The Model Railway Show – Episode 0011

Listen to this archived episode of The Model Railway Show through
streaming audio at TrainLife!

History Lessons

In this episodeā€¦

Peter Cunningham, editor, British Railway Modellers of North America Journal.
Jim Providenza, owner, Santa Cruz Northern and pioneering user of command control systems.

Are kids really the future of model railroading?

With a headline like that, you can guess what our guest thinks.

Modeler and artist Peter Cunningham looks back at his own introduction to the hobby as a boy in the United Kingdom, and compares it to the experience of today’s kids. And he’s forced to conclude that our recruiting efforts are chasing the wrong demographic.

While sharing the hobby with children is important, Peter says when it comes to attracting new hobbyists, we’d do well to remember Deep Throat’s advice to Bob Woodward in All The President’s Men: Follow The Money. In this case, it means we’ll have more success if we pitch our hobby at those in their 30s and 40s – people who have more disposable income and are looking for a hobby and creative outlet that’s worthy of an adult’s attention. We also need to boost our efforts to make sure what we’re presenting is the very best we can do, to showcase the best the hobby has to offer.

Peter wrote an opinion piece on this that appeared late last year in the Journal, the magazine for members of the British Railway Modellers of North America (BRMNA), and he joins Jim to discuss his thoughts on this important issue.

Related Links:
Peter’s opinion piece from the BRMNA’s Journal (used with permission).
Peter Cunningham’s Virtual Gallery (artist page)
Peter’s art and model railways profiled on CTV’s Regional Contact television program.
Some examples of Peter’s work on our Flickr gallery.
Rod Stewart on Jimmy Kimmel Live (YouTube): Part One / Part Two.

DCC: How far we’ve come

When it comes to running model trains, we’ve never had it so good. Digital Command Control (DCC) decoders can be as small as a thumbnail – yet deliver fantastic locomotive control, sophisticated lighting effects and beautiful sound. And for most of us, programming them has become second nature.

But did you ever wonder how we got from DC to DCC?

If you’ve been collecting back issues of train magazines for a while, you will have come across advertising for early carrier control systems marketed by companies such as Alphatronics. Modeler Jim Providenza embraced those early systems in his quest for sophisticated operations on his HO scale Santa Cruz Northern, and he joins Trevor to describe some of those early experiences.

Related Links:

Photos from Jim Providenza on our Flickr gallery.
The NMRA’s DCC Working Group.
The NMRA’s DCC standards and recommended practices.
The History of Digital Command Control (DCC Wiki).
Lenz DCC.
DecoderPro: the Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI).
The Operations Special Interest Group (OPSIG).
Jim’s layout on VHS: Great Model Railroads v. 35 (Allen Keller video series).

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 11 (mp3)

Follow this link for more Episode Guides.

Show off your good taste in podcast listening:
Visit The Model Railway Show swag shop!

Listen to archived episodes at TrainLife.

Join the discussion on The Model Railway Show Facebook Page.

Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim talks to modeler Ed Loizeaux about this summer’s National Association of S Gaugers National Convention, being held in conjunction with the NMRA’s Extra 2011 West.
Trevor speaks with modeler Jeremy St. Peter about weathering as an art form.

This entry was posted in Archived, Show Note. Bookmark the permalink.