For Immediate Release
Contact: Leigh Sacks, No Starch Press ( or, 415-863-9900)

Inspirational Ideas and Instructions in Full Color

San Francisco, CA – Building and running model trains has been a popular
hobby for decades. From small oval tracks running a simple locomotive to
tracks that take over entire basements, model train enthusiasts come in
all types. A subset of model train enthusiasts use an alternative medium
for their creations; instead of building trains out of model wood and
plastic, LEGO(r) train builders create their locomotives and rail cars out
of LEGO bricks, using official LEGO train sets or a collection of their
own bricks.

Until now LEGO trains builders have exchanged ideas for models and
connected with each other through an active online community and user
group network. Now well-known LEGO trains community member and LEGO
employee Jacob H. McKee has written the first book dedicated to LEGO
trains: “Getting Started with LEGO Trains” (No Starch Press, $14.95 US, 4
color). Sure to be an essential reference for experienced LEGO train
builders, “Getting Started with LEGO Trains” is also for LEGO train
novices who want to get started with this creative hobby.

“Getting Started with LEGO Trains” begins with the fundamentals of LEGO
trains: setting up the track and electrical components. It then proceeds
to detail three projects – a GP-38 Locomotive, an old-style refrigerator
car, and an intermodal container car – complete with full-color,
professional-quality instructions. These projects can be built by
following the color instructions, just as models are built from the kits
that LEGO sells. Each project chapter also teaches the essential elements
of locomotive and rail car construction as McKee explains how each project
was conceived and brought to life.

More than just a how-to guide, McKee takes readers to the world of
advanced LEGO building and the culture of model railroading. Sometimes the
lingo takes a wacky turn: How could a model be built with SNOT? Connect
the LEGO bricks in unorthodox ways to have Studs Not On Top, or SNOT,
perfect for advanced constructions. And what about the chapter on refeer?
That’s the refrigerated rail car model, the type of train car called a
refeer by model builders and train buffs in the know.

Interviews with expert builders and a section on advanced track layouts
are sure to inspire the master builder and budding train enthusiast alike.
With “Getting Started with LEGO Trains,” newbies and old pros all have
something in common – a great book to help them grow with their hobby. As
McKee explains, “LEGO Trains are the ‘hub of the spoke,’ so to speak. LEGO
Trains are what bond a LEGO universe together. Once you set up your first
starter train set, you want more track. More track leads to more train
cars. More cars leads to city. City leads to airports. Then space,

All aboard!

by Jacob H. McKee
1-59327-006-2, February 2004, $14.95 US ($21.95 Cdn), 120 pp., ages 12 and up
Available at fine bookstores everywhere
To order from the publisher: visit, email, or call 800-420-7240

The author’s site:
LEGO Users Group Network:
Official LEGO Trains website:
International LEGO Train Club Organization:
Book table of contents:

Jacob H. McKee has been building LEGO creations since he was a young boy.
He is now a well-known figure in the LEGO trains community and the LEGO
Community Development Manager for North America. Jacob has worked on more
than 400 websites and countless community projects, including the official
LEGO Trains website (

Since 1994, No Starch Press has published unique books on computing, with
a focus on Open Source, security, hacking, web development, programming,
gaming, and alternative operating systems. Our titles have personality,
our authors are passionate, and our goal is to make computing accessible
to everyone.