Model Railroading: Slow year in 2011?

CSXDixieLine Dec 26, 2011

  1. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

    I have been working on my layout since summer of 2008, or just about 3 1/2 years. It seems to me that since I have started, 2011 has been the quietest year (by far) in terms of modeling activity. By "modeling activity" I am not just talking about my own progress, but progress posted by other modelers, online forum activity (not just TrainBoard), new manufacturer releases, and so on. Basically the entire gamut of N-scale model railroading. While I have been sensing this trend most of this year, it has become pronounced recently when I would expect modeling activity to really get going around late fall/early winter. It just seems there are less forum posts and less blog posts at all of the online modeling sites I visit. For example, someone recently posted a thread asking whether or not TrainBoard would be having a 2011 Winter Layout Party. Not only are we not having one (I assume, since all of the previous WLPs had already started by now), the thread starter received exactly one response to his question!

    Unitl now, this has just been a gut feeling as I really didn't have any stats or numbers to go by. Then a few days ago while updating my personal layout blog, I remembered that it has a stat counter. When I took a look at the stats for my blog, they confirmed what I have been feeling: activity is way down. Normally I get about 5,000-6,000 monthly page loads on my blog throughout the year, execpt the peak "modeling season" months of November, December and January when I avrage about 11,000 monthly page loads. These numbers have been consistent for all three years I have had the blog. This year is different however: there is no peak! My blog numbers for November were about 5,400 page loads, which is about half of what I usually see (I had 11,124 page loads in November, 2010). December's numbers are trending the same way.

    I can't figure out why model railroading seems to have lost some steam (or diesel) when compared to previous years. So what gives? Any ideas? Is it just me?

  2. PW&NJ

    PW&NJ TrainBoard Member

    I don't have much in the way of metrics to gauge this by, so I can't speak to lower numbers, but as for me personally, 2011 has been a huge jump in modeling progress. Part of this has to do with me getting back into model railroading after an almost 16-year hiatus, of course. But if general model railroading posts on the 4 sites I'm active on say anything, then it's been plenty busy for me. I can't imagine being able to follow threads if it were busier.
  3. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

    I also have no figures to base my feeling on, but watching "that auction site", it seems to me that there are a lot of people getting out of the hobby and dumping their collections. I have lately seen more of that than ever in the past.
    With the economy, and the general malaise in society, I'm guessing people don't have the time or $$$ for toys.
    I am disabled, and have always had modest means, so my train acquisitions have always been a little at a time & "dollar down, dollar a week".
    I'm fortunate (if you can call it that), in that my situation hasn't so far changed a lot from what it always was.
    Of course, I have never been one to buy all the new stuff out, or buy 5 locos or twenty cars at a shot. I basically cruise "that site" for bargains, and clunkers I can re-build.
  4. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    I think the economy and the situation in China have a lot to do with the inactivity in 2011. At this point neither one seems to be headed towards resolution in 2012. 2011 did have an impact with me as we moved to a new home with a large basement. Moving all my model railroad stuff only served to prove to me that my wife was correct all along, I do have too much. So I curtailed my purchasing. No new engines and none in the future either unless someone makes PRR steam like a K4, H10, I1, L1 or an M1. 2012 will be devoted to building the new layout and finishing some projects that were started but, for one reason or another, never completed.
  5. dieselfan1

    dieselfan1 Guest

    Not a slow year for me. I tore down my old layout in March , remodeled the train room, got the new benchwork built and am now almost ready to start laying track. I probably dropped 3 grand on lumber, materials and trains.
  6. rg5378

    rg5378 TrainBoard Member

    I think the econnomy and the state of affairs in Washington have had a lot to do with the hobby slowing down. Nobody seems to have a lot of expendable cash right now. I know that I don't. Most people might be working 2 jobs just to keep food on the table. No time for trains.

    The thing I noticed is that attendance at train shows has been way down this year. I went to one in November. Not too many people there. Nor were there as many dealers. (BTW the largest dealer there was an N-scaler. but that is for a different thread).

    I do hope things begin to turn around in 2012.

    I for one, enjoy seeing others pics / videos posted here. Keeps me inspired.
  7. MVW

    MVW E-Mail Bounces

    It's the economy. I work for a social service agency and I could quote you some numbers about poverty and how it's grown over the last decade (even prior to the Great Recession). But it would only depress you.

  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    My own participation has been "normal". Corey's help spurred significant progress. This was followed by the usual summer slump and then hindered by the double wammy of financial hits and a damaged eye, (which is now healed), and plans for progress are coming to fruition.

    From my perspective the economy has not changed. If I'm right then manufacturers, sellers and buyers have all cut back. My presence here on Trainboard has corresponded to my activity with my trains.

    With good luck and some hard work I'll finish the bench work, laying of most track and some scenery by this time next year.

    Next step: Figure out how to get 8' 1x4s here. My tenant has a new car that may be the answer.
  9. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

    I agree with some of the statements. The economy definitly has alot to do with hobby cash. Also, I think that those who can are working overtime or a 2nd job. Leaves less time & energy for modelling.
    On a personal note, this year has been pretty good overall. Even though the surgery didn't go as planned, my health has improved this year. Which translates into more & better modelling. Disability only pays so much. So my buying is down, a little. Thankfully, I don't have any big bills, expenses, or kids.
  10. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I agree with Jamie, though. Even with the economy, which cuts back on the number and size of purchases, there has also been a marked decline in activity. I noticed it myself, this fall because I was ill, so instead of working on my layout, I just wanted to see what others were up to (very difficult to crawl around under the bench when your sinuses feel like they're going to explode). Instead of the normal amount of "here's what I'm doing that's neat", I perceived a marked decline. And, not just here on TBoard.

