At times I feel like a manic-depressive over T Gauge. One minute I think it's the next big (little) thing, the next—destined for some time capsule as a brief, curious fad.
The signs have been a little troubling of late. After a highly encouraging flurry of business earlier this year, Talking T Gauge is beginning to grow eerily quiet. Now, granted, we are moving into Summer in North America, traditionally a time for outdoor activities, when model railroading goes semi-dormant. But the few posts trickling in are predominantly from the same three or four people, unfortunately making the forum appear busier than it really is.
Much more unsettling is the lack of new product announcements. Ever since K.K. Eishindo licensed T Gauge production to The Railway Shop, orders are being filled reliably, but lately new items aren't forthcoming. And no one updates their websites—I often wonder why some companies even bother with them, given the complete disinterest in maintaining them. Not good business in my book!
But the most disconcerting news of all came from a friend in Japan, who mentioned in a recent email that T Gauge has all but disappeared from the shops there. This can't be a good sign. In fact, if all other issues are discounted, this one alone is my single greatest cause for concern (consequently I've suspended plans to introduce a line of T Gauge products of my own).
It's not as if I'd expected T Gauge to be the next N, or even Z; I accepted from the very beginning that it was a niche product—about as "nichey" as they come, in fact. Indeed, I think it's remarkable the scale has come as far as it has—it showed more progress in its first couple of years than Z Scale did in its first couple of decades.
I'm not writing T off just yet, but I do accept that the likelihood of its survival is questionable, and that it may just be a matter of time before production stops and it begins to fade into the background noise of novelties. It will be sad to see it happen, but it won't come as a surprise to me.