Why Model Railroad?

model trains for beginners

Why Model Railroad?

The obvious answer to this question of course, is that it is great fun!

If you are reading this article, you are clearly already interested in model railroading.  Welcome to the family, or you may still be on the fence with regards to your decision? I would encourage you to hop off and come over to the wonderful world of model railroading.

This is a Family Orientated Hobby

Are you not constantly searching for something to do as a family?  Well this is a great family-orientated hobby.  Everyone can get involved in some measure, whether it be the scenery or whether you are more technically inclined.  There is a level of activity for every age.  The best spin-off of this hobby,  is that it pulls the family together, and removes children from the adverse effects of television, computer games and movies.  Regardless of your personal feelings with respect to these effects, it has been proven to stimulate children, and many continue with this hobby for the rest of their lifetime.

The Educational Aspect of the Hobby

Probably not a great one to mention to your children, but the fact is that model railroading is highly educational.

The following educational aspects are explored:

  • History, whereby the different eras are represented, which leads to the research of a particular period in terms of scenery and objects.  Railroads really encompass or encapsulate a full range of history.  They were the drivers for economic and social aspects during a specific period.
  • Electrical and Carpentry skills are used to a large extent in the building of a model railroad.  Don’t feel that these activities are difficult.  They are surprisingly easy to learn.
  • Creativity, in the creation and imagination involved in painting, cutting and assembling scenery, buildings, trees and so on.
  • Logical thought processes are developed as you plan the layout of the railroad.  Where is a logical position for a tunnel?  Does the layout you have chosen lend itself to expansion?
  • Motor skills are developed when handling objects that are delicate and require exact positioning.
  • Engineering skills are developed.  How does a motor work.  How did a steam engine work?  Why is a particular bridge built in a certain design?  The railroad itself will actually require quite a bit of engineering to assemble.
  • Geography becomes easier to understand.  Why would a river flow this way and not that way? Where would trees grow in abundance as opposed to another area.  Watersheds can be explained using a mountain ridge.  The more research that is placed on these topics the better in order to create the most realistic appearance.


Social Aspects

Model railroading is a very sociable hobby.  If you want to meet new people and make new friends, this is the hobby for you.  There are so many clubs and associations that one can join. Contests are run and skills are transferred.  You will find that those who participate in model railroading are from a diverse segment of the population and the also from all echelons of society.  You will find engineers, doctors, scientists.  Then you will find athletes, artists and handymen.  These people will be old or young and be rich or poor.

Gender Orientation

A common misconception is that model railroading is only for guys.  Maybe it was, but it certainly is not these days.  Model railroading has participants from young girls to mothers and grandmothers. In fact about a third of all participants in most workshops are female.  You go girls.

The Geek Aspect.

Model railroading is for geeks?  NOT. Many feel an adult playing with trains is embarrassing, or are worried about the view of relatives and friends of their new found hobby.  Let me allay your fears.  Have a look at this list of celebrities who were and currently are model railroaders.

  • Winston Churchill
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Phil Collins
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Walt Disney
  • Michael Gross, the actor
  • Ed Dougherty, the professional golfer
  • Merle Haggard
  • Tom Hanks
  • Elton John
  • Michael Jordan
  • Ricardo Patrese, the Formula-1 race car driver
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Joe Regalbutto, the actor
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Rod Stewart
  • Donald Sutherland
  • Mel Torme
  • Neil Young, the rock star. He’s also a part-owner of Lionel…

Oh and in case you missed it is FUN!

Click here for a definitive guide to model trains

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