Where is "the line"?

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new guy

Active Member
Wanting to replicate prototypical operations is one thing and admirable it is, it drives the hobby to a large extent.

HOWEVER page 86 of this months MR mag sent me screaming into the night!

This guy actually expects us to believe he has this in his house and he CANNOT just pick up a throttle and have fun?

Fast clocks and dispatchers, schedules and 18-20 people before you can switch on the power is INSANE!

C'mon! It's THIS kind of thing that keeps people out of even trying if they think that it's the "right way" to do it because it is published nation wide in the hobby "bible"! The thing people first look at when wanting to get into something is the magazine connected with the endeavor and these guys continually do it a disservice by showcasing the extreme in a way that makes you think it is the norm!

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not mad at the guy for doing it, it's your thing, do what cha gotta do, I'm mad at the mag for printing it in such a way as to intimate it is what one should be doing with a layout! It is ONE way, not THE way! They NEVER show any layouts that are "just fun" and not fully, historically themed out! Freestyle and "Fantasy" layouts are few and far if ever shown and the vast majority of us have neither the time, the space, THE MONEY or the expertise to realistically portray an actual time and place.

We just want to play with trains.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Preach it, Brother! :cool:

I agree, in a way. It would be great to have the time, space and money to build a layout where I could host an operations day, but for the most part, I just like to play with trains. I am also really enjoying getting into the scenery modeling. Everyone has their own interests and desires.
 

new guy

Active Member
Preach it, Brother! :cool:

I agree, in a way. It would be great to have the time, space and money to build a layout where I could host an operations day, but for the most part, I just like to play with trains. I am also really enjoying getting into the scenery modeling. Everyone has their own interests and desires.
I don't want to be a "get off my lawn" in reverse but it gets a little extreme sometimes! Kinda takes the fun out of it, turning it into a "job" like that!

SURE they look happy, but they had to take the engineer hats off for the photo! I don't want to be "that guy"! (one dude is actually wearing "Oshkosh" looking overalls!) They really don't have to perpetuate the stereotype!
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
I don't want to be a "get off my lawn" in reverse but it gets a little extreme sometimes! Kinda takes the fun out of it, turning it into a "job" like that!

SURE they look happy, but they had to take the engineer hats off for the photo! I don't want to be "that guy"! (one dude is actually wearing "Oshkosh" looking overalls!) They really don't have to perpetuate the stereotype!
I feel like the hobby is great because you can walk a path you like and each one of us can have a different path and not one is wrong. I have not seen the magazine so I can't about that but I do feel it would be responsible to show all ways to approach the hobby and not say one way is correct. Unless that's what they want and they not care about other options. They are a business and it's their right to do as they like without hurting others.

I've never been a part of an ops night on a large layout. I did have an ops session on a free-mo layout one time and I did feel like it was more work then fun. But, I do like the way you have a reason to run a car someplace. Having to switch the cars out and run around other then a big circle can be fun. For now it's all running loops for me. With my son it's all he wants to do and that's good for me.

Dave
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I personally don't run any kind of a schedule at all on my home layout, but I do have a number of model railroad friends in Missouri that I visit on a regular basis and one of them has a layout that fills his entire 3,000 squarean operating signal foot basement. He enjoys running trains alone, but he also hosts operating sessions that can be quite complex. I ahve attended operating sessions there where we have had over 20 trains running at one time under the direction of a dispatcher or multiple dispatchers.

For me it is a bit overwhelming. All train crews have headsets and they had better pay attention to the dispatchers. It operated just like a real railroad as a number of the people actually either work for a railroad or have worked for a railroad. After getting my butt chewed on a few times I finally got things figured out and really enjoyed the operating sessions which usually last about 4 hours. My friends layout has an operating signal system also which you must pay attention to.

The model railroad club that they belong to also has similar operating sessions and I have been lucky enough to have operated during their open house sessions which is run just like my friends sessions.

These sessions are quite enjoyable but can sometimes get a bit stressful.

This sure makes my operations at home quite relaxing as it is my railroad and I can operate it the way I want, slow and easy.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
I agree with you Bruce, that is why I did not renew my subscription. Most issues best thing about that magazine is the advertisements, but they are not worth the price of the subscription.

