Getting Kids interested in trains

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Getting Kids interested in trains

  • I have not figured it out yet but I am working on it. I model in HOn30, On30, and live steam. My Grandsons come on July 4th to my clubs meet and run trains with grandpa. This year things did not work out like normal. Maybe they will be hear for the narrow gauge meet. I bought them a On30 train set last Christmas. I hope their mother is keeping them interested. I got her slowly interested sitting in my lap and running trains. I got my diesel repaired and working for this year. My steamer is a little hard for their ages 7 and 9. I will report later with hopefully more info.


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  • what got me interest was my dads trains my dad has lots. and every year he would set them up around the tree during christmas time. he has 6 steamers in o gague and me and my brother thought they were the coolest thing. for so many years we wanted some trains ofour own because we had seen our dads and thought they were awsome. i had finnaly gotten an N scale set. and just this past christmas i have converted over to HO i liike both scales.
    What do you call a freight train full of bubble gum? A chew chew train! :] T.R. quote: "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." visit:
  • What got me interested and I am 15 was when I was little I went on my first train ride with my parents and then I got a trainset for my birthday and just have been interested in trains for quite sometime now.
  •    It really doesn't take much. When they come to the meets, let them run some trains. For me, I have a father who is interested in trains and he got me into it and now I have a collection of over 25 locomotives and about 150 rolling stock. They really need to be around it. Also what helps is train rides. I realize that in some areas you can't find to many tourist railroads. But it really helps with the growing interest. Also, since you bought them that trains set, I have a few questions on that. First is the train set always set up or is it put away for most of the time?

    It helps if the train set is placed onto board and is able to stay out all the time. This way if they see it, they might just go ahead and play with it. If it's put away most of the time, they might not ask about it. So it might be a good idea to have set up most of the time.

    Now I don't know if the mother is to interested in the idea of model railroading. If she isn't, it might be a good idea to convince her.Smile [:)] A parent or relative who encourages kids to get into it usually helps.

    Happy railroadingLaugh [(-D]


    The Milwaukee Road From Miles City, Montana, to Avery, Idaho. The Mighty Milwaukee's Rocky Mountain Division. Visit:
  • Show them a loco with spinner wheels!!! Tongue [:P]


    currently on Tour with Sleeper Cell Sleeper Cell is @ Checkers in Bowling Green Ohio 12/31/2009 come on out to the party!!! we will be shooting more video for MTVs The Making of a Metal Band
  • I was lucky enough to be born in Colorado, so we have many RR's here. I was interested in trains since I was around 3. I took my first train ride before I was able to walk. To see something that is inanimate suddenly breathe on you has a certain shock factor to younger kids.

  • I got into trains when I was aroud thre, my dad got me a HO set and the I started O guage, insted of my dad getting me into trains I got him into trains!
    K-Line The Difference is in the Details
  • Many of us are old enough to have became interested in trains because we witnessed steam or rode reat passenger trains as youngsters.

    How do you do that nowadays?

    I visited the National Canal Museum in Easton, Pennsylvania last week and got a good look at their new interastive Canal exhibits for kids. It's all "Hands On" from running a canal boat full of coal to computer simulations. And it's already a  destination place for families -- with lots of repeat business.

    In the warmer months, they off canal boat rides on a remnant of the Lehigh Canal. 

    Now compare this with typical railroad attractions -- the model trains are behind glass, run by adults -- usually older men. Kids can look but not touch; maybe there's a train ride but for many who never experienced the steam era or the heyday of steamlined passenger trains, there's little context.

    So -- how many rail musem/attractions are out there that let kids run the model trains themselves? How many offer hands-on examples of how steam locomotives actually work? Or a diesel? How many have a layout letting kids work out a switching puzzle?

    At some point, we have to think about how we present outselves and our hobby and our fascination.

    Anyone who gets near Easton Pennsylvania should visit the Canal Museum and see what they've created. There are also some nice anthracite railroad exhibits for adults <g>. but there's plenty here to consider if we're seriously interested in hetting kids hooked on the hobby.


    Jim Guthrie 




  • If I may make some suggestions havving two girls who love trains and a having been introduced to trains at a young age . You may try some of the following ideas

    1. Study the children to find there natural bents and try to mesh their interest with trains (train the child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it )
    2. Once you have determined #1 buy them their own engine and car with this in mind,maybe include them on the buying trip.
    3. Maybe have their own small layout at your home
    4. Start a Christmas tradition by setting a train set up around your christmas tree involving them helping with the set up
    5. Keep it short. Childrens attention spans are not as long as ours
    6. Let them help build scenes on your set there by giving them some pride of ownership
    7. Do not put out your best stuff for them to play with. If it brakes or "wrecks" you wont be upset and they will not be hurt.
    8. Make a game out of it. How many cars can the engine pull ? What engine is faster ? How many Pieces of chocolate can an engine and a flat car pull....

