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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Vancouver, BC

    Unhappy Model Railroad Manufacturing and the Downfall of Society.

    Yesterday was interesting day first, NASA scientists accused and predicted that Canada's oil production techniques will cause the collapse of civilization. Then I went to the train club meeting to hear more doom and gloom predictions about the incredible hardships model railroad manufacturers are going through, and the incomprehensible fact that people in China want to live like we do which is putting just so much strain on the manufacturer's poor profit margins.

    So, of course, they will have to pass it on to consumer (again). It's always very nice and pleasant to go to a train club meeting and hear the doomsday prophets predict the end of model railroading through price increases, and the collapse of the market for all local hobby stores once the manufacturers go to direct sales to avoid all these online retailers undercutting their MRSP's and selling model train stock at discounted prices. I'm beginning to wonder if some of the train club members aren't top NASA scientists in disguise.

    Of course the two things are related, because manufacturing of model railway products requires a lot of plastic products, some of which have to be petroleum based, which places a greater demand on Canada's oil sands, and will speed up the mining of the oil sands and, hence, hasten society's ultimate destruction. So, there you have it: model railroading will cause the collapse of our civilization.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    There is only one thing driving demand and the problems associated with it. It is called the human. And it would be one thing if our demand per person were skyrocketing, but when our numbers, themselves, are also rising in a geometric progression, it doesn't take much intelligence to understand that our burgeoning numbers, each person needing goods and energy to survive, is what is going to do us in.

    Keep our numbers down and you keep our wants and needs down. It couldn't be more simple.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Corvallis, OR
    I don't quite understand all the concern for model train prices. When I was 8 and a dedicated Lionel fanatic, I was shocked at their prices. I could not conceive of buying a toy for over $1,000! Today, I flip through the Lionel magazines and hardly flinch at $2,200 for a Centipede set. Point being model train prices, especially O gauge, have been expensive for a long, long time. Sure it deters the younger generations from getting into the hobby. But its not really news. Its been this way for awhile. Younger guys like me who love trains are always going to save up and buy that Lionel set, no matter what the cost. But we're few and far between these days. And then the older modelers who actually have jobs and can afford a $2,000 Centipede, they probably won't pack up and quit if Lionel starts charging an extra couple hundred.

    So all this doom-and-gloom prices are gonna skyrocket talk doesn't really concern me. In short, O-gauge trains have been expensive for a long time. Whats another few hundred gonna do? As for HO and other scales, while they are cheaper, they're also much nicer than they were 20, 30 years ago. My Athearn Genesis F3 has all the features my Lionel FT does, and more. Yet it was about $150 compared to my Lionel's $500. And if modelers are willing to put down $500 for an O-gauge, I'm sure they'll put down $500 for an HO, when the only real difference is size (not quality/features). It used to be that I ran O-gauge only because of the sounds, lights, and detail. But these days you can get all that in HO scale (and probably even smaller scales).
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Charleston, S.C.
    Probably need to be extra careful on a posting like this before some "foamer" cuts in and tells us to keep it on trains and trains only - d*mn*t! But Coverton has it at least partially right. Ever since production of models and just about everything else moved offshore we've watched an escalation of dire warnings about the "death of model railroading."

    To begin with (remember those P2K GP-7/9s!) the exchange rate between currencies was with us and it was really nice. Bought a "bunch" of those GP-7/9s and didn't even pay the MSRP of $49.95!
    Forget what I paid but I was buying them 2 and 4 at a whack. Athearn was still selling their BB kits at just about double 1960 prices (this in the 1990s) meanwhile the general price level of everything else was about ten times that of the 1960s.

    Then came the Athearn Genesis Fs and P2K GP-30s and yeah the price had escalated but not that much. Three of each on my order - followed by one's and two's for my "secondary" roads. So if you believe that others want to live as comfortably as we do and there are increasingly probably too many of us, you got it just about 3/4s right. The other part which most people refuse to recognize is that whenever the controllers of the currency run the printing presses overtime, your money ain't gonna buy what it used too. That isn't partisan - that's fact.

    Redemption for me is that on one of my previous layouts I had heavily reworked AHM C-424s (not terribly accurate even reworked) Athearn "fat-bodied" geeps working with a bunch of freights cars that had "slippery ridges" for grab irons. And did I enjoy it - you betcha! Do I enjoy it now - read the preceding.

    And for all those who suffer from current pricing - Accurail, Bowser, Bachman, and others sell locos and kits at about 4 to 5 times 1960 prices, not bad when the general price level (currency in circulation) has increased 12 times. Warning tho' - if you can't settle for "slippery ridges" real grab irons are "extra cost."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Bedford, MA, USA
    Doom and gloom were predicted in the 1800s, too, because we were running out of whales from which to get whale oil to run our lamps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Charleston WV
    I agree - when were model railroad supplies ever inexpensive? I remember way back in the late 60's when I had saved my pennies for a HO scale RDC tandem that cost me a whopping $14.00! That was real money then and I bet if you did the math and converted $14.00 back then to what it is now, it would be about the same. But regardless, I can't see being priced out of the hobby any time soon, and I'm definitely in the "on a budget" category. Now, what I AM priced out of is the Genesis-level and higher items - but that doesn't even begin to shut me out of the hobby. I'm scratch-building and painting things that aren't even on the market and some that are - and having a blast doing it.
    I mean honestly, do we really need to have manufacturers get these things 'RTR' with details so minute they can't even be seen, much less handled? Those types of details are playing a big part in driving costs up too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Northwest Montana
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBeasley View Post
    Doom and gloom were predicted in the 1800s, too, because we were running out of whales from which to get whale oil to run our lamps.
    Well, I was going to mention here the (Mayan) world end coming this December, but now supposed new discoveries are casting doubt upon that assumption. Guess we'll all just have to keep saving up for the items we feel are necessary...
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Aratula, Queensland, Australia
    Back to buying brass then....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Cheshire, UK
    I think it's cyclic like most things - for some reason the economy springs to mind

    We had an incredible decade or two for model trains, up to say 2005, with a huge choice of steadily improving products at reasonable prices. For whatever reason that's over for now and things will probably be rather boring for a decade or two. It's not the end of modelling or the world; unless your Mayan of course.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    San Antonio, Texas


    I am surprised that running model trains is causing the collapse of civilization. I was hoping that running trains would cause my favorite sports team to win. That is why I run a lot of trains. :happy:

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