The decline in the number of model railroaders?

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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Increased attendances at Train Shows doesn't necessarily equate to there being more interest in the hobby by "new people" coming into the hobby. I think it is a case of more people who are, and have been, in the hobby already having the time to go to these shows now.

There may be 10,000 people in the hobby (as a figure only) and last year 5,000 of them went to a show. This year 6000 of them went. Certainly, there is an increase in show numbers, but not an increase of new people entering the hobby.

As has been said, now a days we are competing with "the current generation mind set", the "millenniums". As Selector said, now people sit on a bus placing orders for things instead of "socializing". It is a "here and NOW" mentality and attitude that seems to have been adopted by the majority of people under 35, the people needed to push, promote and engage in the hobby to ensure it's survival. Model Railroading isn't a "here and now" hobby, it is something that takes time to create and the majority of people of today don't want to wait for anything.

With few exceptions, the people keeping this hobby going and alive are those of us who are already in it.
 
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NP2626

Guest
In reality, I don't think much about this thread matters. As individuals, we have little we can do to change the direction this hobby is headed. However, I wonder where people get their opinions on what is happening in the hobby? I have a "Feeling" the hobby is declining. However, I have nothing but a "Feeling" the hobby is declining and by "Feeling", I mean I have no hard evidence! I would love to have some real evidence one way or the other. To base an opinion on a "Feeling", doesn't seem to carry much weight. If we have some hard evidence, please show it! If attendance at Model Train Shows is meaningless, what does have meaning?
 
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Hawkesburytrain

Well-Known Member
LOL

The hobby is declining, the hobby is declining
To all the pessimistic, negative people, please continue to make us laugh.
I'm done


PS. If you are looking for evidence, do your research, look in the right places.

 
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NP2626

Guest
LOL

The hobby is declining, the hobby is declining
To all the pessimistic, negative people, please continue to make us laugh.
I'm done

PS. If you are looking for evidence, do your research, look in the right places.
What, your done? Can't say I'll miss you!

Obviously you know where to look for the evidence, so please share!
 
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NP2626

Guest
If you were a participant at the ANPL Coffee Shop, you would come away with the idea that the hobby is growing leaps and bounds.
 

tomstockton

Tom Stockton
I think that Lloyd was saying he's done with this conversation, not model railroading... at least that's my guess.

I think for the largest part of us, model railroading gets in our blood and never goes away... not through the teenage years of girls and cars and girls... not through the early married years of raising of family... but I would venture a guess that when the kids get old enough that they don't need so much supervision, the model railroading bug rears its head. This is from personal observation, and seeing friends of mine and noting when they "got back" into model railroading.

Maybe that's a part of the perception of model railroading being an "older man's hobby".

Who knows??

:confused:

Regards,
Tom
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
G'day , Wouldn't it be great to see more of this ..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggj6HTRPa3w&t=58s...
Kids actually do love model trains when they get a chance , not all kids of course but for the hobby to go further it needs MORE kids.
Perhaps by some of us introducing younger kids to what still is the world's greatest hobby , the seed might just get planted .
I work at a school and have now run a simple HO layout at our School Fair and for Book Week and both times the kids have come into the Library to 'play trains' .
One kid , Tom , has now bought his first set and hopefully one or two others as well. Guess what young Tom (he's 9y.o. now) talks to me about whenever he sees me.
Maybe schools could use model rail as a teaching tool. just think about it ..Maths , geometry , engineering , creative design skills /art work for scenery , carpentry , basic electronics and electrics , even some base mechanical skills. End of day if a few interested kids and teachers from some classes contributed , the school could build , run and maintain a model railway and 'discover' that model rail might be hands on fun. Who knows it might even encourage some kids into the 1:1 real rail world later on.
You need kids in the hobby for it to flourish..CRUCIAL for the long term viability I think ...Cheers Rod..
Mr. McGiveron as usual I agree with you 100%! Kids are the future of EVERYTHING.

The way I introduce trains to kids in my family is to buy them a ready run set to use under the Christmas Tree. Lionel O gauge is my choice because it easy to set up, runs on any surface you might have in a living room, they seldom ever derail and it has modern remote controls. The newest sets can even be run using a smart phone.

My interest in model trains began with a train under my Christmas tree. My mother bought me a TYCO set when I was 11 years old. What a pain in the ass that was, but the seed was sown.

Make it easy, reliable, let the kids be involved and make it fun!

If you don't have kids in your family go to your local elementary school and volunteer to run train display or an extra curricular activity. I would if my health were more reliable and I had more time. For now little league baseball is the best I can do and I need help with that!

