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Many of us Forum members are retired, but some of us are still working part-time or full time. This post is mainly for the latter: those of us still working to some degree at our jobs or businesses. For those retirees among us, you might think back to how you felt about model railroading when you were working in the past at your former job or business.

I am almost 67 years old and still working at my practice as a mediator and lawyer, but am now more selective in taking cases, turning down the most stressful ones or those involving clients or causes that I don't like.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with model railroading? Well, for me it has a lot to do with it. If I don't feel productive or feel something is wrong in my law and mediation practice, model railroading is no fun and then I take a break from it. However, if my practice is going well, then model railroading is great fun and I do it. And if my practice is flourishing, I may even splurge and buy a new locomotive or accessory. When that happens, I sometimes think metaphorically, and I become the locomotive/lawyer, all powerful, can buy whatever I want, and even get the silly idea that by buying a new locomotive, I become more confident about my work and getting a great new case real soon and make even more money.

Do any of you folks feel the way I do about model railroading and your past or present work?

Arnold

 

 

Original Post
scale rail posted:

Arnold, the most fun for me is a morning like right now. It's raining, only about 74 and dark outside. Perfect for working on the railroad. I'm retired and that part of my like has been finished for over 12 years. Don

Don, the morning is also a favorite time of mine to run trains. Morning sunlight shines through my basement windows enhancing the beauty of the layout.

Arnold, I do not know if I am exactly addressing the issue you are referring to, but I think a thought provoking topic like yours is open game to rabbit trails.  I am semi-retired, though that wasn't my plan.  I'll only be 62 in a couple weeks.  I never really liked the electronics field, but after 42 years I am now in a rather stress free position.  The most stress is at times wondering if they will have any work for me for a few weeks.  Anyway, when I am putting the engineering information into the goofy database they have us use (I still always draw a Visio drawing for the technicians just like when we used pencil and paper) It keeps my mind occupied how to portray a circuit in the software, then once I have one type down pat, it is rote for the next however many.  I then get bored and start thinking about trains.

As far as favorite time for trains; any time I can get a few free minutes from doing stuff for 4 elderly relatives and my wife who has some health issues.  I can forget about all that stuff when I am doing anything with the trains.

When I was Big in HO before I started O Scale I had to kinda stop HO due to my arthritis Friday Night was always train night. I have carried that over to the O scale. I’m still working been driving a truck for 28yrs and been in intermodal for 22yrs. I will be 50 in about 2 week and finding out trying to run the trains after a stressful day does not help especially if something goes wrong while running them. So my  alternative is this fourm I’ve try to be more active on here then in the past and it helps the stress. I still have my Friday Night Train night every week and think I’m going to keep it that way. I never  work or run trains during the week when I’ve had a stressful day. It just doesn’t work for me anymore.

From 1995 to 2005 , I found myself supplementing the continuing enjoyment of teaching high school with the adventure and creative satisfaction of creating my model train layout, upon returning home each day. Saturdays came to be included in the newly found custom. The result was a constantly happy life, possessed of success in the classroom and a layout I discovered I wanted to share with others .

That's my story.

FrankM

Last edited by Moonson
Moonson posted:

From 1995 to 2005 , I found myself supplementing the continuing enjoyment of teaching high school with the adventure and creative satisfaction of creating my model train layout, upon returning home each day. Saturdays came to be included in the newly found custom. The result was a constantly happy life, success in the classroom, and a layout I discovered I want to share with others .

That's my story.

FrankM

Frank, if I was the OGR Magazine Editor in Chief, I would publish your above reply in the next issue of the magazine. I can't think of a better endorsement for the model railroading hobby. Arnold

Interesting subject, Arnold.  I am 70, fully retired but not fully away from my trade.  I was a union carpenter for thirty years and since my retirement, fourteen years ago, I have been busy as ever.  When I was working, train time was usually Friday nights, well into the early hours of Saturday.  Now I find train time is whenever I can get a few free moments.  

I must agree that a non-productive day zaps my enthusiasm at times and I spend more time sitting in front of this screen looking for inspiration from others.  But when my creative juices are flowing, I can get immersed in a project so deep, that when SWMBO calls my name, I startle.  

