Where are the Great Young Model Railroaders?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by riverotter, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Your pictures are outstanding! I did a double-take on the 'diesels in the snow' photo, and the track-and-scenery scene is right up there with some of the best I've seen on this forum! KUTGW!
  2. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    A couple of comments I've seen have stimulated a few of my little grey cells:

    "The working world of today is based on total mobility, forcing
    people to veer away from hobbies requiring relatively permanent

    "What younger people see when they open a model railroading
    magazine is older people with huge, expensive layouts. These
    mega-layouts and their presentation do nothing encourage anyone
    to enter a hobby that appears complex, space-and-time
    consuming, and very expensive."

    One answer to these situations might be to join a modular model
    railroad club. If you build your module(s) to a "standard", e.g.,
    Free-mo or NMRA, you can take your module wherever you go.
    Storage and moving should be much simpler and less expensive
    than a monster "permanent" basement layout. Low cost, high
    satisfaction. You can even build a "big" layout out of modules or
    "dominos" -- my current project occupies a 30' x 27' detached 2-car
    garage, and it's being built using hollow-core doors as quick & easy
    "modules". I'm working towards generic Free-mo specifications so I
    can take one or more modules to a meet, plus I can reconfigure
    the modules and use as many or as few as I want.
  3. roch

    roch Member

    I can't stand kids anyway. :p
  4. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    That pretty much sums it up all around. :rolleyes:
  5. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Yes, visibility is a problem. People don't see trains as much as they used to 50 years ago. It's hard to get interested in something, i.e., as a hobby, that you're not exposed to very much. And what we see very often are dirty, rusted, graffiti-covered freight cars. Hardly an inspiring sight. Yet here we have all these reports of children and adults being excited when they see a model train, e.g., at a show or the local hobby shop. Perhaps there's something primal in our "collective unconscious" that responds to these big, powerful machines, perhaps moreso because they are under our strict control -- they have rails to travel on and they stay on them (for the most part).
  6. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    They get more excited watching monster trucks crush cars. Humans love large, powerful machinery, the louder, noisier and more complex the better. Just ask NASCAR. :rolleyes:
  7. MadModeler

    MadModeler Member

    No Mountain Man. I believe you may have hit this right on the head.

    Here's a thought for the magazines, encourage their younger readers to submit pics of the smaller cheaper layouts that were just started. There were times I got discouraged thinking that I would never have the cash or the skill to build something as good as those big expensive layouts and when I was talking to another guy who was in the hobby, he pointed out that when he started, his layout was also small and basic and it took time to build it up. Very encouraging especially when he really got a kick out of an outhouse I had scratch built in HO scale and then I remembered the finished product in another friend's N Scale layout he had for his Christmas tree, I remembered how that looked when he started on it. (I did the scenery wiring for him).
    The younger Model Railroaders are out there. Just need the encouragement that sites like 'The Guage' offer them.
  8. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    One of my dedicated Model Train LHS's has a working layout, DCC-equipped, that people are free to try out (with some gentle guidance from the staff). Guess who runs the trains the most? Right: the kids!
  9. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    One of the biggest barriers to entry into this hobby for many
    people is the work-to-gratification ratio. This has always been
    my biggest frustration.

    I'm a model railroader because I like to run trains (both around-
    and-around and something like prototypical operations). When my
    layouts have been in a state where I can't run trains, I tend to
    become disinterested and go do something else.

    The two solutions I've come up with are:

    1. Build something quickly that works, then go back and improve it
    incrementally until it's the way I want it.

    2. Build the layout in pieces, whether you call them modules or
    dominoes or whatever.

    Currently I'm blessed with a space that's 31' x 27'. There is no way I
    would ever undertake a Basement Behemoth where it takes 2 years
    to build the benchwork, etc. Like you said, who knows how long
    you're going to be in your house? (Maybe you don't even HAVE a
    house!) [Heck, at my age, who knows if I'm even going to live long
    enough to finish a ten-year layout?]

    By building in modules (I use Hollow-Core Doors), if I ever move I
    will be able to take the whole thing apart in a short time, move
    the modules to whatever new location I end up in, and set them up
    again (even if I have to reconfigure the layout based on space)
    fairly quickly.

    My first module was a 24" x 80" (one HCD) switching plan that was
    designed to connect at both ends to the "rest of the world"
    eventually. As a test to see how quickly I could go from ground
    zero to running trains, I used grass & roadway mats & strips, pre-
    fab trees, flex track, built-up structures (mainly), manual ground
    throws for the turnouts -- any reasonably decent-looking shortcut I
    could think of. Faster than I would have thought possible, I was
    running trains, and it looked quite passable, thank you. Since then
    I've spent a bit more time adding details like ballast for the track
    (yes, right over the grass mat!), bushes, industrial litter around
    the yard, etc., so now almost nobody even notices the grass mat,
  10. MadModeler

    MadModeler Member

    The ones in their teens to mid 20s or the ones older than 30? :mrgreen:

    You're right about that though. I've seen teenagers and younger kids who are very interested in this hobby (and others).
  11. roch

    roch Member

    I am in my golden years.:thumb:
  12. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    hehehehehe thanks Kevin :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    BTW, I love that pic with the snow on the loco, it really looks REAL :eek: :thumb: :mrgreen:
  13. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Like I need another model railroad project... :cry:

    I'm thinking about running around to model train shops in the area trying to get one of them interested in the idea (if they don't already have a model railroad on display) of undertaking a quick-construction project to show people how quickly and easily a model railroad could be built by using, for example, foam on a hollow-core door, built-up structures, Kato Unitrack, grass mats, etc. It wouldn't have to take up a lot of space; an HO switching module or an N scale layout could be built on an HCD. They could schedule "workshops" where they do a piece of the project in a short time frame like an hour to an afternoon. They could video the process and post it to their website. Possibly boost sales (both at the brick-and-mortar store and over the Web)?

