Now Departing on Track 29…

[An observation while waiting for the tea to cool…]

Allied Model Trains in Culver City is closing its big store.

This weekend, Allied Model Trains is closing, to be reopened in a smaller space across the street in July. The original owner is retiring, and a former worker, together with some competitors, is taking it over. Land is too valuable, and a camera store will be taking over the Union Station scale-model building on Sepulveda Blvd.

What’s killing Allied? The shrinking of the model train hobby, combined with the fact that, to quote the owner:

Then there is the looky-loo hobbyist who, he said, comes in, checks out the latest model trains with powerful lights and digital sounds but buys almost nothing.

“He says, ‘Wow, I would love that.’ Then he walks out of here with a tube of glue and a magazine and buys it online from some guy working out of a barn in the middle of Kansas. Folks like that are the first ones to scream, ‘I can’t believe you’re leaving.’ “

Now, I remember Allied from their old location on Pico. I would stop by occasionally and pick up books on the Pacific Electric (I was never into model trains, unlike my colleague Marshall). I think I visited the Culver City location once. So I’m certainly not helping. Still, I loved the store and its look, and it is sad to see such architecture lose its use, and the city to lose such a resource.