What's Right OR Wrong With Model Railroading???

BarstowRick Nov 25, 2018

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    Well said. As a young modeler, it was especially discouraging to see layouts such as these in the magazines and the same emotion likely results today. Some months ago a thread on TrainBoard invited discussion on MR's determination of the dimensions of a "small layout", which as I recall was much larger than anything I've ever built or will ever build.

    In the early '70s, MR began a fine new column called Student Fare which gained recognition as a spot where young modelers could submit photos and short stories about their projects. I thought it was a great idea and as a kid, I really enjoyed seeing what others my age were working on. I'm uncertain if this column remains intact, but I hope so. (I quit MR in the mid-80s)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  2. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    They tried reviving it in the 90's for a few years.

    What's wrong with model railroading is the model railroaders themselves. They need to hand kids the throttles, engage new people and quit making it a small social circle of nothing but their friends .
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  3. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    As I look back over my personal history, the years in the hobby. It's the small layouts, the take apart layouts, the fool around and fiddle with layouts that I had the most fun with.

    Today, my layouts are complicated and I demand a lot from them. Which then makes it difficult to maintain, as in a full time job. Still the recent layouts I've built for myself give me satisfaction... I didn't have with my earlier ones.

    I do envy the guys and gals just starting out in the hobby. It will be easier for them and the product lines available is ample compared to the slim pick-ins I waited through. There are choices today we didn't have. We wanted sound in our toy trains then later we wanted authentic sounds. It's happened and I hope that doesn't change. For example DCC versus Analog DC. Quality products such as Kato, Micro-Trains InterMountain, Broadway Limited and others. From the days of Tyco, Revel and Athearn HO toy stuff to today's HO and N Scale wide variety of quality train equipment. What a difference 50 years has made.

    I should live long enough to see the day I can convert my N-scale fleet of locomotives over to DCC.

    What I keep looking for is the, "Balance." Begging the question, "What is that and where do we draw the line?"

    We will always have those who operate toy trains while others want to operate realistically. For me the balance is some where in the realistic range because that's what I'm happiest with. And there in is where you have to make up your own mind and decide for yourself.

    The hobby should be about young people and allowing them access (supervised) to club layouts. They need what I needed years ago and that was to rub shoulders with the more experienced and those who could mentor me. I found that but not in the prestigious group of model railroaders we all know. So I was disappointed at such. But that's another story for another time and place.

    I see the hobby as being the whole spectrum. Where would we be without the nit-pickers, rivet counters, and prototype operators? Insisting on better products and equipment that at least resembles the real deal. There again where would we be if Lionel, American Flyer, Ives, Marx and others hadn't of built the first toy trains? For me it was Athearn, despite the inaccuracies and wide bodies and ridiculous high amperage electric motors that made the difference. At least I could afford a small fleet of locomotives for my HO up and over layout.

    We are as diverse a group of hobbyist as any you'll find in any other hobby.

    That can't be all bad.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  4. Eilif

    Eilif TrainBoard Member

    I would add that all the bargain-hunting, bottom feeding cheapskates like myself should at least be appropriately thankful for the deep pocketed rivet counters who keep the press on for the newer and better models. It's that push that is at least partly responsible for displacing the previous generations of models to the sale table and bargain bin where I buy them for pennies on the dollar.

    I feel a bit differently. Much like the unattainable amazing painted miniatures in the wargaming magazines I grew up with, I find articles of beautiful layouts to be inspiring and aspirational even if I know I'm unlikely achieve one. Not to say there isn't value in intermediate-level fare in magazines but I wouldn't want to loose those gorgeous layouts. Maybe though I don't feel the lack as much as I get enough attainable-inspiration from the books I have (many from decades past) that deliberately seem to target folks with my lower level of experience.
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  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    For those of us who do not have the space, time or money to create a mega-empire, there is T-Trak. Or, take a look at this mini modular concept. It is a route some could take....

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  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    This is what's fascinating about this hobby. You can find a way to express your love for the hobby as illustrated by Boxcab50. Or do like I did with some heavy monster:

    Did you like the mix and match of anything I want?

