Bridging the Rail Gap with Products, Services, SOUND Solutions, and CONTROL for your Model Trains

People and History of The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado and Hiller Enterprises

OUR PEOPLE:

I am Bob Hiller your guide and owner of Hiller Enterprises LLC (HE LLC) and The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado LLC (STR CO LLC) both located in Longmont, Colorado. Let me tell you who we are, what we do and why we do it. I’ve been in the model trains/model railroading business since November, 1995 when I started Hiller Enterprises. In January 2013 I added The Scaled Tin Rail to my business holdings.

The officers of both companies are:
Robert E. Hiller Jr. (Bob), Owner, President, CEO and Chief of Operations (All these pretentious titles. What gives with this guy?), and
Holly J. Hiller, my wife, Senior Vice-President (over all of us) and Comptroller. She’s also a master gardener who has said, “When I plant something, it multiplies. How come your trains don’t?” My replay, they multiply, but not on their own. Do you need advice on “grow-ies” for your garden railroad?
Chad Braun-Duin, computer wizard and our Webmaster.

Business associates include:
John P. Johnson, is an “ON-CALL” Engineering Services Consultant.
Kelly Dorf, QSI contact and electronics expert.

OUR BUSINESSES:

Hiller Enterprises LLC hand-crafts realistic looking model railroad Open Car Loads of Fun™ (Loads™ for short) for model train hoppers, gondolas, flatcars; and flat-cars and open-bed trucks and trailers built by most manufacturers in the “vehicle” business. Our Loads of Fun™ model common minerals and materials such as coal, ballast, gravel, iron ore, wood chips, lumber, and pipe.

On a special order basis, we also build, sell and install Blinkers™ which are flashing LED’s that simulate roof mounted rotary beacons used on locomotives and cabooses, and flashing (rear) end of train devices (FRED/ETD) found at the ends of cabooses and end-of-train cars. We will install FREDs and ETDs made by our competitors.

We provide and sell other products and services. We are a one-person operation. However, we have associates who can make and do most anything related to model railroading.

The current product and service line of Hiller Enterprises continues where we left off years ago when we painted, lettered and sold Alaska Railroad N- and HO-scale cars and engines. Our primary outlet at the time was Diamond Hobbies, Anchorage, Alaska. The store sold Alaska Railroad (ARR) cars to tourists and hobbyist. Few, if any, commercial ARR cars or locomotives were available at the time. We eventually stopped “producing” the cars because of a disagreement over the level of detail—the store wanted less; Bob, the ARR railfan, historian, artist, modeler wanted more. Time and money for both sides became issues neither of us could agree on, so we moved on. Now we’re back!

The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado LLC or STR CO LLC, Longmont, CO. is the new, re-established model trains related business
specializing in selling, installing, servicing, repairing and supporting QSI® all scales 2-rail and O-3-rail products. STR CO LLC is the model trains repair and servicing arm of Hiller Enterprises LLC. STR CO LLC sells and installs other manufactures’ products, including those from The Electric RR Company (now owned by Lionel) which make electronics for Lionel TMCC and Legacy Systems; Dallee Electronics, Jak Rollers, and others.

The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado LLC’s slogan and primary reason for existence (besides making money) is “Bridging the Rail Gap with SOUND Solutions and CONTROL for your Model Trains”.

The STR CO LLC was formerly The Scaled Tin Rail™, LLC of Flagstaff, AZ. (STR LLC AZ), owned and operated by Arthur Boynton (deceased). Bob Hiller purchased The STR LLC from the estate of the late Arthur Boynton who passed suddenly in late October 2012. Art and Bob were dear friends and business associates; Both long-time model trains modeler, entrepreneurs and businessmen. Bob relocated The Scaled Tin Rail™ to Longmont, CO (about 40 miles north of Denver) where Bob lives. Bob’s purchase of the STR includes and is not limited to The STR’s trade marks, physical and intellectual assets, and website domain name (THE-SCALED-TIN-RAIL.COM) and content.

