Are you careful who you tell about being a model railroader? 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.


Just yesterday I had to stop into a senior assisted living building to drop off a delivery from my hardware store. I didn't think about it much until I was walking into the lobby. But, I had the idea to start a model railroad club for the residence of the place. I asked the receptionist if such a club existed there and she said no, "Maybe I should go teach boy scouts and cub scouts. These people here are here because they need Assistance". She told me they have a "Yarn Club" and a "Rosary Club"...huh? I was upset about what the lady said. They are people, they need activities to stay alive. They're not dead yet. I'm sure many of them were into trains of some form or another. Why not show them the joy and gratification you get from building your own world. With all the many facets of the hobby, I'm sure many of them would find some interest in the hobby to fulfill their needs and enjoyment. I'm going back to that place and drop off some old Model Railroad magazines I have, and try to talk to a few of the folks there in the dining room. I want to get a feel from THEM, not the receptionist, how they would like the idea.

Try to meet with the activities director. I'd do that before talking with the residents about it. I think it would be cool. My Mother and my MIL are in assisted living and I find it's hard to get them interested in the provided activities so maybe something new and different would be nice.

The places I'm familiar with don't have many men residents so the interest from the ladies may be more in the scenery.

Keep in mind the activities ususally have a low budget so don't expect much in the way of reimbursement of your expenses.

Gary B

The Fox Valley Railroad
I just had an odd experience related to telling someone I was a model railroader. The thing was it was another model railroader. Actually my wife noticed a doctor she was dealing with list one of his interests as including 'O' scale model railroading. She felt compelled to tell him of my HO layout. His response was like 'Oh, HO' Kind of got the feeling it was a bit of a put down.

Is this one of these guy's size things or what?

Well, I let my wife send him a few well chosen pictures of the layout and got a really enthusiastic response after all. Seems he thought it was a 'wonderful' layout. See, you never know!:)


I have train/railroad pictures on the walls in my office at work, as well as a scanner turned on to listen to the rail traffic. When I get an email, my computer sounds a steam whistle and says, "All Aboard" to announce the new email. My co-workers know... they most certainly know! :D
Last edited by a moderator:


As weird as that sounds, you're not the kind of Weirdo I was refering to. You know, the non-bathing, needs a life and a change of clothes who can talk endlessly about mindless train details but seems lost in the outside world, above ground? Yeah, THAT one!

Don't forget the long, greasy hair and badly in need of having their teeth cleaned. :p ;)


easing back into it.
i don't really advertise it for a few reason. i'll admit one of the is the silly fear of ridicule and hearing " you play with toy trains? " the second is its habit for me not to advertise my hobbies. i'm an avid sport shooter and hunter, and work in a retail firearms store. it's not a good idea to advertise to people who don't me so well that i have a pile of guns and reloading equipment worth several thousand dollars in my basement, you'll never see me walking around in camo or any sort of gun related bumber sticker on my car.

the big reason why i don't mention it to most is it is my escape from the above.i've always been interested in trains and model railroading as long as i can remember, buying my first MR magazine at age 5. like many in high school i lost interest and found other hobbies.i found after a few years working in a gun shop, and talking guns all day, being around it all day, i'd come home sick of it, and i was starting to loose interest in it.thats why i decided to get back into model railroading as a private escape, i don't really know anyone else who is into it, and i can walk into the local hobby shop and be completely anoymous, which i can't say about any of the sporting goods shops in town. so trying to find a way to balance my time and money so i can give equal attention to both hobbies. it doesn't help that i think they are potentially 2 of the most expensive hobbies/lifestyles around!

as for those who's friends/family/co-workers make fun of them, try something i do when i get the same response to my shooting/hunting passion. bring em over, show it to them close up, let them run a train. i guarentee you'll get a convert or two. i know i've converted a few of the "guns are bad and should be banned crowd" to " how do i get one" by inviting them to the range instead of getting into a heated argument over who's views are right and wrong.
Last edited by a moderator:


I just don't advertise it. A few of my friends know, my family knows. Other than that, I don't go around telling people. Even when people ask about my hobbies, I don't usually list it. Right now it is just something I think about. I hardly even read about it (been a rough summer with class). In a few years I will be back and really into it again.

But, it isn't the worst of my hobbies. I recently got back into playing Warhammer 40K, which is a table top wargame using little miniatures to run battles against other armies. The scale is probably around O scale, just a rough guess. But hey, it will help my MRR skills, as I gain experience creating scenery and painting. Also hope to use it as a way to learn airbrushing.


New Member
This is a very interesting thread. From the perspective of a college student, I don't go around flaunting it, but pretty much anyone that is friends with the people in my "group" of friends knows we are all railfans/model railroaders. Throughout high school and even college, I have found certain "clicks" are more accepting of it than others. I hate to classify people here, but the nerds, gamers, and band people seem to often be the most easily accepting of it. When I was younger and I was the only kid I knew that liked trains, it was not very fun at all. Constant Thomas the Tank engine references and such. For awhile I migrated to other interests because many folks made trains out to be a bad/not normal thing to me. Eventually, a group of us in high school found each other and the train thing was more accepted by everyone. The model railroading usually doesn't come off as weird as real life railfanning does. Someone mentioned about the stereotypical imagery and boy is that the truth. My group of friends and I don't really have that nerd image thing going on like many people would associate with railfans and we dress like average teens do. I feel like I constantly get questioned as to what the hell I'm doing when I'm along the tracks, but when I go out with my dad or an older railfan friend I NEVER get bothered by anyone.
I used to never admit to being a railfan/MR around girls, but this is not the case so much anymore. I've had the same girlfriend for over 2 1/2 years now and my friends have also had girlfriends over this period of time as well. She has been VERY accepting of it and takes an interest in it by going railfanning with our group (and their girlfriends) and even volunteering at our local railroad museum on the days I work. The passing train crews sure seem to enjoy the sight of our other halfs along the tracks

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