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Durring our RR club's christmas party a few club members brought up somthing that kinda has me wondering how long this hobby is going to last. We were talking about the recent closure of hobby-train only stores in our area. (I live in central TX) We had one leave us in Houston this past year and have another closing in Ausitn this coming week (if I'm not mistaking). :(And the role of video games and other culperates in this. It was also said that most modelers are middle age and up. I'd like to hear what you guys have to say about this. Should I hit the panic button and start hoardig parts and track or will this work itself out?

Thanks
J.C.
 

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I got into this hobby for my boys, who aren't yet three. I'm not sure if they'll really get into it over time, but they sure love it now. I'm doing my best to encourage them.

I've seen lots of others in the same situation, and I think there will be others in the hobby over time.

There are a number of reasons why I think interest has been waning, and I think video games is a small part of it. Another is that trains aren't as romantic as they once were. In the hayday of rail, trains meant escape. If you wanted to go anywhere, you went by rail. Now cars and planes have mostly supplanted that, so it's just not as exciting anymore. There's a resurgence of rail coming up though, I know our new intercity line just reached our town this week. That might help with interest.

It doesn't hurt around here that we're just off the original spur line that linked the Santa Fe Railroad to the City of Santa Fe. We have a tourist train running the spur line, and we're not far from the Durango and Silverton line or the Chama historic line. Both run tourist steam trains everyday.

Small shops are going away because of big, especially online, retailers. I don't like the trend, but it's true in every hobby and in most retail arenas. I don't think people realize that when they go look at a product in a store, then buy it online because it's cheaper, that the local retailer is going to go out of business. I do my best to support the locals when I can, even if it costs a bit more. Unfortuantely for me, the closest train store is more than an hour away (even then there is only one, and it is only about 1/3 trains). I still shop there when I am nearby.

Keep up the thoughts, and keep encouraging others to get involved, especially kids, but I think this hobby will do fine.
 

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I've thought about this myself many times. Like was said, trains aren't nearly as "cool" as they once were. Now, they're a nuisance because they hold people up at crossings, the horns (now replaced with simulated horns at the crossings at many places), etc.

It's up to US to keep the hobby alive- get our kids involved, friends. I think some of us might even be "embarrassed" to bring it up in conversation for fear of what others might think or say. Screw 'em. It really is the World's Greatest Hobby. It's a life-long thing if you want it to be, it's limited by your imagination; it involves carpentry, electrical, art skills for scenery... It's AWESOME!! And with the new digital technology... computerized controls... What a great time to be in hobby :thumbsup:

So WE, the current loyalist, need to try and do what we can.

And the deal with the shops closing... I know :( It sucks. I always tried to support my locals (even with my motorcycles) when at all possible. Yes, sometimes it does cost a little more but knowing you're doing "your" part is always a nice feeling :p :D
 

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Schizophrenic Engineer
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This hobby is changing. I miss the localy owned hobby shop that had more trains than other hobby stuff. I do think that forums like this one will help keep the hobby alive.
 

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Clubs will keep the hobby alive. I miss being a part of a club. Granted, when the local hobby shop closed, the club just folded. We had no place to put the large layout.

I do think that forums will help, but there is nothing like running a train around a layout.

Bob
 

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It was the Great Depression that kick started our hobby...maybe another one will keep it going? In the end, folks with a creative tilt will always find a way to sake the thirst for trains.
 

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It was the Great Depression that kick started our hobby...maybe another one will keep it going? In the end, folks with a creative tilt will always find a way to sake the thirst for trains.
I do not know; the hobby is a lot more expensive to get into today then it was way back when... Maybe it will help drive down the prices though ;)
 

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The price is all relative. Engines may have only cost $2 but a loaf of bread was $.05. Not much different than today. The big difference is that there are more choices of rolling stock and engines. And we must also consider that technology is more applicable to the hobby.

The real expense is in using manufactured material and products. I try to use items and things that do not cost anything. I use real dirt, gravel, lichen, ect when detailing my layouts. I build my own scenery out of what ever is lying around the house. One must be willing to be adaptable when building a layout or scene.

Besides, all I can save in setting up the layout I can spend on engines and rolling stock.
 