Bob re-named the “new” company, “The Scaled Tin Rail™, Colorado LLC or STR CO™LLC-Bridging the Rail Gap with SOUND Solutions and CONTROL for your Model Trains” to differentiate it from the former company and for tax, legal, and other business reasons. The STR CO LLC is registered with the State of Colorado, Department of Revenue. The STR CO™LLC is located at 221 La Paz Place, Longmont, CO 80501 which is also our mailing address. Call us at 303-678-7840; Ask for Bob. Our email address is rehiller@comcast.net. Our website is
“www.The-Scaled-Tin-Rail.com”

PLEASE CONTACT US VIA PHONE, EMAIL OR POSTAL SERVICE BEFORE YOU SEND US ANYTHING YOU WANT US TO SERVICE, REPAIR OR SUPPORT, AND/OR TO ORDER ANY OF OUR PRODUCTS. THANK YOU.

We want to talk with you about your model trains needs/requirements so that we can “get it right” the first time. We, as new owners of a storied brand, will be striving to re-gain your trust and confidence in our customer service and quality that you have come to expect of the The Scaled Tin Rail™.

PLEASE NOTE, that UNLIKE my dear friend, colleague, and fellow model trains person ART Boynton who had an electronics degree from CalPoly, who had training, who had practice, who had experience (all of which “died” when he did) gained in the military and in the electronics business world working for several companies including QSI (20+ years), I DO NOT HAVE HIS ELECTRONICS QUALIFICATIONS, therefore I have a significant learning/training curve to overcome to serve you in a “top-notch” fashion. HOWEVER, I DO HAVE QUALIFIED ASSOCIATES TO ASSIST ME IN SERVING YOUR MODEL TRAINS NEEDS. PLEASE CONTINUE TO CONSIDER US FOR SOUND SOLUTIONS AND CONTROL FOR YOUR MODEL TRAINS.* Thank you. Bob Hiller, Owner, THE STR CO™ LLC.

OUR BUSINESS GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS:

1) Make money and provide for an additional income stream for our family.
2) Provide employment for my family, friends and associates, and company personnel, if any, who help grow Hiller Enterprises LLC and The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado by contributing their time and talents to our business success.
3) Hiller Enterprises LLC continues to produce realistic open-car and vehicle loads for model railroads and vehicles at fair prices resulting in a profit for Hiller Enterprises LLC.
4) The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado continues to offer sound solutions and control for model trains and continues to sell, support, install, service and repair QSI products.
5) We continue to produce and provide unique and useful model railroading products.
6) We continue to meet people and encourage the appreciation for, operation of, and love of trains-the prototype and the models.
7) We continue to be successful in meeting your model trains related needs and wants with products you will purchase.
8) We keep you as a customer.
To these ends we request your suggestions, questions, and comments. Please contact us at 221 La Paz Place, Longmont, CO 80501; phone us at 303-678-7840; email us at rehiller@comcast.net and visit us at our websites www.HillerEnterprises.com and The-Scale-Tin-Rail.com.
Thank you. Bob Hiller

MORE ABOUT BOB:

I’m a 60+ man who enjoys model and prototype railroading, and operating or just “playing with trains.” Part of my enjoyment of the trains hobby is watching and photographing trains (“railfanning”)—all types, sizes and scales of trains. In fact I haven’t found a train I didn’t like. Railfanning aids my business by providing Loads of Fun™ ideas. Customers are also a source of inspiration and idesa I’m in the model railroad business because I like to make money, I like people, I like trains, I am creative, I have creative people working with me, and I support our hobby with products, services, time and interest.

My priorities in life are; God the Creator and His Son Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ; my family; my friends; Creation Care through land, water and air conservation; and making Hiller Enterprises LLC and The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado business successes.

I have been a model trains person/runner since 1958, and model cars and planes modeler before that. Before my on-going adventure with model trains dominated my modeling interests, I recall sitting on my Dad’s lap assembling model cars and planes. Dad had been a modeler in his youth. Dad exercised extreme patience with me, offered helpful advice, was quality control, closely observed and when necessary “supervised” my “proper and safe handling” of EXACTO knives and glues (SAFETY was priority-one with Dad.), strongly recommended reading all the instructions BEFORE proceeding, and most importantly provided lots of love and encouragement. I started modeling with cars and planes. Much later I added trains to the line. I assembled, painted, and decaled the models with great interest, care and love. I managed to fill my bedroom with models. Modeling with Dad was a great learning experience and fun! It set me on a life-long path of teaching others. I eventually graduated to “going it alone”, providing periodic progress reports to Dad, and proudly displaying the final results.

