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Allegheny1600

Where has everyone gone?

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Hi All,

I know that I am somewhat guilty of abandoning North American outline railroading for the past few years so I'm not blaming anyone here but - where has everyone gone?

This section of the forum used to be quite lively with people introducing new projects, layouts, kit-bashes, detailing and so forth.

Not only that but there used to be so many US outline dealers here in the UK - almost all gone now.

OTOH, I can think of LSWR, Porter-Wynn, MG Sharp, The Signal Box as well as smaller part-time dealers like J. Sammans, J. Hey and others. Now I learn that Model Junction is closing down. Macs seems to have disappeared offline too.

By my reckoning that leaves Mech Models in BoT, RailsofS, Kittle Hobby(?), Contikits, Anoraks and the American Railroad Centre in Bodmin - is there anyone else who is fairly serious? I'm not counting shops that only stock a small line of secondhand items.

 

So - have most people simply changed focus or disappeared from this mortal coil? Quite a few of the people I used to know have done the latter, sadly and others have simply disappeared with no trace. Still others have gone 'British' or 'European' (I have been one of the latter!).

 

I've only noticed this as I've had a resurgence of interest in US outline as dealing with buffers is one of my greatest bugbears and I feel like going American again!

Cheers,

John.

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Sorry to hear about Model Junction...

 

I used to pop over there in my lunch hour and always found them to be lovely people to deal with. The web site blog says they 'want to make more time for ourselves and pursue other interests'

 

Shame, but totally understandable if the income doesn't equate to the hours put in.

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Just changed focus.  I'm concentrating on narrow gauge (British and Spanish) at the moment.  I still have all my American stock, but it's in boxes.  Maybe that long planned Boston & Maine/Maine Central branch will appear one day!

 

Cheers

Paul

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I'm still around, browsing the forum from time to time, sadly I don't have the time I'd like for modelling. My focus is still very much on US outline stuff though.

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Like Moxy, I’ve changed focus - Danish but I still check in here daily and have most of my North American stock which makes an appearance in Springfield the Nottingham club's US switching layout. 

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Dear RMWebbers,

 

Some of us are still actively modelling and appearing here onlist,
my "Cass" layout just got it's debut Invite to Exhibit, and now I have the frghteners-on to "git'er done" for early June...

 

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

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Tough gig being a UK retailer of US outline when people can order so easily direct from the USA these days.

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Many moons ago on an earlier version of RMWeb (no longer available) I started a thread on an embryo North Las Vegas switching layout. As others have said, other interests (BR EM gauge) domestic circumstances and a house move to the Northern isles have put the project on hold. Part of the layout is now up and running (no scenery yet) in our outbuilding but no heating in there has stopped work on it until the spring. A new thread is going to be started when work recommences. 

It is unfortunate that so many US model shops have gone, Model junction will be a miss as I have used them quite a bit as my layout building has restarted. Buying from the US is easy but the post charges can be astronomical. We have a friend in California who can send me stuff like Plano etches at a reasonable rate. I use ebay quite a bit too. There doesn't seem to be as many US outline layouts on the exhibition circuit at the moment, although my new location means I haven't been to a show for 5 years.

 

Terry

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Still alive & kicking here - although I'm in the wrong scale to give most UK retailers any business anyway as they don't stock US O Scale.

I do think there's been a 'leveling off' of UK interest in US outline, if not a decline. A few reasons I think are as follows:

UK models have caught up with US in terms of drive-line & detail. Years ago the contrast between Athearn Blue-box & Hornby/Lima pancake-motored locos was stark.

While the quality gap has closed, prices of US stuff have also risen substantially, due to the exchange rate & shipping costs. So they are no longer a bargain price-wise either.

 

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My guesses.

 

First, from following both the North American side of RMweb and the UK side, participation in RMweb in general appears to have decreased over the last couple of years.  There are a lot of threads that a (perhaps faulty) memory says should have generated more posts than happen today.  I suspect a lot of people either have moved to Facebook, or as a newer generation have only known Facebook.

 

Second, not just the quality of UK models but the variety thanks to the arrival of new entrants that has really stimulated the UK hobby.

 

Or the better variety of mainland Europe product, combined with things like Google Translate, which makes it easier to explore EU modelling.

 

Also suspect that the cost of shipping from the US has deterred many prospective modellers, the change (10 years ago now?) by the USPS to much higher parcel rates on stuff sent out of the US caused a lot of non-US people to rethink purchases and not just in the model train hobby.

