Sunday, October 17, 2010

Has This Ever Happened To You?

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever gone to a train show and . . . bought nothing?

I did that this weekend. The annual fall Winnipeg Model Railroad Club show was a great event, with over 70 sales and display tables. There was lots of great stuff for sale. But nothing called my name, or made me want to take out my wallet.

Friends at the show couldn't believe it. "There must be something you need," they said, lugging their purchases from table to table. But the answer was no. There is nothing I need: Not track, not switches, not buildings, not locomotives, not rolling stock. Nothing.

Yes, I know—it's a sad situation.

My problem, if you can call it that, is that my layout is finished. Or, at least, as finished as it's ever going to be. It's also full; there's no room for another locomotive or car.

Oh, sure, if there had been something special, something unique, something I didn't already own, I might have bought it at the show. But that didn't happen.

Twenty years ago, I couldn't have imagined this ever happening. Back then, I needed almost everything. In fact, the reason I got involved in running the local train show was not just altruistic—to do it for others, or even to raise money for a worthy charity. (Our show splits the proceeds with the Autism Society.) It was because I needed stuff for my layout, so I couldn't let it die!

But now I am at a different stage of the hobby. It's satisfying, in one sense, to have accomplished my goals. But, in another sense, it creates a sense of sadness; I miss those days of few dollars and lots of needs.That's when I always found something to buy at a train show.

I miss those days.


  1. Short answer: no. Longer answer: Yes, I've got enough equipment, track etc, but I now like to find photos, magazines, and prototype documents to make my modelling realistic, in both equipment, operations and modelling context.

    Sometimes at train shows, there's so much good stuff it's just hard to embarrassment of riches, John.

  2. I went there Saturday, and I did buy a few things (some intermodal cars and a DCC loco) but I have gone to many train shows in the past few years and bought less than $10 worth.

    I was at the stage you described. Now that I am planning to commence construction of my new layout in a few months, I expect to be spending a lot of time and money at shops and train shows. Hallelujah! The thrill is back.