Ray’s layout update

I have to start today’s post with some news I’ve been trying to put off for some time.

There’s no way to say it, other than I think it’s time to hang up my boots.

Every now and then I have a wobble over the site, but I’ve always said when it starts to cost me money, it’s time to call it a day.

And that day has come.

Perhaps it’s my own fault – I haven’t put the prices up on anything since I started the blog in 2010. Yet every year, everything gets more expensive.

I do love seeing what’s in my inbox each morning, but not enough to pay for the privilege.

Usually, the good months make up for the bad months, but recently, they have all been bad months.

So what to do?

I’m going to make my mind up in the New Year.

But in the meantime, to help ease the pain, I thought there is only one sensible course of action – run a sale for the Beginner’s Guide with a load of freebies.

If it helps keep the wolf from the door it would make a huge difference to me.

Don’t get me wrong, folks, I’m not asking for charity. You can help by investing in the Beginner’s Guide or any of the print-out-scenery.

I’d love to keep it going, but I can’t unless things improve.

I’ve made some wonderful online friends over the years, and it will make me sad to call it a day, but I do know you will all understand.

Anyway, fingers crossed for the sale. Let’s see what happens.

And now on to Eric.

He’s been back in touch after his last post:


Thanks for getting my story up so quickly. It was great reading all those wonderful comments!

I’ve noticed a lot of people mentioning getting their start in the hobby way back in their childhood. The same with me. I was about 5 years old when my Grandpa who lived in Germany sent my Dad and me some Marklin HO trains.

I remember my dad starting a layout that we never finished as we ended up moving to Hawaii. This was back around 1965. I remember a photo of my Dad and me working on the train layout and I just happened to find it again! I have attached it.

Might be interesting to see if others may have photos of way back with their original train sets. It would be real fun to see a collection of old photos and you may want to ask if anyone has any they would like to share.

Please feel free to share my photo on your site if you like. It made me feel real good seeing my Dad again in the picture.

Thanks again for everything you are doing to share this hobby with the world!


“Good morning Al,

I have sent you a number of emails over the years and you have posted some pictures I have sent you on more than one occasion.

It is awesome to get to see my work on your site for I know how many people, like me, enjoy your site and look forward to opening your emails for motivation, tips, and to see all the great work others are doing.

Recently, you reposted one of my emails with pictures of my N scale layout.

It stated as a 4X8 ft layout 5 years ago and is now approximately 180 sq ft.

I use Kato track and I switched over to DCC last year. I have 35 Kato switches.

The majority of my locomotives and rolling stock are from the US or Holland.

As you can see, not a specific prototype, I just model things I like and know.

I was once told that modeling is what you want it to be and there is no right or wrong way to set up YOUR layout.

Thus, I have a European section, a ski slope, a golf course, a New England fall scene with the leaves changing, a city, a circus, a carnival, fishing holes, beach, military base, and of course Worcester Union Station.

And many of my scenes originated from some of your emails where I liked something that someone else had done and figured to give it a try.

And of course my layout is constantly changing and evolving, however I think I have run out of space in my basement, so it will probably not expand any more. 🙂

I have attached a more recent video of the layout, which you can see has taken over my entire basement. 🙂

Thank you for hosting and sharing all the great “stuff” that is sent to you.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Eric and Ray (you can see one of Ray’s earlier posts here).

I do thoroughly agree with Ray when he says:

“I was once told that modeling is what you want it to be and there is no right or wrong way to set up YOUR layout.” Amen to that.

That’s all this time folks.

You can grab the Beginner’s Guide here.

And thank you all for your support over the years. It really has meant so much to me.



84 Responses to Ray’s layout update

  1. Sorry to hear you’re thinking of stopping – I assume the issue is lack of storage space.

    Maybe worth deleting some of the early entries in the blog to free up space?

  2. Hi Ray. How far apart are your feeder wires to the track?
    I too have used exclusively N scale Kato unitrack.
    I am ready to start wiring DCC. My two mainline runs are approximately 145′ each.
    Opinion seems to be e to 6 feet aprt. Also have around 40 turnouts.
    Thanks, I hope you see my note here.

  3. I’d like to suggest a $25.00 (US) subscription. It is long overdue. All you have to do is put a sign on the door, no shoes, no shirt, no scratch, NO SERVICE. This is intellectual property and it belongs to you. Your success is our success. No one is required to work for free. England outlawed slavery in 1833, Russia freed the serfs in 1860, and we fought the Civil War over it. The law is n your side. Do it.

