Web Site Fills A Collecting Niche: Vintage Model Railroad Trains

Here’s a web site that goes beyond the ordinary: It is a web site for vintage, out of production, hard to find model railroad trains for the collector or the operator. It is found at Singular Goods.

In this article, I will bring your attention to why you may be interested in this web site if you are a serious model railroader or a passionate model railroad train collector.

Many web sites sell model railroad trains and there is a great number of sites that sell railroad train models on eBay, but almost always, these sites offer model trains that are a few months  or, at best, a few years old.

But, what about collectors who are looking for vintage model railroad trains to fill a hole in their collection, or the model railroader who needs a model that has not been in production for years, or for decades?

Yes, there are some very nice models being presently today, but the reality is that production costs are so high today that only a fraction of what could be modeled is being modeled currently.

The way it works in the model railroad world is that a manufacturer gears up for a run of a particular model railroad train, locomotive or car, and then produces what is, in essence, a limited run. Gone are the days, it seems, that collectors and modelers can count on a manufacturer to produce a model year in and year out over a sustained period of time.

Production costs to manufacturer a line of model railroad trains is high. These include research, making dies, and production with various paint schemes and liveries being a significant outlay. At any one time, a new model will fill the need and demand will be filled temporarily and, then, taper off. The manufacturers’ answer to this is to close out production and go on to a new project.

Then, after some time, perhaps years later, demand begins to creep up again. Who will fulfill that need? Once a manufacturer has ceased production of a model railroad train, then all that will be made of that particular model will have been made, and there will be no new supply.

In the world of models, some invariably get lost in the shuffle. Some meet untimely ends; some are laid aside. Over time, more and more are lost to the outside world. When demand begins to increase again, the only source for these out of production models is old stock from modelers, collectors, and hobby stores.

Singular Goods gets its name from the singular nature of the model railroad trains that it finds and offers. When a regular hobby shop runs out of something, it can usually order more. But, there is no vintage, out of production, hard to find model railroad train distributor that one may go to and get another vintage model railroad train to replace the one just sold. These models are catch as catch can, and they come, and they go, at their own rhythm and pace.

Singular Goods does offer some more recent out of production model railroad trains, but most of its offerings are decades old, some going back to the 1960s. What value do model railroad trains have from ages ago?

Well, many represent model railroad trains that just are not available today. Even if a particular railroad line is represented by current production of one or more manufacturers, the scope of distinct models, unique liveries and road numbers, is limited. It is quite possible for a model railroader to acquire all present example of current production and still come up short in modeling the full depth, or a reasonable approximation thereof, of the railroad consist involved. Many turn to older models to supplement the gaps found in modern production.

Model scales remain the same, but details have changed over the years. Newer models may have finer detail and offer more detail, but generally, the price of modern model railroad trains has skyrocketed. It is quite possible to get a fine, older model, for quite a bit less, substantially less, and upgrade details later when funds allow.

Are the modern, expensive model railroad trains really ready to run? By the nature of the costs involved, the model railroad trains produced at any time are more or less generic versions of the one produced by full size railroads, and serious model railroads often want to make extensive revisions to their models to make the more accurate and realistic.

To sum up, anyone who is a passionate model railroad train collector, or a serious model railroad operator of a model railroad layout, will appreciate being able to browse among some nice, vintage out of production and hard to find model railroad train equipment to use to fill in the gaps of what is currently available. It doesn’t hurt to have models that are unique and unlike the model railroad train equipment everyone else has.

Singular Goods is run by a model railroad collector with a keen eye for quality, value, and relevance to the hobbyist, whether he or she operates a model railroad train layout regularly or collects model railroad trains whose only journeys are on the display shelf.

William Rowe is a retired architect who has been a railfan since the age of six and an avid model railroad train enthusiast since almost the same age. Mr Rowe now lives in northern California, not far from the Feather River Canyon made famous for its scenic beauty and the California Zephyr passenger train that used to run through it. He can be found at Singular Goods

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