Christmas is approaching. Yet in the Jura region of France, a heartbreaking model train incident recently unfolded. Jura Modélisme, one of the biggest model train retailers in France suffered a devastating blow. On October 29, 2023, a fire engulfed their facility. Turning a treasure trove of model trains, some unique and irreplaceable, into ashes.

This wasn’t just any company. Jura Modélisme, a family business started 40 years ago, was more than a store; it was a repository of memories and craftsmanship.  What made this even more poignant was the timing – right before the bustling holiday season, a crucial period for any retailer, especially one specializing in model trains. The fact that Jura Modélisme is French is also interesting: in Europe, many of the big online players are German.
Now, I have absolutely not link to Jura Modélisme (though I did place some orders there and was always satisfied), but it did find it sad to see a thriving model train business being so hard hit.

The impact was massive, but Jura Modélisme are navigating these challenging times with the support of their customers base and the broader community.
They are already looking ahead, planning to move into a new warehouse early next year. But they now face the gargantuan task of rebuilding their stock from scratch, which they have started doing already.

This incident at Jura Modélisme is a stark reminder of the fragility of our old hobby and the businesses that (still) fuel them. It’s a call to all of us in the model railroading community to remember the retailers in our hobby.
There was for example some (according me – justified) outrage about Hornby trying to bypass the retailers in the UK for their new TT scale ranges. So let’s show our support, not just through words but through actions – whether it’s by purchasing from them once they’re back on their feet or simply spreading the word. The same applies especially if you have an actual physical model train store not far away from where you live.

For those who want to delve deeper into the story of Jura Modélisme and its aftermath, I encourage you to read the detailed report in French here (

As we continue to enjoy our hobby, let’s not forget to support both local and online retailers, in our countries and beyond. They’re not just stores; they’re keepers of our shared passion. Most owners help us, give advice, maintain the – sometimes a bit outdated but all so comfortable – model train store vibe. They deserve our backing.
After all, we’re not just (mostly guys) alone in our attics. Enjoy the holidays!

(Picture showing “Modelleisenbahnen An u Verkauf”, a second hand store in Vienna, Austria, that I visited in 2023)