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How healthy is our hobby? (check the stuff that's healthy)

  • Locomotives

    Votes: 14 40.0%
  • Rolling stock

    Votes: 15 42.9%
  • Structures

    Votes: 9 25.7%
  • Track & Switches

    Votes: 11 31.4%
  • Electronics

    Votes: 20 57.1%
  • Manufacturing means

    Votes: 7 20.0%
  • Literature / info

    Votes: 12 34.3%
  • Community / communications

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Tools

    Votes: 16 45.7%
  • Materials

    Votes: 14 40.0%

Health of the Hobby

4681 Views 31 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Dan Pierce
What's your feelings about how our hobby is faring these days? Virile and vibrant? Or on the ropes? Just for fun, here's a poll, sliced into several subtopics.

It's a multiple choice poll, so click all the boxes you favor. And feel free to leave a comment.

(To give proper credit, this poll is inspired by the "golden era" thread that Zubi started).
1 - 3 of 32 Posts
Hi Chuck,

Understood, I'm in the electron fuel pool as well.

I left this poll as non-expiring, so maybe it'll be interesting to see how the votes go over time.
For myself, I tend to invest in new tools, new controls products, new track, new raw materials, and used trains. At least, that's been my purchase history, in trying to balance what I can afford with current priorities. I figure that I can fix a car or loco, not so easily the other stuff.

I'd LOVE to get a new (live steam) loco, and some new Accucraft cars. But that's just not in the cards, at least for the foreseeable future. But as David L. and Kormsen said, I'm quite happy with the hobby, judging from all the fun projects I already have the materials and parts for, yet can't yet find the time to get to!

As far as the hobby goes though, as an industry, I find that I either don't buy, or can't afford, new items being mass-produced specifically for the hobby at this present time (except for a controls item here and there).

Having said that, I believe that present technologies, such as 3D printing and 2D laser-cutting, are really changing things up, bringing micro-manufacturers up to a significant degree. For example, as I produce a kit for myself, it's comparatively easy to make the kit available to others. At least, easier than it was before 3D printing.

On the other hand, some believe that the adherents of this hobby are tending to age-out, that there isn't the volume of young folks taking their place. That the virtual hobbies are taking over, and tangible-tactile ones are going south. I suppose that, percentage-wise, that's the case.

But I think that there will always be kids that need the hands-on. I hosted a little train meet last weekend for neighbors, and it was so fun seeing about 10 kids (under 10) run around chasing the train, completely enthralled. One mother said to me that maybe it's just innate; kids love trains. Well, I don't know what it is; but they did. And with the experience of 1:1 trains becoming a thing of the past (for a lot of folks), I hope that it is an innate thing, and that it won't be hard to turn a kid on to the hobby, even without major 1:1 train experience.

If none of this bodes well for the manufacturers, that's sad. So many by the wayside. Sometimes I feel like the guy who's shown up at the dance just when the lights were being turned out.

But overall, this seems to me like a time of immense innovation, information, and opportunity. And I'm having a ball!

Ramblin' too much...
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