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Thread: The decline in the number of model railroaders?

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    Frank, I should of also mentioned that I live a bit more than one hour drive and more if it's winter. I live in Canada, so I have to add the exchange rate, the custom fees, the taxes and their markup. To give you an idea add about 43% on average to the cost of let say Modeltrainstuff

    EX: Bowser Cartier Locomotive from Modeltraistuff = $367 CDN with all the extra cost and from a hobby shop in Ontario = $515 CDN and same store online = $412 CDN
    The $100 I save will get me 3 freights.

    Here's another EX: Atlas flextrack, Modeltrainstuff was about $4.68 vs. $6.21 a difference of $1.53. I needed about 400, therefore a saving of $600 CDN. I did buy them from Modeltrainstuff.

    I do buy some stuff from brick and mortar sometimes, like last month I bought the CMX track cleaner because I couldn't find it anywhere and it was to my knowledge a good price.


    Y3a, I plan on what I need to do and what I need, therefore I can wait, I rarely need something today. All my Arduino, led stuff comes from China and it takes about 45-60 days, no rush I can wait. But today, people want things today and done today.
    Last edited by Hawkesburytrain; 12-28-2017 at 01:42 PM.

  2. #62

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    Twenty years ago, one of my "neighbors" threatened me with "Child Services", because I expected my son(s) to assist their mother with chores they could handle. Ultimately, as they grew up, I was criticized because they had to cut the lawn, shovel snow etc. I was also a villain because I taught them how to maintain the cars, and other homeowner skills. Has nothing to do with smart phones, computers or games. It's about being helpless, and in constant need of services, as opposed to being self reliant.

    Model railroading has fallen into the same category, with the preponderance of equipment sold being ready to run, and vendors offering pre built layouts, even the unskilled can have a layout, as big and as detailed as one can afford. There is really nothing wrong with that. While I enjoy building kits, I no longer enjoy painting, so I mostly buy RTR.

    Local Hobby stores, (and other small business), are their own worst enemy. It's the down side of being your own boss. Since e-commerce, they cannot force you to shop at their establishment under their terms or at their price. Also, because of the limits of the distribution network, and local retailer's capital, many of the more interesting products were/ are not available in the LHS, but can be obtained on line, either from the major dealers, or from specialty shops. With the internet in play, it's the buyer who is in control.

    Model railroading, is a recreational activity, not an art form, so it has to compete with other recreational activities. Many of the other recreational activities are also expensive. I like hockey, but I really cannot afford my favorite lower bowl seats at the Rock, more than a couple of games a year. A couple of RTR DCC diesels for my layout, and a TV package are a better alternative.

    The reality is that there is a base of interest in this hobby, that will continue as long as there are railroads. The market caters to this base, whether they are modelers, operators or collectors. LHS's are /were not an indicator of the health of the hobby, but more so, an indicator of the health of a now obsolete group of retailers, who cannot/will not compete with more efficient competitors.
    I survived the Penn Central

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    Here is a link to a Modelers Life podcast that somebody shared on a similar thread across the street. I figured it would be highly appropos for this discussion. It's an interview with Joe Fugate, publisher of Model Railroad Hobbyist e-magazine. Just a heads-up, it's kinda long...
    http://traffic.libsyn.com/modelersli...dest-id=212884
    - keN in Maryland

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    Thanks for posting Ken.
    Yes it was long but I did listen to it completely while working on my layout.
    They've said exactly what I've been saying.
    To all the pessimistic people, take the time to listen to the podcast.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Central Minnesota, Park Rapids area.
    Posts
    1,640

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkesburytrain View Post
    Mark, as for blaming myself for hobby stores closing, absolutely not. I will not spend $100 more on a locomotive to encourage a brick and mortar store, I will buy what ever I need at the best price I can find. I know of two brick and mortar hobby shop that also sell on the internet and are doing very well. Yes they do have 2 set of prices and I will encourage the internet side of their business. If the other brick and mortar shop who are closing are not on the internet, that's their problem, they needed to adapt.

    When it comes to money, it's all about the life style you want to live. In my line of work, if someone says I don't have any money, most of the time I find some by arranging their finances, then it's up to them to decide what they want to do. I also do lots of volunteer work helping people manage their finance and yes even welfare people, so I do have a very good knowledge about peoples money.

    You really didn't understand what I was saying! I was not blaming YOU for hobby shops failing and yes, when they have failed the hobby shop's proprietor is as much to blame, as anyone.

    I think; however for the most part, we have become people who do much of our shopping online; so, some model railroaders spend very little of their hard earned hobby money by walking into a hobby shop anymore. I, for one, am one of those people. For the past 40 years I have lived where the closest hobby shop is over 100 miles away and then, it is not a very good hobby shop, at that! I guess if the hobby is truly declining, then eventually online; or, brick and mortar, it won't matter! Only time will tell.
    Last edited by NP2626; 12-30-2017 at 06:05 AM.
    Mark D.