  4. Chris Arnold says:

    Morning Al,
    We can’t let you go!! How about a modest annual subscription to keep things up and running? I am sure, like me, most would be prepared to contribute.

  5. Kaustav says:

    Agreed with the rest. I think a subscription model will be really a good way to get started. The real treasure of the site is the blog and years of resources. I think you can start with a basic subscription that gives access to the blog, and a gold member subscription to add more specialised items. There are many talented model railroaders here and I’m sure they can help creating the additional content for the gold member subscription. I’d also recommend your own YouTube channel.

    I really hope you find a solution. This site just cannot stop!

  6. Tom says:

    My brother Jeff is just getting started with a HO layout in my basement. It keeps him busy not only with the work he is putting into it, but his super ideas that he comes up with with the help of your site. I am all in for whatever is the best way to keep your site going.

    Best Regards

  7. Mark J says:

    I bought a golden key and I’d be happy to pay a modest subscription as well. Excellent basement layout there. If you’ve used all your basement space then there really is only one option, move house and start again! You could buy lots of printout scenery to get you started as well.

  8. John Birch says:

    For ages I have wondered how you have managed to continue without charging.and when you have charged for something, I have usually bought it to support you. It must take many hours of your time but why should you do what you do for nothing? I’m sure most of your readers would support the idea of an annual subscription and would happily pay for it. It would certainly be value for money.

  9. NJ Mark says:

    I will gladly pay a subscription to keep this unique forum moving onward. I have learned so much from many talented people and always look forward to every edition. We all have been so fortunate to have connected with people around the globe and hear stories about our wonderful hobby, problems and triumphs alike. Thanks, Al Cheers! NJ Mark

  10. GWLT says:

    I don’t post here often. Usually, it’s just when I have an idea. Today, I have an idea, and an offer. My idea is to help Al keep ye olde wolfe from ye olde door: transform the gems that are in your possession into Kindle eBooks and sell them through the site, and, obviously on the Amazon Kindle store (duh!)

    Here’s the offer: I’ll ghost write it, identify what should be in it, and advise on marketing it. If we can come to a suitable arrangement, and if the audience thinks they’d buy such a book, it could help keep this great site alive.

    Otherwise, it’s an additional paywall, to add to the existing one; I’m not sure why the current paywall isn’t covering costs, but I’d be happy to discuss ways to bridge that funding gap, with my Strategic Management Masters Degree hat on.

    The offers are out there, so I can’t back down now 😉

  11. Don Ripper says:

    Hi Ray, I can’t remember a golf course on a layout before, good stuff. Your ski-lift looks pretty scary!

    All the best, Don

  12. Bob says:

    I agree subscription seems to be the way to go. To reduce book keeping pro rate the first year for those who find the site late in the year. Then all subscriptions are due end of January or June when ever you decide. That would probably be easier than having everyone’s subscription ending all over the calendar. Don’t fool yourself. It is. No longer the 1950s

  13. Robert Brady says:

    HIT Us with a fee if it’s reasonable we’re in yearly sounds about right. Allen Keller Seems to make it work give it a shot. Good luck Big AL!

  14. Robert Brady says:

    I need my morning dose of Model railroad layouts plans.

  15. Eric Rayner says:

    I agree with the others, we don’t want you to go, many (myself included) would prefer to subscribe annually so we can keep this wonderful and informative site going, with your help of course.

  16. David Ellison says:

    I Agree with all the others, what kind of yearly subscription fee might keep you going

  17. David Pugh says:

    I feel that a modest subscription would be worth it .you’re site keep giveing so many different ideas. I’m sure think there are thousands of people then enjoy your site and would want it to continue. Please try the subscription idea before closing up the shop.

  18. Joel Leson says:

    I’d pay $25, or whatever price you set. Seeing the layouts makes my day. Thanks for all of your fine work on this site!!! It’s an international treasure.

  19. Michael D Reader says:

    Al, if there is an issue regarding finance, I am sure the people who have benefited so much from your site over the years would happily contribute something towards it. Why not set up a subscription.
    Best of luck

  20. David Pickard says:

    I’d pay a subscription fee to help you keep publishing, gladly!

  21. James Clasby says:

    I will be willing to pay!