My favorite quote is, "I'm in my own little world.  But it's okay, they know me here". 

chinatrain99 posted:

Work = suck

train = 👍

one has absolutely nothing to do with the other 

A classic response!

I've been happily retired since 2010, after 25 stressful years in IT.  But I don't recall my enthusiasm for the railroad modeling hobby ever being directly affected by my job.

Arnold, I think what you're really asking is "Do you enjoy your hobby less when you're in a bad mood?"

Moonson posted:

From 1995 to 2005 , I found myself supplementing the continuing enjoyment of teaching high school with the adventure and creative satisfaction of creating my model train layout, upon returning home each day. Saturdays came to be included in the newly found custom. The result was a constantly happy life, possessed of success in the classroom and a layout I discovered I wanted to share with others .

That's my story.

FrankM

....a life well lived!

Great topic Arnold!  Since I first saw your post of this topic, Ive done some self reflecting.  I've also enjoyed what everyone has had to say/share on this topic as well!  

The most joy I experience running my trains and/or working on my trains is usually on Sunday mornings and Friday nights.   Sunday's are a day when I usually have no scheduled place to be, although being a musician, there are certain periods of the year when Sundays can be heavily scheduled with various gigs. ( I have several of those Sundays/and Saturdays coming up soon! )  Fridays are usually the end of the work week for me ... so the first thing I do when I get home is grab a cup of tea and head to the train room for a while.  

All - in - all I find that when first, my life  ( professional and personal ) feels in balance and deeply productive my resultant feeling is that of deep personal enrichment and thus my enjoyment of my trains is greatly heightened.  When my life feels out of balance/stressed, my enjoyment of my trains usually decreases.... although at times just observing the trains run for a while provides a temporary escape which I find good/helpful. 

 For me personally, the lesson I've learned is that basic things like getting enough sleep, physical exercise ( I go to the gym 6 - 7 days a week ), eating a healthy diet,  and scheduling free time ( I just cut my private teaching schedule back beginning last month so I'm no longer teaching late into the evenings ... so I can have more free time and go to bed earlier )  are important factors that allow me to experience the maximum enjoyment of ALL of life's blessings ....  and of course for me ( like many of us here on the OGRF) trains are one of life's wonderful blessings. 

Thank you, all, for your most interesting replies.

China train 99, I appreciate your succinct frankness.

Don, I will think of you during morning runs, rain or shine.

Mark, it is so true how thinking about trains can keep us from having moments of boredom.

Frank, how wonderful it must be for you to be mindful that you have had, and continue to have, a creative and happy life, as a teacher and model railroader.

Dan, I believe you and I have much in common: we most enjoy our trains, particularly postwar trains and accessories, when we are are being productive in other aspects of our lives.

Balshis, you are correct that a bad mood tends to lessen my interest in trains, though there have been times in the past when trains helped get me out of a bad mood.

Patrick, I also relate to what you've artfully expressed about your feelings concerning trains, and I suspect there are other Forum members that have similar feelings. There is much wisdom in what you say about having balance in one's life: exercise, good diet, work and play. Our trains and layouts sure give us opportunities to work and play. 

Let us all continue to play with our trains and, whatever our age, always embrace the child within.

Thank you, again, for all of your contributions.

Arnold

Arnold D. Cribari posted:
Moonson posted:

From 1995 to 2005 , I found myself supplementing the continuing enjoyment of teaching high school with the adventure and creative satisfaction of creating my model train layout, upon returning home each day. Saturdays came to be included in the newly found custom. The result was a constantly happy life, success in the classroom, and a layout I discovered I want to share with others .

That's my story.

FrankM

Frank, if I was the OGR Magazine Editor in Chief, I would publish your above reply in the next issue of the magazine. I can't think of a better endorsement for the model railroading hobby. Arnold

Super to hear you say that, Arnold. Thanks very much. You are a thoughtful and considerate gentleman, indeed.

FrankM

I had an interesting day today at work and was going to post a new topic entitled The Metaphor of Model Trains. Before doing so, I did a quick Forum search and noticed that I previously touch on that topic in this thread.

