The April 1st Episode of The Model Railway Show featured modeler Peter Cunningham talking about how we, as modelers, should be marketing the hobby to people in their 30s and 40s. This demographic has disposable income and a more domestic-focused lifestyle, and its members are ready to add a rewarding hobby to their lives.
But attracting this group means capping Thomas The Tank Engine’s stack moving him to the dead line. We need to rethink how we present the hobby as a sophisticated activity worthy of adult engagement – right up there with gardening, wine appreciation, woodworking and classic car restoration. (This change in how we present the hobby has become increasingly important as full-size trains fade from the daily lives of many North Americans. Fewer towns have rail service and many people have no notion of the important role they play in our global economy. If the average person thinks about trains today, it’s often in the context of bad news stories such as derailments, or the inconvenience of being delayed at a level crossing.)
Jim and I will continue to explore this important issue – starting with our next show: Episode 15 features interviews with two editors of hobby publications who discuss some of the challenges facing the hobby.