G Scale Model Train Forum banner

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

4685 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 - 4 of 32 Posts
There is an LGB/Piko dealer who wants to sell off the G scale part of the business. He is not computer savvy and does not want to compete in the retail/on line end of the hobby. He is selling it off for a very low price.
Is this worth buying into based on the rather sad state of the hobby?
My impression is that the new LGB and Piko seem to be bright lights at the moment. Those I know find Piko attractive especially for small trains and beginner sets - with LGB/Massoth compatibility.

If I was a dealer new to Large Scale I would be looking at Piko. Jonathan Meador is there which impresses me.

That said, this is not a great time for hobby shops.

Hi Cliffy,

I did your poll from my perspective back when I entered the hobby. 20 years ago everything was too expensive so I bought used, I had trouble with a lot of what I bought, I chose what railroads were available because my choices would have been too expensive, and I just started building. Over the years I bought and built more until things grew beyond my abilities.

In my opinion I could find as many bargains (probably more) today than 20 years ago. Most new locomotives and rolling stock would stretch or break my budget but there are still relatively inexpensive starter sets to get started with.

If the desire and willingness to compromise are strong enough, this can be the golden years for someone new to the hobby.

If all desires and standards must be met, that train has not left the station - I don't think it ever existed.


See less See more
I do not believe that Piko's MTS system is compatible with LGB's. If it is, would someone who knows set me straight?
I do know that the Piko American steam sound system is superior.
Hi Dennis,

Most of the PIKO system is made by Massoth who made most of the LGB MTS system. Compatible is a relative term (MTS was relatively compatible with generic DCC). There are multiple generations of LGB & Massoth decoders, remotes & central stations with different capabilities (most notably serial or serial & parallel capable and the maximum number of Loco ID's available - and some functions are unique to LGB.

LGB's MTS included both Serial (series of slow signals to get a function) & Parallel (one fast signal for all functions). Massoth handles both Serial & Parallel. I have LGB and Massoth (& Digitrax & MRC & NCE & some others). Since the PIKO system uses a Massoth made Navigator, I am sure it would also be compatible with LGB's MTS Serial and Parallel decoders. I am sure that the PIKO Central Station can program parallel but don't know about programming MTS Serial equipment (most LGB Serial Remotes & Central Stations could have been upgraded to Parallel (mine were) then they could handle serial & parallel).

So far, I do not have PIKO but a friend will probably order it soon. I would expect my LGB Loco & Universal Remotes and my LGB Central Stations II & III and Massoth 1200Z & Massoth Navigators would all be able to run any PIKO loco & decoder (perhaps with some limitations) but I would only expect to be able to program a PIKO decoder with the Massoth Central Station and Navigator (or PIKO). The others might or might not program a PIKO decoder well (I don't know - I never tried it). I think some PIKO decoders are not made by Massoth but I may be mistaken. I have never seen or tried any PIKO electronics (no opportunity).

PIKO decoders are NMRA DCC standard unlike older LGB decoders which were not NMRA DCC standard (they could be Serial or Serial and Parallel and all functions might not be the same).

Unless you have a older decoder with only Serial capabilities, you should find a lot of compatibility with LGB (Parallel) and DCC systems until you get into programming the decoder (there are other limits in how many Loco ID's various decoders & central stations are capable of etc.).

35010 Digital Central Station 20 V / 5 A
The Digital Central Station is the core of the PIKO G digital system. It provides 20 V and up to 5 amps of power to the track. That is enough power for concurrent operation of several trains. The Central Station conforms to the NMRA DCC standard and can be used with DCC compatible decoders from other manufacturers.

Conveniently located STOP and RESET buttons ensure easy operation while LEDs indicate operating status. You can quickly and securely hook-up to the power supply and the layout through 4 reliable clamp connectors. Navigator Remotes (#35021) can be wired directly to the Central station or can be connected wirelessly with the help of the Wireless Receiver (#35022).

Your question is more complex than it appears to be.

Someone who can set you straight is Mahommed at All About LGB:


Hours of operation:

Monday - Friday: 10.00 AM to 6:00 PM EST
Saturday & Sunday: closed

Mailing address:

3539 Newland Road
Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Tel: 410-235-3642

To place an order: [email protected]
For all other inquires: [email protected]

Another highly competent source is Jonathan at PIKO America

PIKO America, LLC
4610 Alvarado Canyon Road, Suite 5
San Diego CA 92120 USA
Phone: 619-280-2800
Toll-Free: 877-678-4449
Fax: 619-280-2843


Email: [email protected]
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM Pacific

Either can give you very highly qualified answers to your questions. You pretty much need an expert (not me - I'm just a customer) to give you answers to the specific questions you may have but the intent is for Piko, LGB and Massoth to work together as much as possible (probably more so than other brands).

I am sure there are others including PIKO dealers who could also help. The above two happen to have a history both with LGB and Massoth and Jonathan is now with PIKO. I just happen to have no personal experience with PIKO as my focus has been on LGB and Massoth. PIKO (Like LGB) normally has a 5 amp limit but this can be raised with 5 amp boosters. Massoth offers a considerably more expensive 12 amp Central Station and Power Supply. I think PIKO might be working on a more powerful central station but for most people that may not be important.


See less See more
It was interesting to see my posts from 2015. I’ve been away from the trains but have started drifting back.

Unfortunately the hobby seems virtually dead in Arkansas these days but if today’s news is correct, Covid may be starting to be coming under control and that may give some new life to train clubs.

It is nice to see many familiar names still here.

  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 4 of 32 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.