Getting People into the Hobby

I've read with some interest the thread "Another one bites the dust" and have started to wonder what we could do to get people in to the hobby.

It seems to me that price is a barrier to entering the hobby. A teenager with a part time job (15 hours) can spend almost a whole week's pay to get a train set. The set is definately not an impulse purchase.

Another way to attract young people is to advertise where they are. I don't mean passing flyers out at night clubs, I mean promoting your club through schools. Many colleges provide a way for outside groups to contact the student body, usually by flyers on a bulletin board. If you're part of a club with dues, offer a discount for college students. You'll find many colleges will be happy to pass on that information to their students.

Attracting people is something you have to do. Even in Field of Dreams the ball field had to be built first. Hope I sparked some ideas.


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I don't think price is the obstacle. Kids these days, they gotta lotta money. Not all of them do, of course, but those Xboxes etc. don't come cheap.

I think we need to show off the "gaming" aspect of model railroading more. At the shows, let the public see that we don't just build loops of track and make trains go (though people like that too). Show them that we are actually simulating railroad traffic.

See, no matter how good a train simulator is, a physical model can always be better. People don't avoid RC cars because there are good racing games. If, however, it's not generally realized that the things done in games like Railroad Tycoon or Transport Tycoon (good games) can also be done with those little toy trains.

Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and an unassembled table.

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I thinkl we need to make our (and our layouts) more seen, when there is a local fair, or other event open to the public take a portable setup, setup a G-Scale, setup a display of locos and cars. I like the setup at Disney, a large G-scale layout with trucks and cars running on a slot car track, it really draws the people, and I love hearing people say that they would love to do something like that at home only smaller. Also check with your local hobby shops, malls, etc and see about building a temporary set up for the public to see there, even advertise in the paper, via fliers or what ever and get others to come help. I am planning on getting the local HS horticulture group to help me plan my garden which includes a G-scale train. I have already suggested that they could build a miniture of a garden using N-Scale to see how it all will go togeather.


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Bill Loy

Besides doing 6 open houses a year, a few years ago I put signs up at local hobby shops that on Thursday nights I was building a 4 x 8 to give away as a door prize for Christmas. I spread it out over 8 weeks and taught about 12 people "how to". I made sure that everyone got to do some of each step of the process with a complete lesson on what tools I use, why I use them, where to buy them etc.

It was amazing how many people finally got the comfidence to START their layouts instead of just dreaming and buying. That group ended up helping each other with their construction.

I did my best to communicate with all the local hobby shops so they would have the tools I was using in stock.

I even showed them how to take something up and redo it if they were not happy with the finished project.

Some of those guys will never go beyond their 4 x 8 with tyco trains running way too fast, but it doesnt matter, they were having fun.

I'm now reading through the Boy Scout railroad merit badge requirements so that I can organize the same type of learning experience for post Christmas. We have hosted a few scout groups before and did a few lectures and hands on experiences for them, but I really wasn't prepared.

If anyone is doing something along these lines please share your ideas.

I'm a high school band director and pretty busy during the fall, thats why I'm planning on a winter program.

And think about this: There are 10's of thousands of Thomas the Tank Engine kids just comming into the hobby and who better to want as junior members of a club than scouts ? We may lose them when girls are discovered, but once out of college and married, they come drifting back to the club as active members.

Reply to
the OTHER Mike

On 13 Aug 2007 09:19:09 GMT, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and Puckdropper instead replied:

This might help.

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Did you notice the train in the picture?

-- Ray

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Ray Haddad


Railfannys ? or would that be railfannies ?

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the OTHER Mike

"the OTHER Mike" wrote Railfannys ? or would that be railfannies ?

Oh no, not another question of plural form? Cabosses, cabeese is tough enough.

Also, I don't thing that term will play well with our UK pals.

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Fortunately most Yanks have no idea what that word means in the UK :)

Dan, U.S. Air Force, retired

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On 8/24/2007 9:03 PM Val spake thus:

So you're suggesting that to them, the proper term to use would be railroad bums?

Reply to
David Nebenzahl

On Fri, 24 Aug 2007 23:13:23 -0700, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and David Nebenzahl instead replied:


-- Ray

Reply to
Ray Haddad

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