 

The rise of the online only manufacturers in the US, which makes it difficult to pool purchases to save on shipping, combined with the decrease in US hobby stores making it more difficult to quickly buy things to bring back to the UK on a US trip.

 

 

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My Canadian modelling has taken a back seat as I'm focusing on a British project. I no longer travel to North America for work, so lack of contact with the prototype and fewer opportunities to shop (as well as the cost of shipping if I buy anything online) have put me off a little. But I know that the models I've accumulated would be difficult to replace so I'm holding on to them for a future CN project.

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I don't get to Arizona and California anymore, after almost 15 years of regular visits.  I also find the current US railroad scene deathly dull.  I did model US in the shed for a number of years, but all I could fit was a dull ISL which did nothing for me.  US models became super expensive, and also almost unobtainable as they seem to change to pre-orders and small production runs.

 

I also don't really spend as much time on RMWeb anymore, as it's become rather dull of late.

 

The new Scaletrains SD40T-2 gave me a wobble though... until I realised I still don't have the room for a decent SP layout that would need tunnel motors...

Edited by Dr Gerbil-Fritters
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2 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

Still alive & kicking here - although I'm in the wrong scale to give most UK retailers any business anyway as they don't stock US O Scale.

I do think there's been a 'leveling off' of UK interest in US outline, if not a decline. A few reasons I think are as follows:

UK models have caught up with US in terms of drive-line & detail. Years ago the contrast between Athearn Blue-box & Hornby/Lima pancake-motored locos was stark.

While the quality gap has closed, prices of US stuff have also risen substantially, due to the exchange rate & shipping costs. So they are no longer a bargain price-wise either.

 

 

I also model in American O scale. As stated hardly anyone stocks it in the UK - perhaps a handful of Atlas freight cars etc. I buy my stuff online mostly secondhand off ebay these days - I've had some superb bargains this last year, though I don't buy much these days.

 

Brit15

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I'm still very much into USA electric people transport systems.  But equally I enjoy my (mostly electric) UK heritage modelling too. My impression of the popular US market is the continuing supply of extremely similar Diesel locos, but in a myriad of different color schemes, plus a just handful of different modern extra long freight car types. And boy does all that stiff move boringly infrequently and slow.

 

All that said I've spent most of the past few years out of sight developing a somewhat practical (as opposed to completely idiot proof) trolley and street running track system, which I've only just got to the pre-marketing stage.  And along with that, I'm trying to subsequently produce mechanisms for both that and Proto:87 in general, which will make both P:87 and street track just about entirely fool proof.

 

Andy

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I’m playing around in North American O scale, along with various other goings on.. I like the transition era, fallen flags, passenger trains scene, but I think these days it’s something very few people would be aware of, as it all happened seventy years ago. Prices are high, postal charges ditto, so again it’s just seeing what can be picked up cheap on eBay, or second hand at shows. Then there’s the fact that recently I’ve started to explore making the trains fit a small space by shortyisation, pushing me outside the bounds of Proper, Serious Modelling.

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56 minutes ago, Northroader said:

 I like the transition era, fallen flags, passenger trains scene, but I think these days it’s something very few people would be aware of, as it all happened seventy years ago.

 

The transition era is still a very popular modelling era, and likely always will be thanks to the variety, shorter equipment, shorter trains, more industry, etc.

 

Rapido commented, I think on a podcast, that while their newer freight stuff generates the most posts on their Facebook page the older stuff easily outsells the newer stuff...

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Where has everyone gone? 
 

For me. Too much reading on forums, too little posting.

My personal layout continues to evolve

https://kaleyyard.wordpress.com

 

and I am exhibiting California Surfline at ModelRail Scotland in Glasgow this weekend.

https://www.btmrs.co.uk/california-surfline

 

Still enthusiastic about modelling the US, perhaps forums and Social Media are loosing their edge for modellers.

 

Trevor

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Still modelling US HO late 1960's, but I've started buying some British O scale stuff that reminds me of my youth!

The HO layout is a permanent feature of the guest bedroom, and allows for one person operations style, but after over 20 years doing it, 

I'm beginning to feel I want a change of direction. (Before that I did German N for the best part of 25 years).

I also lost a good friend I used to keep in contact with / visit, out in Oregon, until he passed away suddenly.

I'm still active in the BRNMRA and we have layouts we exhibit, so my stock will still be required.

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What an interesting question! Still believe there are more North American modellers out there than we think or know about.

