Who hear is a model railroader?

I'd be surprised if it wasn't most of us and possibly darn close to all of us to one degree or another.

I've been one for at least 60 years. Started out with Lionel, then to HO, then O/On3, and finally to HOn3. My last layout was 14 ft 6 in by 40 ft (all HOn3).

I can vaguely remember a layout in my bedroom. I must have been around 4 years old -before i was old enough to go to infant school- way back around 1957-1958. All i had in my bedroom was my small bed up against one wall, and my trainset taking up the rest. It was mounted on a large square board with a small square cut out in the middle so i had to climb underneath, stand up in the middle, and could turn all around to get the best view. He used to take me to the toy shop every month to buy something for the layout, whether it was an engine, truck, or scenery.

Sadly some jealous idiot got into the house and totally destroyed it. That was my first and only time having a real model trainset. I can remember the scale of the track was small -though not the actual width, and i can remember the quite large silver controller with a large red dial in the middle. I guess now i've started thinking about it i should try to find out what it was :)

Forward to 2004 when i got my first virtual trainset Trainz 2004. I encouraged my father to also get Trianz 2004 as he was retired then. We used to get together and share the same passion of building and operating something together. We both would swap ideas for the layout we had built between us. Sadly he passed away in 2006, but from the start of my life to the end of his, we both shared a few short years interest in trains.

By the time all my kids left home and we moved into a bungalow, there's never been the room to build a 'proper' model railway, so Trainz is the closest i can get ;)

Yeah, I think most of us have had a period in our lives when we created some sort of railroad layout in our favourite gauge.

I was fortunate to have an 18ft x 20ft basement room where I could run havoc in HO gauge. I had over 500ft of flexi-track 100 laid, pinned and ballasted which wound around brick floor supports that were converted into plastered mountains with bridges linking one city and a suburban township fully detailed, as well as, a shipping dock, sidings and fiddle-yard. It was also equipped for night-mode and provision to run 7 consists at a time; 5 on dedicated lines. It took me 13 years to build it, bearing in mind that I had a 9-5 day job, 3 sons who needed to run RC Off-roaders, a wife who needed some of my time, so it left me with 2 - 3 hours from 11pm to 2am for my Train hobby. When it was time for me to move-on, it only took one day to sell it. That was a sad day.

Today, I am extremely grateful that I have Trainz for my hobby. Today, I have many personal routes that I have constructed (not just one HO gauge layout) which allows me to enjoy running trains in a far greater dimension, than ever before.

My experience in creating a HO layout has held me in good stead. It has taught me that 'Patience' is one necessary 'tool' required, just to run a few trains.

I've always been interested in model railroading when I was a kid. I first started building wooden railway sets when I was little and then I've had a few HO sets, and Some G scale and I even I have Lionel layout in my basement that my grandpa built for me as a Christmas present for me (he also got me interested in the hobby)and it's still up.
Wisconsin Valley Model Railroad Club and Model Railroader magazine

I was into building model cars as a young teenager. I discovered "Model Railroading" magazine in my school library and was instantly hooked. That was about 1986. Several years later I was introduced to the "Wisconsin Valley Model Railroad Club" on the lower level of the Yawkey House in Wausau, WI. I joined as a Jr. member for a few years. I gradually lost some interest as years went on...

The biggest problems were always (1)lack of enough permanent space to build a layout, (2)lack of funds to build a layout that would satisfy my operating goals. Athearn and Walthers locomotives and rolling stock are not cheap when you are young, renting, and starting a family. Just to incorporate a junction (turnout) cost a small fortune to do it right. $20+ for the turnout, 15-$20+ for the motor, and another $5 for a toggle switch - just for ONE SINGLE junction! I had a few HO scale bench style layouts over the years but eventually gave up and sold everything that was worth anything.

Back when I discovered this computer simulator (Trainz2006) I was blown away. It was like all my model railroading dreams came true. I could now run hundreds of routes or make my own...NO SIZE LIMIT!! Industries actually worked! I'm sorry but it's hard to pretend the HO scale hoppers just dumped the coal when it's still physically in the car - those days were gone forever.

Although everything here is virtual rather than physical, the level of realism rivals that of a model railroad in my opinion. By realism, I am not only referring to how realistic a loco or graphics can appear or how realistic the sky and time of day can be, but also how much more realistic operation can be...

...and all for substantially less money that scale model railroading. Finding this simulator was like a dream come true and I'm not exaggerating.

I then purchased Trainz2009 World Builder when it came out and now I have TANE Deluxe (I know, the timeline near my name is screwed up)

I have often wondered if computer railroad simulators like Trainz and others have taken a bite out of model railroading sales over the years and as new generations come of age, and I imagine virtual railroading has taken a fair share.

Great topic
Wow!:D The Model Railroadz thread is a vary interesting thread. It's so true with trainz there is no size limits! I wonder if you can model the whole world in trainz?
Yes I model present CN and CP with GO Transit and soon enough VIA Amtrak and other class Is and GEXR, sadly I don't have a layout yet