If you’d like to ferret through years and years of posts, and find all the ones relevant to what you’re doing right now in your layout, and still get all the mailings as normal, you’ll love the Golden Key ‘search box’.

But it comes at a cost. Sorry. Don’t worry though, it won’t break the bank – just $9.97. And that’s for life too. So one payment gets you a life time of searching. You can search until the cows come home, it’s yours for good.

You’ll also be supporting this site too because it’s starting to dig in to my coffers a little too much for my liking (and way past breaking point for the ray of sunshine known as Mrs Lee.)

Here’s what ‘the golden key’ will do for you. Press play and have a look:

Click here to buy the Golden Key Search Page.

79 Responses to Search

  1. I have enjoyed your pages over the past few years I understand your need to begin a paid subscription service. The best of luck to you, sir.


  2. Subscription? No, Joe. It’s just a one time, one off payment…

  3. Al,

    I enjoy receiving your e-mails and will gladly pay the fee to continue. Who knows, maybe one day I will have something to contribute. My railroad is G scale and hangs 9 inches below the ceiling in my dining room and kitchen.

  4. Al,

    Cheap at twice the price. As a relative newcomer to model railroading, your site with its tips and how-to info from experienced builders are invaluable to me. A great website I can’t afford to give up.

    Thanks and Best, Derek

    PS: Also picked up the great nine building offer.

  5. Have enjoyed the ride, looks like the last ticket. Cost may not be much but I have just recently canceled my last mag subscription to save save costs. Wife, kids and mortgage doesn’t leave much for me.

    “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”

    Cheers, Ike

  6. I just paid my lifetime dues :) (hopefully) I really enjoy these emails!

  7. its been fun, but I too must ride off into the sunset due to financial abilities.
    so sad not to be able to start my day off with your site.
    so long and good railing to you all !!

  8. This is a real bargain!

  9. Hello, Al!
    You have worked for free for all of us a lot of time…! So, Thank you very much!!!!
    Javier, Spain

  10. Thank you for the months of sharing the efforts of others in this great hobby (obsession???). But being a pensioner and not being involved in monetary transactions over the net I must therefore say good bye after your final email. Carry on with the good work.

  11. You deserve some remuneration for all that you have done. Thank you. I shall gladly pay.

  12. Al,you have been wonderfull putting all of the information out to every one ,on a very limited budget so please cansel me out
    Thank you John C.

  13. Can’t afford not receiving your emails. They are the highlight of the day ,so I just signed up .Keep them coming and good luck and thank you for all your hard work.

  14. Al can I post money to you ? as I don’t have a visa.

  15. I love your emails and congratulate you on your good work, but I won’t have the $24AU for another two weeks. I hope I go back on the list automatically then. It looks like a lot of us are pensioners! Thanks, Cheryl

  16. Hi Al,
    I have enjoyed receiving your mail in the past years. I just subscribe for the Golden Key. Keep them coming… It is a great inspiration for the hobby. Thanks for all your hard work.

  17. Hi Al, long time reader first time poster. Love your emails and read each one. As a retired self funded person money is always tight but I believe this service is worth the cost. I appreciate everything you do on this site and wish you well in the future.
    Regards, Ted

  18. Hi Al, At first, I was against this, but then I read the bit about a one-time payment. $20 ain’t bad, I’ll get a key on payday this week :) I’ve learned a lot and seen some great layouts!

  19. Al,
    Have always enjoyed the emails, who knows, someday maybe I’ll get the layout together enough to post!!

    $20.00, a bargain at twice the price..


  20. Al,
    I too would like to continue to receive your e-mails, however
    I would like to send you a money order. Is that a possibility?

    John C

  21. Thanks for the site.

    Will the link to the Golden Key remain open for a while, even if we do not receive any more emails? I want to wait til the end of the month.

  22. Thank you so much for all the inspirational effort and hard work you’ve put in over the years.
    Unfortunatley I’ve just cahanged my occupation and subsequently finances have dropped, so looks like it’s the end of the line for myself.
    I wish you all the best for the future & once again many thanks,

  23. I would like to say a very BIG thank you for all your inspiring tips and all the hard work you have put in over the years in helping me with my layouts and all the answers for the problems I have encountered hope to hear from you again soon when finances inprove

  24. Paid with pleasure. Thanks for your extraordinary devotion to duty! Although a ‘Continental N Gauger’ & thus not the precise target of most of your material, it’s been a pleasure to see all, learn a fair bit, &, as with all dyed in the wool modellers, simply enjoy the sharing and satisfaction of everyone else’s pleasure & enthusiasm. All the best. AS