  22. Ralph Kimball says:

    Al–I agree with rest.
    A modest annual subscription fee, payable annually, is the way to go. I can’t imagine my many cups of coffee in the morning without a dose of Al along with them.
    Ralph Kimball (USA)


  23. Sad to hear your possible decision. Your Blog is the highlight of the day for me. I,too, would be willing to pay a modest membership fee. Thank you for your contribution of delight every day.

  24. john Frye says:

    I know you are a prideful person who would not want “something for nothing” but you are such a great supporter and advocate for all of us worldwide who love model railroading that I and I’m confident many would like to figure a way for you to continue the great work you do. I’d like to suggest you explore what we here in the States call a “Go Fund Me” site where folks can contribute directly to the support of your site. I pledge $100 here and now for it.

    John From Baltimore

  25. I’m in! Tell us how much and how we sign up. I don’t currently have a working setup. In the past, I’ve built and rebuilt many a layout. Space restrictions are whats keeping me from actively building yet another layout at 70 years old.
    This site and the postings of all the talented modelers out there is keeping me going until I can begin once again.

    Thanks Al….count me in on the subscription plan,

    Kevin OD

  26. Lester W Larrew in Georgia USA says:

    Hi all,
    I am one of the many who would be glad to pay for a subscription. I really love this site

  27. Earl Jones says:

    Hi Al,

    I agree with the many comments about paying a yearly fee. I hope you take up GWLT’s offer and others to keep the blog going.

  28. Tony Kitty Hawk, NC says:

    Totally agree Al- you need to keep it going, and you need to benefit from all your great work. Yearly subscription seems to be the consensus. Start it Jan 1- we will all be ready for it.

  29. I would pay an annual fee of $25. like someone suggested ….. love your
    website and seeing all the layouts. Have a lot of HO stuff that I hope to
    set up one day.

  30. Ray, love the layout. Very creative. Clearly lots of thought and hard work went into it. I’d say you have used up all of the room you have and then some! I love layouts with lots of moving parts. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
    Al, I’m with everyone else. Seems like you have several folks out there willing to help solve or work around the issues you are having. Add me to the list of folks willing to pay an annual fee to help keep this great site going.
    Can you imagine a book with all of the “questions, fixes, suggestions, work-arounds, solutions” you have posted over the years? Anyway, love the site, and thank you for your commitment to keeping it going.

  31. Terry Beeler says:

    I am with everyone else that a modest yearly subscription sounds like a great idea it may not pay for everything but I am sure it would help. Jus let us know how much and I will be glad to pay.

  32. Jeff Taylor says:

    No! Please don’t stop what you’re doing! I bought your beginners guide today, and will take a look at other possibilities of purchasing some additional stuff. Please! Everyone out there, take a moment and support this man, the model railroad community is already too small, it needs to grow! It’s not that expensive, please take a moment and show your support!


  33. Rich B. says:

    Great layout, anything goes with lots of fun but also keeping in context.

    Hope this publication is around for many more years, have to concur with all above responses. Best wishes on achieving all goals.

    Regards, Rich

  34. John Berger says:

    So Sorry to hear that! I understand that you do this from a love of the hobby, and your right, it shouldn’t cost you to do this. I appreciate and enjoyed the blogs. Thank you for your time and effort!

  35. Mister Malted says:

    Subscription fee ? I’m in!

  36. David Waitzman says:

    Dear Al,
    Have previously bought the beginner’s guide. I have also purchased the “golden key” for access to the past blogs/search. The site itself is totally invaluable for everyone who follows and comments. I am in with the others that have responded that we should all pay a yearly subscription for the site. If the various “Model Railroad” publications can charge upwards of $40 to $100/year for their print magazines and video content then why can’t this site charge $25 per year (US) for probably what is much more informative and helpful content: Expert people commenting on what problems others have and guiding them toward a solution! That’s worth hundred’s of dollars in botched attempts to attack problems on your own!

    In addition I agree with GWLT that a number of us could participate in putting together “subtopic” publications either separate here on the site or ? on kindle that could address specific issues in the hobby. For example something I am trying to do “Convert to DCC, a step by step guide” While this is somewhat addressed elsewhere having resources that are site generated could really push the hobby forward as well as serve as a significant source of income. Please don’t “resign to the wolf” and dissolve the site with all of the really, really, really helpful data that is here. And potentially much more information if some of us put forth some moderate effort to help. Setting up a few subgroups on 3 or 4 topics and publishing their collected ideas/writing would be really straightforward. Thanks for everything you have done.