I got prototypical for ya, right here!

My little 40"x60" Peanuts Halloween trains set up on the carpet circling round and round making creepy Halloween sounds and my grandson having an absolute blast controlling the train and the sounds with the hand held wireless remote. All for $142.99, thank you Lionel and Amazon!

That's how we do it in my house!

Here is a good magazine for you, my personal favorite; Classic Toy Trains. http://ctt.trains.com/

When I want to read about prototypical operations I read my subscriptions to Classic Trains or Trains magazines
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
Preach it, Brother! :cool:

I agree, in a way. It would be great to have the time, space and money to build a layout where I could host an operations day, but for the most part, I just like to play with trains. I am also really enjoying getting into the scenery modeling. Everyone has their own interests and desires.
I feel like the hobby is great because you can walk a path you like and each one of us can have a different path and not one is wrong. I have not seen the magazine so I can't about that but I do feel it would be responsible to show all ways to approach the hobby and not say one way is correct. Unless that's what they want and they not care about other options. They are a business and it's their right to do as they like without hurting others.

I've never been a part of an ops night on a large layout. I did have an ops session on a free-mo layout one time and I did feel like it was more work then fun. But, I do like the way you have a reason to run a car someplace. Having to switch the cars out and run around other then a big circle can be fun. For now it's all running loops for me. With my son it's all he wants to do and that's good for me.

Dave
Woot! I am not alone!
Each to their own.
I personally don't run any kind of a schedule at all on my home layout, but I do have a number of model railroad friends in Missouri that I visit on a regular basis and one of them has a layout that fills his entire 3,000 squarean operating signal foot basement. He enjoys running trains alone, but he also hosts operating sessions that can be quite complex. I ahve attended operating sessions there where we have had over 20 trains running at one time under the direction of a dispatcher or multiple dispatchers.

For me it is a bit overwhelming. All train crews have headsets and they had better pay attention to the dispatchers. It operated just like a real railroad as a number of the people actually either work for a railroad or have worked for a railroad. After getting my butt chewed on a few times I finally got things figured out and really enjoyed the operating sessions which usually last about 4 hours. My friends layout has an operating signal system also which you must pay attention to.

The model railroad club that they belong to also has similar operating sessions and I have been lucky enough to have operated during their open house sessions which is run just like my friends sessions.

These sessions are quite enjoyable but can sometimes get a bit stressful.

This sure makes my operations at home quite relaxing as it is my railroad and I can operate it the way I want, slow and easy.
Well said Gentlemen,

There is no line, just enjoy YOUR hobby, any way you like!
 

new guy

Active Member
I personally don't run any kind of a schedule at all on my home layout, but I do have a number of model railroad friends in Missouri that I visit on a regular basis and one of them has a layout that fills his entire 3,000 squarean operating signal foot basement. He enjoys running trains alone, but he also hosts operating sessions that can be quite complex. I ahve attended operating sessions there where we have had over 20 trains running at one time under the direction of a dispatcher or multiple dispatchers.

For me it is a bit overwhelming. All train crews have headsets and they had better pay attention to the dispatchers. It operated just like a real railroad as a number of the people actually either work for a railroad or have worked for a railroad. After getting my butt chewed on a few times I finally got things figured out and really enjoyed the operating sessions which usually last about 4 hours. My friends layout has an operating signal system also which you must pay attention to.

The model railroad club that they belong to also has similar operating sessions and I have been lucky enough to have operated during their open house sessions which is run just like my friends sessions.

These sessions are quite enjoyable but can sometimes get a bit stressful.