I do little league baseball because MLB has left kids behind in search of instant gratification. Sure night games get higher ratings, but how many kids can stay up late to watch them?

I chose baseball over trains because God knows my grandsons need more outside activity. They spend enough hours in the house playing videos games.

My boys have trains under their Christmas trees, they love to run mine when they visit. It may not have yet become a passion, but I hope I have sown the seed.

Like anything we have to think long term and like anything; Kids are the future.
 
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NP2626

Guest
I will agree, getting kids involved is important. My kids showed minimal interest in the layout, back when they lived at home, here. They did build R/C Cars and both ended up being pretty good plastic modelers, mostly building cars and airplanes. Up until the mid 1990s I was an R/C Airplane modeler and flyer. I built kits and scratch built my airplanes and flew them at the club field, here at my home. So, having a modeling father, was the normal for them. In 1988, they became interested in model trains and I had been an HO modeler when a kid; so, my interest came back to me at this time. My attempts to trigger their interest in this hobby, stems from this time and Model Railroading supplanted building and flying R/C airplanes for me, then.

Right about the same time that we started, the Nintendo came on the scene and the Nintendo competed for their time and as I remember, they where far more interested in that, than model building. However, like I've said, they did build some models. Today, both my sons work very hard and put in far more hours than I ever had to, even as a 31 year business owner. The pay they make is also much less than I made. Times are simply different today than it was when I was a working stiff. Whether the hobby will exist in the future, is beyond my ability to predict. I'm going to enjoy what I do and attempt to not worry about the future. In the end, that's really all we can do. You can lead a horse to water; but...
 
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G'day guys ...Here's a Brit's take on one aspect of all this. He makes some interesting points on pricing ..Despite me owning several $250 + Athearn Genesis's, Intermountains , BLI's etc . I still have an absolute ball with some VERY AFFORDABLE Bachmann's , Model Power and Lifelike loco's I bought way back. They may not have the features and detail of the former mentioned brands but gee they run and look okay for most. A few years ago I ran a layout at a Woodcraft Guild Open Day ..I used a few $45 Bachmann SD-40-2's among others . About lunch time a small girl managed to knock one of my cheap SD's off the track and it fell 3-4 ft. on the hard floor . Front trucks dangling and because it was an older cheap one I just put it back in the plastic tub . Next morning at home I got it out and found that a locater was detached on the front trucks that helped secure in the base of the unit and it took all of two minutes to fix. Also one of the handrails needed attention. Worst case scenario was the loss of a $45 loco . That loco , one of seven or eight Bachmann SD 40-2's I have ran perfectly once i put it back on the layout again and not one of my Bachmann or Model Power loco's has ever stopped or failed.
Point being that you can start out with some cheaper stuff and have reliable and fun times. While still on Bachmann... I LOVE THE SILVER SERIES rolling stock they do or used to. I have at least 20 SS stuff and it comes with metal wheelsets , looks pretty accurate and reasonable couplers and the average price when I was buying it was about $15 each. STILL ON BACHMANN. From memory it was $140 that I spent to try a Sound Value SD70 ACe (Virginian) a couple of years ago. Honestly it runs on slow speed as smoothly as my AG's IM's, BLI's at a fraction of the cost only coming behind in lighting features and a few sound functions not available although the main ones are there.
So happy to see the Bachmann , Lionel and other brands do try their best to help many afford our hobby .
Love my top end stuff but I still get a kick out of the cheaper brands too. I'll never be a rivet counter that's for sure. Cheers Rod.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HanqNOWgiNs Cheers Rod
 
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NP2626

Guest
It sure looks like Model Railroading is very expensive over there in the British Isles! I think some of it is crazy expensive here in the USA, too. Oh oh, did I say that out loud?
 
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tomstockton

Tom Stockton
rodney mcgiveron,

Thanks for posting that video. I think the gentleman brings up some interesting points on production cost vs. company profits, as well as taking the gamble of producing more models to sell at lower prices vs. the possibilities of reduced price due to unsold units. Tough call -- but the companies are in business by making higher profits. What they do with those profits after all expenses are met is where the problems lie -- how much is enough for the investors vs. lowering purchase costs with the hopes of more units being sold to more peoples.

I can see both sides of the issue -- I know there is no way I can purchase everything I want, vs. being the head of a company and making as much as I can so I can live a better lifestyle.

No answer here... and anything else I say would just be rambling on.

