Trains Magazine Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff

By Angela Cotey | October 19, 2020

| Last updated on February 13, 2024

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Trains Magazine Staff

Man with glasses.

Carl Swanson, Editor

A veteran railroad editor and journalist, Carl Swanson was named editor of Trains, the nation’s largest-circulation railroad-industry publication in April 2022. Carl came to Trains from Model Railroader, where he served as editor for  three years. Before that he led Kalmbach’s Classic Toy Trains for 13 years.

As a lifelong railfan and avid reader of the magazine, he is excited and humbled by this opportunity to continue Trains’ tradition of excellence.

A Nebraska native, Carl was a reporter for the Norfolk (Neb.) Daily News before embarking on his railroad journalism career. Carl was editor of Pentrex Publishing’s Passenger Train Journal and Rail News magazines prior to joining Kalmbach in 1997.

Carl authored Faces of Railroading, a pictorial tribute to the people of railroading, published by Kalmbach Books in 2004. He also edited the second edition of Kalmbach’s Command Control for Toy Trains.

He enjoys exploring and writing about local history and has written two books for The History Press, Lost Milwaukee in 2018 and Historic Crimes of Milwaukee in 2022. Carl lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Judith. The couple has three adult children.

man with glasses and Trains shirt

David Lassen, Senior Editor

David has been with Trains since July 2014. In addition to his monthly responsibilities with the magazine, he oversees Trains News Wire. He served as editor on the special issue Chicago: America’s Railroad Capital and producer of its accompanying DVD, and also edited the Big Projects and Railroad Maps Vol. 2 special issues. He has written feature articles on Switzerland’s Gotthard Tunnel, a Metro-North track inspection car, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s major commuter rail projects, and Chicago’s Metra. His photography appears regularly in the magazine and on

A graduate of Denver University, he came to Trains after more than 30 years in sports journalism. Included in that experience is covering five Olympic Games for Scripps Howard News Service, a decade as a columnist for the Ventura County Star, and serving as a Dodgers and NBA beat writer for the Riverside Press Enterprise.

man seated by Big Boy in museumBob Lettenberger, Associate Editor

Bob joined the Trains staff in February 2022. His route to Trains did not follow a traditional journalism career path. For nearly 25 years, Bob was on the staff of the National Railroad Museum (Green Bay, Wis.). There he worked as operations manager, communications director, and education director.

Based on his museum background, Bob covers preservation activities for Trains. Beyond his work on the magazine, he is part of the Kalmbach Books group and is editor for the Tourist Trains Guidebook. You can also see Bob as host of the bi-weekly video program Trains LIVE, a talk show discussing a wide range of railroad topics.

At the University of Wisconsin — Oshkosh, Bob studied both journalism and radio-TV broadcasting. When not playing with trains — full-sized or model — Bob’s other hobby is collecting beer cans. He has amassed a collection of over 25,000. Bob and his wife, Julie, live in Waukesha. It is true that Bob proposed to Julie aboard Amtrak’s Capitol Limited. You can read about it on

girl with sunglasses and ear plugs in trainNastassia Putz, Production Editor

Nastassia joined Trains Magazine as production editor in September 2022. She formerly served as Assistant Digital Editor for Model Railroader. She currently manages and monitors day-to-day workflow among editors, authors, and other departments. Additionally she edits manuscripts for our print publications, creates new online content for, and assists the Books Editor and the Senior Production Editor in the creation of railroad related books and products.

Nastassia has a degree in English Professional Writing from Mount Mary University where she served as editor-in-chief of the college’s Arches publication. During her time at Mount Mary she interned for Shepherd Express, Milwaukee Magazine, Urban Milwaukee, and Marcus Promotions. She has two children, Ezra and Scarlett, and a rescue dog named Lilly.

As a hobby, she also publishes a free, local dog publication called FETCH Magazine that focuses on rescue dogs and the amazing individuals that work endlessly to help them thrive.

man in locomotive cabKevin Gilliam, Field Producer

Kevin Gilliam is a full-time video producer. If his name (or voice) sounds familiar, you might have enjoyed his previously contracted videography, editing, or voiceover work on numerous Kalmbach Media video productions developed in the past 9 years. Of course, Kevin’s interest and deep knowledge of railroading and video production extends much further back.

Long before his initial short-form Trains video submission in 2013, Kevin grew to love railroading through his early experiences riding and filming trains at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Upon graduating Western Carolina University with a degree in Business Administration, Kevin started his own production company, Blue Ridge Video. His video efforts then flourished under direction of friend and fellow-Carolinian, the late Jim Wrinn.

In his current role, Kevin will continue working closely with Video Services/ Video and Trains editorial. From Kevin’s remote disposition, he will be well-positioned to access East Coast railroad operations and personnel needed to help fill coffers with top-notch video content.

Outside of video production and prototype railroading interests (primarily steam power), Kevin also enjoys traveling, model railroading, movies, and college basketball.

man standing with cameraTom Danneman, Design Director

Tom joined Kalmbach in 1998, and has been Art Director for Trains since 2000. Tom has a passion for railroading that dates back to his childhood and continues today through his photography and videography.

Tom grew up in Brookfield, Wis., but his heart is in the Northwest, particularly Montana. In his free time, he enjoys photography, kayaking, fishing, camping, and well, pretty much anything outdoors.

He also is the videographer/creator of the Video series Big Skies & Iron Rails which features a cinematic look at railroading in Big Sky Country.

Monica Freitag, Editorial Assistant

headshot of man smiling

Scott M. Krall, Assistant Design Director

Scott started at Kalmbach in 2007 as a graphic designer. He has since then worked on TrainsModel RailroaderClassic Trains, Scale Auto, and FineScale Modeler magazines.

When away from his computer, Scott enjoys traveling with his family, grilling/cooking and golfing … when the temperamental Wisconsin weather allows it.