General News Updates 2022

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11/27/22 - During the last several months I have received an increasing number of requests from of Fine Art Models model owners seeking support. Many FAM owners know of my former involvement with the company or have managed to associate the name Kohs of Kohs & Company with Gary Kohs the founder of Fine Art Models who died approximately five years ago. Since his passing, owners have apparently had problems with sourcing repairs and obtaining basic information about models they own or seek to acquire.

To make the situation easier for all concerned, my plan going forward is to make available at a designated location on this website as much of the Fine Art Models information that I have available dating back to my involvement which included the design and development of most of the railroad equipment and technical support on many of the other projects prior to leaving and starting Kohs & Company. My hope is that this effort will further enrich the Fine Art Models experience for those owners. Many already know that I made the information regarding the FAM/Lionel O scale projects available quite some time ago on this site at the following LINK. The investment typically required to acquire a serious scale model definitely deserves proper support both before and more importantly after the purchase, hopefully that void will be filled to some degree.

11/23/22 - I would like top take the opportunity of this update to wish all our US friends, owners and visitors to this website a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving. It has been a rough couple of years for families, particularly during the holiday season, so hopefully this year we will all experience some sense of normalcy!

11/22/22 - A further note regarding the subjects of the video in the previous update; although UP 3985 and other equipment have departed their original home in Cheyenne, they have been taken in by the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America organization that does have plans to restore and operate 3985 and 5511 seen in the video below. As other organizations have done with retired equipment, this group will be doing fund raising to facilitate the needed restoration work to return them to operating condition. You can see more details at the following LINK.

11/18/22 - Over the last several years on this site there has been a great deal of interest in all 'things' Union Pacific, recently my Challenger project and current the Big Boy project. With that in mind, I felt it was of interest and appropriate to share the video below. While of interest, I also found it to be very sad as UP Challenger 3985 made it's last move not under steam to it's final resting place having been permanently retired by the Union Pacific, 'Big Boy' 4014 will now carry the banner, but 3985 will certainly be missed!

10/25/22 - Many of you that have followed my offerings in recent years know that for a time I was offering weathering services provided by Lee Turner who is well known at this point. You are probably also aware that Lee is no longer available to take on outside projects unfortunately. The demand for weathering remains with many of my clients and I am actively seeking an individual skilled in weathering techniques to work with me to meet this demand. If you are or know such an individual or can recommend one please let me know using my contact information. The known demand encompasses all phases of weathering from a 'lite touch' to extreme and permanent in application. I already have several requests for weathering on our Big Boy project prior to customer delivery so it would be good to get this service lined up in the near future.

10/23/22 - I am happy to be able to report that I am actively shopping airfares in order to make my first return visit to South Korea in over two years. This is the most important development regarding our business since the beginning of the pandemic experience. Although the airfares are still very high, I have seen them come down a bit in the last couple of weeks which makes me very hopeful.

Financial considerations have always been a serious matter in producing brass models, but going forward they will be even more important as a result of the impact COVID has had on everyone. The affects of inflation as a result of poor government planning both here in the states as well as overseas only compounds the problems. Careful planning and sourcing of supplies and services will be the order of the day as we get back to a productive state of business.

The Big Boy project is certainly the first order of business and will be my primary focus as renewed efforts get underway. I anticipate also moving my rolling stock projects forward as quickly as circumstances allow. Most of the development work has been completed for two projects, so hopefully they can be moved quickly dependent on reliable production capacity. I hope that news regarding these projects will be forthcoming on a more regular basis in the near future!

Please cheek back often for the latest!

8/14/22 - The latest STEP notice from the United States Department of State has been issued and is shown below. This is a repetitive effort, but is being shown to again illustrate what I and many other businesses are dealing with. Monitoring the governmental regulations and all other aspects of trying to move my projects forward in itself is a full time effort, plus being a matter of keeping my foot in the water so to speak so that due consideration is provided as circumstances and opportunities change for the better with suppliers and service providers.

Subject: China Travel Advisory - Level 3, Reconsider Travel, August 8, 2022

Last Update: Reissued with updates on COVID-19 restrictions.

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions. Exercise increased caution in the PRC due to wrongful detentions.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined the PRC has a low level of COVID-19 and Hong Kong has a high level of COVID-19. Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Quarantine and Testing

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong SAR governments severely impacts travel and access to public services.

