The Exciting World of Model Trains
A Fortress Publishing book
There's a nostalgia associated with model railroading -- even if it's
unspoken. Railroads take us back to an earlier
era. A more basic time. When spending a week or more on a train was
seen as a luxury -- an event in itself -- not at as merely a mode of
Perhaps you've spent the best times of your life in that
era? Or maybe you didn't, but would love to recapture the joy you
imagine would be associated with it. Then model railroading is the
hobby for you.
You've probably already scouted some model railroad
shows. You've no doubt recognized the camaraderie and the passion
these folks have. And yes, you're interested in becoming a part of
Chapter 1: Why Model Trains? (Extract)
Of course, each individual has compelling reasons why he loves model railroading.
But beneath each of these reasons lies some common threads that make it an awesome hobby for young and old, men and
women, boy and girl, alike! Discover only a few here!
Have you taken your children to a model train show yet? And are they
hooked? It's almost a rite of passage for boys to have some type of model train set sometime in their
childhood. And to tell you the truth, only Santa Claus knows how many girls have cried come Christmas morning
because they didn't get a train set like their brother.
If the model train is only brought out, set up and admired once a year -- at
Christmas under the tree, the entire family usually agrees it was money well spent. Our love of trains runs just
Model railroading, to many people, especially those who join the clubs model
railroads is more than just watching a train circling under a tree. It's a hobby -- for some a passion --
that involves building an entire miniature city by hand. And wrapped around this city is the ever-present
To be quite honest, it actually makes a great hobby, one that will probably never
go out of style.
Watching the small trains, in many ways, takes us back to a time -- an era --
where life seemed simpler, slower, and values seemed more pronounced. In this era, the train ride was more
than just a method of transportation to get from Chicago to New York City . . . although it was indeed that too . .
. the ride itself in the Pullman cars was the thrill, the luxury and the relaxing aspect of the event.
But what motivates the average person to pursue this avocation?
Why are you interested in the hobby? Of course, because it's fun . . .it's
entertaining . . . and shhh! don't tell the children . . . it's also educational.
Let's look a little deeper into the reasons why model railroading has retained its
appeal for so long. Beyond anything else, many families love it because it's a hobby that appeals to the
entire family. Dads and sons may love the "roar" of the locomotive, but what girl can't resist those tiny
people who populate the trains periphery? And what mom and her children wouldn't love to create homes, stores
. . .heck entire cities?
Model railroader is the one hobby that can occupy the attention of every member of
the family. Each is recruited to perform some task.
It's also a hobby that you bequeath to your children who can then carry it on to
their own children one day. Talk to almost any avid model railroader today; you'll discover that more often
than not he started out loving the hobby as a child.
Some insist model railroading is great because you're in control. As you
learn more about the hobby, develop new skills and become more adapt at the construction phase of the hobby, you'll
You're the master of your own city (okay, so it's a miniature city! Still!).
You'll create the track you want, the path it takes is of your choosing, and you can enjoy it whenever you
And yes, I'm going to say it again. Model railroading is, indeed,
educational. What exactly can you learn through this hobby? Let's start with the fact you'll learn a
little bit of history.
Ignite an interest in
It's true! For those of you who never thought that history was even mildly
interesting, let alone cool, model railroading brings you face to face with your previous thoughts.
How can a hobby so fun be so filled with historical knowledge? Think about
it. The railroads reflect the era they operated in. So when you buy a part -- or create a part -- from
a certain time period, you can be sure you'll inevitably learn something of that time. (Even if you didn't
plan on it or you don't think you need to.)
Building a replica of a train and eventually a city in a specific time period
ultimately leads to learning more about the time in order to get your municipality as accurate as
Railroads, in their day, encompassed all aspects of history, from the economic
aspect to social and labor movements, the civil rights movement. In fact, as you will probably see when you
get more involved in this wonderful hobby, that railroad played an intimate -- and very crucial -- role in the
history of the Gilded age, the "robber barons" of the period and much more.
Yes, you can learn economics, electricity . . . and more!
Model railroading gives you a better and more vivid understanding of
economics. When you graphically see how goods move from place to place economic becomes more than a subject
you almost flunked in college, it becomes a living, breathing aspect of our everyday life.
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