N Prices rising ?

Hans Nesbitt Aug 22, 2021

  1. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    Go check out the price of a sheet of plywood to build a layout on but bring your credit report so you can qualify to be able to afford the purchase.

    Nothing (or next to nothing) was produced for over a year creating a shortage of...everything. People are being 'payed' to stay at home and not work (stimulus checks, longer unemployment benefits, and lack of being able to evict someone for nonpayment). But this is only a momentary 'blip' and not an increase in inflation...prices will come back down (according to the President). I can only hope he's right...
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  2. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

    As soon as I pay-off the loan for those steaks I grilled last night . . .
    And it's not just the cost of lumber; have you checked out the quality of some of the stuff they're calling "Lumber"?
    Martin Station likes this.
  3. Martin Station

    Martin Station TrainBoard Member

    I just saw where a manufacturer stated that rising labor cost and shortage overseas as well as a cutback in power because of drought (I'm assuming hydro power), that limits the the work days in the province that both their factories are in to 4 days instead of 6 and the cost of container shipping rising from around $4000 to $16,100 per container, are the problems they are facing.
    I guess these issues may be the "perfect storm" for rising cost. But now that I'm retired, there is only so much liquid resources in my monetary well and with the cost of everything else going up in price, I need to be careful just how much I'm drawing from that well. I'm pretty fortunate that I have more excess than need.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  4. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    Well, to be fair, not "everyone" wants DCC and factory sound.
    JMaurer1 likes this.
  5. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    Have you considered UniTrack? It's infinitely reusable and, unlike most other track, does have a strong resale market.
    BigJake and Martin Station like this.
  6. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    If you are referring to the shortage of school bus and semi drivers, the shortage has been with us for a while. Everyone wants drivers but no one wants to pay a decent wage. Enter the Dept. of Transportation who imposed new requirements on people wanting to get a CDL. It used to be the chief reason people did not want to drive a school bus was the kids. Today the kids are no problem as school districts are clamping down on rowdy kids. In my district when I was hired and being low man on the seniority list, I had the vo-tech route which was considered the absolute worst run. But after one kid was suspended for three days and another lost his bus riding privileges for the rest of the year you would have sworn that run was to take the church choir to practice. Today, it is not enough that a driver can drive a bus. He/she must also be a first responder for any number of allergic reactions the children may have. We carry Epi-pens and Narcam as well as First aid and wound care kits and must know when and how to use them. Drivers must also be part time mechanics and be able to check specific parts under the hood of the bus. When I started driving if a mechanic saw a bus in the yard with its hood up he came running to that bus berating the driver all the way telling him/her that anything under the hood was his job. Times have changed and I think, if I had to do it again, I doubt I would want to go through the hassle.
  7. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member


    I agree that prices will rise with inflation but how much? Let's not forget that locomotives have plastic shells and a lot more parts than any piece of rolling stock. But their prices, on a percentage basis, have not risen like those of rolling stock. Actually the price of an analog DC diesel today is lower than what you would expect it to be if you figure in inflation. Thirty years ago (1990) an analog DC Kato SD 40 locomotive sold for about $90-$110: checking the price today and it is $120.00. The inflation rate for the period of 1990-2021 was 209%. So a locomotive selling for $90-$110 then should cost $183.60 today. So why don't they? To be clear we are comparing the prices of analog locomotives; apples to apples as they say.
  8. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member


    How about a lot of fewer participants spending very little on the hobby? I have yet to meet anyone recently who admits to spending more on the hobby. But I have met a lot of people who say they have curtailed their expenditures. If anyone is spending more money it is those who have money to spend. These tend to be older guys like me with 'disposable income'. But we are dinosaurs and the meteor is approaching. We ban only support the hobby for a short period of time. Meanwhile the population segment this hobby needs are the youngsters who do not have the disposable income and what little they do have is spent on the newest phone and its usage plan.
  9. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    I don't need it and the sounds are disturbing to neighbors.
  10. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not innocent here. I don't want DCC with sound because it has no bass (and I don't need DCC and didn't like it when I dabbled). I use analog Kato sound boxes and I'm a blue-tooth transmitter away from transmitting that signal through my surround sound system.
    Shortround likes this.
  11. JBrown

    JBrown TrainBoard Member

    If half the people would spend half of what they spend on new phones every time a new one comes out , we would be just fine in the hobby.
    I as far as sound...get use to it. It's here to stay..like power everything in you car...here to stay....
  12. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    I can no longer buy a car without power steering and power brakes. I can buy a fine Kato N scale locomotive that is DC without sound. Are you suggesting that I will not be able to continue to buy these in the future? If I can, than I don't need to "get use(sic) to" anything.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
  13. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    In the first couple of years of the 3rd millennium (2001 & 2002), all the concerns were about a shrinking base of model railroaders due to the 'greying and deaths' of die hard model railroaders. Many said the youths were opting for Nintendo, Sega, Sony etc... gaming platforms and they would never take up model railroading in any scale. Back then, model railroad manufacturers and importers announced products based of their best guess of the market for certain freight body styles, locomotive types and roadnames. Passenger equipment was left to a few companies who never updated molds since they were released 30+ years earlier. DCC was in its infancy and not offered as standard equipment since it required considerable work to be put inside N scale locomotive. Sound was not a consideration back then either.