All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for an extended duration upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States, including the possibility of unsanitary or crowded conditions, substandard or limited access to food provisions, and delayed access to medical treatment. Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation. In some cases, children in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

People within the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government- designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the mainland areas of the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in the Hong Kong SAR, as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Lockdowns  

Lockdowns, also called dynamic static management of COVID-19 risks, can occur in any location in the PRC at any time with little notice and may last for extended periods.  Officials may instruct people not to leave specific districts, compounds, or residences. They may lock compound and building doors, and construct gates or walls around residences with little or no notice.  Officials may require people to transfer to a quarantine facility.  Prepare to have sufficient water, food, and medication on hand for a minimum of two weeks.  If an area is restricted due to COVID-19, groceries, deliveries, and public transportation may be unavailable. Hospitals may restrict entrance or be locked down on short notice. These restrictions may be more likely to occur in border areas, particularly on the borders with the DPRK, Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, and Russia, where COVID-19 cases have occurred that officials believe stem from cross border transmission. 

Country Summary: The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without fair and transparent process under the law.

The Department has determined that at least one U.S. national is wrongfully detained by the PRC government.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists have been unjustly interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC or Hong Kong SAR governments.

In addition, the PRC government has used restrictions on travel or departure from the PRC, or so-called exit bans, to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members of the restricted individual to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.  Relatives, including minor children, of those under investigation in the PRC, may become subject to an exit ban. 

The PRC and Hong Kong SAR governments do not recognize dual nationality.  U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese descent may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC and Hong Kong SAR governments may prevent the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General from providing consular services.

Read the country information page for the PRC and the information page for the Hong Kong SAR for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR:

  • Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR for specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), read the DPRK Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

7/25/22 - Another STEP statement has been released by the United States Department of State regarding overseas conditions and regulations and I am again including it below to provide continued insight into what Kohs & Company and other companies continue to deal with. The lack of oversight by individuals in-country where hobby related products are being produced is certainly showing up in the quality or lack of same in the products we are now routinely reading negative reviews and posts about on websites and blogs.

Subject: China Travel Advisory - Level 3, Reconsider Travel, July19, 2022

Last Update: Reissued with updates to exit ban, quarantine, and wrongful detention information.

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.  Exercise increased caution due to wrongful detentions.  Do not travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictionsincluding the risk of parents and children being separated.  Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined the PRC has a low level of COVID-19 and a high level of COVID-19 for Hong Kong. Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Quarantine and Testing

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services.

All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States, including the possibility of unsanitary or crowded conditions, substandard or limited access to food provisions, and delayed access to medical treatment.  Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation. In some cases, children in Hong Kong and the PRC who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

People within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government- designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Lockdowns 

Lockdowns, also called dynamic static management of COVID-19 risks, can occur in any location in the PRC at any time with little notice and may last for extended periods. Officials may instruct people not to leave specific districts, compounds, or residences. They may lock compound and building doors, and construct gates or walls around residences with little or no notice. Officials may require people to transfer to a quarantine facility.  Prepare to have sufficient water, food, and medication on hand for a minimum of two weeks. If an area is restricted due to COVID-19, groceries, deliveries, and public transportation may be unavailable. Hospitals may restrict entrance or be locked down on short notice. These restrictions may be more likely to occur in border areas, particularly on the borders with the DPRK, Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, and Russia, where COVID-19 cases have occurred that officials believe stem from cross border transmission.

Country Summary: The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without fair and transparent process under the law.

The Department has determined that at least one U.S. national is wrongfully detained by the PRC government.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime.  U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists have been unjustly interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws.  The PRC has also interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

In addition, the PRC government has used restrictions on travel or departure from the PRC, or so-called exit bans, to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members of the restricted individual to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.  Relatives, including minor children, of those under investigation in the PRC, may become subject to an exit ban. 

