GSC wrote:The post above about people seeking out the local tourist/museum railroad is on the mark. For years I heard from parents telling me how much their little guy (or girl too) loves trains due to Thomas The Tank Engine, The Polar Express, and other similar TV shows, movies, toys, etc. It is so great to see the look on some little kid's face as you invite him up into the cab to take a look around, and show him the throttle, brake handle, etc., and explain how it works. Open up that fire door and watch his mouth drop open! As they say in the commercials, PRICELESS!!!
A few kids who remembered the cab tour or the shop tour I gave them later joined up when they were old enough.
As far as the tourist/museum railroad industry, we can use any help to recruit new younger members to keep what we're doing in place for the next generations.
And to expand on that, most railroaders remember their first cab ride as well and how special it was. At that instant, for most future RR'ers it was the point when they decided that they are going to work on the railroad or not. My first cab ride was on the B&O SD35 7402 at the B&O Museum around 1997-1998 or so.
I was visiting with some family today and a very distant relative, who was a trucker (since retired) said "I saw a TV show last night on trains on the History Channel and it was really interesting - it showed "the bullet train into NY" and it looked like some of your trains too (NJ Transit). It was a really cool show, did you catch it?" Of course I did I said - hhahaha
But we have to realize here that most of the country has NO idea about the current railroad industry, nor do they really care, which is a shame. This is just one example of a "normal" person catching the show and being drawn into it, and learning a little bit about the industry. Id be curious if the Acela and Amtrak start to get a few more riders as a direct result of the show.