    There's a story to be told here and you'll find it on "BarstowRick Moves To Nampa, Idaho". :(
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  7. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    Very interesting thread. What it really comes down to, is what do you like? Why are you here? For me, it's a chance to see and to a lesser extent, feel (after all, the world we create is somewhat smaller than the one we're trying to replicate.) things that happened before I was born or when I was too young to understand or appreciate them. I've never felt defeated by pictures of large layouts because they are much different than the reality of railroads as I knew them. Yes, there was a through freight pulled by a motley assortment of perhaps 3 C&O Geeps in various degrees of the enchantment blue and crud scheme, but what I really remember was the local freight pulled by a solitary GP35 or GP7- Nothing too grand here. Later came the more colorful Huron and Eastern. Their first diesels were painted in a Heritage scheme taken right from Pere Marquette's E7's. Eventually, as RailAmerica grew too fast, There was a colorful assortment of patched out diesels (no less than 23 different ones if I recall correctly).

    For me, the great thing about model railroading is that I can have any of these things I want, including the Pere Marquette consolidation that I never got to see pulling that local or the BL2 that I have only the vaguest memory of.
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  8. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    So what is it you are looking for?

    If the toy-like appearance of straight out-of-box products really bothers you, perhaps you should hang out with the Railroad Prototype Modelers crowd and attend one of their regional meets.

    Are you using scale-sized rail with correctly spaced ties?
    Have you converted your rolling stock to low-profile, narrow-tread wheelsets and turned down the flanges on your locos?
    Have you weathered everything?

    Regarding tight radius curves, nobody has an infinitely large layout room.
    However, maybe you have the space for (at least) one relatively wide radius curve - in place of a tangent stretch of track.
    John Armstrong incorporated one such curve into his layout and referred to it as "photographer's bend".

  9. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I think I know where you are coming from and I do appreciate that.

    What am I looking for? That depends because if I could replicate the 1:1 foot scale I'd have one running around in my back yard. I've considered volunteering as a docent either on the Durango Silverton Railway or the one at Knott's Berry Farm. How about as a docent at the local railroad museum. It doesn't stop there. Downside there is no way I can replicate the 1:1 foot scale on any model railroad.

    Even if I do all the things you suggested, there is still something missing. Something we aren't able to replicate. just to be clear, I won't do some of the things you suggested. Not all of us have the mechanical aptitude. The manufacturers should have known better but after all they weren't making prototypical models. They were making toys.

    The fine gentleman of Model Railroading who you referred to are men I revere and respect. I cut my teeth on their books. Do read some of their remarks about replicating the real deal. May I ask, Where would we be today, without them?

    Regarding the 1:1 foot scale. I did a short stint for Union Pacific as an Agent. Okay, I got to work for the Big Boys. About as close as some of us get.

    The picture you provided, I like what I see here. What am I looking at? Do I see Bragdon Geodesic Foam being used in the rock cliffs as seen in the layout picture? That's as close as you are going to get to replicating craggy cliff walls. I like the way you folded the cliff in to allow a creek to run through and under the bridges. Really nice work but look long enough and do you see it? Start with the bridges and continue looking up until you've reached the top of the picture.

    First off I don't care if everything looks like a toy or a close reincarnation of the real deal. Everything we do is a caricature at best.

    I'm extremely flexible and enjoy all facets of Toy Trains. Even the glorified edification of the so called Model Railroading. Modeling what Railroad? Sorry, that's another issue for a different thread.

    To prove my point I've built (3) Three Rail O scale and (2) two rail S scale layouts for friends. Numerous HO, N Scale layouts and even a section of G Scale as a diorama for a friend of mine. I've operated early Marx Trains, Wind-up Trains and had a blast.

    If you want something 100% may I suggest that the only way to accomplish such is to build a 1:1 foot scale or narrow gauge railway. Like Walter Knott's and Walt Disney did.

    It is what it is. Otherwise we are (you fill in the blank)________and does it matter? No! That's been my point all along.

    What's Right or Wrong with Model Railroading?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  10. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    Each person has to examine that question for him/herself and then derive an operationalized response. By that, I mean something that provides them with a way ahead in the hobby. It's such a vast hobby, appealing to many people, that there is room for all of us. We don't all drive Mustangs because some of us like Challengers. I don't like gala apples because they seem to be attempting to be a mango or a banana, whereas the Northern Spy or Ambrosia, or Pink Lady, is, to me, a true apple. It's the same with steamers. Who needs smoke lifters? Well, I like my Niagara, so my hand is up.