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality.  U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese descent may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Read the country information page for the PRC for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC:

  • Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

7/10/22 - Another STEP update has been posted by the United States Department of State concerning the People's Republic of China (CPR) and I have again included it below, the bottom line, there is little change since the previous update. There has been some expressed concern about my plans going forward which is understandable. The short reply is that to date, all business arrangements have been with South Korean companies, but the reliance on Chinese sub-contractors by most South Korean builders makes the situation there of importance. Simply put, plans going forward will not include the need to travel to China. It is a very unfortunately situation, as with most countries, in general the people are wonderful and a pleasure to deal with both socially and in business, it's the 'governments' that manage to make a mess of everything for everyone.

More information will be posted as the situation continues to develop, in the meantime the latest guidance is shown below:

Subject: China Travel Advisory -Level 3, Reconsider Travel, July 5, 2022

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.Do not travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Shanghai municipality due toCOVID-19-related restrictions,including the risk of parents and children being separated. Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong SAR due toarbitrary enforcement of local laws.  

Read the Department of State'sCOVID-19page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined the PRC has a low level of COVID-19 and a high level of COVID-19 for Hong Kong. Visit the CDC page for the latestTravel Health Informationrelated to your travel.

Quarantine and Testing

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services. 

All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical or quarantine facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States. Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, which may negatively affect access to medical services and public transportation. In some cases, children in the PRC and Hong Kong who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

People within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government-designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit theEmbassy's COVID-19page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Lockdowns

Lockdowns, also called dynamic static management of COVID-19 risks, can occur in any location in the PRC at any time with little notice and may last for extended periods.Officials may instruct people not to leave specific districts, compounds, or residences. They may lock compound and building doors, and construct gates or walls around residences with little or no notice. Officials may require people to transfer to a quarantine facility. Prepare to have sufficient water, food, and medication on hand for a minimum of two weeks. If an area is restricted due to COVID-19, groceries, deliveries, and public transportation may be unavailable. Hospitals may restrict entrance or be locked down on short notice. These restrictions may be more likely to occur in border areas, particularly on the borders with the DPRK, Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, and Russia, where COVID-19 cases have occurred that officials believe stem from cross-border transmission. 

Country Summary:The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Read the country information page for the PRC and the country information page for the Hong Kong SAR for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR:

  • Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist

6/25/22 - The latest STEP announcement from the United States Department of State has been released and is available to read below. In short, the CDC is now catching up with their evaluation of the COVID situation in the CRP, note my comments regarding their statement in the last release where they seemed oblivious to what we were all hearing in the daily news. As my planning moves ahead, I seemingly have to rely on what I am able to gather from sources abroad rather than depending on our government's evaluation of the ongoing situation. Unfortunately the restrictions implemented by the various governments cannot be ignored and do have a major impacted on my ability to operate my business. The overall situation is improving with restrictions being loosened for South Korea, but the outlook for a return to China seems to be only a distant possibility.

I have previously mentioned my efforts to evaluate, understand and deal with the many factors involved in our model productions and for most of the situations there are no easy answers, but it will all have to be dealt with. I will continue to update regarding the different aspects as the effort moves forward. Just for eample, the cost of airfares is now 3-4 times the pre-COVID price to fly to South Korea.

The following are the pertinent sections of the STEP statement with portions related to areas of no importance to me being left out for the sake of brevity:

STEP Notifications
Subject: China Travel Advisory, Level 3, Reconsider travel, June 22, 2022

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.Do not travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Shanghai municipality due toCOVID-19-related restrictions,including the risk of parents and children being separated. Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong SAR due toarbitrary enforcement of local laws.

On April 11, 2022, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and all family members from the Consulate General Shanghai consular district due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and the impact of restrictions related to the PRC's response.

Read the Department of State'sCOVID-19page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined the PRC has a low level of COVID-19 and a high level of COVID-19 for Hong Kong. Visit the CDC page for the latestTravel Health Informationrelated to your travel.

Quarantine and Testing

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services. 

All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical or quarantine facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States. Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, which may negatively affect access to medical services and public transportation. In some cases, children in the PRC and Hong Kong who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

People within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government-designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit theEmbassy's COVID-19page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Lockdowns

Lockdowns, also called dynamic static management of COVID-19 risks, can occur in any location in the PRC at any time with little notice and may last for extended periods. Officials may instruct people not to leave specific districts, compounds, or residences.  They may lock compound and building doors, and construct gates or walls around residences with little or no notice.  Officials may require people to transfer to a quarantine facility.  Prepare to have sufficient water, food, and medication on hand for a minimum of two weeks. If an area is restricted due to COVID-19, groceries, deliveries, and public transportation may be unavailable.  Hospitals may restrict entrance or be locked down on short notice.  These restrictions may be more likely to occur in border areas, particularly on the borders with the DPRK, Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, and Russia, where COVID-19 cases have occurred that officials believe stem from cross-border transmission. 

