Rail Tales opened as an independent hobby shop on January 24th 2014!
We are located at 705C Dale Avenue in Charlottesville.
Our hours of operation are:
Tuesday thru Saturday: 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Update March 19th, 2022
Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville are now considered to be low transmission locations. According to CDC guidelines, while this is the case, masks will be optional in the store. Customers who wish to wear masks are welcome to do so.
Should the transmission rate increase or CDC guidelines change, we may revert to a mandatory mask requirement on short notice.
Thank you for your support.
We do close the store for the following holidays: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. We may have modified hours on other holidays.
We may close the store periodically for additional holidays or in order to host special tournament events. Please check our Calendar of Events for these dates.
Directions from anywhere:
We are not actually on Dale Avenue! We are on the backside of the building, so you have to go around on either Albemarle Street or Forest Street.
We are in the middle of the right hand building and have a double door and large “Rail Tales” sign on the building.Directions from Bodos on Preston Avenue:
If you know where the Bodos Bagels on Preston Avenue is, turn in at Harris Street between the Shell Station and Bodos, then immediately turn left onto Dale Avenue (going behind the Shell Station), cross the railroad and immediately turn right down Albemarle Street, then immediately turn left into the big parking lot. We are on the left side in the middle of the building with a big sign.
Directions from Richmond and points east:
Take I-64 west until you reach the St Rt 631/5th Street Charlottesville exit (the 3rd Charlottesville exit if you are coming from Richmond). At the top of the ramp, turn right onto 5th street extended, heading in towards Charlottesville. The road changes names but keeps going straight, becoming Ridge Street, then Ridge McIntire Road. You will pass a Staples on your left (our old location) and the Omni Hotel on your right as you go down a hill. At the base of the hill, turn left at the light onto Preston Avenue. You can turn at Harris Street (just after you cross some railroad tracks) at the Bodos and follow those directions above or you can can go under the railroad bridge and turn at Forest Street, pass Dale Avenue and turn to the right into the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.
Directions from the Shenandoah Valley and points west:
You can follow the directions from Richmond except you are coming from the other direction and the exit will be the 2nd exit. OR: from I-64 east, take the first Charlottesville exit (RT29N/250E) and follow 250E (known locally as ‘the bypass’) past the interchange where RT29 splits off, past Hydraulic Road, past the light for the fire station, past the Rugby Avenue exit to the new McIntire Road/ John Warner Parkway interchange. Take the exit ramp and turn right at the light onto McIntire Road, go through the light for the rescue squad to the next light. Turn right onto Harris street headed up a steep hill. Follow Harris street until you reach Dale Avenue (the last intersection before the street ends at a traffic light). Turn right, cross the railroad tracks and immediately turn right again onto Albemarle Street, then left immediately into our parking lot. Rail Tales will be on your left.
Directions from Lynchburg and points south:
Generally you will be coming up US Route 29. After you pass under Interstate 64, follow the directions for Shenandoah Valley above.
Directions from Washington and points north:
Generally you will be coming down US Route 29. You can follow US 29 S until you come to the intersection with US 250 E (the bypass), go under the bridge and take the ramp to your right to get on US 250E. From there follow the directions for Shenandoah Valley above OR: From US 29S, turn left at the intersection with Rio Road (this is a huge 16+ lane monster of an intersection that is hard to miss) and follow Rio Road until it turns into the John Warner Parkway (keep ‘straight’, following the curving of the road). The parkway will go through one traffic light and then arrive at the intersection with US 250. Proceed under US 250 and you are on McIntire Road. Follow the directions from Shenandoah Valley to turn right on Harris, right on Dale, right on Albemarle after crossing the railroad, and left into our parking lot.
The Rail Tales Retail Store sells:
- Model Trains
- Plastic Models
- Model Building Supplies (paints, tools, wood, plastic, metal)
- Scenery Making Supplies
- Electronic Systems associated with Model Trails
- Magic the Gathering cards and products
- Books and Magazines associated with trains and models.
- Model Rockets, Motors, and accessories (new for March 2017)
Note: Rail Tales used to be located next to Staples in a space it shared with Cville’s Hobbies, Games and Toys. Rail Tales is no longer associated with Cville’s Hobbies, Games, and Toys. Cville Hobbies, Games and Toys has gone out of business and its assets have been sold at auction. We do not have any contact information for the former owners.
Current Railroad product line
Rail Tales is an Authorized Dealer for Atlas, Blackstone, Broadway Ltd., Hornby/Riverossi, Fleischmann/Roco, Intermountain, Marklin/Trix/LGB, Micro-trains, MTH, Ross Custom Switches, Soundtraxx, Walthers, and Woodland Scenics.
We carry products from many other manufacturers as well (see below).
Rail Tales stocks products for G gauge (added 2019), O gauge, HO gauge, Marklin HO systems, HOn3 gauge, N gauge, and Z gauge (added 2021).
For O gauge, we stock MTH sets, MTH and Williams locomotives and rolling stock as well as O-27, Standard O, Lionel Fastrack track systems, MTH Realtrax track systems, and Ross Custom Switches track systems plus numerous accessories. We service and repair all Williams, all MTH, Marx, and older (pre circuit board) Lionel items. We can also service and repair some other brands of large scale trains. We do not repair Lionel Legacy and TMCC items. We do not repair transformers.
For 2 rail HO gauge, we stock locomotives and rolling stock from Accurail, Atlas, Bachmann, Bowser, Broadway Limited, Fox Valley, Intermountain, Kato, MTH, Riverossi, Tichy, Trix, Walthers, and others, including a significant stock of previously owned items. We also stock Atlas, Bachmann, Kato, Peco, and Walthers track systems* and numerous accessories. We have a selection of previously owned Fleishmann, Lilliput, and Roco trains. We can service and repair most brands of HO trains but due to personnel limitations, we currently only work on 2 rail products sold by us.