  37. Some sort of annual fee and keep the site open. I have bought a number of items and would keep on buying. I have a layout up and running but quit working on it as I don’t like the size. I have been building an inventory for my next site, which I hope to start after the first of the year. Best to you what ever you decide.

  38. Dan Hulitt says:

    Many of us pay for mags that give us 12 issues, and then have to pay more for video rights. A subscription to a daily dose with stills and video makes sense to me. Please consider it, Al.

  39. Gary Manganiello says:

    Hi Al…… I was sorry to read your email this morning about the financial status of your site and your thoughts about discontinuing it. Since I got back into the hobby a few years back, your site, your emails, your blogs and all the comments and ideas from the other model railroaders has helped me immensely and I enjoy reading them and look always forward to the next one from you.
    From reading the comments in this last email (Ray’s Layout Update), it is obvious that the model railroaders that frequent your site do not want you to stop and will support you. So here’s my thoughts:

    1. How many subscribers do you have that have a membership?
    2. Is there anyway to know how many model railroaders visit your site?
    ( I think your site service provider can provide that info)
    3. How many model railroaders are on your email list.
    The reason I ask this is that there is strength in numbers and you can use this volume of model railroaders to support your site. Here is what I propose:

    Obviously, you have done the math on what it cost you per month and what you receive from the site.

    What would the numbers look like if:
    – you increased EVERYTHING BY 3% OR 4% OR 5%.
    – you increased the membership by 10%
    – you increased the price of the “Beginner’s Guide” by 10%
    – you increased the price of the scenery models by 1 or 16.7%
    – Utilize “YOUTUBE”, its free……
    – Advertise you site and your blogs
    – Post your modeling tips
    Percentage wise these might look like high numbers but for the us individual model railroaders , it is not alot.
    I don’t know if this helps or if you have thought about this already but I know from reading the comments of other model railroaders WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO GO!


    Gary Manganiello

  40. Richard R. Stern says:

    Make a the club I don’t think there’s taxes on club dues We all can afford that rather than buying a new building or trees or a car Train car that is. Club is not a business and you’ve done such a good job over the past years that we all hate to see something like this happen. Besides I haven’t been able to get mine to a point where I could take pictures and send it in

  41. Franklin Zinanni says:

    Hello Alastair! I have never posted before but I had to put my 2 cents (not that that would help you any…lol. I enjoy your emails and while I do not have a current model (due to my kindness in allowing my friend to use my extra bedroom to store his property) I do plan to eventually build a model and would benefit greatly from your continued emails. So an annual subscription is certainly something I would be willing to pay but I also think that you should also increase the price of your beginners guide too as there is absolutely no reason for you to not have increased the price over the years and you should not expect that by having one of your silly sales that will increase your revenue enough to cover increases costs. So run this sight like a business and figure out your costs, how much your projected income from your sales, then how many subscribers you think you can count on and then what you would need to charge each subscriber. Then next year see where you stand and if you have to increase prices then do it. Unfortunately it is an absolutely fact nowadays that prices for almost everything will increase and I for one will evaluate whether the value I get (of course it is hard to quantify all the invaluable info from your post) is worth what I am required to pay….(absolutely if it is $25 or less per year!!!!!). Thank you for your hard work and you surely deserve to be paid (what you use those funds for is certainly up to you but if I am right you would use them to make your site better) and that is certainly not charity as your time you spend maintaining the site is a valuable resource. I would recommend that you look into maybe using PayPal as your payment option as you would not have to worry about having trying to keep everyone’s credit card info safe as you never have access to that info….Thanks Frank Zinanni….Southern Indiana in the good ole USA…yes we may be divided politically but everyone forgets about all the other issues that we can agree on!!!!

  42. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    I would willingly pay for your service. Set a fee and take PayPal or something similar and I will pay up today!!!! If it is only money then let’s all get it done. If it is taking up your time beyond reason the hang up the boots. Your time is precious and you can’t get that back at the end of the day.

