Meet Bryson Sleppy, Q&A with the Editors

Meet Bryson Sleppy, Model Railroader Associate Editor in this Q&A with the Editors. Unlimited Members can see the video in the Video section.

Man being interviewed.
Bryson Sleppy, Model Railroader Associate Editor

Steve Sweeney: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to welcome you to another episode of Q&A with the Editors. Today, we’re graced to have Bryson Sleppy from Model Railroader here. Bryson, welcome.

Bryson Sleppy: Thank you, Steve. It’s great to be here.

SS: Thank you. You are a bit new to Kalmbach, within the past year. If you wouldn’t mind, please introduce yourself and give us a little bit of background.

BS: Yeah. So, I’m Bryson Sleppy. I am new to Kalmbach. I’ve been here about six months. I am the Associate Editor of Model Railroader Magazine while still doing stuff for and done some stuff for Trains Magazine, too.

SS: Where do you come to us from?

BS: I grew up in northwest Ohio, near Fostoria and Dressler which are two, big railfan locations. That kind of paired with influences from family members who got me into model railroading. It’s been a hobby that I’ve been part of for as long as I can remember, and I’ve worked in multiple parts of the industry. So, I worked on the retail side, I’ve worked in the distribution side, and now I’m working in the publication side.

SS: Fantastic. I ask the same five questions of all the editors, and so I’ll ask the first one. Bryson, what is your favorite railroad, past or present, and why?

BS: I would say the Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad, which used to be a railroad that ran from Delphos, Ohio, to Akron, Ohio. They had some beautiful Fairbanks-Morse switcher engines and road units painted in this very yellow paint scheme. I loved it. While most of the track for that railroad is no longer in place, they got bought out by Norfolk & Western in the eighties and the N&W ended up tearing those tracks up, the roadbed actually went through where I grew up in northwest Ohio. I had a lot of friends growing up who had that railroad on their property and where we ran around and played as kids. And the soccer fields that I grew up playing on, the parking lot for the soccer field was the old AC&Y roadbed right where it crossed with the Toledo and Ohio Central Railway in Arlington.

SS: That’s fantastic. So, next question. What is the best part about what you do?

BS: I think the best part about what I do is I come in to work every day and it doesn’t feel like a job. You know, I’m doing something different every day. Doing something different for multiple parts of the day. And it’s just a big variety, I could be doing a review of a steam engine for one hour, and then the next I’m installing lights inside of a passenger car. I like that it’s a good mix of writing, but also videos like this and Midday Modeler, and modeling. I love modeling and I grew to appreciate writing throughout my education in college. So, the combination is everything that I love doing in one job. It doesn’t feel like work.

SS: Bryson, tell us about something exciting you’ve been working on lately.

BS: I think the most exciting thing that I’ve been working on lately is all our stories for The Ultimate Guide that’s coming out later this year.

SS: Tell us about it.

BS: One of my favorite stories is a story that I kind of already wrote for, but we’re redoing it a little bit for The Ultimate Guide of my trip across the northern United States on Amtrak.

SS: Oh, wow.

BS: I took the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, spent a few days in Seattle, did some stuff around Mount Rainier, then took the Coast Starlight down to Emeryville, Calif., spent a day railfanning there, and then we took the California Zephyr back from Emeryville to Chicago. I went to 14 different states within a week and ate five steaks on Amtrak.

SS: And that is the headline of your story. Tell us the headline of the story on

BS: It is Fourteen states and five steaks on Amtrak.

SS: And I have to ask you, you know, it’s not just that story, but a lot of what you’ve done very publicly here has to do with food and trains. Tell us a little bit about that.

BS: So, after taking Amtrak and eating the five steaks, but also a lot of the chocolate tortes on the long-distance trains, I came back, and I had to find out how to make this torte because I couldn’t spend X number of dollars on another Amtrak trip just to eat dessert.

SS: This is true.

BS: I went online, did some Googling, and found some recipes, and mixed them together to make the ultimate Amtrak chocolate torte-inspired recipe. I had never baked before in my life. I made that torte the first time and brought it here. Everybody loved it.

SS: Yes.

BS: I turned that recipe into an article on that you can find. And, we did a whole “baking with Bryson and Bob” for Trains LIVE in December on how to bake this amazing, beautiful, delicious delicacy of a dessert.

SS: Have you heard from anyone who’s had your torte and the Amtrak torte, and compared them?

BS: I have not. I want to hear because I’ve had both and I think they taste very similar. I would not put mine on top of Amtrak, but I think it’s a very close representation.

SS: We’ll have to post a link on this video to your torte recipe.

BS: Yes, definitely.

SS: Bryson, at Kalmbach we get to do a lot of different things. Some of us are modelers, some of us are railfans, some of us are doing research, and sometimes a lot more things and in different combinations, depending on the project or the article or the video that we’re working on. Of all the things that we do here, what interests you the most?

BS: I think the research. As much as I love modeling and railfanning, it’s finding new tidbits of information and jumping down a rabbit hole, just digging up more information. I feel kind of like I’m an archeologist but with train information. And having the library at our disposal is an amazing asset and an amazing resource. I don’t think I appreciated my research classes in college enough, now that I’m here because it is a skill that you build to know where to look for something and to follow the breadcrumb trail. I love everything else though, so I can’t say research on top of everything but that’s what would probably interest me the most.

SS: Okay. My last official question is if you work for the railroad, what position or craft do you think best describes you?

BS: I think a train master or yardmaster. Somebody who works both inside and outside works with crews, works with people, and helps everything come together to get the job done.

SS: Okay. Bryson, I have one idea that popped into my head. What do you think about being a weatherman for railfanning? Because we have a green screen behind you so we can put up an appropriate background. But, what would you think about being our railfan forecaster?

BS: Well, I think being a railfan forecaster would be a great position. You know, weather is something that affects us all.

SS: This is true.

BS: You got to make sure that the railfans stay safe when watching trains and where get the best images. I love snow and I love snow photography. So, if I know the best snow is going to be in Minnesota, maybe I’ll go out there for a weekend.

SS: Yeah, that sounds like a plan. So, we’ve had a great conversation today. But before we wrap up, is there anything from our conversation that you’d like to add to or is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think I should have?

BS: I don’t think there’s anything that you didn’t ask that I would add. But I would like to reiterate that this is a great place to be and a great position to be in. I’m very thankful to be able to work with a team, work with my hands, do modeling, writing and research, and make everything come together for the great product that we have that is Model Railroader and

SS: Bryson, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it.

BS: Thank you, Steve.