Am I getting to old?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Ronson2k3, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

    When I first got into modeling I was all about modern technology. Locomotives with LCD screens instead of analog gauges. Super elevated curves and trains full of by level containers pulling into mega ports to be unloaded by some of the largest machines man has ever built. Now that I'm older though...

    I find myself wanting to model first generation diesels and steam. Pre Amtrak name trains and a really simpler form of life Pre PC/Internet. Train orders given on a phone or telegraph. A time and place that I've never been and only know about in movies and stored data online or in books.

    Modern technology seems to shadow that of the rails. Times when humans had more to do with how things worked then computers.

    I'm a child of technology in a way. I've loved computers and all that I've done and have been able to accomplish with them. But now I want to look at a time when a computer would fill a room if at all and machines for good or ill were under the careful singular scrutiny of man.

    Have I simply out grown computers or has technology just been rolling over me and I just want to step out of its way...

    Old fogies (I use that term with all due respect) help me out here. I'm not old yet (43). Atleast I don't thinks so ;) and yet I feel like I'm in my 60's or something wanting to step into some older persons shoes and climb into the cab of a machine that at the time of my birth was already being pulled out of service...

    Future C&O (Big Sandy Sub) Modeler
  2. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Just looking for a time before... ?
    Not a simpler time, but a time when men had to do the work and take their chances with the equipment and hours. A time when steam was going out and diesels had got a good start.

    I'm 69 and I've begun to turn the clock back to just after steam left the mainlines and became part of history to be kept on short lines as an operational part of a historic sideshow. I am having trouble getting local photos showing the time before the late 60s. That's why I haven't gone back further.

    Yes, I understand, but I'm not really sure why you are doing this. Perhaps it is an attempt to recapture something not seen.

    But welcome to the AGE of model railroading.
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I don't know what it is either. True, i have been on the is less time than you (i've only turned 19 today, yay me), but i am always tempted to model things right before electric freight is dicontinued, going back into the late 70s, early 80s. There is probably a romance of feeling about all the old stuff that draws people to model it.

    Why do a big black electric bricks like pennsy (later PC and CR) E44s plowing through a snow covered NEC in NJ pull me in? beats me, why do trains pull us in at all?

    I've kinda tried to figure out the answers to the question why myself, and i can't really come up with one. Its fun, but why is it fun? The way i see it though, is that fun is fun, and obviously the transition era is the most entertaining to you.
  4. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    My favorite era is the one I grew up in -- the late 1950s, and that is where my primary model interest lies. However, the rail bug is the rail bug, and I like pretty much anything and everything to do with rails; and my second most favorite is probably the present. Now where does that put me in the overall spectrum?
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I've quoted this line many times before, but for me it captures the reason for modelling as well as any other explanation:

    "Mine is the truest form of nostalgia - the fond memory of something never experienced."
    - Andy Sperandeo

    That's why I am modelling the 1930s, which corresponds to the late childhood/early adulthood of my grandparents, not me... ;) :)

  6. iis612

    iis612 Member

    Happy Birthday!!

    I don't remember who said this to me, but here goes...
    "Our is the truest form of nostalgia. Longing for an era we have never known" (Or something to that effect.)

    It is not a matter of age.
    Some say that the long gone years where a simpler time. When social and family values still reined supreme. Crime statistics where lower. People knew the name of their neighbor, the mailman, the local grocer.

    Today we are dominated by huge businesses who care less about us as humans and more as sales figures.

    We rely on technology to accomplish the same things that we could do long ago. Why? Because we have allowed this technology to become ingrained in our lives.

    It is not without it's benefits. And, it is also true that some technology has offered us abilities we did not have before, and advances that have offered us greater human longevity.

    I am only 35, but I feel as though i was born after my time. I would rather do the work than watch a machine do it. I would rather know my neighbors and mail carrier than see them as another 3D face. I would love to see steam make a huge comeback on the rails. However, we (as a society) are driven by productivity, efficiency, and money. We want more in less time.
    Hence the microwave oven, TiVo, Road Rage, Burger King.

    Fewer families sit at the dinner table together.
    In my house, we have dinner together every single night. My wife and I teach the values that my parents tried to teach us, which were taught to them in the days of steam.
    I leave a Christmas card every year for my mail carrier. Not because I want something, but because it is what I was taught. I still use a real tree. Even though I used to be a volunteer firefighter and I know the fire load danger.

    The best we can hope for is to meld today's world with yesterday's values.

    I am an old person trapped in this body. (Which with all the injuries, it seems pretty old too)

  7. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Bless you, NO - not TOO OLD - perhaps "Just old enough !" Bob C.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm 62, but my choice of era model has nothing to do with my age. My favorite part of model railroading is switching. No matter how big a model railroad is, if the trains just run around and around in circles, I find it boring. Unit trains don't do any switching. To me the most boring train in existence is the intermodal stack train. All of the switching is done by trucks. In the modular club I model from the 1930s to the 1980s. At home I will model the LA Junction Railway in the 1990s because they are a subsidiary of the BNSF that just does industrial switching of cars off both the UP and the BNSF in the City of Commerce and Vernon two small industrial cities next to each other in the Los Angeles metro area.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    In the 90s, I was interested in then-current (and just-vanished) railroads. As time went by, I realized that that wasn't because they were current. The last interesting era for major railroads is the time right before the last big round of mergers.
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member


    Is he "too old" at 43?!

    Hehheh...hahahah...Hooohooohooo...AHAHAHAHA....WHOOOHAHAHAHA! more...please...he's KILLING me!
  11. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

    Oh my.. what a great round of replies thanks to all. I know I'm not old just seems weird how my interests have changed. I guess in many ways the technological side of railroading has been what slowed me down. I think I can explain..