    I like a roundy-round. It's just that mine has to be fully scenicked, needs a yard, needs an industry with switchback, needs a bridge and tunnel, and it fits in a 20 X 9 room. That means a folded loop with very generous curves at each end. And a double main. Kewl. I don't disdain the Inglenook because the concept is compelling for those who find them so, and I would encourage people who like that sort of thing to feel very secure about their tenure in our hobby.
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  11. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    Id' have to agree, that the focus on mega layouts and super prototype modeling has sort of taken the soul out of things for me. I still have stacks of old MR's and Look at those a lot. I love rereading old Student Fair articles as well. And it was always fun seeing an old Tyco truck ramp hidden within an industrial scene.
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  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Last time I threw out some rather disconnected thoughts on the subject. You could actually build a thread off of a number of things shared. Let's see if we can connect the dots.

    For me I can only take a roundy-round for about five minutes and I'm done. Time to move on and do something else. Today, I need something with a challenge. On the flipside it's my roundy-round layouts I had as a youngster I enjoyed more then anything since. Look at your layout through the eyes of the youngster that once was, in all of us and there you have the soul of Toy Trains! Today we are awestruck with the somewhat glorification of such and we call it Model Railroading. Why?

    I worked for a really cool guy who owned a hobby shop in Kettering, Ohio. He used to say that the Model Railroader magazines destroyed the essence of Toy Trains. He wasn't wrong. I would never argue that point with him (which isn't like me). He was talking to the choir.

    It is what Model Railroader Wig Wags (Tattle Tale Magazines) of the time gave me that influenced my thinking today. Today, I'm not satisfied with a roundy-round and filling in all the blanks with my imagination. Although, I can do that with ease. I want a full sized yard, at least 50 car trains, multiple lash ups of a variety of diesels/motors and a variety of stoves/locomotives on the front end with helper units shoving on the rear. No flat-lander layout for me. It has to pass through a mountain pass. No pun intended and there again I might have.

    Toy Trains or Glorified Model Railroading is a choice. Nothing more, nothing less. So when I hear guys and gals saying there way is the only way. Really? Well....that's true! For them! It may not be true for you or anyone else within ear shot. But it certainly is for the person speaking. I'm not offended by that and don't think anyone else should be. If I was to say there is something wrong with Model Railroading it would be the unflinching attitude some of my fellow Toy Train enthusiast have. I see Model Railroading as a total spectrum full of anxiety, determination, challenges and learning curves. Graduation from one level to another and then sometimes back to where the person started out in the first place. FUN but not for all or all the time/uncomfortable situations. Finally Camaraderie which I think is the most important thing. A chance to rub shoulders with others in the hobby to learn from each other, to laugh at our mistakes/failures, to know that no one is looking down their nose at you. Okay, I may be dreaming.

    So! What's Right OR Wrong with Model Railroading.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  13. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    [QUOTE="BarstowRick, post: 1076297, member: Finally Camaraderie which I think is the most important thing. A chance to rub shoulders with others in the hobby to learn from each other, to laugh at our mistakes/failures, to know that no one is looking down their nose at you. Okay, I may be dreaming.

    So! What's Right OR Wrong with Model Railroading.[/QUOTE]

    You've touched on one of the most important things about this hobby. I often explain this board as follows: "it's like social media except it's actually social." There is tolerance of, and interest in a wide variety of ideas about scale, gauge, era, locale and modeling techniques. One member may be building a large toy train layout (I can think of at least one really nice one in particular). Another person may be modeling big time modern railroading with a sweeping expanse of western scenery and another old time logging. There's room for all these and everything in between, which is one of the things that makes this a great hobby.
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  14. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    "...On the flipside it's my roundy-round layouts I had as a youngster I enjoyed more then anything since. Look at your layout through the eyes of the youngster that once was, in all of us and there you have the soul of Toy Trains!..."

    This is an important observation, and may be key to your entire thread and intent:

    When we were children, we had vivid imaginations. We could easily suspend disbelief and enjoy our toy floor-bound plastic trains for what they were. We used our minds to fill in the rest. We made our own sounds for crying out loud! Now, we feel pressure to make passable mountains with bridges, and to include lineside details. We need realistic turnouts and are encouraged to use switch machines to move the points while we watch.

