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Have about 20 craftsman kits 50% to & 70% finished.  I started a 16 by 8 three rail layout about 60% done.  

I have a 12 by 3 On30 layout about 30% done.

I cannot find motivation to work on kits or the layout.

Tired of the mess of the scenery and progress is so slow, on the layouts and kits, that it all seems so overwhelming.

It seems to never "move forward".

I am retired but seem to have little to no time to work on it.

Basement jammed with over 300 pieces of rolling stock and almost 40 engines.

Just burned out...hard to sell anything as market is slow.

Any experience cure for burn out?  Just tired of it all.

Seems no way out of the hobby after such a huge investment in time and money.

Last edited by johnshorse
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It sounds like you have started lots of things and can't see the end.    You might try focusing on finishing one thing.    If on a layout, finish an area of it, enough to do some switching or take some pictures.    Finish a kit and get it on the layout and feel the joy of accomplishment.    I have done all these things when feeling down.

Another thing I noticed when I built a couple of layouts early on.    They were loops with some sidings here and there and I think one had double track.    However, once I got them sort of along and running, my intereset dwindled.   Without knowing it, I realized I was thinking "what now".    After that I attended an NMRA convention and met some guys doing operations and got invited to some sessions.    It was a whole new world for me.    I came up with a method to route freight cars to the sidings on my layout, and I really started enjoying it.    I got to the point where I hardly ever used the loop.    When I have about 6-8 industries or switching sites (2 were interchanges), and a dozen or so freight cars, it would take me about an hour real time to pick up all the cars from the industries and put them on the interchanges and pull the cars from the interchanges and put them in the industries.     That would be a fun adventure.    And it usually led to some maintenance project or new piece of rolling stock I wanted so it fertilized my interest.

It happens.  Sometimes and I have done it, you need to walk away from it all for a few months including the forum.  Then when you feel better about it all, come back to the forum until you come across something that really sparks your interest, preferably something you have and maybe have not completed building it yet.  Then back to the train room and dig in !   Good luck - from someone who went down that road----  JP

I am in that category as well, have done little on my layout to be for a while. In my case I don't think it is burnout as much as being overwhelmed by other things in my life.  I do keep my interest up by reading the magazines, being on here, and of course going to train shows. I know I am in my own version of things when instead of looking at it as fun, I do what I do with a major project I am dreading, and worry about screwing it up....or worry about the wiring, etc. 

I suspect when I get back into it it will be in small, discrete steps. Complete some more track; then go back to the design, figure out what I'll need, and order more. That is how I usually get into doing things...and I also go in with the mentality that anything I get done is great, whether 15 minutes or 15 hours.

John, my only advice, FWIW, is maybe having the two layouts is overloading you. Even with two (relatively small) layouts, that is a lot, and like a donkey put between two bales of hay, can be hard to decide. I know it is going to sound silly, but what about choosing one of the layouts, and putting a tarp over the other one? Maybe with the other one sort of out of mind, you won't be so overwhelmed. Maybe at some point you will decide to work on the other layout, reverse it, cover one, work on the other.

Your second to last sentence "says it all". I hope you were not buying toy trains for investment purposes. If you price them low enough, they will sell.

You have been in the hobby for a long time so this is not your first rodeo.

I would get in my car and head west on Interstate 70. Head to Glenwood Springs and spend a week in the Rockies soaking in the hot springs. Watch Amtrak and Freights roll thru town standing on the bridge crossing over to the Station.

See if any interests return. Maybe just take up railfanning.

Not trying to be so negative here, just trying to help. Sometimes you lose interest in a hobby and it never returns. It does not make sense to work on something that no longer interests you.


John....this seems to be an ongoing problem you have had for many years.  I can remember quite a few posts where you have discussed similar misgivings and personal frustrations about being in the hobby....almost as if you were totally lost.  While I agree with some of the suggestions posted by others above, I think there are more underlying problems here than just the hobby.  I am not a professional when it comes to recognizing depression, but I think this may be what you are going through.  Mind you, I would not have come to this conclusion based only on your post above but like I said, this is not your first time expressing similar feelings.  If you would like to talk, feel free to give me a call.

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