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Blind or Visually-Impaired Model Railroaders

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  • Member since
    April 2020
  • From: Independence, MO
  • 2 posts
Blind or Visually-Impaired Model Railroaders
Posted by on Sunday, May 31, 2020 4:52 PM

I am totally blind from birth, and I have been enjoying the hobby off and on for many years (I am 76 years old); O-27 was my first layout as a teenager.  I then moved into HO and now am in only N-scale in order to save space.  My interest is in wiring and electronics, and the running of the trains.  No doubt that I designed my layout for operation without sight; there are no dead ends on the board.  There is no scenery on my board; rolling stock, control layout, and wiring constitute my focus in model railroading.  Since my board is designed for trains to go round and round rather than from Point A to Point B, it would probably be considered a toy layout by many folk; but I hope to learn more about wiring and control equipment as I explore the hobby.  I'll probably stay with DC operation, since I understand that much of the DCC equipment involves screens - some of which are touch video screens - which would require sight to operate efficiently.  I am curious as to whether there are other totally-blind or visually-impaired persons who enjoy this hobby, especially in construction and wiring of the equipment.  For my part, I would encourage any interested blind person with reasonably good mechanical dexterity with tools and small parts - and a good supply of patience - to look into this hobby; there is enough variety in size and type of equipment  so that blindness or impaired vision does not have to exclude a person from model railroading.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern CA Bay Area
  • 4,245 posts
Posted by cuyama on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:27 PM

Welcome to the forum. Your first few posts are moderated, so there will be a delay in them appearing (especially over the weekend), but that passes quickly.

Enjoying the hobby even while blind is inspiring; I hope that you’ll share more.

By the way, your forum name seems to be your email, which is dangerous as it allows bad actors to scrape the address to send you SPAM. Customer Support can be uncertain on this free forum, but that might be a place to start to change your forum name.

(Alternatively, it may be easier to delete your account and start over with a different forum name that doesn’t give away any personal information, since you only have a couple of posts so far.)

Good luck with your layout.


  • Member since
    January 2009
  • 4,960 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:57 PM

Welcom to the Forum!

I agree with Byron, get rid of your email name and maybe a moderator will delete this post to prevent you from the hacksters.

Hang around, we may learn more from you than you learn from us.


My Model Railroad
Bakersfield, California
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • 7,096 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, June 1, 2020 1:38 PM

What an incredibly good story.  There is something in this hobby for everyone. 

Replacing a Kadee coupler spring is hard enough when you can see it.  Do you solder?  I suppose you have a Braile keyboard but how do read the forum?


COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Findlay, Ohio
  • 378 posts
Posted by danmerkel on Friday, June 5, 2020 6:47 PM
I am totally blind from birth...


Kudos to you sir!  Your post rang true with me as I've been "legally blind" (20/200; able to see the big E on the traditional eye chart) since birth as well.  But because my parents and others would not let me say, "I can't..." I happily enjoy the hobby of model railroading as well.

I'm a modeler at heart and enjoy kitbashing structures and some rolling stock very much.  I model at "arm's length," if it looks good from about 24-30 inches away, it's good enough for me.  

We both likely follow the old addage... "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

Keep it up.  I'm sure that you are an inspiration to all who meet you and see your work.


  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 5,162 posts
Posted by rrebell on Saturday, June 6, 2020 9:58 AM

Wow, who would have guessed. What can I say but very interested in how you handle things model railroad wize.

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