Model Railroading? At what cost?

Model Railroading is an expensive hobby.  No doubt.  To date I have spent almost $8000 on it, and I don't even have a layout built yet.  I know someone who also doesn't have a layout who has spent, what he claims is about $60,000 on the hobby.

So I guess the question is, is it worth it?  Well, the answer I suppose is for you to decide.  If trains interest you, and you enjoy the linear logic puzzles that switching cars represent.  Or running and dispatching long mainline freight trains.  Maybe running a passenger service is your thing?  Or you just like any sort of train, driving through your wonderfully crafted landscape.  If you enjoy any of those, then it is likely worth it!

Yeah, sure, there are rail sims, and programs on the computer which can emulate this experience.  But, like this blog, programs on a computer will not exist for ever.  Nor do they retain their value.  It is simply just wasting away hours of your life, into a void, which will eventually amount to nothing being accomplished.  So there is something to be said about the ability to hold something real in your hand, and physically driving it around a track that you spent hours perfecting.

In your elder years, a well maintained model railroad could keep you active and social.  And when you pass, often model railroads sell for decent money in an estate sale.  Or can be passed down to your children, or their children.  I doubt I will be able to play Trainz Rail Simulator 12 when I am 70 years old.  Good luck finding parts to keep a computer made today running 40 to 50 years down the road!  So it is best to dump the time into the physical model.

But Roadwolf, what if I rent, or plan on moving eventually?  Well, you can build your model railroad in modular form.  So it can be easily taken apart and transported without major damage.

The only thing that is stopping you is yourself.  This is something that I must remember as well!  I have been putting my own project off far too long.  I blame it on my lack of money, but really you can do a lot with a limited budget.  You can use second generation parts,  and scrap wood to rough together a working railroad.  And then clean it up later.   Or you can work slowly detailing models, or building structures.  That type of work is usually fairly chap provided you have the materials to work with.  Even then, if you only buy a few materials for each project, you will eventually collect a lot of bulk materials to work on a wide variety of projects.

December I plan on purchasing my two-by-fours and getting to work on the center wall of my layout room.  I have to brace the room because it is an older barn structure, and it does sway slightly in heavy winds and with strong sideways force applied.  I am hoping a wall running across the center will help square it off, and keep it from wobbling as much.

This will also help divide my railroad into 4 rooms or phases, instead of one large intimidating room.  I can start detailing one area while still roughing in the others as time permits.  This is useful if you tend to lose interest in a specific task after a while.  Because it leaves you with a variety of projects in various states of construction in order to choose to work on.

I hope to post more railway related articles soon, and if I don't, well, feel free to comment and nag me about it.  I probably need the encouragement!