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Model trains cost an arm and a leg

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, June 5, 2022 1:53 PM

BATMAN
Home»Model Railroader»Forums»General Discussion (Model Railroader) New Reply Fill out the form below to create a new reply. BATMAN wrote the following post 5 days ago: rrebell When I was a kit, Who put you together and how long did it take them?

Umm...Mom and Dad?

I heard the average modeler can assemble one in about nine months

BTW - "kit" is what you call an young fox - so maybe he WAS a kit when he was little

"Seeing foxes around your neighborhood, even during the day recently? If so, it is likely because kit-rearing season is upon us. Young foxes, called kits or pups, are maturing and spending more time outside of the den, making sightings of them and adult foxes more likel"

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 9:54 AM

Speaking about babys, arround here we ussually have lots of baby ducks and geese this time of year and a bit earlier, this year a few small broods of geese, like 2 or three and no ducks, don't knows why unless it was the late rains.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 12:05 PM

Umbrella

rrebell

Speaking about babys, arround here we ussually have lots of baby ducks and geese this time of year and a bit earlier, this year a few small broods of geese, like 2 or three and no ducks, don't knows why unless it was the late rains. 

Speaking of rains, it rained here yesterday. UmbrellaStorm

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 12:28 PM

richhotrain
Speaking of rains, it rained here yeterday.

It rains here every day this time of year.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 1:47 PM

SeeYou190
 
richhotrain
Speaking of rains, it rained here yeterday. 

It rains here every day this time of year.

-Kevin 

It's gonna rain here again tomorrow and again on Friday.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 12:50 AM

richhotrain
It's gonna rain here again tomorrow and again on Friday.

I will see your two days of rain, and raise you six days of rain.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by leewal on Sunday, June 12, 2022 10:04 AM

The prices of HO cars, both freight and passenger, are higher than Lionel used to be, which is why I switched to HO in the first place. I have steam locomotives I paid less than $100 for are now selling for 2, 3 and 4 hundred dollars. Fortunately, after 40 years in the hobby I really don't need anything else, but I keep looking. Glad I have my "Basement Central", the basement is the only place I can afford to go. People on E-bay are asking over $100 for their junk boxes and refuse to let you select individual pieces. I have better stuff in my junk box.  Make me an offer.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 12, 2022 11:12 AM

40 years ago the dollar was worth much more than it is now so of course you are going to pay more dollars to get new locos. The hobby hasn't become more expensive. The dollars just don't get you what they used to and that is true of everything you buy. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, June 12, 2022 11:28 AM

John-NYBW

40 years ago the dollar was worth much more than it is now so of course you are going to pay more dollars to get new locos. The hobby hasn't become more expensive. The dollars just don't get you what they used to and that is true of everything you buy.  

That has already been disproven earlier in this long-running thread.

Rich

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 12, 2022 5:54 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Bayfield Transfer Railway

I have a 1956 American Flyer catalog.

A 1956 American Flyer GP7 cost $25.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 
https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

$25 in 1956 equals $269.69 in 2022.  And that's an American Flyer "semi scale" model.

Ba dum pum. 

 

 

Here are four reasons why your comments prove nothing.

 

1. American Flyer is no longer in business, so who 's to say what AF would charge today for a GP7.

2. $25 would be considered expensive by many folks back then, so what's changed? Many folks would consider $269.69 expensive today.

3. Manufacturers don't price their locomotives based upon the Consumer Price Index. In fact, no manufacturers do.

4. Wages have not kept pace with inflation according to the US Bureau of Labor. $269.69 is more expensive today than $25 in 1956, so the price today should be less to avoid being considered more expensive than the same model in 1956.

Dum da dum dum.

Rich

 

If wages haven't kept pace with the price of inflation it means the value of labor has declined. The value of labor is based on the laws of supply and demand. When there are lots of people available to do a job and a lower demand for those skills, employers are not going to have to pay laborers as much. Conversely, jobs skills that are in high demand and not as many people who possess those skills are going to command higher salaries. An extreme example is that of NFL quarterbacks. If you want to compete for championships, you simply must have an elite QB. There might be a half dozen QBs who can carry a team to a championship and another half dozen whose teams could win a championship with if they can surround him with a lot of other talent on both sides of the ball. Since there are 32 teams who want to win championships and about a dozen or so QBs capable of winning a championship, teams are willing to shell out $40 million or more a year for an elite QB. Even above average QBs command $20-30 million. There are second string QBs who get paid $5-6 million to wear a baseball hat and hold a clipboard during games. Nice work if you can get it.