    Prices did go up slightly... but generally since production had moved to China... it was not an issue. Then, things started to change drastically.
    The build-to-order reservation idea was announced. Originally Atlas was the manufacturer importer that sprung this upon model railroading... and soon after all other manufacterers and importers jumped on the bandwagon. It was a sensible thing to do from these companies because they were suffering from a backlog of inventory from overproduction causing them to heavily discount overstocked products. It was a destabilizing situation for them. These companies stated that by reducing production to meet demand, they could offer more new products into the market. Of course the reduced production meant that for new or modified tooling, the cost would have to be paid for per unit. Here is were the price increases began... and got worse as the agreements for the formerly cheap Chinese labor began to skyrocket. Oil prices caused some additional increase... and even when they stabilized other costs went up. We are in an ever upward spiral of hard and soft costs associated with our hobby. We may eventually see a plateau... but at what cost to the availabilty of current and yet to be produced items.

    I have reach the end of my ability to buy items without seriously considering the cost versus want/need impulse. My income will now be half of what it was over the past 15 years... when I could use excess disposible income to fund up to $4k per year. I am possibly in a crowd of 100s or 1000s of other model railroaders with the same lack of disposible income. Costs for everything will leave me unable to buy things I want... unless I first liquidate existing 'surplus'.
    That is my take on this subject.
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    A whole lot of the stuff passing as lumber today, would not pass as #3 a few years ago. In fact, some is no better than dunnage. Twisted, split and full of knots, about as good as scrap. I am constantly seeing this junk as #2 and even #1 grade. It is simply outright gouging and dishonesty.
  15. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    There are many others who still have "disposable income" (whatever that is) that simply have decided to stop growing an endless accumulation of "stuff" (model railroad and otherwise) that provides diminishing returns WRT to actual enjoyment. I can only enjoy a few trains at a time. And, time is growing increasingly short for many of us.....
  16. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

    I don't buy as much as I used to, for several reasons. First, I have enough rolling stock and locomotives to run a very large layout. Bigger than I would ever build. Second, as I get older, I look around the house and see a lot of stuff that just sits there and doesn't get used. Do I need all this crap? Will I ever read that book again? Just how many coffee mugs do we need? When I breathe my last I don't want to leave piles of stuff that nobody else really wants.
    And yes, things have gotten quite expensive. The JTC well cars I recently bought were MSRP of $44.95. Without metal wheels. Very nice cars, needed on my layout, but at that price I'll have to think long and hard about buying more.
    Shortround and mtntrainman like this.
  17. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

    Yes, to be fair "everyone" was a poor pick of words. I guess I should have said "the majority" wants DCC plus factory installed sounds. Let's face it, if the majority of folks were not purchasing DCC + Sound the manufacturers would not be moving in that direction and it's for the same reason Micro-Trains no longer produces their rolling stock in kit form.

    I'm also in the minority as the one thing I really like about my model trains are, they are quite ;) I spend 8 hours a day listening to the 1:1 sound systems and I have the ringing in my ears to prove it :(
    mtntrainman likes this.
  18. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Same here. I like my train room quite.
    Except for my playlists on Spotify playing off my phone over my bluetooth speaker :D
    Shortround and Rich_S like this.
  19. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

    You have said a mouth full, but sadly I think you're preaching to the choir. I spent 22 years in the trucking business, first 10 driving trucks over the road and getting home once a week on average, yes the other 6 nights I got to sleep in the truck. I worked for one company that seemed to forget we had homes and they were keeping me out for a month at a time. Then enter the federal government to really screw things up. All the CDL drivers license did was take the responsibility off the companies and put it on the drivers. When you're driving trucks over the road you're either getting paid mileage or tonnage. If the truck does not move, you don't get paid, it's that simple. Find something wrong with the truck and the company gives you two options, drive it or go home. If you drive it and get caught, it's your fine not the companies fine. Second point, for the amount of time truck drivers put on the job, they are very poorly compensated and that is why the majority of over the road companies have a 90% turn over rate, just not enough pay and benefits to compensate for the amount of time you're going to spend away from home and your family. The first thing I learned when I first got into driving trucks is, it's a cut throat business and too many of these companies are operating on a shoestring. These are some of the reasons I got out of the trucking industry. Yes I maintain my CDL just in case, but I'll probably only be renewing it one more time, retirement is right around the corner. :)
    MK and mtntrainman like this.
  20. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

    I spend most of my money on maintaining what I currently have as I've a large collection of locos that were analog and have/are being converted to DCC. Fortunately the electrics I need to do this have remained fairly constant price-wise but I am starting to see an upward creep. I've only got a few locos left to convert at this time but am awaiting the release of a smaller sound decoder which is inline price-wise with what I have been paying.

    Understanding the global financial situation and some economics I know that things only get to be more expensive as time goes on and probably at a greater rate in the short term due to current events. For the past decade, anticipating a rise in prices, I've been acquiring the things I need to build my "ultimate" layout for retirement while I have disposable income. I'm about 95% there. Wife is getting annoyed at the storage space I'm using for all of it lol. I am keen to the risk of investing in a particular tech which is likely to be obsolete by the time I start building. I might have to bin a computer with the current software I need for some of my stuff but worst case CV programming will always be an option albeit a little more complicated.

    Occasionally though I come across some cool piece of rolling stock or an engine that distracts me from my goal. Maybe I need to quit hanging out on this board:D


    The other downside with well cars is that you have to buy the containers separately which make each car even more $$$ if you want them loaded. Even with discounts it's easy to be north of $50 per car in that configuration.

    Do some searching on the internet... you can get those cars for under $40 at several places. They are nicely done though so worth having a couple in your collection.
    mtntrainman likes this.

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