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Just a few thoughts on the matter... one, don't worry about "that most
modelers are middle age and up" middle age and up are the ones with
the most disposable income ;) , and disposable incomes are good for
hobbies. Also, I got into the hobby due to my son, but I like just as much as
he does (for different reasons of course, but...) so how many parents like myself
have been turned onto the hobby to some degree (from a small simple layout,
up to a huge room with multiple gauges/ etc.) I doubt I am the only one.
I guess in summery, I don't see it going down hill too fast.
 

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This hobby, like so many others, is meant to be shared. My Dad go my grandson involved. After my fathers passing in 1999, I just slid into the opening.

Dad's layout was meager. A smallish flat layout. But many an hour was spent by all "playing with the trains" in the garage. Or current layout is quite a departure from Dad's original plywood setup. Our layout today is a modular layout. Sections can be change to be more in tune with the era we want to run.

We have come a long way from the old days. Dad started in the late '50's in the hobby. Left for a bit, returning in the mi-'80's. We have come from just running the train in a circle to complete operation yards and divisions. From setting up blocks to being able to run multiple trains and consists with DCC. The hobby isn't going anywhere and will still be here 50 years from now, when my grandson is a grandfather.
 

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Going away---No

I was born in the 40's. Grew up on a family farm. Trains were a big part of every day life. travel, business. Yes things have changed but you know even today when I see my grandkids. The games , videos, computors there is so much more for the kids. They don't have to leave the house. cable TV. Internet. Sometimes you wonder if they even have to think anymore. The train store will go by the wayside but you wil always have internet sales. As long as forums exist like this there will always be interest and from that will come the hobbist. I'm lucky I'm retired but still very active. Today to raise a family everybody has to work 10 12 hour shifts. Leaves little time for anything. Trains are a big part of our history. Every person on this forum has a different story/stories to be told about a specific area and a specfic rail line. I know with the forums, as long as we keep telling our stories and showing our trains and setups and what we are doing , more and more people become intersted.
 

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I was born in the 40's. Grew up on a family farm. Trains were a big part of every day life. travel, business. ...................I know with the forums, as long as we keep telling our stories and showing our trains and setups and what we are doing , more and more people become intersted.
I think Arthur has hit the nail on the head. I am trying to keep this hobby alive by passing it along just as my dad did. It is a great hobby, and a lot cheeper than some other hobbys. Try Flying, that will cost you.

John
 

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Good topic.. have spent quite a bit of time thinking about this. I'm sure none of my thoughts are original but...

My interest in model trains, above the actual hobby itself, is to try and promote the hobby in different ways. These days this is more difficult to do, given the choices in entertainment and the way we spend our time and money. Also, there are certain social barriers you need to cross when telling people you are a train nut. Usually I wouldn't tell people the extent of my interests .. :)

Starting this site was one thing I could do to try and give back a great hobby and get people involved and talking... so far, seems to be working. We get quite alot of new people on board here and with the stellar members we have gotten people on their way to enjoying the hobby for the first time or as a renewed interest.

Internet is one avenue but I agree we need active clubs to keep this thing going.. however, it's just plain difficult. I wouldn't mind starting one for large scalers in Toronto (if you are interested holler at me) and just seeing where it goes. Getting young people involved is a must, and to tell you the truth I think some kids are tired of the video games and internet stuff.. If they are smart, they will realize there are more beneficial ways to spend their leisure time, or at least part of it. Sometimes the draw of Xbox and a large screen TV is hard to resist ;)

To me, this hobby started sputtering out when I was about 8 years old.. just as video games became more mainstream as 'toys' but still well before the advent of the Internet and pop culture hijacking, wow do I sound old. LOL. As we know, fads come and go but hobbies like this are timeless. You don't see people unpacking their first gen Nintendo set and getting all excited to play 8 bit Mario Bros. It just does not happen. Now, all you folks unpacking those Lionel sets, that is something entirely different.

I have tried as much as possible to keep people aware that these types of hobbies still exist and can be enjoyable.. mostly by setting up my LGB trains outside for Halloween or Christmas (have some pics for you guys to see actually) and hoping people might think about trains again :)

Alot of my LGB models are over 20 years old, some 30, and I plan on keeping them around for a long time. I will even prohibit anyone in my family from selling them should something happen to me, and they will be forced to enjoy the trains whether they like it or not :D

Anyways. My 2 cents. It's not all doom and gloom we just need to adjust in the changing world.
 
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