Country Summary:The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Read the country information page for the PRC and the country information page for the Hong Kong SAR for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR:

  • Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Travele's Checklist.

6/03/22 - Possibly the only good 'thing' to come out of the COVID experience has been an increased awareness by modelers/collectors of what effort goes into creating brass model trains. The many conversations that I have had regarding my production efforts in the last several months have included a fairly detail explanation of what it takes to produce a Kohs & Company model and in many cases how my processes differ from the other importers, both past and present. My explanation has often included specific situations experienced with a listener response being that they no idea and they were grateful for a better understanding as a result. There have been many suggestions to make information about situational experiences more available as a matter of interest and project background and until now that has only been done to a small extent on this website and in one to one conversations.

The plan going forward is still being fleshed out, but my thirty plus years of project development and production will be committed to print and made readily available to allow for a more complete understanding of what the efforts of the many involved meant to achieve. Starting with my first brass model involvement working with FM Models to create the first Fine Art Models 1:32 scale PRR GG-1 project and then the formation of Sun Jin Model Company in South Korea, the builder of all subsequent railroad models and others for Fine Art Models and the majority of Kohs & Company projects, this history needs to be included. Having done the leg work with Mr. Lee at SJ Models, the lessons learned are still fresh in memory even now. Aside from the development routine for each project, there are many back stories related to each and every project undertaken, often times this is where some of the most important lessons were learned for better or worse.

What started in 1989 being part of a difficult venture has only become more challenging as technology, the world economy and consumer expectations changed with time. The hope will be to explain in detail how brass model train production has evolved over the years to what is being experienced on a daily basis with my current projects. Your feedback and suggestions for this effort are eagerly requested.

5/25/22 - There is good news to share regarding the future progress of the model projects long ago planned and basically held hostage by the world-wide COVID situation. I have written extensively about the importance of personal guidance and inspection for the projects I have planned and the travel restrictions that have prevented same for many months. As of June 1st 2022, many of the restrictions will be modified eventually allowing for travel to South Korea under tightly controlled parameters controlled both by the United States and South Korean governments. The situation in China (ROC) remains unchanged, so there will be no plans in the near future to return there.

In short, what this means is that the work of fully understanding and meeting the requirements for travel can begin and planning can take place to meet with my South Korean associates to determine their status and readiness to proceed with project work. I am encouraged by the pending changes as we all should be if interested in future project progress, but I do remain objective about the overall situation and do expect it to take a bit of time for the required travel steps to be organized and administered smoothly so costly exceptions can be avoided. Perhaps the most difficult aspect will be looking at current airfares!!

The reporting of more good news should be close at hand......

4/19/22 - It has been quite some time since I actively solicited for project reference materials, in particular original drawings or copies, but that is still very much a need. I continue to gather materials for the projects you see listed on this website some of which have been a real problem and there are other projects being considered for which reference materials have also been very scarce. As I have written about in the past, you never know where reference material may come from; luckily, recently an individual holding a massive number of drawings was made aware of Kohs & Company by a friend and that lead to acquiring materials which I had come to believe no longer existed after a number of years in the search. Long story short, I expect nothing for nothing and in addition to a project use interest, I would like to see as much material as possible preserved since the railroads in general did such a poor job of that with a few great exceptions. If you have or are aware of drawings looking for a 'home' please get in touch as I may be able to provide help or guidance.

