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Author Topic: My thoughts on the hobby.  (Read 8034 times)
stationmaster12


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« on: August 24, 2013, 05:22:17 PM »

So today I took my four year old son to a train show here in Nashville TN. What  I noticed was that  most of the people there were much older than myself and certanly my son. It may be demographics, but there weren't many children and the items being sold were mostly Lionel post-war stuff ( way overpriced old, beat-up stuff). And what was not Lionel post-war was priced higher than what can be gotten on-line. Now I love all of that Lionel post-war stuff too, but there were not any items aimed at kids....one Thomas train set running, not even for sale! We walked out with a Batman toy car..not a train! My point is that this hobby will die  if we do not incorporate items for children. Now I know Bachman has lots of items for kids, but today here in music city it seems that idea was lost. A shame indeed. Sad
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r0gruth

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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 10:47:45 PM »

Many see the death of this hobby in the near future,it seems.I don't.
As you saw at that show,most of the enthusiasts seem to be old guys like me.
Many of us don't accept change very quickly.The dealer that is knowledgeable will have
products for all ages.We old guys still think trains should be pulled by steam engines
but many younger folks have never seen a steam loco except in movies or photos
and would rather have the latest diesels and Amtrak style passenger cars.

Many shows will have some layouts but they usually appeal to adults more than youngsters.
They may have beautiful scenery and trains running at scale speed but the kid wants to know
how fast it will go and what it can do beside go in circles some of which ae very long.
I don't care much for smoke and loco sounds,I do like whistle/horn and bell,but kids do.
I have locos with all that stuff that I use when kids of all ages visit my layout

Of course all of this is just my opinion and here is some more.
The manufacturers/importers like Williams by Bachmann,Lionel,MTH etc. are making efforts to
entice younger participants into the hobby.I will skip specifics,just check the various catalogs.

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Roger
wmwalker


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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 11:07:04 PM »

stationmaster12
I some ways I would say it might be slowing up but like r0gruth said the dealers are have trains with diesels and Amtrak track.

Here is a picture from a train show here in Atlanta that my club always put up a children layout so they can run trains.




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Wyatt
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GG1onFordsDTandI
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2013, 06:12:06 AM »

The train shows are all about the collector, too bad you didn't find what you wanted this time.
 My point being you never know what you will find at each show. The Thomas stuff is there sometimes. Every show Ive been to in the last few years, has had Harry Potter something. Thomas, Chuggington, H Potter trains, etc., will gradually make their way into the show scene more and more over time, as the owners grow older, trains are given up on, etc. Thomas and others are just too new, those who buy them are keeping them, and the older "Thomas" crowd isn't as numerous. The price of a brand new "Toy train" at a show is likely to be higher than an online price. Online prices are often about the lowest for anything that's new, and easily found. If its not easily found? Well that explains the higher price.

Why do they need to be aimed at children? My trains weren't, and I didn't grow up in the steam era. I only needed to see the trains run to love them. I think the lack of exposure to model railroads is were we fail. Let them adjust the throttle on any engine, and they will like it. Any how I could be wrong but "Jr" might have been satisfied with any small steamer, and an operating car, or accessory of some kind "till Thomas could be found"(or forgotten). Operating cars and accessories trumped all other forms of toys for me (with maybe the exception of the Evel Knievel stunt cycle, used to jump the trains  WinkRoll Eyes )  My "nephew"(soon?) after almost two years doesn't even run Thomas anymore, only his "real train". You see he's "not a baby anymore!". His words age 5. Thomas never got much run time after the plastic dockside switcher was bought at a garage sale for a whole $5 and given to him. Someday that choice may change again, but for now its a dockside steamer, and hints he wants a larger die cast steamer.  Grin.  Oh, and my childhood trains were 10yrs old and some a bit junkie when I got them, now 40+yrs later I still have most. That old junk was well made.
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GG1onFordsDTandI
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2013, 04:24:41 PM »

stationmaster12

Here is a picture from a train show here in Atlanta that my club always put up a children layout so they can run trains.






For those thinking of doing this for the kids-Please note the height of this table!

Another thought. Going to shows as a kid in the 60s -70s, I wasn't always happy with the way I was treated by "Grumpy old Men" (or the height of most of their display layouts). Too many times I was told to "get lost", even though I knew better than to touch things not belonging to me. Maybe it was because I asked a lot of questions? I don't see "those guys" too often today, and  I hope we as a group are beyond that now. For those who must, "They are not toys" doesn't make sense to most kids anyhow, to them its obviously a toy(sorry to the serious modelers) "It costs a lot of money", "it will break very easy" or even just "that's mine" can put things into context quickly for them. Maybe try and find time to find out if they have questions you could answer too.
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r0gruth

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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 09:48:28 PM »

The one train show a year in Savannah,IMHO,has a nice mix of everything,dealers of new and old,
layouts of various scales and sizes and most people are friendly.

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Roger
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 09:55:36 PM »

World's Greatest Hobby on Tour.
The shows are geared toward families and draw an average of 20 to 30 thousand people per show. Bachmann is proud to be a sponsor of these shows.
www.wghshow.com
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GG1onFordsDTandI
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 10:11:09 PM »

Feb in Detroit! Oh yea! Grin
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M1FredQ

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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 10:46:00 PM »

Please keep this thread alive for awhile as there are bits of truth in all of what everyone is saying.