  43. Martin Green says:

    Hi Al
    A couple of months ago I entered my 70th year and, like you, decided it was finally time to hang up my boots, take it easy and return to this great hobby of railway modelling. It has been 30 years since home, work and a million other things got in the way and forced me to put the tools away and get on with the business of raising a family. Boy have things changed in the world of railway modelling. I’ve never been too keen on “out of the box” and “ready to run” and have always loved scratch building, “improving” and generally tinkering with stuff, making it my own and putting my stamp on things. I’m not particularly artistic so I was delighted to discover your wonderful work. I just love it. Yes, it’s a shame that you are deciding to quit, but you have left us with a fantastic resource that will certainly keep me, for one, supplied with material for the rest of my days! The site and its contributions from other modellers has been a tremendous inspiration for me.
    A couple of days ago I finally closed the web site that has been my daily life for the last 25 years. It was a sad moment, but I soon got a feeling of enormous relief. The responsibility had gone and at last I could put my feet up and do what I wanted. I’m sure you’ll feel that way too. Your work has brought so much fun and inspiration to folks like me.
    I just want to say thank you and to wish you a long and happy retirement (if that’s what you decide).
    Very best wishes, Martin

  44. John D. Quill says:

    Al, I have been an HO model railroader for since I was a kid. Now at 76 and fully retired, I certainly have enjoyed getting ideas and seeing what other folks are doing with the hobby. You have certainly enabled us to continue and dream. I am very supportive of an annual subscription fee. If you must leave us, we understand. You will be very missed. The only thing that keeps me from ordering printable structures is that my layout already has nearly sixty buildings on it. It’s a rather congested city. Thank you for keeping the genius of so many folks alive for us!

  45. Al –

    I’m sorry to hear of your troubles…partly because I’m sorry to hear that anybody who has been so enthusiastically unselfish as to throw his back into something like your blog should have any troubles at all. But I also understand that any long slog like building a model railroad is sufficiently lonely that even the satisfaction we glean from the creative part of it wouldn’t survive without encouragement from others, particularly those who are interested in the same things we are. So while you may consider your blog mainly a “how to” service, I (and I would suspect I am far from alone) would place a much larger value on the abstract – the encouragement and the recognition that comes from the “attaboys” from others doing what we are am engaged in ourselves.

    It’s hard to put a subscription price on this service, precisely because it is so invaluable, but in my case I’d be happy to subscribe for quite a lot.

    There is one big problem, it seems to me, that may be hurting you more than you know, and that would be the anonymity that you have tailored into your daily posts, which keeps us from contacting each other either for advice, or in this case to help out our avocational ringmaster. I remember when I requested a fellow’s email address to share something, you responded by asking whether I “really wanted that, and that there were some strange characters out there,” or words to that effect. So, whereas one the one hand I appreciate your very English sense of propriety, we now live in a world where the rest of us barbarians are daily excoriating each other for our political views on Facebook and participate willingly in local “List” exchanges with name and address revealed for all to see. I truly don’t see the harm in introducing each other in an obviously civilized club of creative old men who enjoy a similar hobby.

    And while your cry for help (either overt or subliminal) may be awkward for you, please believe me when I and others assure you that your role in our modeling endeavours is fundamental, nor would it be a charity to provide you with some support.

    Please don’t allow your modesty to encumber you, and tell us what we can all do to keep the Alastair Lee Global Modeling Forum cheerfully afloat for many happy years to come!

    Fred Gevalt
    Arlington, MA (Boston) USA

  46. William NOROSKI says:

    GOOD DAY ALASTAIR. SORRY TO HEAR. I ,for one, totally understand..
    It would be a shame if the site changed in any way. I sit on the edge of my chair every morning , noon , and night to open and READ the emails from you and all the other interesting contributions from your readers. PLEASE don’t hang up ur shoes .
    Let me add… I am 88 and have been playing with trains for 70 years. I thought the hobby was DEAD until I found your website, I had things disassembled , packed away .
    YOU GAVE ME a new lease on life.
    Since then , I gave it another try or two . A few years ago, I took a load of pictures and documented MY STORY . I submitted that entire package. to you Hoping to find it on your website someday… Use it in part or use it
    all. It would please me, to no end , to be one of your contributing elves

  47. Neil Feder says:

    I for one would be sorry to see this ghost away as this the first site I go to in the morning. How about a membership fee. Your site is more help than others that I pay for.

  48. Marklin ed says:

    Make a fee for using your site and information. Do not make different levels of fees,keep it simple. WILLING TO PAY. (I purchase you guide and don’t have a lay out just too support you.)