This sure makes my operations at home quite relaxing as it is my railroad and I can operate it the way I want, slow and easy.
It was the implied notion that the poor guy can't even have the OPTION of a "solo ops session" in his own home on his own layout that really ground my powder! I have MORE than enough room to do that size of a layout but that STYLE of operating it is too limiting! I know and accept that "to each his own" but the motivation to go to all that expense and work and not be able to enjoy it at your convenience is really perplexing.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
First of all, MR is not the hobby "Bible". There are plenty of publications, including that free one Model Railroad Hobbyist you can read online. MR has articles on typical projects that anyone can do, as well as "the sky's the limit" layouts. You also need to consider that they are limited to what people write about, so if you like articles on freelance layouts, write one or talk one of your buddies who has such a layout into writing about it. Over the years, there have been plenty of articles in MR on the Utah Belt, the V&O, The Allegheny Midland, and let's not forget John Allen, all free-lanced layouts. I don't think they promote any one type of modeling as "the right way", but what's wrong with showcasing a dream layout? They put Ferraris and Lambos in Road & Track, and how many of us can afford one of those? It's still fun to read about them, isn't it? I'm pretty sure they'll publish an article on your average home layout if someone writes one and the modeling is good enough. They do expect good modeling, painted track, and so forth because the photos have to look good. Whose going to buy a mag with crappy photos of poorly done work? Instead of being intimidated try being inspired. Just want to play with trains? Have at it! Nobody's stopping you. PS: There is no line. That's what makes the hobby great.
 
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Selector

Well-Known Member
...
We just want to play with trains.
I don't know what you suggest by the inclusive pronoun "we," but I am interested in making my experience as realistic as possible. In the end, you are correct, I just want to play trains. However, I can't accept the roundy-round Plywood & Turntable as the basis for my experience...and my fun. Almost 90% of the featured layouts in any of the various publications don't meet my needs. Some are so small that I couldn't use half of my locomotives. Some are so large that I'd need a cool million bucks to relocate and to start over in a 1500 square foot outbuilding near the barn.

In order to enjoy playing as I play, I need to have somewhat generous curves and lots of decent scenery. Trouble is, I really don't enjoy the process of creating it all. Building a layout is a means to an end for me. I'm just about halfway through a new build, and it's slow going while I see all the minefields I have set for myself. This is going to be my finest, and quite likely my last substantial layout that, for me, isn't my one last fling at an apartment layout a couple of years before I TX.

To get back to your last statement,.............don't we all? You play as you like, and I'll do the same. If I only turn on the lights once a month so that I and six other buddies can run a six hour operating session, that's as it should be. If MR wants to show that this is possible in our hobby, why not make it evident to its readers one issue in maybe 20?
 

modelbob

Administrator
I got prototypical for ya, right here!

My little 40"x60" Peanuts Halloween trains set up on the carpet circling round and round making creepy Halloween sounds...
Here's the prototype for that:
http://mtrainierrailroad.com/train-excursions/peanuts/


The fall is fantastic time to ride the train. Join Snoopy, and Charlie Brown aboard The Great Pumpkin Patch Express. Passengers will ride the train and read the book ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ on their journey to the Pumpkin Patch. Every child gets to choose their very own pumpkin to take home, play PEANUTS™ themed games and activities, and meet Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
Goes back and forth, makes Halloween sounds. Seems like you nailed it. :)
 

modelbob

Administrator
As for model railroader, they do try to show all of the options. They feature 4 x 8 trackplans and they feature the "If I had a million bucks and 20 years" layouts as well.

So why do the larger layouts get more press? Well, they're what folks want to see. There's nothing wrong with the Pine Tree Central circling the Christmas Tree on a 4 x 8. In fact, if you go back to the early years of MR and RMC, you'll see far more of that type of thing.

But, you don't usually read Sports Illustrated to catch up on the local slow pitch softball parks/rec team. It's the same for Model Railroader. They do have plenty of features for the beginner and how to articles, and they have done lots of layout that you really can build in your home. Take the Eagle Mountain railroad they recently featured. It's not even a 4 x 8, it's only 4 x 6. But it has nice scenery and the ability to do realistic operations. Granted, they're somewhat limited, but you can do more than just run trains in circles on this one. Most model railroaders would have the budget and space to build this layout.

But they also feature "state of the art", and that tends to be layouts that took years or decades to build, and required a significant financial investment. I don't think they're trying to imply that's the goal you have to meet so much as saying "Hey, check out what this guy built!"

What they print is guided by their readers. When I was a kid, they ran far more articles on scratchbuilding. In fact, every issue had a "centerfold" with scale drawings of a locomotive or cars. (Boy, did I get teased about those "centerfolds" in Junior High. Apparently some of the other fellows preferred a different publication that also featured them, and weren't impressed with my version...) These days, with smaller homes and less free times, they've shifted focus, and you don't see that stuff any more.