I think I got my first (Lionel or American Flyer) train set for Chritmas 1958, just before moving from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Anchorage, Alaska via the Alaskan-Canada (ALCAN) Highway. Dad was re-assigned by the U.S. Army to Ft. Richardson, Alaska, near Anchorage where we stayed about a year. The trip north in January 1959 was a journey not meant for the faint of heart as my Dad, Mother, 2 sisters and I can attest. Minus 72 degress below zero days on the crude highway was a challenge for "men (and women) and machine. The exact nature/type/manufacturer of that first train set is lost in time and space, though I’ve heard that it was recorded on 8mm film using a Kodak Browny motion-picture camera. My grandparents wanted evidence of our existence and had sent us the camera to record family gatherings and happenings. The film from those “thrilling days of yesteryear” is temporarily misplaced somewhere in my folks house, Palmer, Alaska; or in the Barn at Tanamara which is our family cabin/retreat near Trapper Creek, Alaska. The Christmas train set disappeared during the many military family moves we have made. I really need to find that film in order to reveal the “mystery” trains.

My next train set, which I still have, consists of a Lionel HO Alaska Rail Road (ARR) F unit and some cars and a couple of cabooses. Some of the cars were ready-to-run; others were kits assembled by me, my Dad, or Dad’s U.S. Army ordnance crew. Athearn and Ambroid brands predominated. By this time Dad (and we) had been re-assigned to Ft. Wainwright, Alaska, formerly Ladd, AFB, adjacent to Fairbanks, Alaska. Winters are long, dark and cold in the far north, and Fairbanks, the “Golden Heart of Alaska”, is pretty far north. A good indoor hobby serves to hold “cabin fever” and winter at bay. Dad’s U.S. Army, Alaska work crew consist of soldiers with many interests and talents. The guys needed a creative outlet for their after-work and weekend energies, especially during the long winter months. Of course Mom’s cooking, assorted beverages, and the great hospitality of Hilla Villa may have also motivated the troops to spend time with us. Many of Dad’s work crew were model railroaders; Some had left their layouts behind when duty called; Others helped with the layout to have something useful to do. All crew members had expertise in such fields as electronics or engineering which they applied to the layout project.

We all formed a sort-of “home-based” model railroad club. The ARR “train set” was built and soon running on a 4′×8′ sheet of plywood. An HO layout magically appeared through the steady construction and wiring efforts of my Dad and his crew and with2 some of my help. The whole railroad occupied a center position in our basement in the government Army) quarters on Ft. Wainwright. Soon trains were circling the globe, okay, moving freight in circles on the layout based on a 4×8 sheet of plywood. My railroad empire had sidings, 2 main lines connected by a cross-over, some buildings, and a really cool control panel with press-to-test lighted buttons, some early teflon-coated wiring, and simple Lionel and Marx transformers. It was here that my life-long interest in model railroading really began. It was here that my Alaska Railroad was born. The ARR lives with me today in the form of N-, HO- and O-scale model trains and associated layouts.

Oh. . . . , this layout, a labor of love and friendship, built in our basement, by troops my Dad lead and loved, who used our quarters as a home away from home and a base of operations for weathering the long winters, was presented to me on Christmas Eve 1961. It was wrapped in bright red ribbon and a large, matching bow.

About the time I was considering adding more scenery and buildings (I think I already had a tunnel. Doesn’t everyone?), Dad announced our next assignment/transfer. We were to leave Alaska for parts south ultimately being re-assigned to Savanna Army Depot, Illinois by way of Sandia Base, New Mexico where Dad underwent some training for his new job. The trains were packed, the layout dismantled, its parts packed or discarded. Soon we were on the road again, making another military move. The HO trains, the Alaska Railroad, fell silent, packed away for a very long break that included the rest of grade school, high school, college, and marriage.

