Waiting for day 2 of the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show in Springfield to start. Outside it's warm and clear, so we're hoping for another great turnout.
For me, this is really what it's all about. 20,000+ people who love model railroading. There are few things in life that I find people are as passionate about as they are about their hobbies. Something I've always found interesting is that when you meet somebody and ask what they do, they almost always tell you what their job is.
I'm a musician, a role-playing gamer, and a model railroader, in no particular order. I recently realized that stuff that I love to do the most, and that really are part of what makes me who am, I had discovered and was doing by 3rd grade. Of course, in life we have to do many other things besides what we love, and often that takes precedence. Here at the show, there's no question about what fires people up.
A common discussion I see online is, "the hobby has gotten so expensive." While I find that an interested topic of discussion, what I also find interesting about it is that for the people who are really passionate about whatever it is they are doing, the price really doesn't enter into it. In fact, that's probably a better measure than almost anything as to what somebody really values. You see it on eBay all the time. Like a $50 or $75 plastic caboose that sells for $270.
But seeing hundreds of people who just want to come over and talk trains for two days is an amazing way to start off the new year and makes me excited to get moving on my projects and get prepared to host some operating sessions and open houses for the NE Prototype Meet May 29 and 30 this year.
I've got dozens of "show friends" that I pretty much only see at shows, we catch up on our projects, and figure out what each of us can do to help the other with what they are building. Then we do the same thing at the next show we see each other.
There are some lone wolves out there, and of course plenty of casual modelers too. But I just love the community of those who are really passionate about what they do and love to share it with others. The "crazy" people like me that will spend hours discussing the fine points of track construction, freight cars, or the differences between an I-4-e and I-4-f locomotive.
Two things I look forward to, almost more than the show itself, is our annual dinner in the parlor car at the Steaming Tender, and Sunday dinner at the Student Prince. While there's a little overlap, it's really two different groups of friends having a beer and a great dinner and talking about trains.
See you at the shows, and if you're going to be in CT and want to come see the layout, just let me know.