G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
526 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A recent discussion with club members who model in various scales brought up the suggestion that G scale (1/29th etc) was the only growth segment of the hobby. Is this so? Any actual numbers? Based on....?

Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,297 Posts
Well we know 1/22.5 kinda hit the skids, cant say about 1/20.3, but I'm sure its growing also just based on the new product out there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
526 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I had said that G scale was the 'fastest growing' segment of the model railroad hobby and a someone said it might be the "only" growth area.

They say younger people aren't going into trains at all and older guys like me are beginning in, or switching to, large scale trains.

Might be right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
733 Posts
Well I have "corrupted" at least five other people... The best man at my wedding (and his son 5) has just been infected and his layout consists of 2 lengths of track along the kitchen breakfast bar. I got him at the Lincoln show... An old college chum, his daughter, an old drinking/gaming companion and his sister(!), the partner of my former PA and the partner of my current PA...

Interestingly enough the partner of my former PA is going to model in Gauge 1 "Immingham Docks" in GCR times in their back garden -to show their daughter where one half of the family makes the money. The Civil Ceremony is on the 19th of next month and the bride is currently burning up telephone time during lunch getting everything "perfect".

regards

ralph
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
95 Posts
Hi Dave,

I agree with you statement regarding some of the older guys going into large scale trains.

I have been in model railroading for over 50 yrs.
Got my first Lionel train set in 1947.
When I sold my '46 Ford Convetible for $50.00 the kid I sold it to did not have all cash, but had some HO guage trains which I took in trade.
That got me going in HO.

But as years go by, the eyes need the larger scale./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif" border=0>
Myself and 3 other guys from my old HO days are all into large scale now (1:29).

I also believe that 1:29 is the real shaker and mover in large scale.

Tom
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
A few dealers I have talked to in three states east of the Mississippi have said just the opposite. They claim that three rail O is the hot seller now. The LS stuff sits on the shelves for the most part.

On30 is supposedly fairly hot too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,910 Posts
It's hard for me to believe there will be any growth in this hobby over the next five years--we look to be headed for a pretty serious recession. Hope I wrong.

I'm 48, and there area whole bunch of guys on my street younger than me who love the layout. They bring their kids, and as the kids are leaving I hear "Dad, can we have a train like that?" Will they build one themselves? I doubt it. The start up costs are shockingly high for what amounts to toy trains. True, in the long run it's not an expensive hobby, but the initial cost is a shocker. I would never have done this if we hadn't been given a bunch of LGB starter sets over the years.

If I were Aristo--good thing I'm not, as I have no head for business--I'd push hard on the starter set line, the way LGB once did. I wish 1:29 had never been invented, but I can see Lewis Polk's point--1:29 has a visual "pop" that 1:32 lacks. Yes, it's more toy-like, but that's what attracts newcomers, it seem to me. The LGB starter sets were toy-like too: they were charming. Serious hobbyists quickly grow past them, but you need to get people hooked.

Aristo should put some time into their 0-4-0--make it more durable, add sound, maybe work a few variations on it. It's a good looking little loco but it's a little flimsy I don't see it around the way I used to see LGB stuff
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,716 Posts
I think we infect many people at the Botanic.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
687 Posts
The question of growth is an interesting one. Looking at my own association, the OVGRS (www.ovgrs.org ), I see slearly some trends.

First we are an old group age wise. Many of us are retired and our average age may be something like the average age here on MLS or in model railroading in general. It is sad, but each year, someone seems to pass away ... and as a result, the number of those involved is reduced.

Second, it seems as though no one in our group really leaves the hobby. Over the years a very few have drifted away but the number is so small as to be insignificant.

And third, most importantly, the number of operators on hand for our saturday morning ops sessions has slowly grown ... as each year we seem to find (or are found by) at least one or two or three new players in the hobby.

