The End of the Line for Model Rail at Twin Falls County Fair
The model railroad exhibit at the Twin Falls County Fair is the most popular on the grounds. It comes straight from the director of the fair. It’s why the models are now housed in a new building, and the actual caboose that dominated the fair’s main entrance was moved by crane to the exhibit hall.
Popularity doesn’t spell success. You need people to maintain what is truly a museum to a passing portion of American history. When I was a boy, all my buddies had model trains in their homes. I used to help my dad lay track. The engines and cars were all made from metal in those days, and the engines were heavy. Now, many of the components are plastic and lighter.
At my best friend’s house, the basement was a model railroader's dream. Ron and his dad had constructed an entire village. Trains roared through town and Matchbox cars dotted the streets. It made me swoon!
The children still have the same reaction at the fairgrounds, but when it comes to what they want for Christmas, they want video games. The patience in building dioramas appears as well to be a relic of history.
I cite this as you may have noticed the average age of the model railroaders at the fair. Mostly men and they clearly aren’t young men. Without them, who’ll be there to pick up the torch?
Yes, some younger people will still get involved in the hobby, but the numbers will apparently never be as large as in past generations. I believe most progress is good. The rest just makes me sad.