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What do you get out of these forums and what keeps you around?

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  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Morgantown, WV
  • 1,457 posts
Posted by cheese3 on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 2:26 PM

I joined in 2003. It started as a great place to talk about the hobby with other people that are like minded. It’s pretty hard to find high school kids that are really into trains and model railroading. Fortunately my buddy Scott known as Trainfreak409 on here was able to really get me into the hobby and the forum. 

I have had the opportunity to talk with and meet a lot of really awesome people all thanks to the forum. If anyone remembers Sapcemouse, I had the opportunity to meet up with him at Train shows. A bunch of the teen members at the time would also host chat rooms to share our projects. We even started our own little forum for a while.

Over the years and through different layouts, I could always come here to get guidance and feedback. There was a long period where I didn’t have a layout at all. A few years ago I tried to build an N scale version of the Virginian but that didn‘t work out as other commitments quickly took over. I would always stop in once in a while to keep the spirit alive.

Now that life has settled down a bit I am finally back in the hobby. I find myself reading and refreshing my memory on skills long lost or not developed as I work on my new layout. 

This forum, for me, has always been like a home. A place of stability with good people to get some valuable advice and lessons from. Im not sure of current trends with the forum but it would be nice to see and hear from many of the former active members and see some more activity. Weekend photo fun used to get 50 or 60 replies. There are so many talented people, members here and not, that dont or can’t post for whatever reasons. Even so, I still like to call the forum my home. 

Adam Thompson Model Railroading is fun!

  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • 680 posts
Posted by PRR8259 on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 2:37 PM

Not sure how long I have lurked here.  I am one of a few people who actually has posts under a couple different names.  I don't think that is possible to do, anymore.

Although I have generally tried to keep discussions civil, they have not always been so.  I was never deliberately trying to tick people off, but some people take things a little too personally, and email/text does not always adequately convey tone of voice, understatement, sarcasm or humor.

I am primarily interested in new information about new models, and accurate comments or reviews about new products.

My posting has diminished, as of late.  I prefer to let others argue over some of the more mundane prototype details.

John

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,822 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 9:27 PM

Most of my modeling knowledge and techniques came from here.  It's always been my go-to place to ask questions and gather opinions.  It's also been my inspiration to improve my skills and create better models,

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Kentucky
  • 8,558 posts
Posted by Heartland Division CB&Q on Thursday, July 12, 2018 9:46 AM

Kevin ... Thank you for starting this thread. 

 

It is good to meet the model railroaders who participate in this forum. I like to see what everybody is doing and also share what I am doing with others. I like seeing other people make friends with each other. 

Most participants are very good people who are willing to help others. Experienced model railroaders provide friendly advice and encouragment to young people or newcomers to the hobby. 

I appreciate Kalmbach for hosting this forum. 

GARRY

HEARTLAND DIVISION, CB&Q RR

EVERYWHERE LOST; WE HUSTLE OUR CABOOSE FOR YOU

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 9,632 posts
Posted by mlehman on Thursday, July 12, 2018 3:12 PM

I joined because I wanted to hang out with other model railroaders, to learn from them, and contribute where I could. It's been very satisfying in that regards, particualrly because I'm the sort that feels like I'm benefiting when I can help others.

Did I gain these benefits because of the specific appeal of info and help offered to me, to fill my needs? Not really, which is often the case with our hobby. Sure, you can often find others that share the same prototypical interests. More often, the hobby ie like a passing freight train. You might see a car or two you're very familiar with, but many others you know less about and some virtually nothing. Depending on your time and interest, you might look up much new info. or simply go back to doing what you know best. Either is fine and both attitudes are certainly in the mainstream of our hobby, as radically different as the may be. Some like Conrail. Some like East Broad Top. Depends on what you're curious about.

Another thing about our hobby that makes it very interesting and is reflected here is the variety of life that we depict on our layouts. Like real life, on the tracks it's always up ahead, on both sides, and probably where the train came from, too. Transportation technology is something that's reflected in many other hobbies, but because of the fact that we often build layouts and run tracks through this (variably successful) attempt at depicting the reality our RRs are embedded in, our interest and curriosity often takes us away from the track and into what we find surrounding the RR.

The RR doesn't ship RR stuff for the most part. It ships everything to do with life.

To learn about the vast subject of what might end up on our layouts, to understand the role of RRs as parts of even wider networks of commerce and industry, to know why a particular car is in a train and what is on it requires knowing at least the beginnings of how to find out and learn more about the vast number of connections to the wider world that a set of RR tracks represents. To know what you're seeing on the railroad, why it was important, and to understand the significance of various factors that affect the RR requires at least the beginnings of how it all fits into the 1:1 world. 