The point that lownote made about startup cost is very real. In fact, most members of the OVGRS including yours truly, started and still model in another scale. But we entered large scale with a minimum investment because ... the OVGRS has the use of a club railroad even though that railroad is privately owned. To join the OVGRS you just show up - there is no initiation, no dues, no elections and no requirement to spend a penny. Most of our new members just came to operate and eventually bought and radio controlled their own loco (we have no track power). Only a few OVGRS members have ever laid any track of their own. In other words, the OVGRS has eliminated the requirement for the big capitol outlay to enter the hobby.

When I think back to my entry as a youngster into HO, it took an amzing amount of work to build a layout. Everything came in kits and was either assembled or scratch built. The railroad empire was not a running railroad so much as it was a model building hobby. If you wanted to operate a railroad, joining a club was the only answer as it provided the necessary capitol investment in terms of hours of assembly of the component parts - track, electricals, rolling stock, buildings and scenery. Of course, the move to rtr in HO during the 70s-80s eliminated the necessity for a club and very few new HO clubs have formed over the last 20 years (outside the modular arena).

But large scale has a need to make the huge capitol investment more palatable for newcomers. And here is the perfect role for a club. We have hit on the formulation by accident but it has worked well for us in the OVGRS. The two or three true large scalers in the Ottawa area have been joined by a couple of dozen small scalers or newcomers to model railroading who for the most part would never have looked at large scale. The OVGRS offers them an inexpensive place in which to participate in regular operating sessions on a club sized railroad and in return we gain the infectious enthusiasm of many newcomers to the hobby.

Once upon a time 15 years ago, the OVGRS participated in shows with a loop of track on a modular setup. The layout was popular with showgoers especially kids but we never got a single new member. That effort was discontinued ... the OVGRS does not participate in any shows and as an organization is simply a bunch of guys playing with large scale trains. But the current approach has yielded and continues to yield new members every year.

Regards .. Doug
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,315 Posts
Posted By Dougald on 05/24/2008 11:07 AM

The question of growth is an interesting one. Looking at my own association, the OVGRS (www.ovgrs.org ), I see slearly some trends. . .  here is the perfect role for a club. We have hit on the formulation by accident but it has worked well for us in the OVGRS. The two or three true large scalers in the Ottawa area have been joined by a couple of dozen small scalers or newcomers to model railroading who for the most part would never have looked at large scale. The OVGRS offers them an inexpensive place in which to participate in regular operating sessions on a club sized railroad and in return we gain the infectious enthusiasm of many newcomers to the hobby. Once upon a time 15 years ago, the OVGRS participated in shows with a loop of track on a modular setup. The layout was popular with showgoers especially kids but we never got a single new member. That effort was discontinued ... the OVGRS does not participate in any shows and as an organization is simply a bunch of guys playing with large scale trains. But the current approach has yielded and continues to yield new members every year. Regards .. Doug








Interesting concept. It wouldn't work in such remote places as AK, but it sure would in more-populated areas. What are the dimensions of the layout?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
687 Posts
Ron

The IPP&W fills a city backyard ... it is roughly 50 feet deep and 100 feet wide with the Craig Leigh area about 30 feet square and the Firgrove area about half that size. A mainline run from Craig Leigh to Firgrove is about 800 feet. We collectively have about 400 cars evenly divided between ng and sg. Ops sessions are run each saturday morning in season and alternate between sg diesels and ng steam.

Our first ops session of the 2008 season will likely be next saturday and we will run through till the week after Canadian Thanksgiving or about mid October. It is not much fun operating when it is around the freezing mark or colder on saturday mornings.

If any MLSers plan to be in the Ottawa area over the summer. let me know. OVGRS members would be delighted to have you join our ops session if you have time. Dave Winter was a visitor last season and we'd love to see him back. We will also host the American Invasion in mid July for a formal ops session (battery and live steam power) with our American friends. Again if anyone would like to take part in this year's celebration of the friendship between our respective countries, just give me a shout.

Regards ... Doug
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
687 Posts
I forgot to add the details on the club.

