The Latter Years
Sometime in 1995, Richard Taylor started a company called RailTech, a TT scale railroad supply distributor and dealer. He published a fairly decent catalog of TT scale items. The catalog was done similar to the Walthers catalog, and the company boasted of over 2000 items in their 200 plus page catalog. Items advertised in the catalog consisted of European items and North American items. Everything from new locomotives, cars, and buildings, to scenery items were offered. For the TT scale model railroader, this seemed too good to be true. This turned out to be exactly the case.
Unfortunately, Dick Taylor, a Master Model Railroader, apparently went overboard and began to stock a whole lot of stuff he had no chance to sell again. He named himself and his wife Directors and set up a business that the TT customer base could never sustain.
One thing Dick was apparently trying to do was reintroduce the HP line of locos, but the castings seemed very crude per the photos. He did make a huge effort to push TT. He displayed at the major dealer shows and started a dealer network. Some still run across hobby shops that have TT items from him before he went under.
Unfortunately, from what can be seen or gathered, not many people were very impressed with him as a dealer or distributor. Part of his stock consisted of the remaining American prototype items that were gathered by Larry Sayre and one or two others. These items were put on consignment with him, and from some reports, the owners did not get all of their stuff back when RailTech did go out of business. Other people came on board with him making new items. One of these was Coastal Engineering who is a major supplier of TT scale items today. Dick reportedly could not deliver on a lot of the models he advertised, especially a 2-8-0 that was to be made in Europe for his company. He also contracted for molds and buildings to be made by other manufacturers. Some of these molds showed up on the eBay auction site in late summer of 1999. (Where they were purchased by a TT modeler who plans to put them into production...).
From what can be seen or gathered, some of his business practices were suspect to say the least. It is reported that he would repackage and sell used items as 'new'. Unfortunately, because of this, he became known as Tricky Dick.
When RailTech did go out of business, apparently many were left holding the bag, because to pay his debt to Tillig, he sent all his stock back to them in Germany. Some of the North American stock and tooling was recovered, but not all of it. It was also reported there was one gentleman by the name of Stanley Lisowski who apparently had some of the newer injection molds for TT scale. Unfortunately when he passed away, his son got a hold of them. Apparently He (the son) was very bitter toward the TT community in general, and maybe even toward Dick Taylor, because his Father's dream was not realized. One of the rumors about the son is because he is bitter, these items will not be sold or released to the TT community, ever.
Most TT modelers believe, (they have reported) even though that they did not have the best of luck with him, that TT grew in the past 4-5 years, in part because of him. Therefore, because of RailTech, there are some cottage industries and one-man shops that have started to make new TT scale items. Items that are cast in resin, and not just card stock assemblies. Some of the older 'good quality' items are also surfacing and are being used as masters for these new products.
Sometime in 1997 or 98, a Hobby Shop called The Caboose, who deals in brass model railroad items, uncovered a 'lost shipment' of TT scale items. One was a brass 0-6-0 SP type steam locomotive. Three other items found were brass RR cars. A 50 ft. gondola, a 40 ft. tank car, and a PRR steel type caboose. The locomotive was of good quality and offered at only $89.00. The cars were of lesser quality, but were nice looking never the less. These items were advertised in their catalog for about a year and a half. They are no longer available, and it is believed the last ones were sold in the fall of 1998.
The introduction of inexpensive computers and access to the internet is also starting to strengthen TT scale. Once in a while, TT scale items will pop up on the eBay auction site. An e-mail list was started at www.onelist.com, now Yahoogroups, that has brought many TT model railroaders together from all over the country and the world.
< http://www.yahoogroups.com, and subscribe to TTSMR >
< http://www.ebay.com >
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Last up dated 9-4-2000