Saturday, February 16, 2008

Model Railroading - A Cure For The Mid-Winter Railfan Blues

Model railroading is for those born too late or too far away for the real thing. If you're one of them, you wish you could feel the thunder and awe of a Rio Grande 3600 class locomotive rumbling past on its way up Tennessee Pass. The beauty of a Mikado hauling a photo freight should never be a semi-annual treat. The words Denver, South Park & Pacific still mean something to you and a C&S engine with a butterfly plow working past a small station warms your heart in a way that most people wouldn't understand.

On cold winter nights, while the typical railfan falls asleep watching a DVD, the scale railroader is applying scenery, laying track or simply enjoying the fruits of his labor by watching his own train make its way through the layout of his own design. It's not the cheapest hobby, by any measure, but it is rewarding to build, layout, scenick, maintain and run your own scale railroad, especially on dark, cold winter nights.

If you want to find out more about model railroading, you could buy books about model railroading or read magazines, but the best way to learn about model railroading is to meet other model railroaders and spend time with them. The easiest way to do that is to find out when your local scale railroading club has its monthly meeting that's open to the public. Ask the questions that come to mind and watch what's involved in making a layout work. If you'd like to try it out, ask how you can get involved more in what they are doing. If the club is worth investing in, they will make it easy for you to get involved.

To find a model railroad club near you, visit the National Model Railroader's Association -- Rocky Mountain Region and click on the area you live near or in. That will put you in touch with that area's supervisor and they can find a club closest to you.

Take a look at the following video from the Denver Society of Model Railroaders, an O-scale (large) club that has built a gigantic layout in the basement of Denver's Union Station.

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