Model Railroading as a
Community Service

Thinking outside the box...

We usually don't think about model railroading as a community service. Our focus often as model railroaders is on creation of models and landscapes for ourselves and for others to enjoy. It is an art form, a combination of science and engineering and a marvel to behold. Why wouldn't we want to share it with others? Not only do we want to share it with others. We want to teach it to others, to show them how we did it. We've been doing that for years. That was the purpose of this whole website - to share the information with others and teach them how to do it. 

Many of us go to great lengths to share our hobby. We bring our modular layouts to train shows, libraries, schools, senior citizens homes for display and often allow the visitors to operate some of the trains. It's fun, enjoyable and it brings people together. It is something families can enjoy. And at the same time, it is educational and sparks curiosity. "How did you do that?" is the question we often hear, and love to answer. Those T-shirts are not wrong that say we love to talk about trains. 

Community sharing is part of what we do in model railroading, and I would say this sharing is a service which we provide freely without hesitation, even if the sharing is just with friends, neighbors and family. 

Why do you think there are big organizations like the National Model Railroad Association and others that have large meetings and conventions? Because we like to share what we've done with others and we like to learn how others do what they do. 

There are at least eight different model railroad clubs in this area where I live in Hampton Roads, Virginia, all gathering every few weeks to enjoy the fun of being together and sharing their common elements.

This innate part of the hobby can be, and should be an opportunity to provide fun and educational family entertainment in any community right along with other sharing events, like sports, music, and museums. The more things like this that people can choose to do, the better for them and their families. It provides a venue for people to socialize, learn to get along and work with others, a way for people to talk to each other without having to argue about politics or religion, a way to get young people away from television and video games for a few hours. It gives teens, retirees and veterans things to do that will make them proud of themselves.

It's been said that we have a very divided country today in America. Just read any of the social media sites for an hour or so to feel the hatred and anger that people have. We have to get away from this anger. We have to realize that the people on the other side of that name-calling post that we just entered are real people just like we are. We would know that if we met them in person. Young people are constantly being persuaded to do horrible things by social media brainwashing and daily indoctrination by dark parts of the internet. There are shootings everywhere every day in this country. We try to fix these things at the government level, but many say we need to start by fixing things in the communities, and at the family level in order to develop better ways of getting along with each other.

So, I'm into saving the world - one community at a time. 

Share your model railroading with others. Join a club. Join the NMRA. Get involved with the community service projects in which they are participating. It's not hard. Show everyone your model railroad. Spread the warmth and enjoyment of the hobby to everyone you know. Have friends help you build your railroad. You will enjoy the hobby even more than you do now and they will too. Start a modular layout club that you and your friends can take around the neighborhood and display at the local library, church, mall, nursing home or hobby shop. Support local museums and activities especially for young people and students to join. 

There are things you can do to make the world a better place. It starts with you. Yes, you! The one sitting there reading this. You've got a great hobby. Now use it to do something good.

In Virginia, we are doing something. We have spent the better part of 2 years developing a plan for sharing model railroading in our community. We are creating a very unique non-profit museum that will provide up to ten layouts all in different scales. One or two of them will be built by high school or college students and the rest by expert modelers, while the public watches. One or more of the layouts will be interactive so that visitors can enjoy operating the trains. We will provide classes and videos regarding how railroads were built, and their history, especially how they helped develop Virginia and Hampton Roads. There will be a book and video library for doing research, and hands-on clinics to learn how to use science and art to build model railroads. We will use the STEM system of learning and add Art to it to make STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). We will need volunteers, donations, grants and sponsorships. If you are interested, let us know at [email protected].

Restoring a nation - one neighborhood at a time. One person at a time. 

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