Saturday, November 5, 2011

Model Railroader Survey Results

The M & M Sub. is the most popular scale,
but not the most popular era.

The latest Model Railroader survey is out. A few highlights:

The transition era (1946-60) is still the most popular modelling era for the magazine's readers (62 percent), followed by those who model 1961-71 and 1972-89.

HO is the most popular scale (84 percent), followed by N (24 percent), O, large scale, S and Z.

Almost half now use DCC to operate their layouts, while 41 percent say they intend to convert to it in the near future.

Readers say they own an average of 36 locomotives.

Most readers (45 percent) say they are protoype freelancers, 43 percent are freelancers, and 11 percent are strict prototype modellers.

The results mirror a survey taken a few years ago here in Canada, which also found that the transition era was the most popular for Canadian modellers. As with the Model Railroader survey, HO is the most popular scale in Canada, followed by N, O and S.

So: Where does that put me? Since I model the early 1990s, I'm out of step with most modellers. (Although I like to argue that my time period is also a transition era--from older second generation power, like SD40-2s and SD60s, to the more modern SD70s, 80s and 90s and others.)

I am in step when it comes to scale. (I like N scale, but it still seems too small for me.)

Like many other modellers, I'm a prototype freelancer, and the number of locomotives is about right.

When it comes to contol, I'm seriously (and maybe hopelessly) behind--the CP Rail M & M Sub. is still plain old DC, with no plans to change.

How does the survey match up with your experience?


  1. *36* locomotives! Holy smokes! I feel very underpowered.

  2. I'm a modern N Scaler, proto-freelancing in DCC. I only own 20 engines, so I'm a little behind on that one. I have an operating layout, a small shelf layout. I guess I don't fit the Model Railroader "standard" on many things at all. I'm having fun, nuff said!

  3. 36? Engines are like kitchen knives. I'd rather own one that works amazing than a drawer-full that work horrible.

  4. It might be that there are a few modellers pushing the average up. For example, one modeller here in Winnipeg buys two of every locomotive made--his basement is like a hobby shop. Another has a goal of owning a model of everything the Pennsy ever owned.