    When you or I see a modern diesel of today. It bristles with all forms of new tech.. Some of which I'm very impressed with (from a railfan standpoint) Diesels that run on small electric engines and are very large batteries on wheels. Then there are those that have found ways to cut emissions down. I'm all for doing what we can to save the planet.

    This new tech has reduced the amount of crew which used to be considerable I think at times there were 5-6 crew on a train

    Engineer, Fireman, Conductor, 2 Brakemen (correct me if I'm in error)

    Now there is but one crew.. He/she responsible for all train activities. That job is made easier by all that tech.. digital map showing everything needed to know. Automatic traction control, Satellite tracking and communication of every piece of rolling stock even. This makes it a ton better for the customer (shipper) because we as railfans know that without them trains would be a thing of the past. Diesels are so much more complex but yet like a modern car so much simpler.

    Cars today can parrallel park themselves have back up warning so you don't drive over your neighbours dog. All these advances makes a car so much more safer but makes the driver that much less skilled..

    Compare that to times when it took hours to fire up a steam locomotive. To maintain that pressure stopping every so ofter for fuel/water swapping of crews as it was a labour intensive job. Espeicailly for the firemen.. Stoking (before auto-stoking).

    Modern Diesels are complex in there design and function but simplistic in there operation.

    As I said as person of Technology I love complexity.. So Steam gives me the complexity that those modern diesels lack.. I guess is what I'm trying to say..

    Like getting your hands on a modern Lexus 300sc.. or a 1967 Mustang Fastback. Sure the Lexus can do the same job but you are a passenger for the most part were you in the drivers seat of the Mustang you are connected to the car. You have to shift. You feel the road and vibration as the uneveness forces your steering corrections. It's work but so much more worth it... You are driving the car not just taking the car someplace..

    At my age and level of knowledge about railroading I guess that's where my interests are at this point. It's not out of nostalgia as I was never there for steam to see it live and hauling freight. I guess though it's a bit like a time machine reaching back to see how things were in a time I never was. There is also the challenge of making such a model. Finding the data hunting down models or building them myself. The quest for all things of that era. That I'm enjoying so very much now.
  12. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    Old Timers

    I find it rather difficult to pick a time, or era, or locale, steam or diesel. I was born in 1930, grew up in a town of 1 store, 1 tavern, and 2 churches. Gravel road and barefoot all summer, a 2 room school with 8 grades. In those depression years, when I wanted a train for Christmas I got a windup (cost was 98 cents). I always wanted a train that was able to go backwards, an electric one, but they cost $3.98, 4 times as much. Model airplanes (balsa and paper) cost a nickle, and what a decision which one to buy.

    That is just background. In the last 23 years that I have been model RRing I have built about 7-8 layouts, of which 2 came CLOSE to completion. My present one is 5X20 with just a good start on scenery. I may possibly double-head a diesel and a steam. I know that is a travesty but one thing I guarranty, I have lots of FUN. A Bachmann F7 (or whatever) with independent front wheel drive I chopped off for a short critter. Not a very good job, but they look better with just the cutoff than if I tried to paint them. I have a bunch of silly looking stuff bu I've had a blast screwing everything up.

  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I think Matt's quote says it all: "Ours is the truest form of nostalgia. Longing for an era we have never known". Your interest in earlier railroad times Ronson2k3 seems to be a reaction to today's high tech, maybe too sterile, too automated world that perhaps lacks some of the warmth, the grit, the charm, the smoke and dust, and the need for humans to "feel" or "know" the machines of earlier eras. Today's technology may alienate us a bit from our own work while earlier technology made us integral parts of the machine maybe?

  14. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I prefer an era approximately 100 years prior to my birth. It isn't the technology side for me, but rather that I find it to be such an interesting period. The 1870s-90s were filled with all sorts of experiments and interesting story lines.

    There are the railroad barons fighting their wars (such as the General Palmer rounding up a bunch of gunmen, commandeering the Rio Grande's Fairlie, the Mountaineer, and taking back his railroad) and arguably a far more rapid advance of technology than today (hand brakes to vacuum brakes to straight air brakes to automatic air brakes in a decade, miller couplers, reefers, the first rotary snow plows, etc).

    Decor and luxury were considered standard. Steam locomotives had to look like baroque masterpieces. Passenger cars will rolling palaces. Freight cars doubled in size in a short period of time. Multiple locomotives were very common (my DSP&P frequently quadruple headed). Many of the fills of the 20th century were long wooden trestles. It was truly a different era.

    You aren't getting old...I'm 25...and I consider 1948 to be as new as I could consider modeling. Your just finding your tastes to be a little bit different than they were before...maturing as you've seen more. I recall looking at a plan for the D&RGW Chili line in the mid-1990s and thinking that it was a waste that they didn't have the cool locomotives, the that is my least favorite type of narrow gauge layout...I'd prefer the Chili line with C-16s to Chama with K-36s. Btw, the current Model Railroad Planning has an 1882 DSP&P layout in which a simplified telegraph system is used by the operators (keep in mind, the real crews didn't operate the telegraphs...the telegraph operators did). Since you are going to look into the C&O...have you ever seen the book C&O Power? If not, you must track it down! It is an out of this world book with many pictures of C&O transition era power (I love the as built 4-8-4s, 2-10-4s, 2-6-6-6s, and 0-10-0s).

    Happy birthday G-E-C!
  15. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    That is why I like it, too. Perhaps it is because everything today is too regulated and too look-alike. From restaurants to railroads, our world is an uninspiring landscape of clones.

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