I was skimming over the "Which manufacturer will be left" thread when I noticed a reply about mentors.
I wouldn't be in this hobby if not for my Dad. He wasn't a big train guy, but he purchased my first set in the 1970's, and helped me (he built) build layouts. I went shopping with him to the lumber yard, Army surplus store, and train store for layout items. Honestly, I'm not that interested in modern real trains. I like the nostalgia of the hobby, and the history of the real trains. Even the prototype I try to model is because of my Dad.
I like O-gauge trains because of my Dad and the time we spent together. One of the replies in the above mentioned thread stated the poster had purchased starter sets for his grandchildren and they were in the garage. Buying the set isn't enough. It's the time spent with it that's important. It's the trip to the lumber yard, the plaster, the fake grass, in short, the follow-up.
No Dad equals No Hobby. It's not the trains, it's the time. True for most hobbies.