  25. Every piece of information you have sent has been exceptional!
    If there is a Dollar expected let me know.
    Many thanks

  26. Hi Al,
    I’m happy to be able to contribute to your website. I always look forward to your emails and seeing what others do on their model railroads. Due to health issues I haven’t been able to continue on my layout. I’m in the process of dismantling it now and will have many train and layout components to hopefully sell so if anyone would like my email please give it to them. I’m considering creating a much smaller N scale layout. Keep up the good work and as always I look forward to all of your emails. Thank You.
    Barry Palmer
    Lakeville, MN, USA

  27. Thank you Al for this site and all the ideas and info I received while building my o scale layout. I will share pictures of this with you and the rest when I’m a little more finished. I will jump back on this site several months down the road when finances allow me to, because i know I’m going to miss it. Thanks again.

  28. i have enjoyed sooo many of the articles for so long, they all offer something interesting. hope you can keep it going.

  29. It’s a sad day alrite but I was so happy to see someone’s work I’m tryi g to find some one who I will pay to have them charge the subriscription
    Thank you so much al
    Frank and SkipperB-)))))

  30. So sad, always enjoyed the posts.

    But as other above say money is tight.

    So I bid you all a fond fairwell

  31. Hi, Will try to purchase golden Key right after S.S. Check around the first of the month. While I play a bit with ‘O’
    gauge, My pleasure as an Electronics Tech in repair all My
    life, Has been helping others with electrical / electronics problems, as my time permits. 74 years old, but still much to do. My biggest hurtle so far has been locating a 555 timing circuit to flash slow enough for crossing lights. Asked several times in this avenue, but found in a vague location of Google recently.

    Thanks for whatever I’v observed/ You’ve posted.


  32. I have enjoyed your site, it has been a pleasure to view it

  33. Thanks for all of the insight you’ve provided us into model railroading.. I have ho and Lionel which I haven’t even layed out.. Due to finances, I won’t be able to continue to follow you.. Daughter actually pays for my puter connection… Thanks.. Best wishes to you and all the other train folks..

  34. Hi Al, Sorry to hear that you will have to do this. While I understand, I will miss your mailings, I am disabled & on fixed income, can barely meet my expensses now so even the $20 cost is like a million to me, I will surely miss the mailings. To help make ends meet I have been selling off a lot of my own collection & remaining items from a closed train shop on as bh18088 Have fun modeling everyone!

  35. Hi Al, Thanks for everything but we would like to see you on our list. As an amateur even, we always enjoyed your input to this site.

  36. Hi Al, a sad farewell but once again I do understand and wish you all the best.
    Thanks for all your hard efforts and the tips, a great job

  37. Hi Mr. Lee
    I have been with sites before that have gone from free to fee and still don’t know why. Other than your time, what is it that actually costs you out of pocket money? Are you paying for help? What supplies might be required to use this digital media format? What am I missing here? Just so you know where I am coming from, I too would not be able to do something for free if doing so caused me to spend my own money. It’s simply a matter of me not be able to get my mind around what it is that costs you money. Again, other than your time. Really do hope I hear back from you, because I have enjoyed this site for at least a year and have learned much from it.


  38. Hi Al,
    I’ve very much enjoyed your emails. So much so that I have saved all of them. As a former BBS SysOp, I understand full well the expense involved in such an operation.

  39. I have enjoyed and used many of the ideas and stories I have read on your site and watched many of the layouts. THANK YOU!! I for one will miss you.

  40. So where do I send my check?

  41. I like what you have provided in the past and therefore am signing up. It will be greatly appreciated if you would always provide the gauge of the layouts and posts you provide. I would like to search by model train gauge. In addition, because I will be in the UK next year and live in the U.S., I would like to visit some to the modelers of your posts. Is there anyway you can act as an intermediary or provide a directory of modelers who wouldn’t mind showing off their fine work in person?

  42. yes i just sent email asking about donations when i clicked and seen the credit card info i will gladly pay to keep the emails coming i will submit payment within a few days need to shift money to my paypal and will pay vis them thanks again and please keep them coming there very helpful and some are amazing

  43. Would like this to continue.

  44. Al,
    It is like an old steam engine pulling up a steep grade … once upon a time no problem. Now, is the issue the 10 extra cars … or is it the steeper grade. Just can’t get it done anymore. So you put another engine in the rear to push. That will get her done. This is an extra cost. I understand. Nothing is forever … no guilt trip … just appreciated what you have given to each of us without any cost to us. This alone deserves a special thank you to you Al, for all you have done for each of us. For all the e-mails; pictures; videos; narratives; tips; etc. you have brought to us from all the contributors. Wow … awesome.
    Someday I will find a way to put that engine behind that train and push that train over the steep grade (purchase the Golden Key) For now I will be looking for that engine.