      Good luck I hope this helps

  • I got interseted because I was born in New York and rid the subway before I was 1 year old and rid it often until I was 8. Then I moved to Colorado. 
  • Im 26, when I was a lil kid my dad would allways take me upto the train station to watch the Burlington Northern freight & commuter trains going to and from chicago. Also we used to visit a hobby shop down the street from our old church every sunday and they had a nice LGB layout that I could watch for hours. Soon after my dad started me out with a Bachmann ASTF freight set in HO, I allways had a thing for LGB but my parrents allways said it cost to much. Disapprove [V]

    My sister has a son who is almost 2 now and I'm getting him into trains, I got a D&RGW Bachmann G scale train setup on a 10'x8' oval of track in my living room that we play with when I baby sit him a couple days a week. I also take him up to the train station like my did with me, oh yeah and hes addicted to Thomas & friends so I gave my sister all my old VHS tapes and bought them some new DVD's

    my sister & her boyfriend both say the kido runs around the house saying "Bubby Choo Choo?" alot lol

    Best way to get kids interested in trains is show them that they are interesting Wink [;)]

  • Get'em train stuff....lots of it. That is how I got hooked. I am 16 and just as crazy about em as when I first fell in love with em (according to my mother). Though model trains do now have to compete with other things now, band, hunting, and shooting sports.

    Lionel collector, stuck in an N scaler's modelling space.

  • I was at my local hobby store the day after Christmas and witnessed a father returning an electric train set.  Here's what he told the shop owner, "Within an hour my boy lost interest.  Half the couplers broke, and he couldn't make a train."  As their discussion continued, I learned that the child is 9 years old, and not reckless with his belongings.  My guess is that this was the beginning and end of that kid's interest in model trains.

    Track used to be the source of most train-set trouble.  To a great degree manufacturers have eliminated the problems associated with track, so I would have figured that train sets are a good way to get kids into our hobby.  The new thing appears to be couplers.  I hope a few manufacturers are reading this because I think this is something they could help with.

    I hated horn-hook couplers.  They were ugly and hard to uncouple, but they were durrible.  Knuckle couplers look better, but the plastic ones are not exactly kid proof.  The metal knuckle couplers are more durrable, but they're shot if that little spring disappears.  What we need is a kid's train coupler.  Make it durrable and easy to couple/uncouple.  Appearance is not as important as these factors.  I wonder about borrowing from the Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine producers and make a magnetic coupler in which the magnetic force is what keeps them coupled.  Put the knuckle couplers in the box, so a kid can convert later.

    By the way, my own interest in model trains started when I was 12.  I picked up an issue of Model Railroader Magazine at the school library and I was hooked.  I saved my allowance and bought a train set, and things progressed from there.  I think a good way to get kids into any hobby is to give them access to information about it, then let them develop their own interest.  With trains, invite them to go with you to a train show.  If they come along, don't forget that they are your guest.  Try to be interested at their level, and don't get wrapped up in conversations with your train pals - the kid will feel left out.  If they ask questions that seem too elementary, answer respectfully.  Of course, leave when they have had enough (you can always come back later to talk to your pals or to spend more time.

    Be sure that they have some source of money to finance their hobby.  An allowance works great.  Teach them to save to buy the more pricy components.

    One last thing, if they start becoming interested allow them to learn on their own.  Nothing cools a kid off more than dad telling them how to do their hobby.  If they ask a question, answer them, then get out of the way and never work on their project!  Allow them to watch and help you on your layout and models, but theirs should be their own work.  They should have their own work space and tools, and preferably their own layout, all financed primarily with their own money.

    Here's to a generation of train modelers,




    I'm not a rocket scientist; they are my students.

  • I got interested in trains by my dad, he was an avid train buff and model railroader. We got a small Lionel layout when I was about 5 and he switched us to HO when was about 8 or 9 by the time I was out of high school I probably had 8 to 10 HO locos and I don't remember how many cars. I'm 40 now with 3 kids of my own and lucky enough to be building my dream layout. My two boys and little girl love to run trains back and forth on what track I have down. Under my supervision of course! If all goes well this year I should have the mainline down and operating. If I can get that done I plan fixing up some of my old blue box engines and giving them to the kids for Christmas this year I think they'd get a kick out of that.  

    Dan Metzger

  • I blame it on my dad.
    -Michael It's baaaacccckkkk!!!!!!