I suspect that we all are susceptible to our life circumstances that impact what we think about our hobby. I'm now in the late years of my 6th decade, and still plug away at my profession to make a living. No question about it. When I've had a productive day at work, I revel in model railroading; when I have not been productive for several or more days at work, model railroading loses its excitement for me. I don't think these attitudes are good or bad, they just are my truth now that I'm in the autumn of my life.

I think the reason for this is that model trains are a powerful metaphor for me. This is especially true for the locomotives. All powerful, and majestic in appearance and performance. I feel like a powerful locomotive when productive at work. If not productive there, I'm pathetic, even more so than the puniest derailed hand car. LOL.

I also love hand cars, including an O Gauge MTH hand car I bought 20 years ago. And, I still adore the Postwar Lionel gang car that was a Christmas present when I was a wee lad in the mid-1950s.

The model trains that we cherish tend not to be cheap. The good ones, even those not top of the line, cost at least a few hundred dollars, and top of the line locomotives are $2,000 plus. No way am I going to spend a few hundred or more dollars on trains unless I've made some serious money in my profession.

Have any of you folks had similar thoughts?

Arnold

 

Arnold,

Although I'm retired, some days are more productive than others. One of the productive things is spending time with my model railroads either running trains or photographing the layouts for pictures to post on the Forum. My accomplishment for today has been to look over the new Lionel catalog and decide what to buy. When the weather is nice, I sit outside and read railroad books from my personal library.  Such are the advantages of being retired.

I've been buying O gauge trains for the past 23 years so I really don't need any new ones. I've become very selective about what I purchase and don't spend as much as I used to. But, new items inevitably appear and I continue to do some buying. It's a good day when a new engine eventually arrives in good condition and runs well.

MELGAR

 

Last edited by MELGAR

I suppose this is like a confessional...for me, as an adult, the hobby has been about an imaginative world that I can design and implement. Even when I am at work and things are not going well with projects, bosses, clients, etc., I can "escape" via photographs, design drawings, and train-related internet sites. In retrospect, when work has been challenging, these seem to be the times when I've make impulse buys via the internet, kind of a "fix" to get me through to the end of the day. Definitely pathetic and childlike behavior on my part.

However, when I am engrossed in work and productivity is high and projects are coming together, clients are happy, etc., I seem to be more productive in the rare time I can get down to the basement and work on the layout. I tend to have less impulse buys during these times and enjoy what I already have.

Last edited by Paul Kallus
@Paul Kallus posted:

I suppose this is like a confessional...for me, as an adult, the hobby has been about an imaginative world that I can design and implement. Even when I am at work and things are not going well with projects, bosses, clients, etc., I can "escape" via photographs, design drawings, and train-related internet sites. In retrospect, when work has been challenging, these seem to be the times when I've make impulse buys via the internet, kind of a "fix" to get me through to the end of the day. Definitely pathetic and childlike behavior on my part.

However, when I am engrossed in work and productivity is high and projects are coming together, clients are happy, etc., I seem to be more productive in the rare time I can get down to the basement and work on the layout. I tend to have less impulse buys during these times and enjoy what I already have.

Paul, I similarly used model railroading as an escape 10 to 20 years ago when I was in my 40s and 50s. Hence, my tag line: in my little world I leave this troubled world behind. Arnold

This is an interesting topic. I was into trains when i was little as im sure we all were. my grandfather had a lionel layout every christmas. he passed when I was 7 and then my dad had only set it up once since. I got into airplanes next. started with RC airplanes when I was 12. i learned to fly them at a local airport, where my RC instructor dad owned the airport. I took flying lessons with him starting when i was 14, and soloed on my  16th birthday.  got into wrenching on airplanes in highschool to trade for airplane rental. a few years later i got a job at a local maintenance shop where i ended up working for 15 years before leaving with another friend from there to start our own shop back at the airport i learned to fly at. we have grown the business pretty big for a small airport and work on aircraft from all over the country.  in all of this, in my spare time, i built a pile of rc airplanes, then decided i wanted to build an aerobatic biplane, so i built that in 7 years, now am restoring a russian observation airplane, the only one in the country. airplanes, airplanes, airplanes.  2 years ago, my dad gave me the family lionel collection. i set it up in my basement. then the following christmas i set it up again...... .and... never took it down hahaha. now we have modified the layout making it bigger and adding more trains. we are working on wiring it now then its on to scenery.  while i love my aviation business, and have an absolute blast blowing holes in sky with my biplane, theres just something about escaping to the basement some evenings with a glass of rum and watching trains run!

