Are You a Toy Train Junkie? Don't worry, You are Not Alone and it's Not Fatal

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Bruette

Well-Known Member
My Name is Louis, I am a toy train Junkie.

I probably already have more stuff than I can ever use.

I continue to buy stuff I may never use.

Before the pandemic I was doing good. I had vowed not to buy any more stuff until I get what I already have sorted out. At the least I hoped to get my inventory caught up. I'm not even sure what I have!

I know how much I've spent. I'm meticulous with my accounting of all of my spending. As of the end of last year I spent $38,159 total. I still need to put this years spending into Quicken. On the Brightside, it's only a little more than $450/month. I could have wasted more than that on a sports car I would seldom drive. Most sports cars depreciate, Lionel Trains hold their value better.

I no longer have an accurate itemized inventory. I lost count when I had a relapse with my health after I moved. Catching that up will take some doing.

The good news; being a toy train Junkie is not fatal, thank God.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I lost track (HAR!) ten years ago. On average, with a couple of new tools, new materials, and some growth or re-design, I have averaged about $2K/layout. Scenery stuff, some re-used, some left over, some put together, like new hand-made trees, would run about $500 per. I get a new locomotive once a year, but the earlier years were two or three per year, so I'm about $17K into locos, another $3k for rolling stock. Digitrax Super Empire Builder, plus a power supply, and an extra DT-400 throttle, about $800.

All up, to date, somewhere between $25K and $28K. Works out to an average of $1900/year, so it's not all that bad.

Then there's the garden. And photography. (....sigh....)
 

Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
Oh boy.....

I still buy slowly certain things for layout. Still purchasing buildings/stuctures and track work supplies. An occasional rolling stock. Although I am starting to sell things on Ebay as well keep my inventory purged of unnecessary items. This week I purchased 4 new box cars. 36' foot of more flex track. 3 more switches. I am on the hunt for ground throw switch stands and researching what type of switch machines to get for DCC.

My hobby expenses yearly average:

MRR 3k a year
Guns & ammo 15k
Fishing & Fly fishing and boat equipment 5k (mostly boat maintenance or upgrades. I do have a sizable collection of Rapala lures.)
Hunting equipment 1k (pretty minimal because I have most everything I need)
Tractors & equipment (I have 2 John Deeres D130 and 2032R) 5k

I try to do things in a balance and seasons with all my hobbies. Like right now I am still in MRR but it will take a back seat shortly but will remain active just not getting all of my time and energy. Turkey season starts May 1st on Friday here and that will only take me 2-3 days to bag one but usually I get one on the first day and then I am done. Then on to Fishing for crappies and trout. My boat is almost done with the seasonal service with new prop as well and I actually will be on the water this weekend. Then there's my long range shooting which will start in June. I have decided to not plant too much this year on gardening. Just corn, a medley of peppers, onions and red potatoes. Nothing else because my parents live down the road about 7 miles and they plant 5 gardens. So I am good there in that dept. Nothing else until Sept for bow hunting. I will fish all summer long to stock up the freezers. Then there is the house remodeling work and standard yard work and my other properties that get land management work. No plans for travels this summer. May go to North Carolina in November for Thanksgiving again this year. We will see.

As many of you already know my plan to build a new garage extension was slated for this spring but due to the virus that has been postponed unfortunately. I am hopeful that I may still be able to do this this year we shall see.

A hobby I used to have was cars. I had a 1969 SS 427 for a while but got out of it. I just couldn't see myself doing it anymore. I still have all the tools of the trade but maybe I will do it again who knows. I may get an o'l Jeep or Chevy Silverado truck and fix it up for off road and/or bug out ordeal if this world gets any crazier lol. Call it the Zombie mobile lol.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
I lost track (HAR!) ten years ago. On average, with a couple of new tools, new materials, and some growth or re-design, I have averaged about $2K/layout. Scenery stuff, some re-used, some left over, some put together, like new hand-made trees, would run about $500 per. I get a new locomotive once a year, but the earlier years were two or three per year, so I'm about $17K into locos, another $3k for rolling stock. Digitrax Super Empire Builder, plus a power supply, and an extra DT-400 throttle, about $800.

All up, to date, somewhere between $25K and $28K. Works out to an average of $1900/year, so it's not all that bad.

Then there's the garden. And photography. (....sigh....)
Crandell, it adds up quick and I have yet to do any scenery.

If I were a more traditional modeler I might not have spent as much. I've probably spent more time searching and buying than I have playing with my trains, but I do enjoy both!
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
Oh boy.....