From my own experience with my kids, it didn't take very long to transition from the Thomas wood stuff to wanting the "Real Electric Trains" The steamers were very impressive to little ones because they smoke, whistle, and ring bells.

I have been impressed with Bachmann O-Gauge as it is not delicate and seems to handle the little ones "pawing" at it. Yea we had a few mis-haps but Bachmann as a great repair service as well as a near by local hobby shop. Point is you gotta let the Little ones handle and "RUN" the trains!!! Put the controls in their hands and they are hooked.

They "control" a world in miniature and their imaginations do the rest. BUT we elders and "keepers of the train flame" have to do our part to keep them encouraged and supportive. The kids need to respect the hobby and the "stuff" of others but we can't have too many grumpies chasing them away.

Today I ran into a 20 something who consults with The Big "L" folks and rubs elbows with some of the corporate connected folks. It seems that all the O-Gauge companies know that it's all this electronic gizmology that is going to attract and keep the youngins comin around until the youngins get old enough to introduce their ideas and bring the hobby to a different level like Neil Young and all the others did.

I truly believe this hobby has a future only limited by the imagination of those who carry the torch for it. There are lots of challenges ahead. What helps this hobby and keeps it going is the Love and Passion people have for it. Some how the wiser corporate types will offset the corporate types who only look for big profit for the shareholders. The paradox is we need each other and more and more ALL of us have to be in this!!!!!!
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M1FredQ

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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 10:55:52 PM »

Forgot to mention I like the wmwalker set up above I can see how it attracts all kinds of folks.

Somehow we need to capitalize on all the skills and learning that can be had with this hobby.

The discipline of reading, applying what you read, planning, building, electronics, sound ,lighting, learning Rail Lines that help with Geography, History, Math , Science etc ALL because of this HobbY!!!!!

Then there are the Socialization skills it goes on and on. At some point these attributes will be picked up on and slowly the Hobby is on toward another Golden Age.

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wmwalker


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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 09:42:11 AM »

Please keep this thread alive for awhile as there are bits of truth in all of what everyone is saying.

From my own experience with my kids, it didn't take very long to transition from the Thomas wood stuff to wanting the "Real Electric Trains" The steamers were very impressive to little ones because they smoke, whistle, and ring bells.

I have been impressed with Bachmann O-Gauge as it is not delicate and seems to handle the little ones "pawing" at it. Yea we had a few mis-haps but Bachmann as a great repair service as well as a near by local hobby shop. Point is you gotta let the Little ones handle and "RUN" the trains!!! Put the controls in their hands and they are hooked.

They "control" a world in miniature and their imaginations do the rest. BUT we elders and "keepers of the train flame" have to do our part to keep them encouraged and supportive. The kids need to respect the hobby and the "stuff" of others but we can't have too many grumpies chasing them away.

Today I ran into a 20 something who consults with The Big "L" folks and rubs elbows with some of the corporate connected folks. It seems that all the O-Gauge companies know that it's all this electronic gizmology that is going to attract and keep the youngins comin around until the youngins get old enough to introduce their ideas and bring the hobby to a different level like Neil Young and all the others did.

I truly believe this hobby has a future only limited by the imagination of those who carry the torch for it. There are lots of challenges ahead. What helps this hobby and keeps it going is the Love and Passion people have for it. Some how the wiser corporate types will offset the corporate types who only look for big profit for the shareholders. The paradox is we need each other and more and more ALL of us have to be in this!!!!!!

Very nicely stated Fred.  Smiley
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Wyatt
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wmwalker


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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2013, 09:48:28 AM »

One thing we have done is that all 4 CW 80 have been fixed with a rheostat on the back that we can adjust the volt swing on the handle because we know young people push it full throttle. also we have changed the internal fuse to be a fuse cap on the housing so if it blows we change change it on the spot. The children love the setup at all the places we take. Then we pass out catalogs to the parents and card to the local hobby shops.


Forgot to mention I like the wmwalker set up above I can see how it attracts all kinds of folks.
Somehow we need to capitalize on all the skills and learning that can be had with this hobby.


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Wyatt
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stationmaster12


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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2013, 04:51:50 PM »

I love the fact that there are train shows that do have kids in mind. I just did not get that impression at the show I went to. I'd love to attend a WGH show to see what that is like. Maybe we'll see one here in Nashville. As for my kids and I we run two loops of Fastrack with a Thomas train set and an old Lionel set from the 60's that was given to me by a friend. They love running those trains as I do. Even my one year old daughter has turns at the throttle! Come this fall I will build a more permanent layout and involve my son in thw whole proces. Thank you all for you insight and words I am encouraged and have learned many new things!!
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DominicMazoch

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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2013, 08:24:03 PM »

How about trains children see to day.  Like how about a loco, 3 heavy duty stack cars, and a car with a FRED.  And you can load/unload the containers from the well cars.
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M1FredQ

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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2013, 10:15:18 PM »

Dom

What's a car with a FRED?Huh??
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