I suspect it won't be too long before MR has a section on "virtual railroading", with features on how to build simulated cars and engines for your computer and/or VR headsets.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I suspect it won't be too long before MR has a section on "virtual railroading", with features on how to build simulated cars and engines for your computer and/or VR headsets
Please, PLEASE NO, Bob, then we'll know the hobby really is doomed.
 

new guy

Active Member
My respect and admiration for those who actually MODEL a RR and operate prototypically knows no bounds!

There are as many ways to do it as there are layouts to do it on. It's just that particular extreme is a little ridiculous when it gets to the point where a man cannot even bring himself to "wing it" in his own house with his own toys! There are enough constraints with this stuff as it is, why create more?


No stopping the virtual aspects, someone with NO room and less money can "have" the layout of their dreams with a LOT less hassle than WE go through! Yes, "WE"! "We", who "want to play with trains"! LOL!
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
Bruce you did good, a very thought provoking thread that has brought out some great perspectives from some of the top modelers/experts on our forum! Where is the Iron Horsemen? Maybe he and others will chime in later.

Thank you everybody I really enjoy hearing from the experts especially when you discuss the history of this the world's greatest hobby! That is the kind of stuff I pay to read.

Bob it was very interesting to read about some of the history of Model Railroader, thank you.

I enjoy the prototypical high dollar Lionel Legacy locomotives, but I also enjoy my MPC era trains. I love the new scale accurate rolling stock with so many details I need a magnifying glass to see them all. On the other hand I love my cheap colorful O27 gondolas and my Polar Express set.

I have the Lionel Legacy command control system, but I use CW-80s more than anything. The LionChief system is a beauty for the little guys and I love it too!

I have fun with my old Tyco trains and my Athearn Genesis.

I love my Bachmann spirit of Christmas n set and my Kato GG1s

I think my NCE Pro Cab Deluxe with DCC Twin is fascinating and a joy to use, but I also love the ease and simplicity of the Bachmann EZ DCC command control system and I still use DC controllers as well.

Right now I don't have much in the way of scenery on any of my layouts except some paper roads, vehicles and lighted accessories, but after I move to my final play pen I will try my hand at it. Truth is I probably have just as much fun when I setup a RTR set on the floor and play with my grandson or watch my grandson play with it.

I'm just a toy/model train junkie. I don't want to get bogged down in sophisticated operations. I just love the smell of smoke fluid and the click-clack of trains running. Realistic lights and sounds are a bonus. Even the smoke is unnecessary and all you need is one engine with smoke to fill the air with the wondrous scent anyway.

There is room for everybody in this hobby and there is no line. Like Alan said "that is what makes this hobby great"

Thanks everybody for sharing your hobby and experience with me, that is something else I love as well.
 

dave1905

Active Member
There are as many ways to do it as there are layouts to do it on. It's just that particular extreme is a little ridiculous when it gets to the point where a man cannot even bring himself to "wing it" in his own house with his own toys! There are enough constraints with this stuff as it is, why create more?
Because he wants to. I understand his position completely.

How many times have you ever played a game of baseball by yourself? Not batting practice, but tried to play a game of baseball? Never? think that would be silly? Well that's what he is thinking. He is playing a "baseball game". For him, not having the team there, just hitting the ball and running around the bases by himself seems silly. I have several friends who have built large layouts and don't run very many trains by themselves. Their vision is they have built a RAILROAD, not a train set. For them the joy, the fun, the play is running the RAILROAD, not just running a train to be running a train. You seem to think they are being forced by some oppressive conformity to operate that way. But they aren't, the people who do that CHOOSE to do that.

You have made a lot of assumptions with your comments. You have said that its to hard and expensive to model a prototype. Its actually exactly the opposite. Wanna save money? Pick a specific prototype, a specific location and a specific era and stick to it. You will save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the years by avoiding impulse buying. You are much less likely to end up with a smaller, focused roster that get used than a room with a hundred boxes of equipment that was run for 15" and put back in the box for another year while you run the next really cool thing you found on E-Bay. If you like collecting great, there are lots of really cool things out there, but I guarantee you will spend more money than the people who buys just what they need.
 




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