The silence was shattered during my active duty Army tour at Ft. Ord, CA., 1972-1976. At Ft. Ord, I met Walt Schuchmann, a fellow officer, brother-in-arms, my (future) life-long friend, and fellow model and prototype trains enthusiast. Walt re-kindled my interest in model trains and trains in general. Walt’s a consummate railfan, works in the real world of prototype trains, and is a very accomplished nationally recognized N-scale model railroader. At the time we met, I was a no-scaler, I had no trains and no layout (The HO trains were still in my folks custody.). We got to talking trains at work one day. Walt invited me to his quarters to see his MONON layout. The rest is a wonderful history of friendship and enjoying family and trains together. He soon civil engineered,“supervised” construction of, and helped me build a 3′×8′ N-scale ARR layout. Eventually, my active duty tour ended and I moved back to Anchorage, Alaska. I continued modeling in N-scale. I joined the Anchorage based Northern Lights Model Railroad Club. The Club modeled Alaska railroading in HO-scale. As a result of the my Club membership, I added (returned to) HO modeling to my repetoire. The N-scale trains lived at home on a layout. The HO ARR lived on the Club layout. My passion for trains and my great friendship with Walt continues to the present. He’s a very dear friend, a fellow railfan, railguide, modeler and an inspiration. Our spouses support our interest, though mine reminds me that there is more to life than trains and the train room. Really? I have met many friends through my years of association with model railroading. The Train Collectors Association (TCA) has nurtured my interest in O-scale, 2- and 3-rail trains. I am currently a member of the OMG2 2-rail O-scale group who own and operate the Longmont Terminal and Northern RR.

Besides an ownership stake in the OMG2 modular and portable layout noted above, I “own and operate” the AlasCan Line Railroad (ALCN) in N- and O-scale, 3-rail layouts. It’s name, Alaska-Canada railroad, derives its name from “Bridging the Rail Gap” between Alaska and the rest of the Americas. The ALCN runs through the wilds of Alaska and Canada roughly paralleling the Alaska Highway connecting with the British Columbia Railroad (BCR) in Ft. Nelson, BC, Canada. The AlasCan Line is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hiller Enterprises LLC. In conjunction with the AlasCan Line, I model and operate a representation of the Alaska Railroad (ARR). These two model railroads (will) reside in my (future) train room/family room as a 3-rail O/O-27 layout combined/blended with the N-scale layout. I also own equipment and model in G, HO, and Z scales. Modeling the ARR-ALCN requires customizing the salient features of Alaska and Canada in my train room. I operate a mix of brands and other roads on the ARR-ALCN.

In 1995 I got my re-start in the model railroading business by buying a “starter” business from QSIndustries (QSI owned by Fred Severson and Pat Quinn), Beaverton, Oregon. QSIndustries is a very successful electronics engineering firm that among other things invents, manufactures, and sells model train control and sounds electronics. The starter business I purchased is about making mineral loads: coal, iron ore and ballast loads for all scales of model trains and vehicles. Under my ownership, the business has expanded to include Pipe Loads of Fun™, my specialty.

As you have read elsewhere, in January 2013, I purchased The Scaled Tin Rail from the estate of a very dear friend, fellow model and prototype railroad enthusiast, and business associate. My friend, Art’s, sudden death from an accident propelled me to offer to purchase The STR of which I was successful. I intend to build on Art’s work and customer service to grow The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado. Recall STR CO is about SOUND Solutions and CONTROL for your model trains. STR CO specializes in QSI products.

The point is of all this is: I like making money; I really like playing with, operating, and working on model trains. I like being creative; I like sharing my hobby with others; I like “scaling-down” and modeling God’s marvelous Creation, the world around us. Additionally, I embrace the whimsies of life, the grounding of family and friends, and the challenge and fun of trains and model railroading.

FINALLY:

There you have it. All of it so far. Please look at the rest of our website for model trains products and services. We hope we can be of service, use and interest to you and yours. Thank you for visiting with us, for taking the time to get to know us and our products and services. We hope you become a customer and/or remain a satisfied customer. In the mean time, Happy Rails to you, until we meet again."—Robert E. Hiller Jr. (aka TrainMan Bob and ARR-FAN), Owner, Hiller Enterprises LLC, and The Scaled Tin Rail, Colorado, Longmont, CO. Last revised 6-2013-REHJr.

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