    To me, the hobby is watching trains run. As I said, I'm very much in the roundy-round camp, but I have upped my game. I have a substantial layout with trees, a bridge, scenery, and a modest challenge for switching when I want something different. But I'm damned if I'm going to install a single Tortoise or other machine, even for unreachable turnouts, of which I have three. I manufactured articulated dowel levers to move the points, and all protrude through the fascia board on the yard module. They work very well, very reliable. I LIKE lining my routes, and wouldn't dream of taking the time to build a macro and program routes that way so that I can stand back and suck on a cooling tea or a beer. No, I want to be more involved. And, for that very reason I enjoy photographing my layout and trains...it's yet another involvement and avenue for expression.

    Even so, there are many who enjoy the complicated electronics and making an entire layout work automatically. This drives the 'worlds' largest train layout' in Germany and a similar, decidedly toylike, layout in Osoyoos, British Columbia which I toured this past summer. It was fun, by the way, and I appreciated all it took to make that 1000 square foot layout work. Was I happy to leave? Sort of. Did I come away with ideas? Nope. Was I glad I saw it? Yewbetcha.

    We will live very solitary lives indeed if we find we can't abide the differences among us.
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  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Well put Tom.
    You brought up a good point and in light of that here's the following. Begging the question how can we draw them all together?

    Idea ! :cool:

    Here's how I like to involve other train layouts a brain game of sorts. Oh heck the gamer's on the internet are doing this all the time, so why can't we? When it comes to friends who have other types and styles of layouts. You can connect them mentally as in: Josta and I will send messages back and forth. I'm sending a mail train your direction, west bound. Or I have an express freight coming through, north bound. Josta responds that he will connect my trains at Davidsville and run through to Sarah's Valley. Where he will hand off to Steve's layout. That's when it starts to get real interesting. Especially, if we are actually running trains that fit the description. Steve might have a tank train coming through, east bound, priority 1. I then respond that I will take control of it at Caliente and see it through to Barstow. Or pick it up at San Bernardino and run it through Cajon to Victorville. Josta, may pick it up at John's town and continue to Davidsville. If you get my drift. Now if that isn't railroading fun!

    Steve has a logging railroad and Josta has a narrow gauge line with a mill. So how do we connect them? Steve, indicates he has a log train headed for the mill and needs to connect to Josta to reach his mill. Ok, so Josta doesn't really have a mill but using his narrow gauge he can access the mill on Greg's layout. Now somebody better call Greg and explain what's happening or there's going to be a real log jam.

    Josta also has what could be called a Bridge Line or short line similar to the PeeVine out of Phoenix. He can connect with mine a section of the old Santa Fe Mainline, connectiong at Prescott or Williams. Replicating it only in the world of imagination, so far.

    No question you have to get into the spirit of things or it won't work.

    I operated on a layout in San Diego at the Balboa Railroad Museum. The San Diego and Eastern Arizona Railroad, if memory serves me correctly. Guys and gals were walking their trains around the whole of the layout. You better know the layout well if you expect to operate on it. We had bottle necks, friction, "Get your train out of the way, I want through." "Your foiling the switch and I can't get by." "Don't we have any rules against that?" No dispatching and I saw it as a virtual headache to operate on. While at the same time the guys and gals on the Techachapi Loop are operating with a dispatcher. They could walk their train around the layout but all operations were controlled by a working dispatcher. I saw that as a much more exciting and authentic railroad to operate on. Noting, it appealed to me while the group I ran with preferred to run trains at their own risk. Obviously appealing. Just not to me. Okay so it's not my favorite way of doing things and that's OK..:whistle: :censored::cautious: Maybe not but what I've said here is not meant to be a put down to those who were eating it up.

    If you think you are a lone wolf or no one else cares, your wrong. Some of us would love to see your layout and interact with you. One of the reasons we organize Open Houses or Layout Tours. (y)

    Do I dare say what I don't like? You know, about Layout Tours. Aside from the obvious security risks to your or my layout. The remarks, whether it's meant to be criticism or not can either be interesting or not. "Well, I don't like this," "You won't catch me building that." "You wouldn't catch me dead operating this." The old mortician in me would answer, Yep that's possible. "Why did you build this with particle board?" I wanted to make it so heavy no one could just walk out of here with it. :mad:

    Heavy? It did take three of us to take it down and carry it out. That's another story going on here on TB. :sick:

    Now the questions are ok. :) More then happy to answer why, I did something that may or may not be popular.