    These last two years have been a great ride. For now I must gracefully bow out … hoping to get back someday soon. Will miss this e-mail … that is a fact … but have no regrets only sincere thanks. Keep on training!

    Best wishes,
    Best regards.

    Tom Timberman
    Taneytown, Md.

  45. Thank you Al and thank you to whom purchased me the golden key, I do love reading your mails I would not have been able to purchase the golden key. I will send you some pics of my layout when I get the track work right.


  46. I too have enjoyed your site and info and was about to sign up until I read someone’s response about costs. I read the reasons which is why I am asking as I hear you saying costs but besides the monthly connection fee please let me know the other costs so I understand. I do a lot of VOLUNTER work and send out many emails a day besides my routine monthly fee ,if I send out ten or 10,000 emails I do not pay any more . If you have paid people working for you, coping pics from others etc then I might very well be willing to pay, I put in thousands of hours I do not get paid for, I’m retired love what I do and even costs me as I need uniforms ,cleaning expenses, travel and more, my choice , VOLUNTER fireman, same and dangerous, please just let us know the costs, and if it’s just you need to make a living as it takes you away from paid jobs ,then say that as that alone is legitimate, just tell us what the money is for , do appreciate what you have done over the years ,thanks

  47. What a sad day. Thank you for a valuable resource.
    Well here in Australia things are getting bad, a new Government Budget is squeezing the life blood out of us. This means as a retired pensioner my finances are now stretched.
    Goodbye and Good Luck.

  48. THANKS. For these pages over the time. I Have been storing the links I Have received into there own eMail folder , so I can reopen any of the many Great Links I Have stored. again Many Thanks. Anthony Australia

  49. Figure me in on subscription. To good to loose! Thanks!

  50. I understand the need for some cash, Isn’t everything costing more each day. Thanks to our Government out of control and corruption.
    I do no wish my Credit Car as I just received a new one due to some one trying to get some money free. Fortunately it was caught on time.
    Please tell me what is the cost you want to receive and if agreeable to my budget, I will send you a personal check Send it to me Via E. mail, or you can call me by phone.
    Thanks for you wonderful work.

  51. Just Pay-Paled it Al.
    You may see another email address on the PP ticket but keep using this for any posts.
    I think that it is an economically priced magazine.
    The best of luck with your new venture.

  52. Steve – have a look at the costs:

  53. Hi Duwayne Virnig could use 2 I second flashing leds. 3mm I did it and it works.I have a few diagrams and will have a look.will forward to Al.

  54. Best of luck and continued success, Al. I’ve enjoyed your posts, and will continue, I’m sure. The information has been great, and I thank you for your efforts. My payment for the Golden Key is but a small token of my appreciation. I know that I’ll enjoy and benefit from your efforts in the future.
    Dave Uhrmann
    Lansing, Michigan USA

  55. sorry to hear this:( unfortunetly as a pensioner on uk stae pension theres no way i can afford to contribute. good luck for the future, the video`s and how to will sadly be missed

    i`ll have to look elsewhere now for insperation. i dont know where though. magazines cost too much

  56. Hello Al,
    thanks for the continuity over the years.
    I just paid with PayPal! I do not want to miss even a hint!
    I hope to read you soon.
    Matteo (Italy)

  57. Hi Al,
    Thank you for all your emails, I have received them over the past two to three years and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I wish you all the best for the future.
    Best wishes

  58. Hi Al,
    Just got back from a wonderful holiday and found a bit of time to catch up on emails etc. Sad news from you but these things happen and I have saved each email you have ever sent me so I’ve a lot to look back on.

    Best wishes for the future.


  59. I was just getting started into HO modelling. I have enjoyed the few posts that I have watched. Thank you again for all the info gained. Good luck with your new venture. Incidentally, how many subscribers do you have at present? Before the surcharge.

  60. Hi Al
    Would love to continue but like all of us in theUK times are hard
    Have really enjoyed your emails and will be sad not to receive them anymore
    Well done on all the hard work you have put into the site you truly deserve a pat on the back.
    Best wishes for the future

  61. You save me more than $20 so I just signed up. Great value. Ok the rest of you cheap bastards count up how much you spend on magazines a year and they are full of adverts.