Obviously, like much about RRs themselves, many people have a limited taste for the connections of real life that are of relevance to our RRs that extend beyond their personal interests. But that's one thing I learned early on as a MR reader -- give it a chance and you may find that thing you thought irrelevant yesterday may change into something that's really useful to know. In fact, not as a gripe, but as an observation, that's the thing I think has gone missing from MR the magazine -- the element of serendiptious discovery, of unexpected learning, of curiousity sparking new research on a topic you'd never thought much about before.

So while tastes vary, I think the forums at a general interest hobby magazine like MR must serve many different needs. IMO, they do it well in balanced manner that for me generally fills what I think has  left the magazine as it became what it is today.

Yes, pure RR knowledge extract is good, but so are informative exchanges and friendships  that extend away from the tracks and embed our hobby in the reality that many aspire to depict. If you feel something missing from your modeling of a prototype, it might not be a failure to appreciate a locomotive, but because the complex surroundings it exists in still need more illumination. That's what this forum provides for me, the social support network to be the best modeler I can be.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 4,241 posts
Posted by rrebell on Thursday, July 12, 2018 4:47 PM

For me it is a case of last man standing, so many of the forums have died or changed, though some still may exist they are run by people who are not model railroaders. My favorite forum (most of the people on it were kit manufactures) is now run by non model railroaders as site was bought out (I have no idea why they would pay what they did for that site because the site was the person who set it up). It was a great site and you could upload pics direct from your computer.

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 6,099 posts
Posted by maxman on Thursday, July 12, 2018 6:27 PM

rrebell
as site was bought out (I have no idea why they would pay what they did for that site because the site was the person who set it up).

Probably paid for the domain name.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 7,141 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 14, 2018 4:24 PM

SeeYou190

I have been a member of this forum for about 18 months now. This is the only Model Railroading forum that I participate with.

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I am curious as to why the regulars are here, what made people join, and what keeps everyone coming back.

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I have been active on board gaming/wargaming forums all over the web for 20+ years as the hero/general “Duke Georgal of Entralgia”. Activity on these various forums is almost required to participate in that hobby. You need to find people for opponents and events to play at, rules interpretations are discussed as a community, and we all share our fun (or funny) battle reports. Discussions of strategy or historical accuracy are also always lively.

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Model Railroading is an entirely different type of hobby. You can be a lone wolf and go completely off the grid and do whatever you want. No one else’s interpretations or personality matter one bit in how we enjoy this hobby. You do not need any interpersonal interaction to be a Model Railroader, so all the Model Railroading forums meant absolutely nothing to me.

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Then, about 20 months ago, I ripped my “spare bedroom” HO layout out of the house. I then went through a violent purge cycle and threw away about 75% of my model railroading stuff. Anything I thought was holding back my creativity or slowing my progress towards achieving my goals was disposed of. All incomplete projects were stripped of usable parts and tossed away.

.

This created a void in enthusiasm. The purge was phase one of a two year (looks like it will take 3 years) house remodel project that will finally result in me finally having a dedicated and proper train room. I could see that without a layout my Model Railroading activity would decline.

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My plan was, and still is, to spend the time without a layout building a new freight car fleet of about 150-200 cars. The plan was also to collect everything needed to complete construction of the new layout.

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So… why did I join this forum? Simple… to keep my enthusiasm alive. I know that without the enjoyment of a layout I will have to get encouragement and comradery among my fellow modelers.

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“Weekend Photo Fun” is exactly what I needed. This little thread every week does more to keep me “on track” than anything else I could have asked for.

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Then “Show Me Something” opened up a whole new world for me. Using my wargaming terrain supplies and a good camera I have a fun sub-hobby that keeps my creativity alive.

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All the other discussions are great for me as well. Even though what I am doing with the STRATTON & GILLETTE has so little to do with what anyone else is doing, I have a great time bouncing ideas around. There has been a surprising amount of good input, and I have even changed plans here and there after listening to other points of view.

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What keeps me coming back is honestly the moderation. Steve Otte does a magnificent job of keeping everything in order around here. The wargaming forums all become full of acid and toxicity way too frequently, and what Steve does keeps all that away from this setting. I can easily do without all the nonsense and prefer just to talk about models and hobbies. I have seen how bad a hobby forum and community can become when things are left unchecked, and it is ugly.

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So, why are you in here and what keeps you around? I was a model railroader for 30+ years without these forums, but I do not know if I would have made it through the last two without them.

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-Kevin

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Kevin,

Your story is interesting. I don't know that there is any "typical model railroader", but based on my experiances on both sides of the hobby shop counter, you are not "typical". That is not a criticism, just an observation.

For me, I came on this forum, the Aristo Craft forum, and the Bachmann forum, about 9 years ago with a simple purpose.

I was developing a new DC Advanced Cab Control system to use with the Aristo Train Engineer, and I was looking for other modelers who were using the Aristo radio throttles in small scales like HO or N, wanting to both learn how they applied them to the layout, and to share with them (and others) my ideas for wireless DC throttle Advanced Cab Control with CTC and signaling.

