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Bachmann's Lee Riley to retire

Bachmann VP has been fixture of the hobby industry for 5 decades
Published: February 29, 2016
Published: Monday, February 29, 2016 on

Bachmann Trains has announced the retirement of H. Lee Riley, Vice President of Product Development, effective March 31, 2016. A distinguished member of the hobby industry for nearly 50 years, Lee started in the industry in 1967 as one of the original staff members for Pro Custom Hobbies in Catonsville, Md. He served in the Maryland Army National Guard during this time. Lee went on to work for Associated Hobby Manufacturers in Philadelphia from 1974 until coming to Bachmann in the early 1980s as Director of Product Development. He was named Bachmann’s VP of Product Development in 2006. During his long career, Lee also worked or consulted for GSB, Lionel, Life-Like Products, MDC, Model Power, TYCO, Westside Models, and others.

Lee is a longtime active member of the National Model Railroad Association, including serving in the Digital Command Control Working Group. Besides being awarded the NMRA Pioneer Award, Lee was honored with induction into the Model Railroad Industry’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

Lee wants to be best remembered as an innovator. "Anybody can copy," he said. "But real progress is only made by adapting new technology for totally original products." He created Bachmann’s E-Z Track system, developed Bachmann's Big Haulers large-scale line, and was behind the company's high-end Spectrum line. Riley also helped to popularize On30 narrow gauge railroading, for which he was inducted into the Narrow Gauge Hall of Fame and honored by the United Kingdom's 7mm Narrow Gauge Association.

Lee is eager to spend more time with his family, although he promised "no dust will gather under me after retirement." He intends to stay active in the industry and the NMRA. He also plans to continue traveling both nationally and internationally to run and ride trains plus visit with friends.

"We are truly thankful for the many years of service that Lee has given not only to our company, but to all of model railroading," said Rich Janyszek, Bachmann’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. "He will be missed by his coworkers and the countless friends he has made throughout the industry and around the world."