Misread the intent of the title... but since I'm here...

TYPICALLY, these sort of things were the most fun when I was working on the railroad (1:1):

(From my engine service years.)

* I typically enjoyed snowy days (when in engine service) if the engine had a good warm cab heater and my thermos was full of hot, black coffee.

* I typically enjoyed helper service (front or rear). When shoving from the rear, I loved the challenge of managing slack through the humps n' sags on the way to The Mountain or grade in question.

* I typically enjoyed main line running., freight or psgr. (Added bonus in that I enjoyed the additional challenge of psgr.)

* I typically enjoyed the "unpredictability" of railroading: One minute I'm switching in the yard and expecting to do so all day, the next minute I'm on my way to the sand and gravel plant to pick up several cars of ballast, then high-balling up the main for miles to help get a washout fixed that was washed-out the night before. (This happened several times in my stint with railroading.) OR, I'm working a local job... and next thing you know... I'm off to go help a stalled train up a grade. These sorts of things.

* I enjoyed the feeling of having done a job well.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Railroading has a lot of managerial BS that goes with it , but the real reasons those of us with railroading in our blood were out there was for reasons like the above.

Andre

Last edited by laming
@C_Murley posted:

This is an interesting topic. I was into trains when i was little as im sure we all were. my grandfather had a lionel layout every christmas. he passed when I was 7 and then my dad had only set it up once since. I got into airplanes next. started with RC airplanes when I was 12. i learned to fly them at a local airport, where my RC instructor dad owned the airport. I took flying lessons with him starting when i was 14, and soloed on my  16th birthday.  got into wrenching on airplanes in highschool to trade for airplane rental. a few years later i got a job at a local maintenance shop where i ended up working for 15 years before leaving with another friend from there to start our own shop back at the airport i learned to fly at. we have grown the business pretty big for a small airport and work on aircraft from all over the country.  in all of this, in my spare time, i built a pile of rc airplanes, then decided i wanted to build an aerobatic biplane, so i built that in 7 years, now am restoring a russian observation airplane, the only one in the country. airplanes, airplanes, airplanes.  2 years ago, my dad gave me the family lionel collection. i set it up in my basement. then the following christmas i set it up again...... .and... never took it down hahaha. now we have modified the layout making it bigger and adding more trains. we are working on wiring it now then its on to scenery.  while i love my aviation business, and have an absolute blast blowing holes in sky with my biplane, theres just something about escaping to the basement some evenings with a glass of rum and watching trains run!

What a fascinating life story!

@laming posted:

Misread the intent of the title... but since I'm here...

TYPICALLY, these sort of things were the most fun when I was working on the railroad (1:1):

(From my engine service years.)

* I typically enjoyed snowy days (when in engine service) if the engine had a good warm cab heater and my thermos was full of hot, black coffee.

* I typically enjoyed helper service (front or rear). When shoving from the rear, I loved the challenge of managing slack through the humps n' sags on the way to The Mountain or grade in question.

* I typically enjoyed main line running., freight or psgr. (Added bonus in that I enjoyed the additional challenge of psgr.)

* I typically enjoyed the "unpredictability" of railroading: One minute I'm switching in the yard and expecting to do so all day, the next minute I'm on my way to the sand and gravel plant to pick up several cars of ballast, then high-balling up the main for miles to help get a washout fixed that was washed-out the night before. (This happened several times in my stint with railroading.) OR, I'm working a local job... and next thing you know... I'm off to go help a stalled train up a grade. These sorts of things.

* I enjoyed the feeling of having done a job well.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Railroading has a lot of managerial BS that goes with it , but the real reasons those of us with railroading in our blood were out there was for reasons like the above.

