Surprisingly, one of the most popular hobbies in today’s modern world is model railway trains. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s because model trains are such a great hobby for enthusiasts of all different ages, appealing to both young and old. In any event, the popularity of model railway trains is still on the increase, even though they are considered one of the more old fashioned toys.
It’s a wonder that model trains are still so popular, what with all the games consoles that kids love so much. So how come trains manage to keep their appeal? Maybe it’s because they provide a way for children, and grownups, to turn your imagination into something physical.
They can choose what trains to run, what track layouts to have, whether to have scenery, tunnels, bridges or level crossings. And when they’ve decided, they can create it and watch it run. That’s got to be very rewarding from a child’s perspective.
Although that still applies when model railway train enthusiasts get older, there’s also much more room for getting into the detail of things. Modern model trains are so much more detailed than the older versions, and as such, far more realistic. It’s easy to spend hours, if not days, getting an engine to look just right. And the scales of the trains are much more accurate too.
These days, manufacturers seem to have settled on just a few of the sizes that used to be available, and that’s probably a good thing for the average model train hobbyist. Popular scales range from G – the largest, down to Z which is the smallest. But the most popular of all is now the HO scale.
I always chuckle when I think about where the letters came from. You’d imagine it to be some obscure technical measurement system, devised years ago. But no.. H actually stands for half and stands for ordinary or standard, so the HO scale means it is half the size of the standard scale. I like the simplicity of that. Mind you, there’s no real standard to the standard size, so don’t put too much importance on it.
In the old days, model trains were all hand powered. Enthusiasts still laid out tracks and added all the scenery, but the trains were just pushed by hand. Of course it’s all different these days, and much more fun I have to say. Everything is electrical now, with some systems even being controlled by computers – just like the real thing!
What I love most about collecting model railway trains is that it can appeal to just about everyone, and anyone can start collecting. It can be as cheap or expensive as your wallet allows, and it really is a case of your imagination being the limit. The more enthusiasm you put into your model railways, the more enjoyment you will get out of them.