 

Shipping cost along with 'handling charges' are an issue regarding importing stuff. Club membership of all sorts and across the board is mostly dropping off as age overcomes more of us. And yes add to that computers and (anti) social media, things are looking very bleak indeed.

 

But, boy am I enjoying my modelling nowadays, more than ever thanks to all the super models, from track to locos now being released!

 

James. 

 

  

 

 

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Dear Northroader,

 

"Shortisation", I like that ;-) 

I've been thinking along similar lines recently, looking at a pair of Atlas NRE Gensets with a razor-saw in hand and thinking "what if UPY ordered 2GS14B locos with only 2 genset modules instead of 3?"

(whether the Atlas drives and frame could survive the shortening, or if need to substitute in a spare SW-type mech is a separate but related question... ;-)  ) 

 

While "shortification" may not be proto, there's little denying that shorty covered hoppers, shorty "beer can" tankers, the old "40' hi-cube" boxcars, and even the original MDC "3IN1"/Battle Mountain shorty cars have provided immeasurable (re)inspiration/(re)invigoration to many a "jaded prototype modeller"...

 

Happy Modelling, 

Aim to Improve, 

Prof Klyzlr 

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I've picked up some North American outline in the last decade, but very little.

 

Most is based in the US - so ebay shipping costs are $30+.

 

Local Canadians on kijiji have no idea what their tat is worth.

 

So generally I pick up UK outline, mostly for the kids, dirt cheap when I'm over every year.

 

An example - I'd love to pick up a 70's Rivarossi E8 (yes, I know they're not seen as the best). I have a powered and a dummy, I want to run two powered (switch the wires so they run properly), so need either a powered in the same livery, or dummy and I swap the body shells. I've fettled mine, lots of weight, well lubed etc and with two like that I'd be more than able to run what I want. I find the version I have is very smooth and nothing like the reputation they got here. I got the original powered one for $20, the dummy for $15 - and $16 packaging as within Canada. Now I can't find anything less than $70 including shipping. For a model that no-one wants.

 

Now, win the lottery and I'm going to personally keep Rapido in business...

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14 minutes ago, Nova Scotian said:

I've picked up some North American outline in the last decade, but very little.

 

Most is based in the US - so ebay shipping costs are $30+.

 

I'm lucky, living just 42km north of the border. I can get stuff posted to a 'parcel receiving' place in Blaine, Washington State at internal US postal rates. In fact (sorry!) some sellers will post free to 'lower 48' addresses. Also, some US sellers won't post 'abroad' at all, so it sometimes means I can bid on things I couldn't otherwise. Always declare things coming back, and I've not been asked for import charges. 

Edited by pH
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Perm any number from:

 

£/$ exchange rate,

Import duty,

British models catching up on the seven year rule,

General downturn in forum traffic in favour of social media (Facebook, etc),

Downturn in US layouts appearing at shows, either due to less interest or "having blotted their copybook"...,

The micro layout phenomenon, where smaller layouts are not just seen as a novelty and HO layouts requiring more space per car than British OO.

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Prof Klyzlr said:

Dear Northroader,

 

"Shortisation", I like that ;-) 

I've been thinking along similar lines recently, looking at a pair of Atlas NRE Gensets with a razor-saw in hand and thinking "what if UPY ordered 2GS14B locos with only 2 genset modules instead of 3?"

(whether the Atlas drives and frame could survive the shortening, or if need to substitute in a spare SW-type mech is a separate but related question... ;-)  ) 

 

While "shortification" may not be proto, there's little denying that shorty covered hoppers, shorty "beer can" tankers, the old "40' hi-cube" boxcars, and even the original MDC "3IN1"/Battle Mountain shorty cars have provided immeasurable (re)inspiration/(re)invigoration to many a "jaded prototype modeller"...

 

Happy Modelling, 

Aim to Improve, 

Prof Klyzlr 

 

Standard US layout compression and short trains are also covered by modelling various Interurban systems.  Adding the single overhead wire and trolley poles can be far simpler than modelling UK/European Catenary OHLE.

 

Usually there was short freight handlihg as well, And because  of the frequency, you can have almost constant movement when operating. And did I mention tight radii to make modelling in small spaces easy.

 

 A great read is. https://www.amazon.com/Traction-Guidebook-Model-Railroaders-Schafer/dp/0890245223

 

Andy

 

 

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I did a lot when I first moved to the Canadian Rockies, and did the same as pH. A move to Vancouver Island (not so easy to get to the US) and an interest in British GNR kicked in, and stayed with me.

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