We often see topic threads depicting the demise of the hobby and that young people aren't interested in model railroading or classic toy trains.  It is my hunch that there is a healthy wave of 'Young Guns' on the way.  There are many reasons that people become more involved in the hobby as they advance in life, but it doesn't mean that younger people aren't interested.

I've seen a number of posts around here by people in their late teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s with very impressive set ups.  I am arbitrarily setting a soft cutoff of the 'Young Guns' at 50 years old.   My reasoning is that in this age bracket, you were born outside the golden era of postwar trains, you likely had many other toys to enjoy as a child, you likely are not retired, likely have a busy family life, likely a busy career/schooling, and many other circumstances that make hobby time hard to come by.

If you are under 50 and in the hobby, please share photos of your layout and/or collection.  Whether it is seasonal or permanent, finished or unfinished, ceiling, carpet or proper bench work, let's see what the Young Guns are doing.

Experienced members (over 50) don't feel left out, please drop in to encourage the young guys.  A strong community of hobbyist is good for us all.  It means greater collaboration among us, more new items from train manufacturers, and a strong secondary market.  Each generation stands on the shoulders of the prior generation.

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At 32, I have been back in the hobby for 6 years and built a small 8 x 5.5 layout table with my kids.  All are grade school age or younger and really enjoy getting their hands on the trains.  Time for working and playing with the layout are hard to come by and prioritization of funds to the layout are very minimal.  It's not ever going to make it into a magazine, but it's a fun little pike.  We also put an oval under the Christmas tree each year which gets a lot of play time during the Christmas season.  I've shared these photos before, but these are the best shots of the overall layout.

Layout 1

 

Layout plan

  

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I am working on a layout, though right know it is on hiatus because of going to school for a bachelors degree, and in the second phase of track plan, though I haven't started laying down track for the next design iteration. This was one of the last pictures I took of my layout before I decided to redo the track work. I am also 32 years old

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I'm in my mid 40s and have been in the hobby for about 4  years now. It started with a Christmas tree layout and just took off from there. I started with using folding tables and just kept doing that. It made getting things setup and running fast, because I was interested in running trains. It's changed quite a bit over the years with the latest thing being added is some train shelves I put up on the wall this past weekend. The first pic is of my current track plan. Those are O72 and O84 curves on the outside loops and O36 and O48 on the inside ones. I setup 2 Wyes on each loop so I can run 4 trains at once if I want to. What I usually do is run 2 at a time and use the inside loops for reverse loops.

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If you're having fun, you're doing it right.

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I’m 34 with our first kid on the way. Grew up with my grandfathers train every Christmas and I asked him for the whole set in 2012. Over the past 7 holiday seasons I’ve put up 7 different layouts while living in 4 different places. After last year I decided to switch from annual layouts to a permanent one. 1BED9C5D-3EC0-4BFD-B13F-68D2C9B82295DF40CEFF-8D0F-4DD3-89FD-93A930ED1F9C929072FB-1211-4E66-919F-AA6EAE4DBD781D8E1EA0-5876-46BA-B8F5-4A91F27AE9A2B00FBC18-C988-4AEC-A8DB-586B93591503462965B6-CCAA-4FFE-A5D0-CB54AC4DE7C456662CA9-0A8F-45E8-BF07-BDBAF62F49F8 

Jonathan-Arlington, TX

All Postwar, all the time

LCCA # 43702

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I never had trains growing up but I always thought it was a cool hobby so when I became an adult I started collecting and building a layout.  After a move and renegotiating with the wife I started my biggest project yet about 2 years ago.  I belong to a variety of train clubs and am the youngest (age 45) person in every single one of them. lol

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Bryan

TCA, LCCA, NMRA Division 5, OTTS, Tuesday Night Train Crew, Painesville Railroad Museum

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I am way over the 50 year cut off, but just wanted to chime in and say this is an excellent topic, and I love all of the above photos and comments by our young hobbyists. 

By the way, although I am no longer young in years, I am definitely young at heart, as are just about all Forum members. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

I'll be 33 next month and have been a forum member since 2001 :-) After packing up the trains in 2011 for an international move for work and fun, we returned in 2013 but the trains mostly remained in storage until 2017 when my wife and I bought our house.  Now my layout resides behind my desk in my office / man cave.

We're gearing up to start laying ground cover and ballast soon!

 

romiller49 posted:

John1443, love the “Christmas Garden” with brick paper skirting. You must be from Baltimore. 