    So where are we on all of this? :rolleyes:
    Read what Coverton says in the post above, if you haven't already.

    What's Right or Wrong with Model Railroading?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  16. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    I think it should be mandatory for every manufacturer to list the minimum curve radius of all rolling stock on each package. This would be for every scale.
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  17. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

    I am going to read through everyone's answers, but first my answer and reaction to the original post. I agree, the whole 'toy' thing for me is a serious turn off on many levels. But for my own layout and my own fleet of locomotives and cars I do not see them as toys, I do not see my layout as toyish and have worked hard to design and develop something I feel is mature and combines aspects of historical dioramas and museum displays. My attitude towards it is that it is an art and design project as well as a tool for learning and practicing model making and prototyping skills. By prototyping I mean the design definition of making prototypes of objects and mechanisms to develop them further.

    Recent product I bought came with literally a big full color printed add for kids shoes, not pre teens or teens but little kids shoes. I groaned. This was in a Boston Limited Imports $200 DCC equipped locomotive box. Really nice packaging and product, mature and interesting in every way except that advertisement.

    It just seemed belittling to the mindset I try to have about model railroading as a mature highly demanding hobby that combines every single artistic and industrial skill one could throw at it.

    That goes into what is right about model railroading. If you have a positive mindset, everything is right about it except the industry. Model railroading allows 2d and 3d artistic skills development. Painting and sculpting by hand. It allows any amount of digitization and mechanization of that, Photoshop panoramic backdrops in 4k and 3d printed models of structures vehicles people and natural objects. Any kind of modern computer aided design will add to the hobby. Any amount of traditional analog artistic talent will add to it. Industrial skills like woodworking, mold making, electrical and electronics wiring and soldering, microcontroller hardware architecture, coding, all are useful.

    Costing of projects, budgeting of materials and time, highly useful!

    So the industry advertises this as 'hey parents spend money on some train themed shoes for your undeveloped uneducated child' instead of 'hey parents, support your kid learning how to be completely bad ass about mature things they will need to know, in a fun and scaled way that allows them to develop real world skills at their own pace'.

    The industry is just sort of not in this century, not seeing the opportunity or even the society it exists in. things are so different than 30 years ago when I was 16 and could have gone 'model railroad' but went 'skateboards and surfboards' instead. Really, could have been both but no self respecting teen wants to be associated with tiny brightly colored shoes for toddlers. Just dont, industry, make sure the adds are market focused and never ever let anyone between around 14 and 35 see an ad suggesting what they are doing is for kids under their own age. Society puts a lot of pressure on people to not appear immature during those years and they will run quickly from such things for the most part, making a strong connection to rail fanning necessary and even so there is a seeming disdain for 'toy trains' among rail fans. Yet many of those people would respect learning cabinetry and framing to make benchwork, electronic assembly and logic theory for analog and digital electrical work, fine art skills, that are the core of making a layout.

    Stop letting anyone that doesn't have their own layout make marketing decisions, would be a great start and improving model railroading and expand it to those that with any rational marketing would be attracted for the skills they will learn. Market it for what it is, watch it grow, or market it to try and make easy money off parents through advertising to children and just slowly fade away since those kids have easier routes to easier less demanding entertainment, that costs a lot less.

    It should be a background educational hobby, something people stick with recognizing the value of the skills developed, not focusing on 'having a pretty layout'. Saying you model railroads should indicate to others you have developed real world skills that are highly useful, because that is the reality versus the marketed image most of society has. At one time it was 'hey kids this is the modern world, you can emulate the grown ups!' and that was the heyday. Now its 'be like an old man, and also a little child' and its bizarre since the hobby itself is not dependent and really has nothing directly to connect it to either other than marketing concepts that are sorely out of date.
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  18. Limacharlie48

    Limacharlie48 New Member

    Nothing much really. Certainly a bit behind other similar hobbies, but things are changing.

