Brian

  2. Charles Stringfellow, Jr on July 29, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Nicely said… We often take too many things for granted, and then find out too late of the opportunities we missed by not staying connected with our friends. Friends we need now more than ever.

    • Lowell Smith on August 9, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks Charles for taking time to respond.

  3. Rick on July 29, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Great shot of the crew that night! Thanks for sharing this memory of Doug. I hope to have you all back soon enough.

    • Lowell Smith on August 9, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      Every op session is a special moment in time. thanks for building this great layout Rick! Lifetime friend!

  4. Todd Treaster on July 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I love the get togethers, its what makes this hobby great. Lowell you are a true friend to all and your cars are super. The time we spent here with you and Barb will never be forgotten. I hope you can come again some day.

    • Lowell Smith on August 9, 2020 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Todd. We cannot wait to return!

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What They Say:


Nothing better than receiving that white box from Lowell Smith. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

B. Kutch

Love your 3-rail O Scale Atlas Woodside Reefer series. Looking forward to future issues. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest


These are indeed miniature masterpieces. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Jim and Jo Ann K.

Every aspect of the trip was professionally done.  You and Barbara were on top of every change and your matter-of-fact assurances speak highly of your professionalism.  Jo Ann is a retired chef  and we know what good food is, and the meals provided on the CZ trip were stellar! BRAVO to you and Barbara for…

Chuck T.

Just a quick note to acknowledge receipt of my AFT Tool Car. Thanks so much for another Outstanding Piece of Craftsmanship! The AFT is my most prized “N” Scale collection. I had perceived that there were delays in getting this last car into our hands, but thought it was a problem with China. Your letter…


The thing I love about all the things you do is the fact that everything is so well thought out, so beautiful and so unique.   Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

R. M.

Lowell, I just want you to know – you make this hobby fun! Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Jeff B.

Keep up setting the bar high and providing a product that exceeds expectations. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest


As a retiree of the Walt Disney Company I look forward to upcoming releases of the Disney Family Museum and Disneyland series.  Keep up the excellent work! Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Gordon and Dorothy

I have never been treated as graciously and in a manner more suited to a VIP in my life, as I was on our train trip.  It’s obvious how you’ve made your life a success story.  Looking around the train and seeing your friends I’m pretty sure they  were all made to feel very special by you, and your…