Whittle Shortline

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Whittle Shortline
Privately held company
IndustryManufacturing, retail
HeadquartersLouisiana, Missouri
Key people
Mike Whitworth
ProductsWooden toy trains
WebsiteWhittle Shortline Railroad

Whittle Shortline is a toy company owned and operated in the United States.


During the mid-1990s, former US Air Force pilot Mike Whitworth received a compound mitre saw as a gift from his wife, ostensibly for doing home improvement projects.

The saw sat unused for almost two years, when Whitworth got the inspiration to produce toy trains for friends and family. By 1997, word of his craftsmanship had reached local retailers, who in turn asked that he make the wooden trains on a professional basis.

In 1999 the production moved from the family home some miles to the historic building of the Frisco Hotel in Valley Park, a suburb of St. Louis. By 2005 most of the production was moved north to the city of Louisiana, Missouri.

In the recent wake of the recalls of many Chinese-made consumer goods (including toys),[1] Whittle Shortline have seen a heightening of interest in their products.


A colorful engine patterned from a Chessie System GP40-2, one of many wooden toy trains offered by Whittle Shortline.

Wooden toy trains and accessories are their specialty. These are non-motorized, and suitable for children. The cars and locomotives couple together using small magnets, and are easy to manipulate. Whittle Shortline differ from their peers in that most of their trains are patterned from prototype North American railroad equipment. The company proudly state their products as being 'Made in the USA'.

The high quality woods used make Whittle Shortline toys more expensive than many other brands that use the same type of track. However, they are compatible with brands such as BRIO and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Aside from their standard line of wooden trains, Whittle Shortline also offer special versions of their toys.

Holiday car series[edit]

Each year since 2002, the company has offered a freight car decorated in a colorful holiday theme aimed at collectors. Typically featuring a boxcar, although the 2002 and 2005 release saw a gift-adorned flatcar and hot cocoa-themed tanker car, respectively.

The Little Engine That Could[edit]

In 2006, the company released a wooden toy train line based upon The Little Engine That Could, as a domestic alternative to Thomas the Tank Engine.

Mega Trains[edit]

Whittle Shortline introduced in 2007 a line of 'Mega Trains'. These featured greatly enlarged locomotives and rolling stock, while retaining compatibility with standard wooden track.


  1. ^ Gil McClanahan (2007-06-19). "Recall on Thomas the Tank Engine Toys". WOWK-TV. Retrieved 2008-11-29.