Is the live steam hobby in decline?

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Sandiapaul
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Location: Princeton, NJ

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by Sandiapaul » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:07 am

To: sncf141r,

I'm 57 and every point you made is why I no longer belong to a local club. When I was a teen, I could answer everyone of those questions you bring up much differently. Especially the one about bringing projects out. Isn't that what this is all about after all?

Steve Bratina
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Location: Cambridge Ontario

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by Steve Bratina » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:34 am

And now a word from our sponsor.

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NP317
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Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by NP317 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:25 am

Steve Alley: Thanks for your considerable efforts. My dealings with you have been "old-world good."

Suggestion:
When you get "newbie" questions that tend to take you away from your business tasks, direct those people to this CHASKI discussion board right for the beginning.
Get them in the habit of turning to this resource for assistance.
Explain that this will be a larger information source for them, than asking you. Then we can all contribute to their learning curve.
I see this sharing as one of my responsibilities to this Hobby: Return the favor.

Just my thoughts.
~RussN

WJH
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Location: Florida

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by WJH » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:30 am

This morning I was shocked, my three year old son walks into the living room and sits down, starts watching ABOM79 youtube's channel with me. Instead of asking to see WildKrats, he wanted to watch more machining channels on Youtube!!!! Maybe there's hope yet!

shild
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:10 am

elm53 wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:19 pm
To Shild,at Waushakum's Norfolk St. Track ,we used spikes to hold down the rail. Since 1997, all track at Waushakum is screwed down to the ties. Wern was your last visit to WLS?...Just curious as your post made it sound you were just there.
Yes, it was the green highline I helped them tap the spikes back in. Not the current location. But I certainly go to the new location once in a while! Those new highline concrete piers must save on maintenance? I remember the old track with all green wooden piers except for one at the end of that era!

shild
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:46 am

WJH wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:30 am
This morning I was shocked, my three year old son walks into the living room and sits down, starts watching ABOM79 youtube's channel with me. Instead of asking to see WildKrats, he wanted to watch more machining channels on Youtube!!!! Maybe there's hope yet!
Speaking of which, I hope we see some "4-jaw showdowns" happening at steam clubs! :)

shild
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:57 am

Thanks for the replies everyone! Guess there is both evidence of decline and growth so not always so clear cut. When I type "Live Steamers" into google trends it shows decline. Then again, google trends shows decline to a lot of things I thought were stable.

JohnK
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Location: Beverly-by-the-Boston & Maine, MA
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by JohnK » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am

I'd say that a few or several builders building, and a few or several suppliers supplying, are not evidence in and of themselves, of an upward trend in the hobby.

Likewise, I'd say that club tracks only getting maintained by a handful of grey beards (and no "younguns"), is not evidence of a decline. Each scenario is a snapshot but might not show the big picture.

I'm going to be grey before I myself have a chance to volunteer in my club or help maintain a club track. Between ages 20 and (I'm not yet) 60, I had several jobs, started 2 companies, and raised (am raising) a family. Built a track, too. Own and take care of a house. Got my Raritan 60% finished. Ran steam up Mt. Washington for 9 seasons. Retired from that at age 29. Volunteered many hours per week for my local professional and hobby groups 'til I was in my early 30s, but had to stop because fatherhood and because I was forming Friends Models, and there was not enough time in a month to do it all. If I'm one of these "grey beards" when I start helping out at the club, does that indicate that things are in a decline? I've been neck-deep in this stuff since I was 12! Decline? Phooey!

I'm 46. I can do stuff with my kids, or ignore them and work on my engine. I can work on my engine, or go volunteer at the club. I can work my job and pay the bills, or, I can work at "Friends Models" and try to get that going more than it is at present. Pick one. You can only do one thing at a time. Bill VanBrocklin built 40 engines plus. But he had no wife, no children, and lived with his parents. Once he retired from his job, he could whip out an engine every 6 months. And he did.....

Most of us aren't like Bill was.

I'll be "grey" before I can help out any hobby affiliated groups, volunteering, trackwork, etc. I was an officer in my live steam and also professional groups for years. Had to quit. Too much on the burner. I could have continued with professional officerships with letters after my name, or, started "Friends Models". Can't do both. I picked my passion. Friends Models.

So "grey beard" at the track does not necessarily mean "decline", it might mean it's the first chance the person has had in 40 years, to help out.

One thing I look at, is how many NEW people are showing up at the track, with under construction locos for show-and-tell, or with recently-completed locos, etc.? Is your membership healthy with a fresh influx of new people bringing in new projects? Or are the people who were age 40 thirty years ago, now 70? Same people, same engines being brought around, same stories by the campfire?

I can attest, that for about 25 years, I personally saw little new blood come in to a club I was a member of, few (no?) new projects completed, and the same locos that had been around for 40, 50, and 60 years would simply change ownership every few years. If nothing new's coming into the club and people are buying/selling/swapping the same engines that have been around since 1952, that may be much more indicative of the health of things.

I don't know one way or the other if things are heading up, or looking down. I am not far enough away to look at the whole picture. I'm just saying that looking at A, B, or C that are good or bad trends, might not, in and of themselves, be accurately accounting for "the big picture".

If there's a decline, I'm not participating in it. Sounds like Steve Alley isn't, either.

Onward and upward!
-John K.

FKreider
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by FKreider » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:41 am

shild wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:46 am
WJH wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:30 am
This morning I was shocked, my three year old son walks into the living room and sits down, starts watching ABOM79 youtube's channel with me. Instead of asking to see WildKrats, he wanted to watch more machining channels on Youtube!!!! Maybe there's hope yet!
Speaking of which, I hope we see some "4-jaw showdowns" happening at steam clubs! :)
That sounds like a great idea!
-Frank K.

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NP317
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Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by NP317 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:43 am

JohnK:
For me it has been Family First. No question about that. And I salute you for that, too.

I started my first steam locomotive build at age 50. That's when my sons were 18 and 14 years old. I got a late start at the Parent Thing.
After I'd already taken them on a motorcycle camping trip in western Siberia, Russia.
After I finally stopped traveling extensively for business.
After funds were inherited that I used for the locomotive.
After I was already getting grey hair!

I suspect many people have similar time lines that prevent an earlier entry into the large-scale outdoor railroading world. I was 7 years old when I vowed that someday I would have a live steam locomotive like Walt Disney's Lilly Belle! Yes, he was my inspiration. It just took 3+ decades to get started.
So this all serves to illustrate some the reasons we don't see "youngsters" entering this Hobby.
It does not mean they won't get there later in their lives.
All food for thought.
~RN

shild
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:24 pm

JohnK wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am
Built a track, too. Own and take care of a house. Got my Raritan 60% finished.
Did you build the track at your own house? Is it highline or groundline?

FKreider
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Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:44 pm

Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by FKreider » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:59 pm

shild wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:24 pm
JohnK wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am
Built a track, too. Own and take care of a house. Got my Raritan 60% finished.
Did you build the track at your own house? Is it highline or groundline?
John has some youtube video's about it on his website:

http://www.friendsmodels.com/youtubevideos.html

Pretty neat, I'd love to do a small old school highline in my backyard some day.
-Frank K.

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