Born and raised in Dallas. My grandfather grew up in Pennsylvania and spent a good deal of time raising family in Pittsburgh and DC though, that's where I get the paper idea from

Jonathan-Arlington, TX

All Postwar, all the time

LCCA # 43702

Bryan in Ohio posted:

I never had trains growing up but I always thought it was a cool hobby so when I became an adult I started collecting and building a layout.  After a move and renegotiating with the wife I started my biggest project yet about 2 years ago.  I belong to a variety of train clubs and am the youngest (age 45) person in every single one of them. lol

summer2019 [2)summer2019 [3)summer2019 [4)summer2019 [6)summer2019 [7)summer2019 [8)summer2019 [19)subwayII [6)DSC_0204DSC_020557

 

WOW Bryan I would love to see that over the winter! Nick

                                                                                                                             

Though I left the title age group going on 15 years ago, I decided I would comment even before I saw the request for us 'young at heart folks' to comment, JD!!  I did so because I want to be of encouragement to anyone who is new and or young in the hobby. (I hope that makes sense)

I came into the hobby the hard way.  No one in the family had interest and my dad told me a train set was too expensive for Christmas gift and to save my money.  So I did that and who knows how long it took, but he drove me clean to the other side of Pittsburgh to get a train set.  I had priced sets advertised in Model Railroader and knew I had enough to get a cheap Tyco HO set when I was about 12.  I ran it all through high school and 2-year college.

I have seen posts and photographs from some of you before and some are new!  Keep up the hobby whether you are in high school, college, raising a young family, or whatever.  The hobby have been a great thing for me to get away from all the problems and cares of our busy lives!

I started my biggest project yet about 2 years ago.  I belong to a variety of train clubs and am the youngest (age 45) person in every single one of them. lol

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WOW Bryan I would love to see that over the winter! Nick

Your welcome anytime Nick, I usually host my Tuesday and Friday night groups in October.  I'll send you an invite when I know the exact dates.

Bryan

TCA, LCCA, NMRA Division 5, OTTS, Tuesday Night Train Crew, Painesville Railroad Museum

I am 46 and model in mostly gauge one/G scale but am also restarting my gauge O collection with a portable layout for shows and a small layout at home.   In my garden I have a 10' by 25' raised railway.  Here is a pic of my 1930's vintage Bing for Bassett Lowke GWR Titley Court live steam 4-6-0 on that railway.   Most of the O gauge is still in shipping from the UK, pics when it gets here.   I am going with a UK theme for both railways.  TC layout

Silly NT's...I have Asperger's Syndrome! 

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I'm 29.  Sorry, no pictures handy at the moment.

Recieved an HO set at age 3 and that turned into a 4'x8' layout in our basement.  I recieved an early Lionel Postwar set from a distant cousin at around age 7 or 8 and from then on O gauge was the focus.  Largest layout I had was an 8'x8' "L".  Trains went away during college (but never out of mind).  I moved out of state after college but kept buying and selling; my method was to buy Postwar lots, fix everything up, keep what I wanted and sell the rest.  Moved back home after a couple years and had a 4x8 in the basement again for about a year.  Due to space restrictions the trains went back in boxes, but I'd bring as much out as possible for Christmas.

I only run conventional as it's always been easy to work on; looking back, teaching myself to fix Postwar Lionels probably contributed to me going into engineering.

Currently my financial plan is to be house shopping next spring/summer (or should I say "train room shopping" with a house attached).  Pretty much all the trains just went into a storage unit for now to free up some space.

I've never lost interest and never stopped planning for the next layout!

We got a house last summer that has a rather large living room. She let me have a wall so that’s where the train is. When I took the platform down a few weeks after Christmas for some alterations, the room echo’d a bit. Good thing the layout is there!!!

Jonathan-Arlington, TX

All Postwar, all the time

LCCA # 43702

I just turned 51 this summer.   My attic layout was taken down and will be rebuilt in the basement.   This layout was modern Amtrak and current day freight.    My teenage son got inpatient waiting for O scale Amtrak Viewliners.  So his N scale empire now resides in the attic (now his bedroom).  IMG_057920160602_212601IMG_5872IMG_20190815_195313803 My basement rebuild will be toy train style with Lego buildings and the Lionel MPC trains of my youth.

  Maine3Railers 

  TCA 15-71227

  1970-1986 Lionel General Mills Era.

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I’m 47 and got back into trains about 15 years ago. Growing up I had an HO layout.  My dad had Lionel and gave me his postwar trains to build a Christmas layout 15 years ago.  From there I quickly got into modern trains, in particular DCS as I work for software company (I’m a geek at heart).  My current layout is 5.5 x 12 that I use seasonally. In the fall I build a Halloween layout and the the swap it out for a Christmas layout.  I love both scale and toy trains, especially accessories. 

