riogrande wrote:Personally, I like dinosaurs. Hey, John Allen, among other hobbyists, had one or more on their layouts back in the day! To be included among these behemoths is in my honor! Jim goes on to imply that posts such as mine are stimulated by some sort of grim satisfaction at being a herald of gloom and doom about the hobby. Quite to the contrary, I regard my posts as totally neutral in their intent, offering nothing more or less than fully verifiable facts taken from the hobby's own journals time and again and offered simply for the purpose of enlightening those who have never examined the question in detail.. The question of the hobby's graying as a clear reflection of its ongoing dominance by aging Baby Boomers as derived from repeated surveys of MR's readership spanning 50+ years clearly illustrating it as the readership aged. Likewise, only a year or two ago that same publication reported once again that the predominantly favored era to model today is clearly the Transition Era of the late 1940's to the early 1950's...just as it has been for 50 years now! Sure there are folks that model more modern eras, why wouldn't there be after all these years? But the closer one moves toward the year 2015 the fewer these hobbyists become in their numbers, giving no indication of any mass shift in modeling eras with time. At the same time, since tens of millions of kids were a part of the great Lionel/Flyer boom of roughly the first two decades of the post-war years it is little wonder that these same individuals grew up with an exceptional interest in the hobby of model railroading, one which saw hobbyists swell in numbers in a few short years from perhaps 10 thousand to several hundred thousand! Lacking the unique circumstances of the Baby Boomer Generation how can one possibly assume the hobby can continue to flourish for decades to come as this base group decreases in size with the coming years? Virtually nothing that promoted broad interest in the hobby back in the 50's still exists today, so what is there to generate major "new blood" is the question that must be addressed.today's constant introduction of new models by a number of companies as evidence of the hobby's continuing health, interested me. It is an example of a very common mistake by today's hobbyists, particularly newer members without a truly long association with model railroading, of taking proliferation for product quantity."common mistakes" hmm.. Alluded to some of them as well in my earlier post without being so direct. Sure, you've been in the hobby since Dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Haven't most of us I wager being that the hobby and forums are mostly old men? ... and watching products come and go over the past 45 or 50 years? Me too - been there done that.
I personally think the market and many new products over the past 10-15 years are still notable and combined with other factors I mentioned earlier presents an argument that the death of our hobby may have been greatly exaggerated. Others have rightly pointed out that sales are migrating online and away from brick and mortar stores. People use the anecdotal evidence that shops are closing up all over and kids are playing video games instead of trains; what, that's all be going on through out the last 30-35 years since Atari and Commodore 64 were popular. People tend to bring to the table evidence that supports there side of things and we go back and forth with "my evidence trumps yours and visa versa until our foreheads are flat and we feel fully justified. I'll say this however, I don't think there is much "constructive" in trying to build a case for the hobby is dying unless people get some sort of grim satisfaction on being a bringer of gloom about the hobby. Okie dokie. If I'm wrong, I'd rather go out happier and enjoying my "false delusion"
As far as survey's go, I've seen some myself and it does seem to indicate that the popular time fames are, predictably, moving forward as the older generation age out. Steam/diesel transition era is slowly falling out of favor to be replaced by 1960's and 1970's, and of course, the last 20 years is getting ever more popular too.
Personally I do not fear acknowledging what history has to tell us about our hobby. But today I seem to be in the minority with this view and presenting facts is regarded by many of my fellow hobbyists as spreading baseless gloom and doom, or not being constructive about the hobby. History is what it is and the current situation is certainly not of my making. I don't like what history portends for the future of the hobby, but it is really self obvious where the hobby is going with the passage of time. Sorry folks.