The point is, you can't look at wages as the barometer of inflation since the value of various job skills will vary over the course of time. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, June 12, 2022 6:35 PM

John, you are completely missing the central point of this thread, which is, model railroading is expensive. All of this Econ 101 stuff winds up making an apples and oranges comparison.

Speaking of apples and oranges, if a bag of either costs $6.50 today compared to 65 cents 50 years ago, sure, net of inflation, you can argue that the cost has not gone up.

But, you cannot apply that economic reasoning so easily to model railroading because what was available 50 years ago is not the same   as what is available today. Apples to oranges.

Rich

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 12, 2022 7:22 PM

richhotrain

John, you are completely missing the central point of this thread, which is, model railroading is expensive. All of this Econ 101 stuff winds up making an apples and oranges comparison.

Speaking of apples and oranges, if a bag of either costs $6.50 today compared to 65 cents 50 years ago, sure, net of inflation, you can argue that the cost has not gone up.

But, you cannot apply that economic reasoning so easily to model railroading because what was available 50 years ago is not the same   as what is available today. Apples to oranges.

Rich

 

A lot of what is available today is the same as what was available 40-50 years ago. Some of the kits are the same as what was being sold back then, even if it is being sold by a different company. There's no comparing DCC sound equipped locos to your basic DC loco from the 70s or 80s but you can still buy basic DC locos for roughly the same inflation adjusted price you did back then. The best comparison would be Atlas yellow box locos. I don't know if they still come in a yellow box, but I believe they still offer that line. I'd bet you'd find they are no more expensive now than they were then. 

I saved the Walthers 50th and 75th anniversary catalogs and like items were still selling for the same inflation adjusted prices as they were a generation earlier. If you make apples to apples comparisons, it is no more expensive to be a model railroader now than it was 40 years ago. If you opt to go for the best technology available, then yes, you are going to pay a premium and you should expect to. You are getting a much better product than what was available to moderlers back then.

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Posted by Attuvian1 on Sunday, June 12, 2022 8:08 PM

Well, here we are 25 days, 8592 looks, and 252 posts later.  It's got 4 stars, whatever they mean.  Not to be snarky, but we've managed to hit rainy weather and a number of other side issues along the way.  Okay with me as I'm not a real stickler for tidy boxes as long as the discussion gets back on track.  But in forum fashion, the track changed abruptly with the very first reply to the OP - nine minutes later.  The parallel issue (beside what has driven the increase in prices for our "goodies"), became one of Jimmy Johnson four doors down the street and whether he would be able to get into or stay in the hobby.

I took ECON 101 back at Michigan State under the fabled and (to some notorious) Dr. "Fat" Al Mandelstam.  And I can certainly follow the ebbs and flows of the econ portion of the subject.  But by this time in the history of this thread, the the end result for both us armchair economists and Jimmy Johnson, is pretty much the same and can perhaps be expressed in one word: Maybe.  Or, Hmmm.

This train has been and interesting ride, and the passengers both earnest and friendly.  But once I got beyond the second page, the ride proved to be a local.  I'll try to manage both my roster and my budget and also wish Jimmy the best.  If he shows an interest, I'll invite him to see my stuff or invite him to our club for its monthly "Run Your Train Night".  But it feels like this train is slowing.  I think this is my stop, guys. Geeked

BTW, the Diner is open, but kinda slow.  Flo's thinking of doing her nails  . . .  Smile, Wink & Grin 

John

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Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, June 12, 2022 9:37 PM

Attuvian1
the end result for both us armchair economists and Jimmy Johnson, is pretty much the same and can perhaps be expressed in one word: Maybe.  Or, Hmmm.

LaughLaughLaugh

If not for the uninformed speculation of these forums there would not be much to keep us entertained.Laugh It takes little effort to find out why the price of lumber is going through the roof, however, there are lots of opinions on this forum as to why it is with no basis on fact. It helps keep me grounded reading this stuff though. Knowing these same people can vote helps me plan my financial future. Just an observation of a guy that has been trading stock for over fifty years, a Government can harm the economy in short order, but it has to heal itself.

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by FRRYKid on Monday, June 13, 2022 12:41 AM

Actually I saw an article saying that lumber is going down in price due to the high interest rates, FWIW.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by Attuvian1 on Monday, June 13, 2022 3:01 AM

BATMAN

It helps keep me grounded reading this stuff though. Knowing these same people can vote helps me plan my financial future. Just an observation of a guy that has been trading stock for over fifty years, a Government can harm the economy in short order, but it has to heal itself.