(*Shinohara used to make the Walthers track products but is now out of business. New Walthers products are being introduced)
NOTE that most new HO Locomotives and rolling stock items are discounted off MSRP every day. We give a 20% discount for cash and 15% for credit cards.
For Marklin fans, We are a Marklin servicing dealer and have on hand train sets, locomotives and rolling stock plus we carry the full “C Track” line and have numerous support products for Marklin by other companies as well. We have a large stockpile of repair parts and we service and repair Marklin trains in HO scale all the way back to the origins of HO. We have an assortment of previously owned Marklin and Marklin compatible locomotives, rolling stock, M track, and transformers, some in ‘mint-in-box’ condition.
For HOn3, we carry Blackstone locomotives and rolling stock plus rolling stock kits by other manufacturers plus code 70 narrow gauge track systems and support products. Note that all new HOn3 Locomotives and rolling stock items are discounted off MSRP every day. We give a 20% discount for cash and 15% for credit cards, however, Blackstone production is currently suspended for most items and the current availability is very low.
For N gauge, we stock locomotives and rolling stock from Atlas, Bachmann, Bluford Shops, Fox Valley, Kato, Intermountain, Microtrains, Walthers, and others. We stock Atlas, Kato, and Peco track systems and accessories. We can service and repair most brands of N scale trains but due to personnel limitations, we only currently work on products purchased from us. Come in and see our N scale layout “Shadow Canyon”
Note that all new N Locomotives and rolling stock items are discounted off MSRP every day. We give a 20% discount for cash and 15% for credit cards.
For your digital needs, we carry Marklin, NCE, and Soundtraxx digital systems and decoders which we will install for you if necessary. See Going Digital
We speak DCC, whether its for an American or European system. We can explain DCC systems to you and discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of the different systems. We install DCC format and Marklin (Motorola/Mfx) format decoders and set up layout systems in both formats as well.
For your electrical needs, we carry a full range of lighting and control systems and we have pre-assembled control boards. We can teach you how to set up the systems yourself or we can do it for you. See Educational Services and Layout Services.
For your scenery needs, we carry Woodland Scenics, JTT, Peco, Scenemaster, and Busch items in quantity and also have a selection of items from other manufacturers. We carry wood and plastic structural building kits in O, HO, and N scale with the detail parts, automobiles, and people needed to flesh out any scene. We have a large selection of European style buildings, structure scratch building supplies, and previously owned kits. Finally, we sell structures already built, either by a manufacturer or by persons who sold the finished product to us or by our own staff under the Kraff T Fox Model name. So build it yourself, buy one we’ve already built, or have us custom build to your specifications. See Model Services and Kraff T Fox Models.
Don’t have anything but a dream? We carry starter sets but we know most of the time a standard starter set doesn’t really have what you want so we’ll make a custom starter set that fits your plan and give you a discount on the whole thing just to help get your railroad empire going. We also help you choose what you need to get started.
Current Plastic Modelling Product Lines
For your modelling needs, we have in stock several hundred model kits including cars, aircraft, armored vehicles, historical figures, sailing ships, warships, and all manner of science fiction and fantasy kits.
We carry models by Academy, Aeshima, Airfix, AMT, Bandai, Caesar Miniatures, Dragon/DML, Hasegawa, HAT, Imex, Kitty Hawk, Lindberg, Masterbox, MiniArt, MPC, Panda, Pegasus, Polar Lights, Revell, Tamiya, Trumpeter, Zvezda, and many, many more. We also have detail parts to help you add that little bit of extra to any model.
We carry the Bandai Gundam and Star Wars model kits. These models are difficult to get in the US but we buy them whenever we can and stock whatever is available to us.
For your building and painting needs, we feature Vallejo paint and modelling materials and have some AKI, Badger, and Humbrol products as well. Note: Testors Model Master and Acryll brands have been discontinued by the manufacturer. We carry a wide variety of brushes, knives, saws, and other tools plus various glues, other adhesives, and lubricants.
We stock Hunterline stains, a unique and extremely versatile weathering product.
We carry styrene sheet and shape stock by Evergreen and we carry K&S metal wire, tube and rods. We also have some wood scale lumber stock and a basswood assortment.
For painting railroad projects, we carry the Badger Modelflex Railroad colors or you can use Vallejo equivalents (which is our usual choice).
No hobby shop can hope to carry everything. However, if we don’t have it, we can usually get it in a few days. We welcome special orders and can get almost anything available somehow. Order through us and not only do you support a local business and avoid shipping fees, we actually give you a substantial discount on your special order just to say ‘thank you’ for keeping your business with us! For cash orders, the discount for most products is 20%.
Want something that isn’t available yet? Let us know and we can reserve it for you. You get an extra discount for ordering in advance and in most cases, if you change your mind, no problem! Just let us know before the item is shipped to us and we can cancel your order with no return fee.
Have a particular area of interest but don’t like trying to keep up with all that’s out there? Let us know what you’re into and we’ll contact you when something you might want is announced. That’s right, Rail Tales is happy to be your personal shopper! Just email us with your contact information and interest or bring a list into the store. Rail Tales not only does your shopping for free, we give still give you a discount for ordering the item from us.
Don’t know where to get started or what to do with what you have? Come in during our open consultation hours or set up an appointment with our planning staff and we’ll review your needs and limitations and work out a plan that fits your budget and makes the best use of what you already have. We do on site consultation at your home as well. If you choose Rail Tales to assist in your project, the site consultation is free.
The Rail Tales store wants to sell you product to enjoy but more important to us is that you enjoy the product.