  49. Mark Houck says:

    Before your make your discussion on cutting the the service. Do a survey on members willing to pay and what they feel is a fair cost for this service.
    I really enjoy this web blog and wonderful world great modelers that share their creations and ideas. This really keeps the creative mind going for my club involvement and home layout.
    Thank you,

  50. Neil Feder says:

    I for one would be sorry to see this site go away as it is the first site l visit in the morning.. How about a membership fee. I pay for some sites that are only interested in revenue not in promoting a wonderful hobby

  51. Brian Rockey says:

    Hi Alastair
    The volume of comments already show that we can’t afford to lose our daily fix. I’m in full agreement with everything said already especially the comment that your blog is far more interesting, entertaining and informative than the railway modelling mags out there.
    I sincerely hope that you can find a way of securing a level of funding from all your bloggers that will enable you to continue.
    Thanks for showing my layout and videos in the past. I’m working on a ‘new’ loft layout which hopefully when suitably advanced will prove interesting to your bloggers.

  52. Lewis Brumberg Jr. says:

    Your site is the first one I open every morning. I can not tell you how I look forward to seeing what others have done, mistakes corrected, other layouts in all gauges. What will it take for you to continue. More money, some help, storage. I believe that every reader of your material will gladly support you raising the prices. Those of us that look forward to seeing your posts will gladly pay an increase instead of you fading into the shadows.You mean so much to so many people and it would be a shame if you decided to give it up. So many will be affected if you do. Good luck on your decision.

  53. Ralph Samples says:

    Hi Al,
    You have created such a wonderful place for friends to look into homes around the model train world and see what’s going on. I’ll never actually meet any of the thousands of people who traffic your site, but it makes my day brighter every time your email alert lands in my inbox.

    I am a Gold Key member, have also purchased a few things in the past, and would happily pay an annual subscription fee to help keep the whole thing alive. Crank up a PayPal account and start off the new year by announcing the “Big Al Loyalty Deal.”

    Thanks for all you do for actual modelers and armchair train enthusiasts around the world!
    Ralph in Eureka, Missouri USA

  54. Gerald Westphalen says:

    Hi Al, if You are still willing to keep this site going then a yearly subscription might be the way to go. Also if you are the lone person running the site then maybe John could help you out with the running of the site or somebody else. All of us would really hate to see this end. Please consider all ideas. Good luck whatever you decide and best wishes to you. Thank you for all you have done.

  55. Victor Koyano says:

    I noticed many modelers are old here, I’m 75 and thought I was rare. Then l saw Google news about an old rock singer, Rod Stewart, who has a huge World renown train layout and he said he was hiding that talent in the closet until he realized it isn’t a toy for just young boys. Model railroading is for any human being that wants it. Now, l know many oldsters are not wealthy as Rod Stewart so being retired and having disabilities is a problem for owning the almighty Dollar or money equivalent. So, we look for freebies and mooch to get entertainment. I live alone because mom was forced into a hospice by our mean grinch healthcare system and l alone pay to keep home. The hospice took all her income and Social Security only pays $993 a month and $83food benefits. But l can give a little subscription fee if you implement it….Oh, my momsy is 108 years young….
    Victor K.

  56. Michael Bruce says:

    Al, don’t go! Over the year’s I have bought the Beginner’s Guide, The Golden Key and some print out buildings. These have all been very helpful in putting together my modest HO layout. I would be very willing to pay an annual fee (or lifetime membership) to keep this unique site going.

  57. Ian Gordon-Jones says:

    I would be willing to pay an annual subscription to the site. I have found the site to be of great use in sorting things out on my two layouts. It has also be very interesting to see other people’s layouts.

  58. Really like your layout, but I don’t think I would ride on your trolley up the mountain. Think I would get sick. LOL.
    Al this is my first response to anything to date. I have purchased from you and I definitely will subscribe to you if you start a fee. Monthly or annually.

  59. Hi Al,

    I agree with most of the other readers, you should have a subscription fee $25 or better yet 20GBP.
    The number of tips you offer is enormous. Why not have a membership fee enough for you to have a catalog – z scale, n scale, ho/oo scale………. and newbies like me can select to follow their scale.


  60. Perry Torregano says:

    hi All.
    If you can keep up the site, might you sell it to someone younger to keep it going?

    Just an alternate idea.

  61. Perry Torregano says:

    Hi All,
    I tried to take advantage of your last sale but I was too late.