Bow  (I guess I stayed on the train for one more stop . . .)

John

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, June 13, 2022 5:35 AM

Conclusion: Model trains cost an arm and a leg.  Cool

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 13, 2022 9:57 AM

FRRYKid
Actually I saw an article saying that lumber is going down in price due to the high interest rates, FWIW.

I have worked at Home Depot nine months now, in that time lumber has gone down, up, down, up, and is now even higher than when I started for plywood. Studs are less expensive now.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, June 13, 2022 10:05 AM

BATMAN

 

 
Attuvian1
the end result for both us armchair economists and Jimmy Johnson, is pretty much the same and can perhaps be expressed in one word: Maybe.  Or, Hmmm.

 

LaughLaughLaugh

If not for the uninformed speculation of these forums there would not be much to keep us entertained.Laugh It takes little effort to find out why the price of lumber is going through the roof, however, there are lots of opinions on this forum as to why it is with no basis on fact. It helps keep me grounded reading this stuff though. Knowing these same people can vote helps me plan my financial future. Just an observation of a guy that has been trading stock for over fifty years, a Government can harm the economy in short order, but it has to heal itself.

 

 

So since investing is a big part of my life, just wanted to know how you did over the 50 years. Even though I am near 70, I never invested in the markets till 2005 but went the bond route then with a punch investment or two. This has done me well, still have my original investment (but in different forms) and lived on it for all this time (and added to it as I sold the last of my real estate investments 5 years ago).

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, June 13, 2022 10:08 AM

Its not really possible to compare the price of somehting now vs then, because products tend to change significantly over time.  Compare a new model train now to the model train that was sold 50 years ago and you'll notice a product that has many more features and detail baked into the product.

What is the equivilent of the Athearn Blue Box product....the entry level stuff like Atlas Trainman, Walthers Mainline (or is it Trainline), and Athearn Roundhouse?

They are assembled.  Have more detailed added.  Have better paint jobs and printed lettering, metal wheels, generaly come with knuckle couplers, etc.

How do you compare the price of that product to the price of a (not) comparable product from 40-50 years ago?

Automobiles come with power options, airbags, back up cameras, fuel efficient engines....the products are not comparable to the cars of the 1970s, 1980s.

If you want to say that the "richer" people have dominated the hobby to where the producers are building nothing but (what would have been thought of back in the day as) high end side of the product line, so be it.  But the product being produced is still different than what we would compare it to. 

Cheap foreign labor allowed this evolution to occur (as with many things) and stuff was likely underpriced for a long time, until such time as production costs become not so cheap anymore.  Maybe it will circle back to where we can only choose from different kits with molded on details (fine with me if we did).  When that happens, then we can compare prices better.

- Douglas

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, June 13, 2022 10:29 AM

rrebell
just wanted to know how you did over the 50 years.

I started in 1971 at age 14 and had to get my Dad to open a trading account in his name as I was too young. If you have the patience to stick it out and the interest in it to put in the time you can have a very comfortable second half of your life. History and economics go hand in hand and like the weather, they both keep repeating themselves. Eat a donut every day or eat an apple every day, it is a choice we are free to make, decades later you will see the result of the choices you make.

 

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, June 13, 2022 10:52 AM

Doughless

Its not really possible to compare the price of somehting now vs then, because products tend to change significantly over time. 

How do you compare the price of that product to the price of a (not) comparable product from 40-50 years ago?

Automobiles come with power options, airbags, back up cameras, fuel efficient engines....the products are not comparable to the cars of the 1970s, 1980s.

Amen. I could not agree more. And my wife's new Lincoln SUV will agree with both of us. If you stop the vehicle and leave it in Drive with your foot on the brake, for example at a stoplight, the engine shuts off to conserve gas until you release the brake and the vehicle starts up again. Did I mention the 22-way seat massager? Windshield wipers that go on at the first hint of rain? Adaptive cruise control with automatic lane centering? Blind spot detection? Pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking? That's just for starters.

Rich

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Posted by maxman on Monday, June 13, 2022 11:24 AM

richhotrain
And my wife's new Lincoln SUV will agree with both of us. If you stop the vehicle and leave it in Drive with your foot on the brake, for example at a stoplight, the engine shuts off to conserve gas until you release the brake and the vehicle starts up again. Did I mention the 22-way seat massager? Windshield wipers that go on at the first hint of rain? Adaptive cruise control with automatic lane centering? Blind spot detection? Pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking?

