Saturday, December 11, 2010

Top Events of the Past Decade

Rapido's Angus Van: One of the Top events of the decade.
As the decade (2000-2010) comes to a close, there’s a discussion on the Atlas HO forum about the top events of the past ten years. So far, here are some of the things that have been mentioned, and some that seem important to me (in no particular order):

The demise of kits. (Anybody buy a blue box car recently?)

The end of scratchbuilding. (See item above; when you can even buy buildings that are put together, who needs to build anything any more?)

Sound becomes standard. (Although not yet on the CP Rail M & M Sub., unless you count the sound of Athearn blue box locomotives.)

The model railroad magazine industry shrinks. (Circulation is down, and we said goodbye to Railroad Model Journal and Model Railroading. Meanwhile, we said hello to Model Railroad Hobbyist, an online-only “magazine.” Is that the future of model railroad magazines?)

Consolidation in the model railroad industry. (Horizon buys Athearn & Roundhouse, Walthers buys LifeLike.)

The end of horn hook couplers. (Now that all rolling stock comes with Kadees of Kadee clones, what am I going to do with all those packages of #5 Kadee couplers?)

The Union Pacific licensing issue. (Who knew we were infringing on copyright?)

The closing of hobby shops. (When’s the last time you bought something at one?)

DCC becomes mainstream. (One day I just might buy a system.)

The entry of Rapido Trains into the model railroad market. It instantly raising the bar for passenger cars and other rolling stock. (And let’s not forget ExactRail, either.)

The growth of model railroad forums. (For good or ill—mostly good, in my opinion, but there are some flame wars I can do without.)

Limited runs. (Buy now or forget it.)

Here in Canada, I would add the birth of the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers (CARM), created in 2003; the growing number of Canadian items in the model railroad marketplace (including the great models made by Rapido); the shift in the model railroad world from Toronto, which used to boast the largest model railroad show in the country, to Calgary and Edmonton, which currently host the largest shows; and the continuing success of Canadian Railway Modeller, which continues to publish six issues a year out of a home office.

Also in Canada, but on non-model railroad note, would be the CPR's steam program, and its holiday train, which highlight railroading in significant ways for many Canadians.

What would you add to the list?


  1. John, I have to comment under protest. Horn-hook couplers live! X2F's 4ever!! Seriously, you are right on, and I agree with the trends you've listed, both in the US and Canada, where many apply equally.

    The choice of Canadian roadnames and prototypes is a major highlight, and if not started by Rapido, hugely advanced by Rapido.

    Now, I think it's time to improve realism of operations as much as we've improved realism of equipment.

    Merry Christmas John, and thanks for being a blog partner to Trackside Treasure in 2010.


  2. Great list. I would have to add the Internet, as a great research tool.

    Best of the season to you, and best wishes in 2011.

  3. It has been a whirlwind decade. The technology certainly has progressed. It won't be long and we'll be using 3D printers instead of kit bashing engines and cars (and no I'm not kidding).