  62. Tom Everest says:

    I too really enjoy your site and hope you can find a way to keep it up. Some have suggested a “modest” fee. Several consider 25 bucks as a modest fee. It all depends on an individual’s financial situation. For me, 25 bucks would be too pricey. I too did pay for Gold Membership. I’m also assuming there are many subscribers like me who have other hobbies/interests besides model railroading that also require fees, licenses, and equipment.. Just for fun, my boss asked me one day if I played golf. When I said “no”; he said “That didn’t like just no; but Hell No”. I explained I was afraid to try, because I was afraid I’d like it, and I already had too many expensive interests. Since I’ve retired, I’ve had to cut back. While I was working, I fortunately would receive bonuses which I could use to indulge. So here go, I could handle 5 bucks or 10 bucks a year; 25 Nope.

  63. I would be happy to send a check for a small fee. This is actually one of the best sites overall. $10 would be great but would consider higher strongly.

  64. Ed Eggers says:

    Hi Al
    I really enjoy your site. Count me in for subscription or whatever we need to do to help you continue.
    Ed North Carolina

  65. Ed Taylor says:

    Please keep this site going. It is a tremendous source of information and a joy to see all the information supplied by the huge following. An annual fee seems a logical way to go. I think you will pleasantly surprised at the number of members who will follow you.

  66. Mark - Charleston, SC - USA says:

    To say the least, I think you can see the value of what you are doing through this blog for everyone who enjoys a free membership in it. Let me add my voice to those who are suggesting a modest subscription fee.

    Decide the amount. You know how many people are subscribed currently and that information can tell you about how much the fee should be to offset any and all costs for running the site. I would think you might have to slightly adjust that fee for a small loss of subscribers because there would now be a subscription fee. Then, let us know what that fee will be and send us an invoice with a “Cart Link” to your current Purchase or Store pages where we purchase materials. With your current credit card payment system, you don’t have to set up anything more than the cart Item, Annual Subscription Fee and a “Pay Now” button.

    Please get started on this and let us know what the fee will be by the first of December and give us until the 31st of December to pay it. On the 1st of Jan, cut off the emails addresses to those who have not paid. You may also have to add a sign in button to the blog’s direct web access for members (those paying subscribers) to access the blog pages.

    Al, it is not charity to be paid for providing what many here would and have called an invaluable service. Thank you for what you do.

  67. Richard says:

    Hi Al,
    I concur with the other responding individuals! Your blog has been the most entertaining and informative model railroad site on the internet. There must be a way we can help keep you afloat, whether it be monetary or physical support. I would gladly subscribe. Maybe we could put together a business plan or funding model. There must be a way!

  68. Lee W Barnhart says:

    Hi Al; I’m doing this for the 1st time because I’m stingy. I have been following you and your posts for 6 years now and archive almost every one. Like most everyone else, I really would hate to see you “Hang up your boots”. I’ve received so much good information from you and others that have posted on your page.
    I’m still clearing my garage from a move last year and am starting a lay out as soon as I get about 8 feet along one wall. I have both ‘N’ and ‘HO’. But I plan on starting small. I will go back and re-read some posts for pointers.
    I agree with one reply that said ha wouldn’t mind a $25 fee for a U.S. membership, I’d pay it in a heartbeat. Please keep us informed as to what you’re going to do. I pray you make you do what’s right for you. Thank you for everything you do. Lee in Oregon, USA

  69. At seventy-six I need all the friends I can keep. Please let your readership subscribe to fill the financial bill for you. I look at your site every day, every week. One buck a week is only fifty bucks a year. Would be happy to send a check or provide it thru pay pal. Just signed up for the beginners’ guide. Thank you. Garry in Maine

  70. John S. Brunel says:

    Hey Al, while I am fairly new to the site, it has proven to be an invaluable resource. I don’t want to appear presumptuous but have you considered having someone else take over the site? Like many of the above, I would be willing to pay an annual license fee if that is appropriate. I would also be willing to discuss taking over the site from you. Again, I intend no offense, I would hate to see this remarkable resource go away if there were a practical means to see it continue. All the best.

  71. Jim McQuillen says:

    Try adding some weight to your gondola cars. This may stabilize them.

    Please don’t go!!

  72. Lee Kulas says:

    Al, Sign me up for the annual subscription fee, I’ve already bought the Golden Key, Beginner’s Guide and some buildings. Let us know how we can keep you going. Personally, I would vote against a “fire sale” but a price increase as others’ have suggested in certainly in line. You have created and developed something very unique, and it needs to be funded with our (and new members) support.

    Keep the faith, and reach out to us to assist you.

    All the best, Lee in Boston

  73. Barrylipton says:

    Charge a fee 15.00 to 25.00$ We all would gladly pay if. This is the best informative site for all trains.Nobody else comes close even Lionel and mantua.

