Meet the MRN Staff
Tony Cook was born and raised in rural central Illinois. His father Terry was an avid railfan and model railroader and Tony grew up surrounded by trains. Tony’s first train trip was on Gulf, Mobile & Ohio and The Milwaukee Road from his home in downstate Illinois to Milwaukee, where his father was working for Walthers in the late 1960s. An avid collector, Tony documents model railroading’s past with his HO-Scale Trains Resource collection of websites.
Tony’s past efforts include handing marketing and public relations for Union Station Kansas City, where he served for a dozen years before moving to rail publishing and joining the team at White River Productions. In 2011, Tony was named editor of Model Railroad News. In 2016, Tony became editor of the quarterly publication HO Collector with Tony Lucio. In addition, Tony helps archive WRP’s vast library of railroad images.
Tony is a regular contributor on Lionel Strang’s “A Modelers Life” podcast, discussing a wide range of hobby subjects. Tony presents a twice monthly news podcast, as well as hosting “The X2f Files” monthly podcast that focuses on model railroad history.
Contact Tony Cook here.
David Otte is the longest serving contributor on our staff staff and has been writing for Model Railroad News for nearly two decades. David brings his years of experience to help guide and determine the product review mix for the magazine.
David Otte was first bitten by the rail bug at age 10, when an HO-scale electric train set appeared under the tree Christmas morning. Bolstered by stories of his grandfather working for the Santa Fe, he soon became an avid railfan, collecting memorabilia, visiting railroad related sites, and amassing a library of railroad history, while layouts in a variety of scales continued to populate the family basement.
A part-time job at a local hobby shop during high school began David’s career in the hobby industry, moving up to assistant store manager during his college years, and then becoming a commercial model builder at a well-established Midwest architectural model firm. Since 1995, he has been involved in the manufacturing end of the hobby and joined the staff of MRN as a contributing writer in 1999. Besides his continued affair with all things train related, David also enjoys traveling, genealogy research, and studying Civil War history in his free time.
Contact David Otte here.
Shane T. Mason
Shane T. Mason is an avid electronics and N-scale model railroad enthusiast. His interest in reproducing what he sees and enjoys in contemporary railroad prototypes is focused on sound and operation features. Shane is one of the youngest persons ever to be on the regular editorial staff of a monthly hobby publication. Coming from a railroading family, his grandfather worked for the Missouri Pacific and later Union Pacific. A native of the Kansas City, Mo., Shane also hosts videos on his Brakeman 17 YouTube channel and is a regular contributor to the podcast “A Modelers Life.”
Contact Shane T. Mason here.
Tony Lucio grew up in a Chicago donut hole surrounded by tracks feeding one of the nation’s busiest railroad terminals: the Belt Railway Company’s Clearing Yard, where almost anything and everything from everyone might be seen. When the G.I. Joe set loco from his Christmas train set expired in smoke just a few months into service, a deep fascination for mechanics was fostered. Several years passed before his visited a well stocked hobby shop to begin his “serious” entry into the model railroading hobby.
The Saint Canard Midland is his HO scale proto-freelance layout, set in the 1975-1985 era and heavily influenced by Chessie System and Rock Island operations of the time. He’s restored three Penn Line Reading Crusaders (though he has never owned one), and created graphics and decals for projects displayed around the world. Despite numerous award-winning models, his philosophy remains firmly rooted in the tagline “Model Railroading is Fun” – so he doesn’t always take the hobby too seriously.
Tony’s hobby credits include efforts published in Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, Scale Rails, New York Central System Historical Society’s Central Headlight, and various online resources. He edited the NMRA MCR Division 10 newsletter for a few years, and ran a website documenting TYCO history and repair for several more. Tony Lucio joined Model Railroad News as a reviewer in 2011, and became a contributing editor in 2018.
An advocate of public service, Tony built an information technology career supporting education, healthcare, and court of justice pursuits. In addition to all facets of model trains, he is endlessly distracted by repairing and restoring vintage electronics, cars, clocks, furniture, and pinball machines. He also enjoys hiking and biking, history, abandoned places, and graphic design. He currently lives in Frankfort, Ky., with his wife and two daughters.
Contact Tony Lucio here.
In the mid-70s, he was transplanted to Southern Oregon, home of Southern Pacific’s colorful Siskiyou Line known for its “Cadillacs” and “Tunnel Motors” along with its famous US&S Style B lower quadrant semaphores.
After working as an editor for several computer magazines from the mid-1980s to the early 90s, Mike launched Model Railroad News in 1995 and continued publishing the magazine through 2011 before joining the White River Productions family. Mike currently holds the position of Advertising Director and currently oversees advertising for Model Railroad News, Passenger Train Journal, Railfan & Railroad, Railroad Model Craftsman, and Trains & Railroads of the Past.
Contact Mike Lindsay here.