    Comments welcome! :twisted:
  14. roch

    roch Member

    That sounds like a cool idea. I could never work that fast myself though.
    You have more than 1 moodel RR shop near you? That is cool. There is only one in my area and I thought I was lucky. They have multipal layouts in every scale and have one counter where a couple of guys do nothing but demo's all day long. If I can finde the link to their site I will put it below.

    Caboose Hobbies, The best place to enjoy the hobby of model trains, Toy Trains, Model Railroading!
  15. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    You can debate all you want about instant gratification, and electronic pacification of the kids born after 1990, but for those who remember the Gauge you know my age.

    Basically, as computers became more powerful, kids turned from their toys to a computer. I remember Apple IIe's with oregon trail in school. I was lucky to be a member of probably the LAST generation that missed technology as a small child. When the most interesting thing to do on an Apple Classic was create a tiny text file, you can easily see why I played outside with the other kids. Videos were okay, but my Train set, Gliders, Pedal Cars, Sidewalk Chalk, Hide n' Seek, Tag, and Wagons were the name of the game as the 1990's rolled along. I think I first actually "played" on the computer back in 1998. It was Riven (Sequel to Myst), which for a kid, was fascinating, but difficult. Plus I had a huge living room with my 4X8 HO model railroad RIGHT THERE, so it was hard not to play with it. :mrgreen: I did begin to play SIM city 2000 and 3000 a lot as time went by, but designing gliders out of balsawood was still fun. I didn't have a layout in my early teenage years but made up for it now by having a room-sized layout based on a specific prototype and era. (ATSF & SP, 1954) I now mainly use the computer as a tool for modeling, and playing SIM city 4, among other things.

    Chasing Girls: Yes
    Chasing Trains:Yes
    Still Young: YES.

    See what work I'm doing here:
    Interacting with Miniature Railroading.
  16. roch

    roch Member

    Quote by mileswestern

    "It was Riven (Sequel to Myst), which for a kid, was fascinating, but difficult."

    I miss those games. I have them somewhere.
    I can't remember the name of my first computer, but it was like a big calculator with a keyboard. It used a tape deck as a hard drive and a black and white TV for a monitor. It came with a basic programing book and I taught myself basic even though I was only 7 years old.
  17. erikstoll

    erikstoll New Member

    Well, I'm 23 i have a ton of stuff from when I was younger, a lot of this issue now is both time, and of course space.
    Living in an apartment is a challenge, as well as being in school and trying to find time between essays, midterms and work, it is not at all easy.
    The small living space provides a challenge too, I tried setting up plywood on sawhorses and they seemed to always be in the way.
    I want to have something more... stable and permanent the main issue is having the space and time, especially if i end up moving AGAIN to another apartment or house in the near future =\
  18. Chaparral

    Chaparral Member

    As long as retailers are satisfied with their niche-market share, and the economy is so-so, don't expect hobby shops or magazines to do any more than the absolute minimum. The guy at one of our two LHSs always looks like he's 5 years into a 35 year sentence and his shop removed their N scale work in progress.They haven't had an N scale metal ruler for 9 months.
    I thumb through MR mags,not at all curious about what's in the the ones sealed in mylar or kevlar because the same stuff was in my mags of 1976, blow-ins (I don't pick them up anymore) and those pesky cardboard subscription flaps. There is seldom content worth 5 dollars/ 8.99 Canadian. And, there is NEVER any free stuff worth 5 dollars/8.99 Canadian and NO advertising brochure is worth 5 dollars/8.99 Canadian.

    We will survive-we are of the black, gold and purple tartan of the
    Macgyver clan!
  19. KCS

    KCS Member

    I can relate to that. I'm fixing to bump 23 next month and trying to work on a new career. My current 12 year career is burning me up and doesn't pay all to well so I can't really afford it. Don't have a girlfriend anymore and living back with my parent's for a little bit trying to take up truck driving, I'm thinking after a year or two on the road of getting myself a place somewhere else out of the south and buy some land in the country. Not sure about 1:29 scale yet but it's just a thought like 1:8 scale is. I've also been thinking about moving near a live steam club and buying my own locomotive's and car's and joining. Just take's time money and effort. Plus I just don't have the room.
  20. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Originally Posted by stormfather [​IMG]
    I'm 22. Between work, work, work, graduate school, work, and work, I don't have much free time. The free time I do have is split between my girlfriend, videogames, and my model railroad. I think young people just don't have as much free time and money as older folks.

    I'm nearly 60, sort-of retired (I still work part-time at my business because I enjoy it) and strangely enough there doesn't seem to be any more time than there was when I was working full-time+. In fact, these days I can't figure out how I use to manage to squeeze a full-time job into my life! :mrgreen:

    As for money - well, there are always more things to spend money on than there is money (except for Donald Trump - maybe).

    It all comes down to commitments and priorities. I strive for a reasonable balance, and make time for my Kid to come out and play every day - at least for a while!


    "I'm not here for a long time, so I might as well try to have a good time while I'm here!"

    ["Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S. Thompson]

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