Regards to all,
Tom
 
G'day Tom and all .... Thanks.... Here's another vid I found yesterday too.. This is a review of the Berkshire Pere Marquette Sound Value loco from Bachmann but the real thing regarding it is right at the end of the review when James refers to a letter from a young modeler he received . It's cool.
This is very important .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fduXvT2zYuI Cheers Rod..
 
I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of new MRR products on the market released every year. If that's any indication, the hobby isn't anywhere near dying—it's growing. Many of us who got a Lionel or Tyco set for Xmas when they were young, eventually returned to the hobby later in life, often in spades. Now, we have the time, (hopefully) the money, and (again, hopefully), the space to build the RR we could only dream of as kids. I know I am.

The best thing we can do to continue the tradition is infect the young. Plant the seed. Buy someone's kid a $100 starter set, and you've set the wheels in motion for a future return to the hobby in 30 years!
 

tomstockton

Tom Stockton
Rodney,

I think the gentleman hit the nail on the head with his comments about the Berkshire being a pretty good quality product, at a price that those on a more limited budget can afford. I think back to when I was a kid... there was a "larger" town about 10 miles away from our home, and Mom would occasionally take us there for a "shopping spree". There was a "five-and-dime store" (lower prices) that was always our last stop. This store had a pretty decent (to a 10-year-old) toy section, and they always had Marx HO scale rolling stock for $1 USD per car, and occasionally a few pieces of AHM/Riverossi rolling stock for around $2 USD per car. Granted, they were not the epitome of accurate detail and paint schemes (although the AHM/Riverossi cars still hold up fairly well as far as one-shot molds go)... But the fact that a 10-year-old could afford to go home with two or three new cars for his train set is one of my favorite memories of my youth, and it helped cement my interest in model railroading. The point is -- the hobby has to be at least somewhat affordable to entice younger members to participate in model railroading. As a side note that just came to me -- it's also good for those of us who are retired and are on a limited and fixed income to add new products to our layouts!

Thanks for posting this review.

Regards,
Tom
 
G'day Tom and all . I agree 100% . I've only been modelling about 9 years and my biggest regret is that I didn't start a whole lot earlier but my biggest relief is that I 'discovered' it at all. Enjoying it all immensely . I have tried my best nowadays to show the unknowing the hobby I am an EFA at a mid sized District High School from K-12 with about 400 students and so far I've been allowed to run some trains on Book Week over a couple of years with themed stuff for the young kids , School Fair a few years before that and an Open Day layout for a couple of Community groups . Each time it's the younger kids who love to see some train action. Purely because of that I wish more kids could access more MR stuff sooner. If they do , we all benefit in the long run.
Sadly our local area has more hen's with teeth than model train fans but I'll keep trying to spread the word so that hopefully there's one or two less like me that almost miss out on an infectious mostly incurable disease called MODELTRAINITIS.....The prognosis is that you lose the disease for short periods , then it returns and can re-infect you even worse. Remission maybe , complete cure very unlikely...
 

blackz28

Well-Known Member
in my estimation the internet saved model railroading ,most of us were "lone wolf operators" we couldn't do what we do on this board , share our ideas
and mistakes & get advice .
Kids love the internet & can order online & run their layouts with android/ipads dcc is heading in the right direction also
 
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NP2626

Guest
I don't think that the Internet Saved Model Railroading. Enhanced it; yes; but, I can't agree that it saved it! If it did, what did it save it from?
 

blackz28

Well-Known Member
I don't think that the Internet Saved Model Railroading. Enhanced it; yes; but, I can't agree that it saved it! If it did, what did it save it from?
extinction, xbox ,ps4 ,and any other gaming device that takes up the time of the youth
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
extinction, xbox ,ps4 ,and any other gaming device that takes up the time of the youth
[ Like ]

I believe it was Seneca, the tutor of Nero, who said, "Qui non proficit deficit." Who does not advance falls behind. Kite flying is still big in some cultures, but less than it was in prior years. New concepts and devices captivate attention, and before long people drop other pastimes. I have done that in my own life, moving from one hobby or pursuit on to something else. Some of us return, some of us continue our quest for novelty and excitement.

Them smart phones....they turn most of us into zombies sucking on the internet teat, and oh, what a comforting, turgid, and engorged ever-full teat it turns out to be. :rolleyes:
 
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NP2626

Guest
Black Z28, I guess I didn't gather that you where talking about kids! Yes, they don't seem to have much interest in the hobby. However, I still don't think that: "The Internet has Saved the Hobby!
 




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