The IPP&W is owned by Fred Mills. However, retired OVGRS members gather wednesday mornings winter and summer to do the maintenance on the railroad. Lawrence Watkins and myself have built many of the structures on the IPP&W. Gord Bellamy has laid most of the track. Ralph Dipple maintains the rolling stock and Paul Norton writes up articles for the website. Website hosting is provided by Peter Brameh. The non retired guys have to work :) but they help out when they can.

The rolling stock is owned by various club members and is stored in locked storage sheds. Fred owns the majority of the ng rolling stock. The sg rolling stock is owned by individual members but is pooled for our ops sessions.

Fred owns a fleet of ng steam locos but most members have acquired their own ng steam over time. Similarly, everyone has acquired a diesel or two (many members own several) for the sg diesel ops.

The club is informal with no structure and no officers dues or elections. We just get together to run trains and work on teh railroad. A great bunch of guys having a great time ... and newcomers who join in the ops sessions are easily enticed to take up the hobby permanently.

Regards .. Doug
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
526 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I can vouch for the friendly, inviting atmosphere that surrounds the OVGRS as I was fortunate enough to spend an all to short morning with that group some time ago. I got a train from Firgrove to Peter's Pond before I had to leave but I had a wonderful time. I can see how 'big trains' can become addictive.

When people come and visit me I give them a throttle. So far I have three converts out of how many hundreds but that "wow!" factor is really at work in G scale.

I think the smaller scales, particularly HO and now even in N scale, have offered so much outstanding 'off the shelf' stuff that much of the real hands on fun is gone. When I started in this silliness back in '72 I chose N because I could build things and I stayed with it for 30 years. 1/29th scale is now about where N was in the beginning. I other words, a pretty good selection of well detailed stock but plenty of holes to fill with tools and imagination.

That's why this is a growing format.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
45 Posts
Large Scale is not the growth leader - if it is growing at all.
OGauge is making a very big comeback and Lionel is leading the charge. Their licensing with Harry Potter is the most recent example and starter sets in mainstream stores such as Target have made an impact. Their CEO is a an EX Marvel comic marketing guy who set many of the marketing tie-ins that have lead to the rash of Marvel movies. His theory to "hook" the public with the tie-ins, make starter sets available everywhere and grow the hobby by making sure their are new people entering the Ogauge hobby at the "top" of the funnel...
From a recent Lionel article this May:
So don’t go retiring your engineering caps just yet; those toy trains are still chugging along. In the past three years, Lionel’s sales have grown dramatically. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that sales of Lionel starter sets â€" kid-friendly systems that range in price from $129 to $300 â€" have more than doubled since the company entered bankruptcy three and a half years ago. In fact, the company sold close to 200,000 sets last year, with much of that growth coming from sales at department stores and big-box retailers. It would seem, then, that Calabrese has discovered how to break out of the hobby shop and into the broader pop-culture marketplace: through big retail outlets, movies, and television.


I might add that Lionel is pretty much out of bankruptcy and is moving forward.
N Scale is also growing. HO is stagnant, more or less, based on what I read and see...
Truth is - Ogauge in the US about $100,000,000.00/year item. Lionel had gross sales of about $70,000,000.00 in 2007.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,746 Posts
Posted By lownote on 05/24/2008 6:55 AM
I'm 48, and there area whole bunch of guys on my street younger than me who love the layout. They bring their kids, and as the kids are leaving I hear "Dad, can we have a train like that?" Will they build one themselves? I doubt it. The start up costs are shockingly high for what amounts to toy trains. True, in the long run it's not an expensive hobby, but the initial cost is a shocker.




Very true, but price a ski boat, price a Harley, price a good camera, film and a home development lab, price a 1967 Porsche 912, price a full hunting set-up, price a set of golf clubs and country club membership, price....and if any of your neighbors have any of the above, there went the hobby budget.

Any hobby is expesnive. It is also the first thing to cut as the hobby money comes after the bills, tuition, savings, charity, etc...and if you have kids in the house...no price for free time (chior practice, cheerleading practice, dance practice....)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top