  74. Warren Ferguson says:

    I’ll be happy to subscribe!

  75. Dear Al,
    The four posts I receive from you each week are the highlight of my inbox.
    I too purchased a “Golden Key”, All the buildings, and the “Beginners Guide” even though I have over 50 years in the hobby.
    A small annual fee would not be unreasonable if that it what it takes to keep the site up.
    Note: I subscribe to Model Rail, Model Railroader (US), and there are those I pick up regularly at my local hobby shop… Your site has done more to inspire me and to improve my modeling than anything else — in print or online.
    Only Carl Arndt and his micro layouts site has come close.
    John (from California)

  76. Peter MacGregor says:

    Al: All of the above comments should be a strong indicator as to what we think you should be doing.
    Don’t let this magnificent site you have spent so much time to get up and running successfully now just disappear.
    I have enjoyed every post over the past 5 years, and I would certainly miss “Dangerous Dave” and Rob’s “Farlands” adventures.
    Try and come up with a way where we can subscribe on an annual basis to keep the door open.
    Peter (Buco tragic) on the fabulous Gold Coast in sunny Queensland, Australia.

  77. Rob McCrain says:

    $25 per YEAR to subscribe to your blog. It seems quite reasonable to me.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  78. John Alexander says:

    Hi Al, I’ve been getting your emails for a year and they’ve really helped me get started on layout No.1. I’m really upset that you’re having to think of closing down and if I can help keep you going I’d be glad to. So my contribution is to take a membership. I’ll take the full price membership NOT the current nearly half-price offer and I don’t need the free buildings as I already have them. I hope this will help you. Please keep going.

  79. Norman Rosen says:

    It is with shock and dismay that I read about the possibility of you shutting down. I bought your beginners guide as well as some of your building print outs; not sure what the golden key is… In any event, I like everyone else would be willing to pay an annual subscription fee; certainly $25 is incredibly reasonable but you have to decide what is viable. Your service allows me to see what others are doing around the world in model railroading, I know no other source for this as well as the exceptional camaraderie seen in the comments.

  80. Bob Howell says:

    Al, I have really enjoyed your site over the last 3 years. Many years ago I received a HO scale train. Since then I moved and didn’t have room to set it up. Since then, I got another set and inherited 5 more. I’m really excited to finally be getting room to start(kids moving out).
    I don’t think subscription is your answer. It would keep the beginner and the curious away. I would propose a week long fundraiser, much like PBS here in the states. I know you said that you don’t want charity, so offer a free download with a $10 donation. We get something, you get your cash infusion. You could also post a “Best Of …) for the week.
    I subscribe to Model Railroader and don’t get half the good information I get from your site. I hope you can find a way to keep going. Thanks, Bob

  81. Ashley Herbert says:

    Dear AL,

    So many posts tells you something.
    I have been wanting to pay some kind of subscription for a while. So please set up a mechanism whereby we can pay something for your services
    If you are concerned about excluding the less well off make it voluntary but easy to do.
    . I think the number of posts suggests there would be a good take up. Your blog is the first thing I look for when I open my emails each day.

  82. Steven Joffe says:

    I’ve made a decision and that is for you, Al to convert this Blog & Website to be a subscription service. Come up with a number or have us take a vote to guide you. Either way, don’t shut this down for a lack of financial support. You should also not choose to have us voluntarily contribute. Let’s do this once and for all on an annual subscription basis and keep your outstanding work alive!

  83. James Ervin says:

    Hi Al,
    I am sorry to learn of your situation and want o order your BEGINEERING’s
    GUIDE ETC AS POSTED on your website. However, the damn think pops up
    that states website not found. Please advise if and how I can order the above and I also want to chip in a few bucks extra to “keep the wolves” away. Plan to enclose
    $50.00 US Dollars for the package and the rest is a gift. Many Chers and wish
    things are better for you.

  84. Ramsey Arnold says:

    I’m with ALL the other readers, contributors and purchasers who suggest a annual membership FEE.
    Any obstacles to this concept may be overcome. I, for one, patiently await a FEE Plan which a quick survey would confirm its viability; e.g. committed memberships, NOW, so 2020 $ will be known (budgetary purposes). IF it is found insufficient REAL COMMITMENT is the outcome, I understand we will ALL LOSE A WONDERFUL SERVICE & COMRADERY.

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