    Opinions given are my own and not meant to ruffle any feathers.
    Northern Pacific, really terrific!

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    I live in Northern Nevada in this area I know of about 100 guys and gals that are model railroaders anywhere from Z up to G. The club I belong to has an HO scale layout, N scale layout and 2ft gauge. We have approx 22 paid members of which 7-9 are active. Our dues are $36.00 a years. The 2ft gauge RR is in a park and we generate most of our revenue with that. (The club house is in the same park) Our building is owned by the park and maintained by the park. As rent we give them 10% of our ticket sales. Why can't we get more people... when I ask my friends why they won't join they say "it's to far to drive". It's only about 30min drive all hwy from where the bulk of the modelers live. So why they won't join, I have no idea. I just came back from Seattle WA and there is an N scale club that has stopped taking members because they have to many. They only way you can get into it is when someone dies. I spoke with several other groups in and around Seattle and there are at least 9 different clubs in the area and they all are getting new members. Maybe its regional. Anyway enjoy
    You don't measure success by how much money you make. You measure success by how many people show up at your funeral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I live in Northern Nevada in this area I know of about 100 guys and gals that are model railroaders anywhere from Z up to G. The club I belong to has an HO scale layout, N scale layout and 2ft gauge. We have approx 22 paid members of which 7-9 are active. Our dues are $36.00 a years. The 2ft gauge RR is in a park and we generate most of our revenue with that. (The club house is in the same park) Our building is owned by the park and maintained by the park. As rent we give them 10% of our ticket sales. Why can't we get more people... when I ask my friends why they won't join they say "it's to far to drive". It's only about 30min drive all hwy from where the bulk of the modelers live. So why they won't join, I have no idea. I just came back from Seattle WA and there is an N scale club that has stopped taking members because they have to many. They only way you can get into it is when someone dies. I spoke with several other groups in and around Seattle and there are at least 9 different clubs in the area and they all are getting new members. Maybe its regional. Anyway enjoy
    There's probably some degree of regionalism there. I live in Seattle and we're a crafty city. Lots of houses were built by the owners. We've got at least 3 different train centered shows within a reasonable drive from the city. Plus, we've got one of those ride on train clubs about an hour a way. And a ton of people that engage in tabletop gaming, so that's an easy source of converts, especially the ones that had been modeling for their games.

    We've also got a few makerspaces where people can rent the equipment to do things like 3D print without necessarily having to own the tools. Plus, we've got at least 2 proper train shops within a reasonable drive.

    Plus, it gets rather miserable to be outside during most winters, leaving plenty of time for such matters.

    It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts though. Thanks to Amazon and gentrification the typical Seattlites are being pushed out and the people coming in have more money, but aren't necessarily in to the same sorts of activities that we were.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Central Minnesota, Park Rapids area.
    Posts
    1,640

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    WJIL26, I think your assessment is right on!

    I seem to be incapable of understanding why people would want someone else to build a layout for them; or, the popularity of prebuilt everything. Having been a tool and die maker and designer, I need an activity that supports the creative part of who I am. To simply own a layout that all I have to do is turn on the power and run trains, even if I used Train Order and Time Table operations, lacks the depth of involvement that I need. People will say: "I just don't have the skills to build that", well, neither did I when I started, you build up the skills over time, it is a fun process. What seems to be lacking in the USA today is the ability to see that "Failure" is an important part of life and one of the things that teaches us to be better.

    My kids are out of school 20 years now. One sells cars and the other is a foreman of a heating/cooling and duct work installation crew. Both are successful at their jobs. When I see how well they are doing, I wonder how they picked up the knowledge to do so? I guess my wife and I actually did have some influence on them and that is an amazing realization for us!!

    I am of the opinion that I don't know if the hobby is: holding it's own, shrinking; or, growing. In essence since it is out of my control, all I can do is enjoy myself as long as I can!
    Last edited by NP2626; 01-12-2018 at 05:04 AM.
    Mark D.

    Opinions given are my own and not meant to ruffle any feathers.
    Northern Pacific, really terrific!

  9. #69

    Default

    I am of the opinion that I don't know if the hobby is: holding it's own, shrinking; or, growing. In essence since it is out of my control, all I can do is enjoy myself as long as I can!
    Mark: Great comment. As long as We are having fun, we are enjoying our hobby. It's not our duty to support it. BTW, last I looked, I have three Rubber Maid containers full of unfinished railcar kits. Enough to keep me occupied for a while, eh?
    I survived the Penn Central

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    Some people still collect lead soldiers.

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