Home Shops – What’s in the Name?

Welcome to Home Shops LLC and our very first blog post!


First impressions are important.  Once I decided to take the leap and go all-in with the business concept of bringing a variety of Freelance Model Railroad products to market, one of the first big decisions for me was what to name the company.  After all the name is a major component of every visitor’s first impression, so this decision could not be taken lightly.


Criteria for name selection included something railroad related as well as something that would appeal to modelers. 


As a kid I would often listen to the Southern Railway and later the Norfolk Southern Train Dispatcher issuing lineups (a practice that no longer takes place) over the radio for the NO&NE district into New Orleans.  The Train Dispatcher would announce what time southbound trains has O.S.’d or passed “Shops” which is a location in the timetable in Meridian, Mississippi.  With a booming voice he might announce: “Train No. 369, engine NS 7072 South, is by Shops at 0514.”  I always thought that the name Shops was neat, conjuring up images of all the work that might have taken place at such a location.



Ever since then I have always had a fascination with railroad shop facilities.  I have had the opportunity to visit, tour, and even work with a number of railroad related shop facilities, both locomotive and car.  To watch the work that takes place in a railroad shop is an exciting experience!


I had considered calling the company simply “Shops,” however there are many variants of that name in use by a number of companies.  Not only that, all of the reasonable web domain names were taken.  Then I came across the below image of a common decal, or label if you will, that nearly all railfans have observed placed on railroad equipment at one time or another:



The decal reads “HOME SHOP FOR REPAIR DO NOT LOAD”.  Bingo!  There was the name for this new company!


In the railroad world, a railroad fits into either the “Home Road” or the “Foreign Road” category depending on the context and the situation.  Home Road refers to railroad company assets that are physically on the property of the owning entity.  For example a Union Pacific hopper car that is physically on the Union Pacific’s own property would be considered to be on its Home Road.  If that car were interchanged to another railroad like the CSX for movement to a customer, the car would then be on a Foreign Road. 


Occasionally, while on a foreign road, a freight car will incur some type of mechanical defect that does not require immediate repair for safety reasons.  These cars will be placed in “BH” or Bad Order Home status and their next routing will be back to a shop facility on the Home Road for repair and not to a customer for loading.  These shop facilities are what the “HOME SHOP” portion of the above sticker refers to.


Model Railroaders have their own “Home Shops” of sorts, either in their basement, garage, spare bedroom, or even at a club where they keep all of their supplies and tools used for modeling.  For most, their own hobby workspace is a place of comfort where the engage in this hobby because of the enjoyment it brings and the escape it provides from the many complex issues in their lives.


For the Freelance or Proto-Freelance model railroader, the Home Shop takes on even more meaning and their work space really is the Home Shop for the entity that he or she has created!


My hope is that members of the freelance model railroad community will be delighted to run our Limited Edition freelance freight cars through their own “Home Shops” to set up for service on their own railroads.


Thank you for visiting and enjoy what is to come!!!


Christopher M Palmieri