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In short, I travel a lot, I collect and operate G-scale trains, and I like visiting train stores. While there are numerous hobby store directories out there, I could not find one that made it easy to locate hobby stores in the U.S. that sell big trains. Also, the existing directories are websites with outdated designs. I wanted a modern site I could use to search for stores based on their proximity to a specific location. As far as I could tell, there was nothing like that already available, so I created this website.

Nothing beats a map for searches based on geography, so I've included a map search interface. Big Train Fix is not trying to compete with existing mapping services. What it tries to be is fast and convenient in one specific niche that is not well served by the big databases.

Brick and mortar hobby stores are harder to find these days — especially those in the large-scale trains segment. While I believe in supporting physical stores, sometimes online stores are the only solution for sourcing a piece of equipment. Proximity is less of an issue with an online store, but choosing one near you can reduce shipping costs and delivery times. So Big Train Fix includes online retailers as well as brick and mortar shops.

Big Train Fix strives to be a modern web application that takes advantage of the facilities provided by today's web browsers. Also, this is a hobby project, so the time I can devote to development is limited. As a result, support for older web browsers is not a priority. I am not deliberately excluding older browsers, but when choosing between ease of use in modern browsers and backwards compatibility, ease of use will always win.

Big Train Fix is not a commercial endeavor, and today there are no plans to make it one. I can't guarantee this won't change in the future. But I can guarantee the store information will be freely available if Big Train Fix turns into a commercial project.

Thomas

August 2013