4/12/22 - As an example of what businesses are dealing with as concerns China and Asia supply and travel in general, I posted a Department of State STEP update two days ago dated the 8th and I just received another one dated with today's date. Rather than me going into detail, if you are interested you can see what has been determined just four days apart for the two STEP notices. Also keep in mind that based on CDC guidance, a level 1 health advisory has again been issued for the PRC despite the fact that the entire city of Shanghi has been locked down for an extended period of time. I am still waiting for an update regarding the South Korea situation. the latest STEP notice for the PRC follows:

Subject: China Travel Advisory - Level 3, Reconsider travel, April 11, 2022

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.  Do not travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictionsincluding the risk of parents and children being separated.  Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

On April 11, 2022, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and all family members from the Consulate General Shanghai consular district due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and the impact of restrictions related to the PRC's response.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong, due to COVID-19.  Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA approved or authorized vaccine.  Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services.  All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival.  While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms.  Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical or other quarantine facility.  Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States.  Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation.  In some cases, children in Hong Kong and the PRC who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

Travelers within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government- designated quarantine facility or hospital.  Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Country Summary:  The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law.  The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime.  U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws.  The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality.  U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Read the country information page for the PRC and the country information page for the Hong Kong SAR for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR:

  • Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory.  Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo.  Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

Last Update:  Reissued with an update to the ordered departure status.

4/10/22 - All of the past project sites on this website have now been updated in regards to seeking sold out models for purchase. The changes were made for several reasons, but the most important consideration was to provide the best service possible in maintaining 'want' lists for serious clients seeking specific models. In addition to providing direct assistance in acquiring models, this different approach allows me to share some guidance in seeking models from alternative sources whether they be dealers, eBay or auction sites. The instances of buyers using alternative sources with negative results and then seeking assistance from me to rectify their newly purchased problem has been an ongoing problem. I have written about this situation before and have continually offered guidance for buyers before they make a purchase. I am happy to report that the number of buyers seeking pre-purchase help has sharply increased with positive results and the changes I have made in my own approach are reflective of what has been suggested by those seeking guidance. It's not a matter of increasing my 'take', it's about directing potential buyers to reliable, knowledgeable sellers that will honestly describe what they have to sell and will back up any problems with service. Regardless of the number of owners a Kohs model may have, I do care about their ability to provide the pleasure they were created to deliver and supporting good resellers can go a long way towards ensuring that. I care to the point of extending the warranty to the new owner on any model that I resell for a client unless otherwise specifically stated.

As the 'availability' sections of project update pages have been modified, additional technical updates and improvements have also been made site-wide, these changes will be most notable on high resolution monitors which have become more popular.

The latest STEP update from the United States Department of State has been released and I have again included it in the post below. It's pretty much the same ongoing situation that I have reported previously and it continues to support the decision to avoid reliance on Chinese supply going forward. I will continue to report any information that I receive whether from government agencies or private resources:

STEP China Travel Advisory: Level 3: Reconsider travel, April 8, 2022

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.  Do not travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated.  Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

On April 08, 2022, the Department allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees, and family members of emergency and non-emergency U.S. government employees, from the Consulate General Shanghai consular district due to a surge in COVID cases and the impact of restrictions related to the PRC's response.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong, due to COVID-19. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA approved or authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services. All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States. Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation.  In some cases, children in Hong Kong who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

Travelers within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government- designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Country Summary: The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:  

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations, 
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad, 
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government. 

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Read the country information page for the PRC and the country information page for the Hong Kong SAR for additional information on travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined China has a low level of COVID-19 and the Hong Kong SAR has a high level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.  There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry in the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR:

Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.

4/08/22 - If you entered the website through the Site Index page, you will notice a number of NEW indicators on older project sites; the simple explanation is that directive information for pursuing sold out projects is being streamlined in an effort to make the process consistent and more reliable giving everyone looking for a particular model an equal opportunity. All the project sites will eventually be updated, but the recommendations offered on any of the updated sites can and should be used for future searches. As many individuals have found, I will not only let you know what models I have available, I will direct inquiries to other reliable dealers that typically handle of models in the secondary market.

3/30/22 - Just a brief update today to acknowledge the posting of some new photos to the The Art of Weathering page courtesy of Lee Turner, weathering artist extraordinaire. Before anyone gets excited that Lee is doing weathering work again, the photos just posted are of work completed several years ago. There have also been a number of technical updates to the site to improve performance and the quality of many images.....all leading to more new project updates.

Come back soon!

3/18/22 - Efforts to navigate the difficulties presented by the COVID situation and international political concerns continues with all of my projects being affected. I have taken the step of engaging a personal representative in South Korea. This comes as the result of continued communication with several very knowledgeable friends and associates in the Far East who have been sharing their insight and perspectives from the beginning. At the outset it was readily apparent that the public pronouncements by the various governments could not be trusted so the 'on the ground' input has been invaluable in more fully understanding what I was ultimately dealing with.

