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MTI #107 p449 - Getting started

 
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jpachl



Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 62
Location: Braunschweig, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject: MTI #107 p449 - Getting started Reply with quote

I still see quite a difference between the situation in the UK and in Germany. In Germany, train spotting is still very exiting for young folks. There is still a significant share of goods trains, not only containers and bulk commodities but a lot of single-wagonload operations. With more than 400 train operating and freight companies, the variety of motive power is much greater than 30 years ago with dozens of paint schemes. You still find locomotives from the old DB/DR days beside modern stuff and older foreign types from the 1960s that never hit German rails in the past, e.g., the great NOHAB locos. After the end of steam, German railways have never been more colourful as they are today.

As a result, there are still a lot of children and teenagers, including my own 13 year old son, very interested in railways. All the internet railfan discussion forums are full of young people. However, compared to the past, the situation has significantly changed in two ways. First, there is less interest in building something. As in many other hobbies, hand crafting has been replaced by the computer. Many railfan kids still love visiting model railway exhibitions but are hardly interested to build anything of their own. Some still collect models, but for operation they prefer computer simulations and games (which become more and more realisitic, I have to admit). The second thing that has changed is that there is a declining interest in becoming a member of a club. This is also a development you find in many other hobbies. When asking kids why they are not interested to join a club, the typical answer is that there are just old guys permanently talking about the steam era. Model railway clubs here have the image of being full of people forlorn in the past. There is some truth in it, however. There, young people do not find people to talk about the stuff they are interested in, which is definitely the railway of today. However, since they find such people in internet forums, they simply go there.

So, I'm quite sure that the railway hobby will not only survive but prosper. With model railways I'm not so sure. They will surely not disappear but become an even smaller niche.

Joern
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Jordan



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 1388

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting comment there Joern.
I wonder if the cost of EU models has any bearing on the matter too? High model prices must put a lot of stuff out of the reach of many people - young or old. Plus, I suppose, a 'virtual' layout can be as big as you want it - no problems of space availability there!!
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jpachl



Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 62
Location: Braunschweig, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Model prices are surely an issue. I work in TT scale, which is a mass market scale in parts of Continental Europe. An average modern diesel or electric loce costs about 120 EUR, DCC decoder not included. Track and catenary stuff is also not really cheap. For MTI style small layouts, model prices are still affordable, however. A nice opportunity in Germany and some other European countries is to become a member of the Fremo. While the main activity is to organise big module events, members are not required to build modules or even to own anything. There is no club structure with regular meets. There are also people that do not do any modelling but plan module arrangements, develop timetables, establish operating rules for module events, or just working as signallers or train drivers during operating sessions. The focus is on very prototype-like operation. The events are non-public, only for members and invited guests. Fremo is one of the very few model railway associations that still attract young people. However, since I'm not a member (but ocasionally an invited guest at Fremo events), I have no information of how the membership has developed over the last years.

Joern
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