PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE, FEBRUARY 2021
To OSK Members and the OS2R Community:
My friend Tony Koester is an astute and experienced observer of model railroading. He has dabbled in OS2R and constructed an O Scale module as a Model Railroader project layout (see “Wingate,” January-April 2020 issues). Tony brought the module – then in the final stage of construction – to the 2018 Scale O National Convention and served as our banquet speaker.
I was in the early stage of discussing what has become O Scale Central™, and I asked Tony for his take on what could be done to improve O Scale 2-Rail (OS2R). He did not hesitate.
First, Tony said, OS2R needs a single place where modelers can go to find equipment available in the scale. He pointed out that there hasn’t been such a place since Walthers ceased publication of its O Scale Catalog 30 years ago.
Second, Tony pointed out that OS2R needs starter train sets, which are the “gateway” to starting folks out in model railroading. If modelers start in another scale or in Three-Rail O, it is an up-hill battle to educate and convert them to OS2R. There are starter sets in Three-Rail O, S, HO and N, but there haven’t been OS2R train sets since AHM in the 1970s.
Third, Tony (among other non-O Scalers) points out that our community has tended to be isolated from the rest of the model railroading community. Our modelers tend to stay in O-Scale specific circles and only occasionally participate in all-scale shows. The visibility of O Scale has suffered because of this, especially amongst new-to-the-hobby modelers. To attract more modelers, OS2R needs to participate in the general model railroading community. This includes an increased presence online and at all-scale train shows.
OSK has been working on the programs to take on those three big needs. O Scale Central™ (OSC) (www.oscalecentral.com) and its several websites are up and running. They provide a free comprehensive introduction to OS2R and a free, scale-wide buyers guide for products and services. We are building on that structure to make it even better so we can meet the needs of our Scale. In the first two weeks of operation, O Scale Central had 50,000 hits. 50,000 hits! There is a great need for information and a great curiosity among people who are, or are considering, modeling in OS2R. The possibilities for positive impact on the scale are huge.
The second area is starter train sets. This is a big ask, but initial feedback has been positive. There will be delays – the supply chain situation in China is chaotic and new engines and equipment are in short supply. And lead time is needed: it takes time to bring any new product line to market. But we have ongoing dialog with manufacturers and can report some movement. We will continue to work with manufacturers on this important area.
The third area I call “outreach to the rest of the hobby.” We have all been hamstrung by the pandemic and lockdown, but there will come a time when things open up again and we have train shows. OSK/OSC will be working the shows, showing the O Scale flag and demonstrating what OS2R equipment looks like and what it can do. We will need volunteer help OSK Members and from the OS2R community. We are committed to promoting O Scale at all-scale train shows.
Outreach needs to be community wide. I ask OS2R modelers to reach out to the rest of the hobby: Open up. Participate in NMRA. Offer your layout for open houses. Present clinics. Enter models in contests. Participate in and host round robin train groups. Write articles. Post your projects on OS2R Facebook pages. Have people over to watch OS2R trains run. Get out to train shows. Attend the upcoming O Scale National Convention in Denver, CO (www.oscalenational.com), Mentor newer modelers, even those in other scales. Hey, we were all there at one time.
Share our great scale!