The individual that will be assisting has many years of involvement in the model making industry and more importantly at this point, has experience with governmental relations situations. The hope is that some of the hurdles faced can be lowered and the status of production situations can be verified and hopefully helped. As this effort moves forward I will share information that I can without jeopardizing my purpose.

We all come to the model railroading hobby for many different reasons, for my generation it is often times as a result of personal experiences with real railroads and we now relive some of those experiences in miniature form. For others, there is a more personal connection and an effort to commemorate the lives of those that came before us. For Russ Stewart a valued client in Virginia, the interest he took in owning one of the Virginian cabooses that I produced evolved from the fact that his Grandfather was a Brakeman for the Virginian Railway and is shown in the locomotive cab window in the above photo. I thank Russ for offering his story and allowing me to share it here. I would invite any of my clients with similar stories to share them here with the rest of the Kohs & Company community.

3/10/22 - I have received the latest update from the United States Department of State regarding the COVID and political situation currently at hand in the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) and Hong Kong and I am sharing it below. The PRC and Hong Kong updates are just as important as the South Korean notices previously posted for the simple reason that so much of the 'South Korean' model production is actually done in the PRC and Hong Kong is often used as a corridor for getting product out of China when blocks arise there. The Ukrainian war has not been spoken of as an impediment so far, but I can see potential for that developing due to relations with the PRC. I have explained numerous times how these factors impact my production efforts and the model train industry as a whole, but it never seems to be addressed elsewhere so I continue to share the information on this site. Again, these conditions are less of a factor for those importers that never inspect their overseas production and are willing to accept whatever is delivered, that is not my situation and never will be.

My efforts going forward are to eliminate any working relationship outside of safe areas in order to develop a reliable path forward to get work done. It is uncertain how this will affect pricing for future projects, but that will be worked on as I continue to make progress for the future.

STEP Alert follows:

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Do not travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) due to COVID-19 and COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated. Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong due to COVID-19. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA approved or authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services. All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States. Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing as well as movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation.  In some cases, children in Hong Kong who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

Travelers within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government- designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Country Summary:

The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:  

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations, 
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad, 
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including Hong Kong, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries, have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government. 

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

XINJIANG UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS REGION and TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION

Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uyghur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

Since the imposition of the National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the PRC unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in Hong Kong. The PRC has demonstrated an intention to use this authority to target a broad range of activities it defines as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities. The National Security Law also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organizations outside of Hong Kong, which could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of the PRC to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution. PRC security forces, including the new Office for Safeguarding National Security, now operate in Hong Kong and are not subject to oversight by the Hong Kong judiciary.

Demonstrations: Participating in demonstrations or any other activities that authorities interpret as constituting an act of secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country could result in criminal charges. On June 30, 2020, as part of its color-coded system of warning flags, the Hong Kong police unveiled a new purple flag, which warns protesters that shouting slogans or carrying banners with an intent prohibited by the law could now bring criminal charges. U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations.

Propaganda: A PRC propaganda campaign has falsely accused individuals, including U.S. citizens, of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong. In some cases, the campaign has published their personal information, resulting in threats of violence on social media.

Read the country information page for the PRC and for Hong Kong.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR

  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19 for mainland China. See the Consulate General's COVID-19 page for updated information on COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Visit the CDC's webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter, WeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC and Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist

Last Update: Reissued with updates on COVID-

2/15/22 - Regarding on the ongoing COVID saga, the CDC has just released the latest STEP update for South Korea and I have included it below for the reference of anyone that is interested. Since day one of this mess, it has been difficult to understand the reasons for the impact on the model railroad hobby for lack of specific information, ultimately the reason for my continued postings of what the US government has been saying. While the latest report is somewhat discouraging, being the highest level I recall seeing at level 4, the 'word' on the ground in Korea seems to indicate a different situation to some extent. I do remain in continual contact with friends and associates in areas of importance to me as we plan a path forward that leads to a good mutual working arrangement leading to the quality that I require.