Andre

Andre, thanks for sharing your experiences with railroading 1:1. My experiences with it are limited to being a passenger on commuter trains and seeing a few freight trains, but I can imagine the awesomeness of the real trains you have run. Arnold

Hello All, this is an interesting discussion. My life over the last 80 years was mostly spent in Massachusetts and I had two hobbies: golf and model railroading. Of course, golf was not played in the winter or stormy weather so model railroading was mostly a winter project and the days that golf was not scheduled. I was also fortunate that I was able to extend my education after fulfilling my military obligation (4 years active duty and 2 years inactive reserve in the USAF) by working at a major corporation with an excellent defined pension.

My big ticket spending for model railroad equipment is essentially over except for something that is announced and I believe that my model railroad absolutely needs it. (One of these is the B&M passenger train that is shown in Lionel's 2020 catalog #1)

@Mark Boyce posted:

Arnold, I do not know if I am exactly addressing the issue you are referring to, but I think a thought provoking topic like yours is open game to rabbit trails.  I am semi-retired, though that wasn't my plan.  I'll only be 62 in a couple weeks.  I never really liked the electronics field, but after 42 years I am now in a rather stress free position.  The most stress is at times wondering if they will have any work for me for a few weeks.  Anyway, when I am putting the engineering information into the goofy database they have us use (I still always draw a Visio drawing for the technicians just like when we used pencil and paper) It keeps my mind occupied how to portray a circuit in the software, then once I have one type down pat, it is rote for the next however many.  I then get bored and start thinking about trains.

As far as favorite time for trains; any time I can get a few free minutes from doing stuff for 4 elderly relatives and my wife who has some health issues.  I can forget about all that stuff when I am doing anything with the trains.

Things are way different now as opposed to my original comment.  That was almost 2 years ago.  Well, I was let go from the part-time work later that same month.  I spent 6 months looking for other work, and finally found a part-time entry level tech support job.  Who wants to hire a guy eligible for social security as an engineer or technician with only experience on old technology.  That 7-month period at that low paying job was the most stressful in over 43 years of working in electronics.  I got some respite in starting to build my new layout.  I left there at the end of last October a week before getting a knee replacement.  Over the recovery time, I realized I was never going to get to build the rest of the layout in the family room as planned because our older daughter couldn't get her piano and other furniture out in the near future.  She and her husband's 100+ year old house developed seepage and mildew problems in the basement level, so they had to move a lot upstairs.  None of us have the money to fix it, so they are in limbo.

Looking at my signature line topic, you can see I started planning a new layout in my original 11x11 foot room in the basement.  I completed the main line a couple weeks ago.  Being retired now the layout is the most fun when I am frustrated with things I am finding harder to do.  Right now it is an elusive intermittent PC issue that takes it offline for a while.  It has also been a broken riding mower I spent a lot of time and pain on and it doesn't run.  Actually these are similar times as when I was working.

Arnold and members of the forum.
Having a dedication to my chosen field  as a respiratory therapist, the past months have been irregular. I was granted an accommodation to do non clinical work to keep my safety alive! Being in a high risk group for complications from COVID in the clinical environment was and still is concerning. The alternate work I was doing was important as a front door employee screener, and educator but I have since rescinded my accommodation to return to clinical duties as Really needed. I found that Toy trains were not as important to me in the past 4.5 months. I made a little progress in my live catenary pole Refurbishment, rebuilt a damaged engine for a buddy. But without working and supporting my community in need I actually felt Somewhat  lost, and disconnected with running trains or building. My shelved projects take on a this actual bucketlist in view of current events. A lot of reflection happens with such irregularities. 
So, in your topic when working on the hobby is most fun, I find that a Traditional successful day at work invites the possible celebration of my post war Lionel basement adventures. 
so, actually, Successful is redefined as  a Safe day  at work (In my line of work) welcomes making ozone at home. 
My trains did not purge stress, were not really fun, But I learned that regular visits to the Forum filled the Gap and elevated my interest. BIG THANK YOU to all.

run ‘em fast and furious I am looking forward to.

Leroof

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