I still buy slowly certain things for layout. Still purchasing buildings/stuctures and track work supplies. An occasional rolling stock. Although I am starting to sell things on Ebay as well keep my inventory purged of unnecessary items. This week I purchased 4 new box cars. 36' foot of more flex track. 3 more switches. I am on the hunt for ground throw switch stands and researching what type of switch machines to get for DCC.

My hobby expenses yearly average:

MRR 3k a year
Guns & ammo 15k
Fishing & Fly fishing and boat equipment 5k (mostly boat maintenance or upgrades. I do have a sizable collection of Rapala lures.)
Hunting equipment 1k (pretty minimal because I have most everything I need)
Tractors & equipment (I have 2 John Deeres D130 and 2032R) 5k

I try to do things in a balance and seasons with all my hobbies. Like right now I am still in MRR but it will take a back seat shortly but will remain active just not getting all of my time and energy. Turkey season starts May 1st on Friday here and that will only take me 2-3 days to bag one but usually I get one on the first day and then I am done. Then on to Fishing for crappies and trout. My boat is almost done with the seasonal service with new prop as well and I actually will be on the water this weekend. Then there's my long range shooting which will start in June. I have decided to not plant too much this year on gardening. Just corn, a medley of peppers, onions and red potatoes. Nothing else because my parents live down the road about 7 miles and they plant 5 gardens. So I am good there in that dept. Nothing else until Sept for bow hunting. I will fish all summer long to stock up the freezers. Then there is the house remodeling work and standard yard work and my other properties that get land management work. No plans for travels this summer. May go to North Carolina in November for Thanksgiving again this year. We will see.

As many of you already know my plan to build a new garage extension was slated for this spring but due to the virus that has been postponed unfortunately. I am hopeful that I may still be able to do this this year we shall see.

A hobby I used to have was cars. I had a 1969 SS 427 for a while but got out of it. I just couldn't see myself doing it anymore. I still have all the tools of the trade but maybe I will do it again who knows. I may get an o'l Jeep or Chevy Silverado truck and fix it up for off road and/or bug out ordeal if this world gets any crazier lol. Call it the Zombie mobile lol.
I had an all black .38 snub nose when I was 19 , it fit nicely into the inside pocket of my Brooks jacket. I carried it for a few weeks, but I suspected I would shoot somebody and sold it back to the guy I got it from.

I rebuilt a 1978 Mercury Cougar XR7, but it got stolen and I lost interest in cars.

The gun was fun, but it was expensive to play with. The car cost me over $10,000 and I had not had the body done. I turn wrenches, body work is art. I only enjoyed it for about a year before it got stolen. I can see where both of those hobbies would be very expensive!

I use to enjoy fishing with the man who raised me, but he died when I was 8 and I lost interest. I know nothing of the cost.

Personally, I could never shoot an animal. I love meat, but thank God for butchers. When I was a kid I had a BB gun. The only living thing I ever shot were people. Now you understand why I sold the .38! I could see how hunting could be expensive.

I like the name "Zombie Mobile" :) and very timely with all the buzz over zombies these days. That reminds me, I saw an old guy driving a beat up old hearse. Kind of strange I thought.

Thanks, all things considered I could have spent much more!
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
I really only had sports as a hobby before I got heavy into trains. I do have sports cards (baseball and football), but those are from when I was a boy.

Most of my life I did not spend much money on myself. I reinvested in my business with any money I could keep my ex-wife from spending. Kids and life in general are not cheap either.

I did play semi-pro baseball and football, the little I got paid covered most of my expenses. I probably made a miniature profit playing ball.

I would use baseball gloves 5 years or more. I still have the only glove I ever used when playing the outfield. A dozen bats would usually last me all season. I never liked batting gloves or even sun glasses.

Nothing to buy for football, except Ice, lots of ice, surgical tape, ace bandages and more ice.

I have a long list of old nagging injuries and doctors told me I should have several surgeries to repair some of the damage. But I loved playing and I would do it all over again!

I dabbled in Golf, but I got my set from Costco for $49. Of the little time I dabbled in golf, most of it was spent practicing and I was still a hacker! Of the dozen rounds or so I did play I only broke 100 once. I thought golf would be so easy. "what's hard, the ball is just sitting there?" I found out how hard it is! But I did enjoy the game, it was peaceful and challenging.

I did spend some money coaching youth baseball, but I never kept a record of how much. Back then I would spend petty cash from my business so my ex-wife would not know how much I was spending.

I can't play ball or even coach any more, but I found my boyhood love for trains. I could not afford Lionel when I was a boy, maybe I'm making up for lost time.

If you spread what I spent out over a lifetime I suppose I have not spent that much after all.
 
like a few have said above, I have to "ration" my hobby time...and spending.