    More techniques are coming across from scale modeling, also more and oftentimes better tools and supplies as well. More folks are beginning to understand that you don't have to take what the big publishers, supported by advertisers, are pushing as gospel or the only way to achieve your goals. 3D printing, laser cutting and similar technologies are ever expanding in this hobby, and may lead the way to a decentralization of sorts, you may no longer be a slave to what the big-boys think you want or need. Just as forums, blogs and vlogs have opened new roads for information sharing to the benefit of all hobbyists.

    I was recently reading thru the letters section in several 1980`s vintage NMRA Bulletins (trying to purge the magazine stacks) and I found the same assortment of concerns and complaints that I see on model rail forums today; the hobby s dying, where is the youth? Collectors are driving cheap RTR out of the market, what's a beginner to do? We need to see more reasonable and achievable layouts! some people take this hooby too seriously! darn rivet counters! Etc, etc. etc.

    The great thing I love about getting back to model railroading, compared to my military scale modeling which I still enjoy, is the variety of ways you can engage it. Not into highly detailed modeling, but love to operate? Then build and buy accordingly. Love to put in details that no-one but you will ever see? Go for it. Like electronics? Carpentry? Artistic expression? Dioramas? Researching history and learning? Meeting people with common likes, sharing camaraderie and making new friends? The list could go on, but you see my point.

    Sometimes folks get stalled, or lose interest and seem dissatisfied when they are not doing the hobby for themselves in the way that makes them happy, they are trying to do it the way Kalmbach told them they should.

    Our hobby is, I believe in as good a shape as it has ever been.

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  19. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    For me, it is good to see layouts of all scales and sizes. I appreciate that it can be sobering in a way to see large, highly detailed layouts taking a decade to build displayed in the magazines. I still enjoy well-done 4X8 "Plywood Pacifics" when I see them. MR magazine's forumites held contests back in 2008 or so, and the goal was to design an interesting 4 X 8, but to think outside the box. The plywood can be sawed up into angled pieces that go together to make very interesting layout platforms. It was a surprisingly popular contest for the year or so it lasted (people drift away and the sails begin to luff).

    Seeing, truly looking and seeing, what others bring to the same square footage is a great way to get ideas, but also to get motivated. As a previous responder said, the large layouts can help us the same way that seeing a Ferrari go by on the street can inspire us. We don't necessarily strive for that car, but we'll up our games a bit.

    I am reminded of Browning's thought, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" Said differently, and more austerely, "Qui non proficit deficit." Who does not advance falls behind.
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  20. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Some interesting in put here.

    Maturity or Graduation. However, we express it, it comes out the same. Some of us like moving past the TOY stage of Toy Trains and want something a bit more mature. Mature? There's a word that has been defying definition for years. Here's one use of the word: Fully developed physically; fully-grown. As in she is a fully developed and a mature young woman. Is she? Being fully developed physically makes her a mature woman? I raised a daughter and I don't think so. I see something else going on here...do you?

    As you read through the rest of the definitions you get the feeling they are just reaching for an answer. Now, I like Ken's take on the subject and see him expressing his love for trains in a zone he feels comfortable with. I was there once and struggled to convince my mother this was a mature hobby and not just a bunch of toy trains. Looking back at the equipment I was running..sigh... they were all toys for sure. So my argument fell flat and on deaf ears. Those men and their toys.

    G.M. would jump in here right about now and say, "They are all toys, despite the cost, don't you get it yet?" continuing "No matter how you dress them, how expensive they are, how you elevate the layout era, prototypical operations...they are still TOYS!" That may bite a bit but think about it. I ask, what is this hobby about? Why are we ashamed to call our trains...Toys!?

    Do we deny our inner child?

    The child in me never wanted three track rail. That wasn't right. The child in me did not want roundy-rounds. The train isn't going anywhere. The child in me didn't want toyish looking train equipment he wanted real looking trains. The child in me wanted sound and not this phony stuff but the real sound. Do you get where I and maybe you are coming from. Maybe, what's at the heart and soul of our self expression with our layouts is the kid within us.

    Don't get me wrong I'm right there with Ken. I want a mature operating layout with mature looking trains and as authentic an operations as I can get. I call it graduation, up grading from Toy Trains. Recognizing this is what my Inner Child wanted all along. Bingo!

    That was all before I discovered Kalmbach. Having discovered an expression of Toy Trains that appealed to me. So I ate it up and it helped me to express my definition of Model Railroading.

    What's right or wrong with Model Railroading?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
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