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Ignorance is Patriotic
OK, here is a personal question for all of you. I've been thinking about this lately as I seem to be procrastinating on a lot of obligations because a great amount of my time is devoted to the world's greatest hobby: Model Railroading!

Do any of you find it difficult to manage the responsibilities of life, family, your careers, etc. because you're so heavily involved in the hobby? Let's face it, model railroading takes lots and lots of time, from assembling, painting, weathering, trackwork, layout construction, real-life railfanning, photography, etc. How do you fit it all in? Are there problems in balancing the whole mix? (come on, let's be honest :D )

For me, sometimes it seems easy to allow the hobby to consume a great part of my life. For example, "I would have cleaned my room tonight if I didn't spend most of it weathering this boxcar".

Anyway, care to expand more on this?


Diesel Detail Freak
How about, "I'd make that last payment on my car if it wasn't for buying those 6 Dash 9's..."

Hehe ;) I got 3 more weeks, before its past due...

As for time, well I come home from work, and play with trains...


S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Retired!!! :D :D :D

On the other hand, there are still too many things that get in the way of building the empire. Like today. I had to rake up the mess from trimming the hedge between my property and the Neighbors and then trim another hedge by the house. Then I had to finish the song I started to mix from last summers Music Camp recording that I hadn't got too yet while learning some new Pro Software for my system. (Man what a bummer, they went a half step flat during the song - accapella.) Tomorrow I will try to get the rest of the recording done as I promised the kids I would send them a present after camp..... Then I have two other (paying) recordings to get mixed and into production.

I am on two committees for our Boy Scout Council, member of the Church Camp program committee, Moderator of Deacons at Church, Vice President of the Local Martin Luther King Committee, and play in a handbell choir.

Sure am lucky I am retired and have all the time I want for the hobby.:rolleyes:
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Ignorance is Patriotic
Josh - take care of that car payment before your credit gets screwed!

rhoward - you must make time for more trains!


me. spend to much time with real trains. so all in all more life than hobby. ughh, in the last three months of wanting to build a layout all I have done is a 12" x 6" diorama. I also need more time for hobby!


Diesel Detail Freak
No kidding hey! My credit allready got screwed while i was depoyed to Iraq, but paying off this car (its only $220 left) will help that...


I am very fortunate, I was a industrial plumber that traveled through-out the states working on various projects. At the age of 47 ( 3 yrs. ago) I realized
that I was getting to old to hump 6" & 8" steel pipes into a ceiling. So the wife and I sold everything and moved here to Canada where she origianaly was from. At this time, I am remodeling our home, I do 2-3 plumbing jobs a day ( small residential repairs) and run Model Rail Structures. Oh ya, I also am a team captian for the Royal Canadian Legion ( U S Navy 1973-1977)
My life is balanced, somewhat stress free and every day I get stuck at the rail crossing for a triple header and 100 car consist! Wa Hoo! ain`t life wonderfull!

OH!! I forgot the hobby! I get to spend at least 2 hours a day on the layout
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Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
Instead of spending 4 hours at prime time watching the boob tube, now, my goal is to spend no more than two with my wife and try to get at leas 30 minutes or more per day on the railroad. As I have gotten older, it has become obvious that marathon work habits produce less than pristine work. On my rr, I work on a project until it does not seem to be going right, or turning out the way I want, and I step back and think about the problems I am having and let it sit for awhile. This approach has allowed me to do better work and not become so obsessed with my hobby. My big fear is burn out. How many hobbies have I had in my 62 years where I just burned myself to the ground.

Last night my operating session was with my 2 year old grandson, whos first passion is his Mom and Dad and my trains are a strong third. What a joy to watch that little guy's face beam with joy as he learns to say diesel train at two.

I was thrilled to read of Ray's involvement with his Church. Balance is the most difficult thing to obtain and the easiest to lose when you get it.

Thanks for starting a good topic. Now, I need to get back to my work project.

Joe Daddy


On my rr, I work on a project until it does not seem to be going right, or turning out the way I want, and I step back and think about the problems I am having and let it sit for awhile.

Joe Daddy

I try to do something similar, except that I always stop at a point where I've made a big breakthrough, or successfully completed an important stage of a project. It gives me something to reflect upon when I'm not building models and makes it that much easier to come back to a project. If something isn't working out I still step back and ponder the problem I'm having, but I try to have a different project or aspect of a project that I can stay positive about at the same time.

That's pretty important for me because in general life gets in the way of my hobbies far more than they get in the way of life. I've got the same old story, I'm either working too much to have time for model railroading, or I'm working too little to have enough money. That is an improvement over college though, when I had both too much work AND too little money :)

But whatever, this is the life I chose and I'd have to say I wouldn't want anything else, even if I'm only able to spend a few minutes a day with my models, that's certainly better than nothing.


Running the MC & Buffalo
Time is precious to us all. I try to find a little time every day on my Railroad even if it is a few minutes late at night!!!


Late at night seems to be the ONLY time I get to work on the railroad. Luckily that is enough for now. I get enjoyment and relaxation from this hobby and that helps to offset the stress from work.

Do I wish I had more time to work on the trains? You bet, but like several others have pointed out, something's got to pay the bills.

