Description of a ‘Typical Model Railroader’

Description of a ‘Typical Model Railroader’


By Roger Heid


Contrary to certain rumors and myths, a model railroader is a human being, a Homo sapiens. Let there be no mistake about this. However, some scientists have claimed that these model railroaders are to be categorized as a subspecies of Homo sapiens, having evolved during the past hundred years or so. They are known to be quite harmless in spite of occasional outbursts of heated discussions. Most all of them are of the male gender.

They seemingly have their very own place within the general social stratification. Additionally, most are known to be helpful and protective of each other, a fact unfortunately not widely recognized. Attempts made by several psychoanalysts to dissect and define the mind of the typical model railroader have yielded nothing but failure. Some of these scientists have agreed to call this subspecies ‘Homo Insanus Ludus Railroadus Fanaticus’.

There are cases reported when older model railroaders’ medical service providers in their clinic’s geriatrics department referred them to a pediatrician on account of having reached second childhood.

Recently conducted research has disclosed that the typical model railroader is not born with that state of mind. It is also not a matter of acquired taste. Much rather, the individuals afflicted were infested by a virus called Spyrococchus Loco Electricus. The female gender of Homo sapiens appears to be generally immune to this virus, but those females afflicted by this virus are considered to be a form of mutation currently subjected to further in-depth research.

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Signora bella railrotica

The symptoms of this affliction depend on how far the disease has progressed within an individual. In the early stages, a victim of the ‘disease’ is satisfied by a mere train moving along the tracks. In the advanced stages, he may worry about the locomotive engineer’s grandfather’s date of birth and the grandmother’s shoe size. In addition, the shape of toilet seats in passenger coaches within a certain period of time, round or oval, may have become a dire issue, especially what kind of wood they were made of and if the trees the wood came from were indigenous to the modeled area and era. The color of the toilet paper in those coaches may also be a major issue.

A well known side effect is some kind of fungus being attracted by the presence of the virus. It is referred to as Fungus Layoutus Unstoppicus. Any methods tried by pest control services to rid a given dwelling of this fungus are utterly in vain. If left uncontrolled, the layout will eventually take over every square inch of useable living space in a given dwelling. In one known case the layout expanded into the modeler’s car.

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This virus also leads to split opinions between those who are affected and those who are not. In the opinion of the typical model railroader, he does not or cannot spend enough money for the hobby. The opinion of those unaffected sharply differs. Their opinion is that this guy spends way, way too much. Well, we are all entitled to our own opinions, aren’t we?

Spouses who are unaffected by this virus are another story. Most of them just grin and bear it.

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Others go further out, either way. Some are outright helpful; there is plenty of evidence of this; the others I will not mention. If you are a typical model railroader having a spouse not affected by the virus you already know all about it. Fortunately, my own spouse is afflicted by the virus. No, we don’t argue over track easement rights or other issues. We co-operate.

The typical model railroader spends most of his downtime with things like fiddling around with the layout, developing unrealistic track plans, drilling holes into the display board, breaking a drill bit in the process, looking for items he knew he had but can’t find, throwing things out to create more shelf space, re-designing the existing track layout to find space for more stuff and such, expanding the wish list to the point of financial dimensions that would make J.P. Morgan feel humble or turn in his grave, and the list goes on and on. There never is enough downtime. This can lead to nightmares.

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Most of all, however, the typical model railroader has a lot of fun and gets a lot of satisfaction. He has learned to be patient and how to overcome occasional frustration. The smell of success is never too sweet.

Now you might ask yourself how come I know all about this. The answer is quite simple. I became infested by this virus some 60 years ago. I am finally starting to enter the advanced stages of this addictive ‘disease’. I can hardly wait. My spouse already shows the initial signs. I love my wife. Without her, our model railroad would be smaller, by a long shot.

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