Everyone approaches this hobby differently and it is understandable why. Model railroading requires many skills and covers many topics. A layout needs electrical, painting, creativity, carpentry, planning, electronics know-how, and more. Some focus on only a few and rely on friends to cover the gap, others selectively choose to build a railroad layout based on their skills learn them all.
We’ve asked a few of our club members the question, “What is model railroading to you?” and here is what we found.
For me, model railroading is an adventure. I get to explore many different areas than I would everyday. This includes, carpentry, art, electronic circuits, railroad practices, and history. One week I can get into a painting frenzy and in another I'll explore electronics like Arduinos. I never get bored. There's also camaraderie found in online forms but more importantly in person at my local club. Getting lost in model scenes and making them look as realistic as possible helps me relax and escape the world - even if just for a little while.
First and foremost, it’s a chance to meet others with similar interests. I use model railroading as an opportunity to apply logic. I enjoy solving railroad switching puzzles such as making trains in a rail yard or leaving cars at various places on the layout. It helps me relax and actually “switches” my attention from the current state of affairs. For a few hours, “I am the boss of this train!” The club members are like my teachers and the model railroad club layout is my classroom.
Model railroading is a form of therapy for me. I work a lot in high stress, fast pace environments. This hobby provides me with a serine contrast to my daily routine. Even though I've been "playing" with trains since I learned to walk, the love and passion I have for model railroading hasn't changed. Only the reasons. When I was younger I loved model railroading because of the wonder and amazment it brought me, I love it still because of wonder and amazement I now see it bringing to others.