Right now they are doing layout open houses around here, and my wife has given permission for me to attend a few. Oh yeah! If I don't have time to work on mine, at least I can view some others and get some ideas and pictures.

Steve B

I'd like a bit more MR time but there has been a thousand jobs on the new extension this year as well as familly stuff and with the old layout getting trashed i am finding it difficult to get even the basic job's done, i'm sort of taking a laid back approach this year


Well-Known Member
I, too, am retired @ 52 from the Canadian Military. I still teach a 400 level Leadership and Ethics course part-time, which keeps me in spending money. I have also given up most TV, and leave all the CSI clone watching to my wife and two adult daughters who have recently returned home from failed relationships...two within 30 days! They both have work, but wanted to be closer to us after about 10 years away, which means getting back on their feet in a new place.

I have only in the past four weeks been able to work about 4 hours per day on my new layout. Hardshell is 95% done, and I expect to lift the tape from the tracks by Sunday morning, Deo volente (God willing).

My wife is tolerant, but I explained why I needed three solid weeks, after six months of no trains/layout, to get to the point where I can run a train and poke away at detailing. With our rainy winters, I need to use up the hardshell materials out in the shed fast or it will turn into a clinker. She accepts, so I get the time...for now. :D
Do any of you find it difficult to manage the responsibilities of life, family, your careers, etc. because you're so heavily involved in the hobby? ... Are there problems in balancing the whole mix? ....
Anyway, care to expand more on this?
Short answer is no. The only time I've had problems scheduling things is when I had a full time job (like 48 hours a week), took 9 graduate hours of school (6 is considered a full load) where one class was at the remote campus and I had a 1 hour commute to get there, was running a BBS, Church stuff, was president of a non-profit organization, and then the normal things wife, children (two at that time), and chores like shoveling snow, changing oil in the car. It came down to the end of the term and I just fell into a chair and said I can't imagine how I can get everything done. So I just made a list of things I had to do. Then I just took the next item due from the list and worked on it. If there wasn't enough time to get it done buy the deadline then too bad it was what it was. Then I moved onto the next item in the time line. As such I didn't get an A in one of the classes but hey what's one to do.... But I got smart and don't overbook my responsibilities any more.

If one makes a time budget then it is easy to see how much time is being wasted. I often link railroading with other activities. Many of my school papers dealt with railroad issues so my school work actually ended up also being research for model railroading (not to mention making it more intersting).


In a word no..Why? My late wife and I knew it was important to have quality time to relax from a days work enjoying our hobbies..Even when my wife became interested in the hobby she still went to the flower club,knitted and painted.I would work on my models,attend club meeting and local NMRA events...
Listen a year ago last March I went to work and before break time I suffered a major heart attack.I was unconscious for 2 1/2 weeks,made a trip to deaths door and returned..I lost the use of my right hand and have regain limited use over the last few months.Why am I telling you this? Simple..Take time out and enjoy your life while you can because death awaits you any hour of any day..BTW.My wife was on the way to the store and was killed in a car accident.Thats how fast death comes.
Take time and enjoy your life..Its to late after the undertaker comes calling. :(


Go make something!
Lately, life has been getting in the way of the train time. The new job takes a lot of time but not many get paid for building models 50 hours a week. At lunch, I have been planning how to fit my Free-mo modules into the garage so the car will also fit and I can run trains. I don't think it is going to work but we'll see. Anyway, by the time I get home and have dinner, talk to the wife, put the daughter to bed, I am ready for bed myself and then I get up and do it again the next day. The project will be done in 2008 and then I will be out of a job so I guess I'd better work while I can.


Wyoming native
I don't have any problems at all balancing hobby with life. I don't mean to be harsh or offensive, but anyone who has trouble prioritizing their hobby with the rest of their life needs to get their head together.
There are things I'd like to buy for the layout that I can't because of car payment, mortgage, etc. So I either build my own or save for the purchase. Sometimes I have to do home repairs, yard maintenance or go to work, for examples, when I would rather be working on the layout. It really doesn't take much effort to decide which things to do - hobbies are spare time activities. When I have spare time (quite often, really), I model railroad.
Doing what needs done when you want to model railroad instead is just an indication of maturity, I think.


Coal Shoveler
After I spent $1700 on a brass loco a couple years ago, a woman at work to whom I'm not even married to (but have known for a long time) gave me the third degree over how much I paid for the thing. This from somebody who spends a ton of money on clothes and shoes....




After I spent $1700 on a brass loco a couple years ago, a woman at work to whom I'm not even married to (but have known for a long time) gave me the third degree over how much I paid for the thing. This from somebody who spends a ton of money on clothes and shoes....



Guess we know why you're not married to her...

It's important to balance your life and your hobby. You have to have your priorities in order, and practice moderation. After all, if you don't pay your mortgage, you won't have anywhere to put your trains! ;)

That said, most folks have something they spend their disposable income on. Sure, HO brass or even non-brass DCC equipped locos are spendy. On the other hand, have you priced a good Bass Boat lately? :eek:

It's not unusual for folks to be surprised at what this stuff costs, and not understand why you'd spend the money on "toys". In most cases, they also have their own "toys", be it an RV, boat, vacation home, dirt bike, classic car, whatever. None of those are any better or worse than model railroads, just different. So don't let them give you too much grief.

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