I’m blesssed to have four children. The three girls have never had an interested in trains, but my five year old son loves them. He loves helping me build the Halloween and Christmas layouts every year.  Every year we will build them differently, which is half the fun. Here are some pictures from last year. E520ACE2-FACC-4380-92D0-1CE0CEEBF1D25A5AE825-D353-40DA-843D-46E006750EFC827D850A-C50B-4B47-9B84-35AE57C1418823B8DB68-F645-49D2-9C9A-BD7BDA412B714B2A72B2-11D2-4C0F-AFE7-21C6A51F7364496E7133-D643-496D-B0F5-19AB66B881E2

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I'm just young enough to post in this thread, but just old enough to have received a Marx windup set as my first train when I was a kid.

I collect O gauge windup trains, and have a windup train layout that is meant to display the vintage mechanical trains and the accessories that go with them.  There isn't any electric power to the track... it isn't needed, nor is the middle rail.  You can see a good portion of my windup train collection on the shelves around the layout.  I primarily collect Marx trains, but also have clockworks from Ives, American Flyer, Hafner, and even a few Lionel:

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I've also been involved in 12" gauge outdoor railroading since I was a teenager.  I have a 12" gauge railroad on my property, with a few locomotives to pull the trains:

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 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

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Here are some shots from our layout. Ours is very much a toy train layout, there is usually legos and hotwheels all over it. I'm 36, the boys are 7 and 3.

 



 

 

 

 

-Ed, O-27 trains and track, building out our little train empire one piece at a time.

 

KE8JLT

I'm 16 years old and I consider myself to have a decent collection for a 16 year old. It consists of Lionel, Mth, Weaver, 3rd rail, Williams, Right of Way Industries, Marx, K-LINE, and Kusan. I am slowly building my layout with my father and I'd say I'm pretty well off for a youngster.IMG_20190816_071609455_BURST001IMG_20190816_071545799IMG_20190816_071532935IMG_20190816_071525137IMG_20190816_071522648IMG_20190816_071520076IMG_20190816_071513819IMG_20190816_071510140IMG_20190816_071629768IMG_20190816_071634845

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Some might think of a age of 50 as a cutoff for 'young' folks, but it is quite valid.

I've been to a few local club and MMRA events where, in my very late 40s, I'm still the youngest inb the room by quite bit!

It's not 3 rail, but seeing I don't turn 50 until November, here we go:

Lou1985 posted:

Impressive for 16. When I was that age (waaaay back in the dark ages before smart phones 18 years ago) I was spending any extra money I had on cars and racing. I still do, but it's split with trains as well. 

Cool. I do have a lot of trains for my age. To much actually.

I'm in the last decade of this group.  My younger brother (By 10 years) is getting really big in N.  And the club he's in I think has 50/50 +-50 in it, so overall the hobby isn't doing too bad, O gauge on the other hand may not be as young, but I don't think there is any fear.

Lou1985 posted:

Impressive for 16. When I was that age (waaaay back in the dark ages before smart phones 18 years ago) I was spending any extra money I had on cars and racing. I still do, but it's split with trains as well. 

Great job, Sid's Trains!!     I'm with Lou.  When I was 16 I had one set I bought when about 12 and a couple extra cars, some buildings, all on a 4x8 sheet of plywood.  47 years ago, we put a dime in the slot of the pay phone in a Superman style phone booth.  Of course where I lived in the sticks, you had to walk a few miles to find one.

Mark Boyce posted:
Lou1985 posted:

Impressive for 16. When I was that age (waaaay back in the dark ages before smart phones 18 years ago) I was spending any extra money I had on cars and racing. I still do, but it's split with trains as well. 

Great job, Sid's Trains!!     I'm with Lou.  When I was 16 I had one set I bought when about 12 and a couple extra cars, some buildings, all on a 4x8 sheet of plywood.  43 years ago, we put a dime in the slot of the pay phone in a Superman style phone booth.  Of course where I lived in the sticks, you had to walk a few miles to find one.

Thanks. I have just collected a lot of the 16 years I have been alive and it is still growing everyday. Got this Locomotive the other day. It's a Right of Way Industries Allegheny.IMG_20190814_235227303

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So many great posts, it’s hard to keep up. What a wide range of layouts, wind-up, postwar, modern/command, live steam, different gauges, it’s all great. 

Thanks to the guys chiming in with encouragement. I hesitated creating the post because I didn’t want to exclude anyone, and I have a lot respect for all of those that are so helpful and interesting here on the forum. 

Another common theme is that most people were introduced to trains at a young age by someone close to them. That’s something we can all continue to do.

Sure, kids enjoy video games today, but there just isn’t anything like building a layout of your own with your hands. 

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