Are Model Trains Getting Even More Expensive?

Model railroading has always been an expensive hobby. Recently, it seems that price increases on engines and especially freight cars have accelerated a bit and that despite the fact that most tooling and production is done in China.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Rapido Trains, Inc. alerting me to the fact that more price increases are looming ahead. Labor costs are rising even in China and thus the costs of manufacturing model trains.

Manufacturers will have to think about whether it makes sense to bring production back or moving to another off-shore location where labor costs are more favorable. I do commend Rapido for openly communicating this development to their customers. In the age of social media, transparency is king.

One way of keeping the cost of the hobby down is of course limiting the number of purchases. This is what I have resorted to even though the reason is not an economical one. Since I modify and detail most of my models, there are a few projects in the queue and usually I can resist the temptation to add even more to my list.

Got an opinion on the development of model train prices? Share it in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Are Model Trains Getting Even More Expensive?

  1. Rene Gourley

    I don’t know, Johannes; if you look at what you can buy for $300 and what you could buy for $300 back in 1980 (as I remember 1980 in any case), apart from the fact that today’s model is mostly plastic, you’re getting much more for your money today than you were 31 years ago.

    Also, while model trains have a reputation for expense, I’d disagree with this as well. I get hours and hours of enjoyment out of a little stack of plastic, some solvent and a knife. I can’t think of any other past-time that can be so economical. Ask my race car-driving brother in law. He’ll tell you about an expensive hobby!

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  3. Jay

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