On the main model train podcast I listen to, Model Rail Radio, one of the most recent discussion has been on what magazines we read. After listening to the show and reading some messages going back and forth I must say that I am totally in shock. I never realized there were so many different offerings out there. You surely never see them on the newsstands around here, and honestly I have never seen them anywhere.
As for what I normally read, the only current “must read” is the the electronic magazine Model Railroad Hobbyist. One reason is that it is free. The other reason is that it has great articles that cover a wide range of subjects. I do not subscribe or even often buy Model Railroader or Railroad Model Craftsman because they just don’t appeal to me. I do pick up the British magazines British Railway Modelling and Railway Modeller as often as possible.
Two of the magazines I really read these days are Traction and Models and Trolley Talk. What makes this hard is that they have both ceased publishing and are out-of-print! So I end up buying them on eBay, at swap meets, or where ever I can find them. In general the good news is that they end up being less expensive that new magazines. The bad news is that the more of them I accumulate the harder it is to fill in the gaps missing from the collection. I also buy Scale Model Traction & Trolleys Quarterly when i can – but I am really not sure if it is published any more or not.
I have been receiving the NMRA magazine as part of my trial membership, but I have not decide if I am going to renew or not. The club is great and the magazine is great, but times are tight and the membership isn’t the most inexpensive then around. So, sorry to say, the jury is still out on that one. [Note 8-25-11: I decided, and renewed. I do still feel it is a bit expensive though and think the NMRA should do something to either lower the price or add benefits.]
Finally I also get the full-scale, real train, magazine Railway Age monthly. More than just for the modeler in me, I have a thing for full sized trains, light rail, and public transit. I am looking for more like this, but as I alluded to above, I am cheap!