Almost like a Time Machine....What Happened?

mtaylor May 2, 2020

  1. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hello everyone,

    I have been unplugged from the model side of the hobby and also been absent from this site for about 6 years. My gosh things have changed in six years.

    I had a fairly large collections (looking back too large for what I could use). 99% of my collection was sold in phases from 2014 to 2017. From 2017 to present I have been on pause in the hobby.

    Now with my wife and I planning to purchase a home in fall of this year and dropping anchor in the Atlanta metro area (currently in San Diego, CA area). I find myself easing back into the hobby again.

    Layout Thoughts:
    I have not decided any many specific of the future layout other than like my previous effort will probably share a room to serve as both home office and layout room. Will most likely be an around the room layout again.

    I have had a liking to the Norfolk Southern in the past (got to like those black horses) and layout will lean mostly NS. But, I am from Minnesota and therefore modeling license will apply so that I can run some BN and BNSF and maybe a couple of Soo Line rolling stock and locos. Of course 1000% not realistic but who cares lol.

    What has changed.....The Time Machine Part.
    As stated, I have been away.....very much away from the hobby other than railfanning, model railroad museums and watching train videos since 2014.

    1. Ebay - what happened to Ebay? Ebay was one of my go to spots for buying items and making those wish lists. The site fealt nearly empty to me. I went looking for BN coal hoppers to add to my wish list and almost none. Then searched for BNSF and NS coal hoppers....same result near nothing. I am really kicking myself for selling my sets of Walthers BN Bethlehem cars. I did see E&C shops cars but wow almost $50 a car.

    2. Walthers - what happened to them too? So after Ebay, I went to Walthers looking for familiar ground.....well that failed as well. Very small offering of products there too.

    3. Did the hobby shrink while I was gone? I went to a few other of my older websites of vendors and it was very much the same. It seems finding items I was searching for are simply just not out there like they were say 10 years ago. Did the hobby availability will shrink that much or is this just perception?

    I started in this hobby in 1978 as a kid and left the hobby in the late 80's as a teenager. I got back into the hobby in 1999 and converted to N scale. I switched back to HO in 2009 and paused the hobby again in 2014. Is HO taking a back seat to other scales or is the hobby as whole smaller?

    I apologize for the rambling.....just a confused time traveler :)
    gmorider likes this.
  2. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    A certain amount of the changes you have observed could be attributed to the pre-order system now used by most model train companies.
    New products are announced, pre-orders/reservations are taken, a quantity of product closely matching the number of pre-orders/reservations is made and it arrives at retailers perhaps 6-12 months following the original announcement.
    Some products can reach sold out status before they even ship to retailers, so if you don't place a pre-order/reservation then you might not get it.
    In any event, typically there is little excess product produced, so trying to find stock of a particular item even a few months after it's been shipped to retailers may present a significant challenge.
    Some popular items may be re-run, but that might not happen for (many) years.
    There's a long thread on the subject here:

    Bottom line is if you see something you want, buy it now (or pre-order/reserve it).
    Otherwise, trying to find it later on may be quite difficult and/or expensive.
    Likewise, if you already have it and think that you'll ever have a use for it, then don't sell it.
    mtaylor likes this.
  3. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

    Could also be how you searched. I searched for "BN hopper" and got hundreds of hits, 2/3 covered hoppers, 1/3 open top hoppers. Same with "NS hopper", only it was about 50-50 covered and open top.
    mtaylor likes this.
  4. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

    Dear Confused: I appreciate your candor. The hobby has in fact segmented even more since the time frame you refer to. Z-Scale has become more popular. Check this forum for examples. I personally am not sure the hobby is smaller. HO may be smaller than before. To add a further wrinkle, I model in 1/384, Omega Scale. I build everything. I have seen smaller scales (!). But these are not for me. One shade of madness is enough. :rolleyes:
    mtaylor likes this.

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