  62. Good afternoon Al.
    You provide us with a wonderfully inspirational resource which OF COURSE costs you over and above your time. I paid the one off charge gladly and would have done so from day one.
    I get the feeling that some of your followers think that you have just finished, and do not understand your message re payment. I am also a pensioner being careful with money but what fantastic value you offer.
    I am extremely grateful to you and your contributors, especially Dave Howarth. What a star he is!
    Your very appreciatively

  63. Hi Al,
    Signed up for the Golden Key last week through Clickbank. All went smoothly and I printed out my confirmation of the transaction. Today I went to “Andrey’s oil condenser” and “Andrey’s friend’s oil condenser”. I was denied access to one of the sites and was instructed that I needed to purchase the Golden Key, which I have already done. I placed the archives on my favorites list and have had no problem accessing anything. Please let me know if there is a problem. Faithful follower for three years, thanks for all the “free” everythings.
    Still a fan,

  64. I would like to thank you for all of the info sent to me, so I could fwd it to my nephews and a friend. But if I will have to buy a search engine then I will just have to be taken off the mailing list. I am out of work and have not means to continue to get your emails, so be it. Thanks again for all of the info sent over the last few years they have been truly inspiring.

  65. Hi Al,

    The service you have provided is not really appreciated by many but I certainly do, so please keep up your great messages and all the members who send you their layouts, particularly Dave. I am still to start mine even though I have been planning for over a year so I will now make a move and start tomorrow. All the best from Australia.
    Richard P.

  66. Hi Al. I really do look forward to your emails. Sadly being long time unemployed have to say thanks for all the great emails. But sadly will not be buying the golden key. thanks again Al and goodbye.

  67. Hi Al
    Look forward to the daily feast of ideas tips and other peoples layouts. Paying by monthly instalments 99p really isn’t a lot for what you get. Hope to upload pictures of my layout in the new year as I’m getting a camera for Christmas. My layout is 18 months in and still lots to do. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all

  68. You know Al these people who can’t afford to purchase the Gold Key will spend £7-00 odd for a Packet of cigs every day, or Enjoy a pint or two each night at about £3-00 a pint, at weekends. Just a thought in passing Keith G.

  69. Not sure I can see how a one time payment can keep you in business “forever”. When I ran my own business I surely had a heap of monthly recurring bills to be paid…which would not work on a one time payment. Even if 100% invested, the earnings will be minuscule, at today’s interest rates.

    Good luck.


  70. It seems that every thing model railroad cost something I have been coming to this site for the past year and have read about what others have been doing with and about their railroads,Now I am sorry like a lot of us older folks I am on a very limited budget and I don’t have that amount all at one time it seems that maybe you could break it up into 4 or 5 payments …. like maybe 5 dollars a month for 5 months for those of us who are a bit low on the budget. Like most things Model Rail Road they are costly it is a shame this site also has to go in that direction.


  71. I also have bought the golden key,,, and I think its worth every penny just from the information and ideas I’ve already gotten,, and I am looking forward to getting all the future post’s!! thanks al for all your hard work and dedication to this great hobby, and all us readers of your great site
    all the best,,, joe,k

  72. Fare thee well Al, and best wishes from Down Under.
    Regards, Colin.

  73. I pay $150 a year for Dr Who magazine this is far better content and value.

  74. Well done sir on the sterling work over the years. Sorry to hear you are going but don’t blame you as anyone should not totally expect things for free and if they are worth their salt should be willing to pay this small amount to keep up to date. Keep on the good work in the meantime.

  75. thanks for al the hints & help
    many regards
    Michael from Austraia

  76. Wonderful work Al. I have enjoyed so much reading and viewing the contributions from around the world (from my little ol’ corner of Adelaide in South Australia. I will certainly pay a one-off to continue seeing the gems which you have worked so hard to collate. You are a champion and thanks so very much.

  77. Hi Al.

    Well I thought about not paying but when you broke your costs down the other week it makes perfectly good sense why you now have to charge this one off fee. I like others wonder how on earth you will be able to continue forward with this business without charging additional monies along the way?

    But with this in mind I`m still willing to part with my money and purchase your golden key! The site really is worth every penny and it`s all under one roof with people all of the same mind set.

    All the best.

    JohnE UK

  78. I’ll gladly sign up for the Golden Key as yours is the only email I look forward to. A question I have, does anyone have information on the layout at the top of Al’s emails? I’d love to do it Thank You Al for what you do

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