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Republic Locomotive Works

Company Profile


Republic Locomotive Works was conceived in 1987 by David Spence, then owner of Master Creations. He was working in HO Scale and creating craftsman building kits. He had the opportunity to purchase from Jim Platt the decals, HOn3, Sn3, On3, Nn3 etchings and molds for the Nn3 kits that Bob Sloan originally made. Bob Sloan is a retired geology professor from the University of Minnesota. Bob wrote the Rainbow Route, an excellent book about the narrow gauge railroads around Silverton Colorado. Being interested in Narrow Gauge, Bob designed and developed many of the items that we sell today. When the Gold Rush Models came out, Bob sold everything to Jim Platt. Jim had no particular claim to fame, giving away what stock Bob had, to his friends. Jim was VP of a precious metal plating outfit and had no interest in doing anything with Bob's work. Master Creations(MC) only interest was in acquiring the decals for their Clear Creek Models line. So they contacted Tom Knapp about acquiring everything but the decals. Tom in turn contacted me, Marshall Thomson, about acquiring the line. I am also an avid narrow gauge fan and quickly agreed. After MC discovered the potential for negative capital flight with very little return, they sold the decals to me as well.

I graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1968 with a BS in Forest Engineering. Graduation day I left for the Philippines. I was involved in logging the rainforest of southeast Asia. I worked for Boise Cascade and Weyerhaeuser in Sabah and Sarawak (Borneo), Singapore, Malaya, and Indonesia. I did not do the actual logging but rather surveyed and laid out roads using natives that I trained. Moira and I returned to the US in 1972, at which time I took the job as head engineer for Weyerhaeuser in Longview, WA. I have run a heavy construction company in Longview for over 25 years except for the year and half that Moira and I spent in the Philippines in 1988 and 89.

Current Makeup

Republic Locomotive Works consists of Marshall & Moira Thomson, and two additional part-time employees to help in packaging kits and filling orders. Marshall runs the website. My wife is CFO. Her duties are to count the money, enter orders into quick books and answer the phone when I am not here. These are her only duties; she does not answer train questions, so don't ask any. We were high school sweethearts and have been married for over 44 years. I retired at the end of 2008 when the company that I managed closed. It did not close because we were losing money, on the contrary we made and kept too much money so the owners did not want to put their capital at risk, by continuing business as usual. It was obvious that work was not there, for the forseeable future and it would cost money to keep the business open. This was not my decision. I would have stayed in construction but now I am too old, being of retirement age. Now I run RLW, travel several times a year to foreign countries and try to keep healthy.

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Republic Locomotive Works
The Source for N Scale Narrow Gauge.
Phone: 360-577-6479 Fax: Call to setup