    Here's hoping everyone "feels better" in 2012. Not recommending spending beyond anyone's means, but go out to dinner, see a movie, buy something fun (and work on your layout). We get enough people doing that, the economy will recover (and just look on congress as a "theater of the absurd.")
  11. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

    I would hazard a guess that it isn't only the domestic economy, but the global economy that may be responsible for any downward trends in modeling in general. Here in the Great White North we weathered the recession fairly well, however the European and Asian scenes have a subconsious psychological effect on a lot of people besides the worrying over the future.
  12. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

    I don't think the economy has a thing to do with the hobby..I don't have any figures but,I think N Scale has stagnated due to several things and I highly believe those collections being sold on e-bay is modelers moving on to another scale for various reasons and not the often quoted economy or the so called China problem excuses.IMHO it appears much deeper then that.

    Here's my thoughts..N Scale new releases is a very small drop of water in the bucket when compared to HO plus the detail,sound,the popularity growth of switching layouts,freight cars and locomotives costing as much or in some cases more then their HO counterparts-how many rehash GP7/9s do we need with a higher price tag?

    I have e-mailed several manufacturers about new N Scale products and I received several ear tickling replies on how committed they are to N Scale and there will be new releases in the very near future-that was in 2009,2010 and 2011..How many years is it to the near future? In the mean time these companies continue to crank out new HO.

    Now I know I will be flamed and trashed over my thoughts-it happens every time when I share my thoughts based on information that is readily attainable by contacting the manufacturers, watching the monthly releases and then comparing notes based on the e-mail replies received from the manufacturers..
  13. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

    Feels like there's a big hole in the vicinity of New Jersey...Atlas has released virtually NO new tooling, And DI is struggling to come back to life after the Chinese manufacturing disaster.

    Fortunately BLMA released trend-setting new products, as has Fox Valley. Since I model today, these guys plus Kato have done well by me this year.

    I also sense a problem. I think new releases drive the hobby, and the relative lack of same has hurt us. Manufacturers like Atlas seem to be putting their eggs in the HO basket...
  14. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    You won't get flamed or trashed here though folks might disagree with you. You have provided an alternative perspective which may be a contributing factor.Beyond all of that? Who knows? There are 100s of pages of anecdotal evidence free for the interpretation. In the end we will never know for sure.
    As for the "HO Basket" and placement of eggs, I don't blame them.
    Speculation, (I have no idea what the real numbers are):
    • If N Scale is 20% of the market
    • If Manufactures have cut back 20%
    • If there is a higher profit dollar per car in HO
    If I were a manufacture I'd cut back on N.
  15. Railroad Bill

    Railroad Bill TrainBoard Member

    Went inactive for awhile for reasons understood; could apply to any peer. Now back, and I do notice a little less activity--sensed, not measured. So, I'll buy the observation.

    One pervasive factor couldbe the economy. Also, the hobby may be losing new entrants which may be the group most affected by the economy. Time marches on for us oldies and that takes its toll. Seems to me that there are a bunch of really great new offerings last 15 mos or so, but we're not buying them. Satiation? No inspiration?
  16. Bruce-in-MA

    Bruce-in-MA TrainBoard Member

    Can't speak for anyone else, but I've made no modeling progress/accomplishments in 2011. The economy hit me pretty hard this year. No job, no money, and consequently no MRR budget. I suspect this might be the case (to varying degrees) to many others in our hobby this year.

    I've ironically had more time than ever to work on my layout, but obvious pressing issues have squelched any motivation.
  17. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    me, for one, have done some modeling, I have been detailing I need to start a layout
  18. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

    I also agree with many of the fore mentioned statements; down economy, folks working more if possible, family obligations. Just to name a few. As for myself I've been slightly less involved in the hobby due to my N scale layout being near completion and not having room for my HO layout at the moment.
    Hobby inventory is slightly excessive but with the sate of the economy can't afford to sell. These days you almost have to give things away to sell them.
    The manufacturers have scaled back just as most of us have, and probably good for their employees who have been able to hold on to their jobs.
    2012 doesn't appear to be heading toward any change either so hold on tight and let's hope for a bright unexpected turn toward the end of the year.
  19. N-builder

    N-builder TrainBoard Member

    I have to say that the economy is a BIG factor in this. For me I have not purchased much this year except for Christmas and a few things here and there. But with us moving into a new home I have to focus on other things first so MR takes a back seat. I'm sure a lot of people went thru the pain of losing they're jobs and then have to scramble to find a new one which is a huge task these days and this also slows the support of the hobby. So we all do what we have to do even if that means giving MR a time out. I guess for the yrs to come it will not pick up either. I was talking to the hobby shop owner they one I use if I need something right away and he said they are hurting and are just glad they can survive soon they will sell the place, they keep asking if I'm interested but right now I have other things I have to focus on and I don't need more stress on my shoulder.
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Budget is a very big concern today. I doubt it changes positively for many of us, any time soon.

    We are signing up newbies here, left and right. Their profile information is quite interesting- New to hobby or getting back in are accounting for probably at least 75% of those joining since this past summer.

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