A more general interest in the conversations on the forums grew from there...not without some growing pains.

On this forum I was accused of violating rules about commerical selling/promotion, even though I had nothing to sell. Yes, I was considering writing a book on my system if there was interest. Yes I have sold custom circuit boards for my system to other modelers (but never as a result of making a statement on this forum that such an item was available for sale).

Hours of valueable FREE information was then deleted from this forum.........

Every aspect of my system has been openly published on the three forums for anyone to duplicate - does that sound like some big "commercial promotion"?

But I did find others on here using Aristo throttles, and I did share many of my concepts with a number of interested modelers.

AND I faced considerable resistance from those who at the time considered DCC the only "future" for model train control. Funny how DCC has not fully taken over yet, and now has new challengers..... And when I have the energy, I will still stand up against the "DC block toggle" myth.  

Today my interest in this forum is fading fast. Today is my first posting in three weeks. It may be three more weeks.....

I'm getting ready to move, sooner than orginally planned, and I have a layout to relocate and complete........

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    August, 2011
  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
  • 3,507 posts
Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, July 14, 2018 7:08 PM

Off Topic

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I'm getting ready to move, sooner than orginally planned, and I have a layout to relocate and complete........

Darn, that sounds "painful", hope things go well.

Cheers, the Bear.

 

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 7,141 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 14, 2018 8:32 PM

Off Topic

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I'm getting ready to move, sooner than orginally planned, and I have a layout to relocate and complete........

 

Darn, that sounds "painful", hope things go well.

Cheers, the Bear.

 

 

It's not painful at all.

First it's been in the works for a while, the useable parts of the layout are modules.

Second, the new layout space is larger........

Third, we will still own the old house for quite a while, 6-12 months or more, so the move does not have a hard deadline.

Take care,

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 4,241 posts
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, July 15, 2018 12:31 AM

maxman

 

 
rrebell
as site was bought out (I have no idea why they would pay what they did for that site because the site was the person who set it up).

 

Probably paid for the domain name.

 

No, site is still up with same content, just very few new posts like one every couple weeks. Kathey Mallet was one of the people I knew from the site along with Dave Frary.

  • Member since
    October, 2004
  • From: Blair, Nebraska
  • 133 posts
Posted by Boiler-man on Sunday, July 15, 2018 9:00 AM

I have been a member for quite som time and am a N-Scale modeler.

The info that one can gain from others her no mater what scale is great as we all love trains and the modeling of them.

I always find something that I can apply to my N-scale pike and this is the sam reason I read Model Railroader magazine.

Boilerman
  • Member since
    September, 2002
  • From: North Carolina
  • 1,513 posts
Posted by csxns on Sunday, July 15, 2018 9:03 AM

Yes

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
AND I faced considerable resistance from those who at the time considered DCC the only "future" for model train control. Funny how DCC has not fully taken over yet, and now has new challengers..... And when I have the energy, I will still stand up against the "DC block toggle" myth.
I am with you on that.

Russell

  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
  • 2,580 posts
Posted by Doughless on Sunday, July 15, 2018 9:34 AM

I enjoy sharing information and problem solving.  I also enjoy following some of the long time members layouts, and the challenges they have had with the hobby and how those challenges influence their pont of view over time.

I also enjoy the OT discussions when they don't get too personal.  Conversations about cars, houses, airplanes, etc, all fall into the "stuff" category so I little conversation around things like that on a model train forum seems appropriate to me.  Economics, finances, in addition to the "stuff" mentioned are all things that impact everyone, and everyone tends to have an interest in.  

 

- Douglas

  • Member since
    October, 2015
  • 97 posts
Posted by jk10 on Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:25 AM

First time I found the site was maybe 16 years ago when I was in high school and just took an interest in the hobby. Posted once in awhile but didn't really absorb or contribute much to the conversations. Now, with a renewed interest and big dreams of a layout (although it's a 2' x 8' with a 4' extension for now), I'm learning a lot and have found it to be a great resource for how to do the basics. I tend to get "scared" about tackling some projects because I don't like the risk of failure and having to redo anything, but the forums offer such detailed and exact advice that I'm slowly becoming a bit more confident. 

Since I do not have an operating layout at the moment, I can run trains, but it's just track on on foam for rite now, I'll continue to read and learn from the forums in hopes of applying the knowledge in the future. My current interests are learning about the history of different fallen flags of the 90s and developing my proto-freelanced railroad of the future. 

The one gripe I do have is the inability to search/sort posts by era modeled. I have almost zero interest in steam era and first generation diesel. My main interests are second generation diesel up to modern era (mostly late 80s to present). It'd be great to have sub forums to post about specifics to the eras. I know there's a lot to learn from all modelers, but sometimes it's nice to only read about a specific era. 

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