My main hobby is also collecting football, hockey, and baseball cards...I have over 100,000 cards and other memorabilia...that hobby has gotten NUTZ over the past 30 years as far as what you can spend....(bruette..if you don't want those cards taking up space any more, I have a happy home for them. ;). )

mountain biking is my 2nd hobby, but not as expensive b/c now that I have my bike, it is just upkeep. But I travel in the summer to ride - which are also vacations - so it is sort of killing 2 birds with one stone

adding trains is going to be fun, but also a slow build up as it will add expenses to an already thin pool of reserve money.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
like a few have said above, I have to "ration" my hobby time...and spending.

My main hobby is also collecting football, hockey, and baseball cards...I have over 100,000 cards and other memorabilia...that hobby has gotten NUTZ over the past 30 years as far as what you can spend....(bruette..if you don't want those cards taking up space any more, I have a happy home for them. ;). )

mountain biking is my 2nd hobby, but not as expensive b/c now that I have my bike, it is just upkeep. But I travel in the summer to ride - which are also vacations - so it is sort of killing 2 birds with one stone

adding trains is going to be fun, but also a slow build up as it will add expenses to an already thin pool of reserve money.
Sorry, I could never part with my cards. I don't have as large a collection as you. Most of mine are Topps Baseball, Football, and a few Basketball from the early-60s to the late 70s I have a few complete sets. Most of mine came from the packs with bubble gum. They are not mint, by any stretch, but I did take very good care of them and now they are on shelves, in protective sleeves and binders. The man who raised me bought my first cards and they all have a priceless sentimental value to me. Even as a "headbanging" teenager I kept buying cards.

My goal is once I get my attic/playpen sorted out, layout bench work built, trains up and running permanently, I hope to fill in the cards from the sets that are missing a few. I still enjoy looking at them occasionally.

Thanks for sharing your passions!
 

twforeman

Certified Great Northern Nut
The good news; being a toy train Junkie is not fatal, thank God.
It's fatal to my wallet! :)

I don't have a ton of extra stuff (yet) but I have plenty of rolling stock. Yet I still buy more...

I'm also kind of a collector of hobbies. I've been into model railroading since I was a kid, but really just started spending money on it two years ago.

I also have several motorcycles, most of which need some repair every year. I recently bought a Miata and had to put some money into that. I have a pretty complete set of tools in the garage and do my own work.

About 10 years ago I started getting into shooting and my "hobby" cash went into buying guns. Then I needed to reload my own ammo to "save money" (don't you believe it) and that lead to casting my own bullets and all the tools required for that.

I also have a full wood shop in the basement, and a 3d printer and a laser cutter. For a while I was making and selling various things to support my other hobbies, but I ended up spending more time making things than on the other hobbies! I do need to sort out my shop and start making things again though.

Anyway... my wallet is empty. :)
 
Last edited:

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
It's a disease I tell you!!!

And the wife thinks I've already spent way too much already.
I simply don't tell her. She knows that counting the cost of constructing the train shed it's in excess of $50K. But as Rico pointed out, I'm not in a bar with blow and hookers.
We have friends that have spent that much on a single horse and never recovered the cost.
 
Sorry, I could never part with my cards. I don't have as large a collection as you. Most of mine are Topps Baseball, Football, and a few Basketball from the early-60s to the late 70s I have a few complete sets. Most of mine came from the packs with bubble gum. They are not mint, by any stretch, but I did take very good care of them and now they are on shelves, in protective sleeves and binders. The man who raised me bought my first cards and they all have a priceless sentimental value to me. Even as a "headbanging" teenager I kept buying cards.

My goal is once I get my attic/playpen sorted out, layout bench work built, trains up and running permanently, I hope to fill in the cards from the sets that are missing a few. I still enjoy looking at them occasionally.

Thanks for sharing your passions!
totally understood!! I collected my cards the same way until my 20's...college...and then had to take some time off. Same with my trains. I only collect sets, and individual players/teams, and just collect base sets and the like. I don't get into all the relic cards, and the boxes that are $1000 each for a5 cards....that is crazy!

In the next 2 years, I also hope to get a train/card/band practice area squared away as well.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
My Name is Louis, I am a toy train Junkie.

I probably already have more stuff than I can ever use.

I continue to buy stuff I may never use.
Ha! Probably? I guess it is all relative. I way over spent last year. More than 4 times my normal "budget".

That's a grand idea, but a photo of stacks of boxes is not interesting, to me anyway.
You got that right. I'm not quite floor to ceiling yet in "stage left" but getting close.
 

Attachments





Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top