As children, many of us had the fortune to get one of the best toys a kid can get – model train sets. For adults, there are probably memories of the trains being set up under the tree on Christmas day and that initial fun of just running it around the oval track that came with it.
I think I was around 11 or 12 when I first began begging my parents for an N scale train set. I wasn’t too subtle about it. The well-worn pages of the old Sears catalog told me exactly where the toy trains were and I made sure to show it to my parents often – that is when I wasn’t looking at it myself again for the 400th time.
So my parents came through as they usually did on Christmas and I got my train set. I ended up building a layout on an old door. My parents helped me here and there, but they were busy and I ended up doing it myself for the most part. It wasn’t perfect, but I have fond memories of many hours spent adding to the layout and running my train on it.
Model train sets for adults can provide a path back to that kind idyllic enjoyment. And as adults, we have more advantages – disposable income being one of the main ones – that will allow us to enjoy model railroading to the fullest. We also have more patience than we were kids, and we may have acquired some skills since that time that will help us in the pursuit of the hobby.
Nevertheless, it’s still essential to get educated, do some research and do some serious planning before jumping into the hobby. You’re not a kid anymore that can flit on to the next thing if it bores you or you don’t “get it” right away. You want to have a realistic plan for your layout that fits your budget, your available time and your available space. Since a model railroad layout has a rather permanent sort of presence in your living space, you need to look at it as a fun but serious commitment that you’re making.
I suggest that you start by joining a local model railroad club and go to as many model railroad shows as you can. Not only will you get some great ideas for your own layout, but you can talk to fellow hobbyists who are close to your own age about how they built their layouts. You’ll learn some valuable tips for success and some of the pitfalls that you can avoid.
Is your spouse/living partner OK with the space you’ll be taking up? Have you decided on a way to fund your hobby without it being a problem to your other financial commitments? Are you really into the model railroading to the point that you’re confident it won’t be something that you abandon six months down the road? These are the kinds of questions you should be considering before you get started with the railroad you’re going to model. Train sets for adults can be an engaging and relaxing hobby that you will enjoy for years to come, if you plan carefully and do your homework.