The update received today through the US Department of State's STEP program is as follows:

South Korea Travel Advisory: Level 4: Do not travel, February 14, 2022

Do not travel to South Korea due to COVID-19.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a  Level 4 Travel Health Notice for South Korea due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.  Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA Authorized Vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.  vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in South Korea, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine which remains in effect.  

If you decide to travel to South Korea:

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

--------------

Updates regarding other issues will follow soon, so please check back!

1/31/22 - Regarding my ability to travel internationally in order to pursue brass model production, I share this latest update from the United States Department of State STEP program below concerning travel to and in the PRC. As noted, the problems are not only related to actual COVID situations, but also political harassment. The status of South Korea has not yet been updated since that which I previously shared on the General News page last fall. The importance of the situation in the PRC is due to the fact that the majority of brass production has been happening in that country whether directly for companies there or on a subcontractor or contract basis for South Korean companies in an effort to curb rising costs.

The situations in the PRC and South Korea are routinely monitored by me through personal contacts to make sure that I have the latest information to plan by. I will continue to provide this information as it becomes available so the modeling/collector community has real information on which to base an understanding of the difficulties being faced:

China Travel Advisory: Level 3: Reconsider travel, January 19, 2022

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) due to both arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Read the Department of State'sCOVID-19 pagebefore you plan any international travel. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong, due to COVID-19. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA approved or authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services. All arrivals should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States. Even after completing quarantine on-arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and testing as well as movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation. 

Travelers within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to unannounced mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government- designated quarantine facility. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong's COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong as testing and travel requirements frequently change. 

Country Summary: 

The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including Hong Kong, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

1/21/22 - Heading into a new year there is always a great deal of administrative work to be done to prepare for the coming months. Along with preparing to meet federal, state and local government obligations, our website has to be prepared for a new year and a review of the year past is certainly in order.

With the state of train shows and hobby gatherings in general as they have been due to COVID, our web presence has been more important than ever. With over 200,000 visits from 138 countries and a ranking in the top 0.08% of world websites, a healthy interest has been maintain despite the real-world distractions. As the introduction on our 'Site' page suggests, I need to again caution visitors about web browser configuration settings which lead to a lack of or misinformation. I can tell from inquiries received that many visitors have browsers with 'cache' settings that prevent their browsers from loading the most current information automatically when a return visit is made to pages on our website. I sincerely appreciate each and every visit to this website and I would like visitors to realize the best experience possible. For the best results, you should have your web browser cache set to clear (empty) whenever your browser is closed. Alternately, depending on what browser you are using, you can set the configuration to check for the most current page information whenever a return visit is made. If you have questions about how to make the correct settings, do a simple search for 'cache settings' for your particular browser.

On the subject of inquiries; there have been a number of situations this past year when I have received Email inquiries to which I promptly responded and then been informed that my response was never received. My suggestion is to 'white list' the address that you use in contacting Kohs & Company to make sure a response delivery will be received in your inbox. Some of the free Email services are notorious for blocking messages, often times for no known or understood reason.

I am currently working on updates for all of our active projects and will be posting them as soon as time and circumstances allow. Considerable challenges are still ahead for production, but along with suppliers we are collectively working to meet the challenges in the most effective ways possible.

1/01/22 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Wishing all of my clients and visitors to this site all the best in the new year and I sure hope that it is better for us all. Kohs & Company was started with what turned out to be transformational plans and ideas that led to many changes in the brass modeling segment of the hobby in general and specifically in the O scale segment. With the two years that we have all just experienced and the damage that has been done to our hobby, new ideas and planning are required again to move ahead successfully and that is the focus of my efforts in recent weeks and months. Very importantly it's not only my planning that will make the difference, the 'buy in' by builders is required and those with a business acumen realize that serious cooperation is required going forward in order to survive.

I will be sharing more details in the coming weeks and much of the planning will be reflected in our forthcoming project updates. In the meantime, I want to thank my client base for your incredible faith in Kohs & Company, your project support in the past and your ongoing support of my future project plans. I would also like to thank the many thousands of visitors to this website during the past year, I hope to entice you into becoming directly involved in the model railroading hobby. If I can answer your questions or provide directions to information that may not be available here, it would be my pleasure to do so!

Again, Happy New Year to all!

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