All of those new things, but does it have the same old woman driver?

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 13, 2022 12:02 PM

Doughless
Automobiles come with power options, airbags, back up cameras, fuel efficient engines....the products are not comparable to the cars of the 1970s, 1980s.

I remember buying my first new car in 1988. Air conditioning was an expensive "rich man's" option back then. I think it added about $1,500.00 to our $13,000.00 car.

I'll wager you cannot even find a new car at a Florida dealership that does not have air conditioning now.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, June 13, 2022 12:14 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
Doughless
Automobiles come with power options, airbags, back up cameras, fuel efficient engines....the products are not comparable to the cars of the 1970s, 1980s.

 

I remember buying my first new car in 1988. Air conditioning was an expensive "rich man's" option back then. I think it added about $1,500.00 to our $13,000.00 car.

I'll wager you cannot even find a new car at a Florida dealership that does not have air conditioning now.

-Kevin

 

My first new car was a 1987 VW Golf.  Had crank windows and manual locks, an underpowered 1.8L? motor.  It had A/C.  I don't remember if it had cruise control. It was a pretty basic model that cost $8,700....still cheaper than a Civic or Corrolla, IIRC.

In 2018...30 years later....I bought a 2018 MAZDA3 with a 185HP 2.5L, power windows, locks, seats...cruise...leather(ette) heated seats...backup camera...18 inch wheels for $17,500.  Only twice the money.  It was a steal.  

 

- Douglas

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, June 13, 2022 12:52 PM

maxman

 

 
richhotrain
And my wife's new Lincoln SUV will agree with both of us. If you stop the vehicle and leave it in Drive with your foot on the brake, for example at a stoplight, the engine shuts off to conserve gas until you release the brake and the vehicle starts up again. Did I mention the 22-way seat massager? Windshield wipers that go on at the first hint of rain? Adaptive cruise control with automatic lane centering? Blind spot detection? Pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking?

 

All of those new things, but does it have the same old woman driver?

 

No, the wife was part of the trade-in. The concierge, Bubbles, is my new life partner.

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Posted by Attuvian1 on Monday, June 13, 2022 1:56 PM

richhotrain
maxman
richhotrain
And my wife's new Lincoln SUV will agree with both of us. If you stop the vehicle and leave it in Drive with your foot on the brake, for example at a stoplight, the engine shuts off to conserve gas until you release the brake and the vehicle starts up again. Did I mention the 22-way seat massager? Windshield wipers that go on at the first hint of rain? Adaptive cruise control with automatic lane centering? Blind spot detection? Pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking?
  

No, the wife was part of the trade-in. The concierge, Bubbles, is my new life partner.

 

You guys are terrible.  (I can hear my mother saying it.)  Laugh Laugh Bow

John

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, June 13, 2022 2:38 PM

Doughless

Its not really possible to compare the price of somehting now vs then, because products tend to change significantly over time.  Compare a new model train now to the model train that was sold 50 years ago and you'll notice a product that has many more features and detail baked into the product.

What is the equivilent of the Athearn Blue Box product....the entry level stuff like Atlas Trainman, Walthers Mainline (or is it Trainline), and Athearn Roundhouse?

 

I have to disagree. There are many products that are exactly the same as what was sold back in the 70s and 80s. Structure kits for example. Even if sold by a different company, they are made from the same molds. Magnuson kits are now sold by Scale Structures LTD but are the same resin kits. As for Athearn blue box kits, I would argue that Accurail has filled that void and produces a basic freight car kit comparable to the blue box kits. Then there are the old staples like the Kadee #5 coupler or Caboose Industry ground throws. In a previous post I gave the example of the Atlas yellow box DC locos which I believe are still being produced and I doubt have changed much at all from a couple generations ago. 

There are lots of products in model railroading that are either the same or comparable to what was offered 40-50 years ago and when you compare those prices, they are still selling for roughly the same inflation adjusted price as 40-50 years ago. The hobby is not more exensive. What has become expensive are the high tech products that weren't an option back then. 

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, June 13, 2022 3:33 PM

I am far too young to answer this question, but let's look at some real-world examples. First, we all have the Atlas station. When did it come out and how much was it then and how much is it now?

 

Next the Walthers three-stall roundhouse. When did it come out and how much was it then and how much is it now?

 

Were talking MSRP. 

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, June 13, 2022 5:09 PM

Go to N scale.  Locomotives and rolling stock are about half the cost of HO and you get four time the railroad in the same space.

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