I don't watch alot of TV lately as there's rarely anything on (other than Top Gear, snooker, and the comedy stuff on Dave), but I've just been watching James May's Top Toys on Dave, and he's brought back some fantastic memories, from my experiences with Scalextric to Meccano (and yep, I agree with him completely, the standards of this stuff has drastically gone down hill over the years).
My favourite part however, was when he got to the model trains. I absolutely loved these when I was younger, and still do today. Sadly, my collection of 00 Hornby trains, track etc, was nicked several years ago during a burglary (pity too, I not only had my own collection, but got my grandads collection when he passed away in the late 80's). 30 trains, ranging from the Flying Scotsman to the Mallard to the 125 and 225, all gone, along with over 700 metres of track, hundreds of carraiges and other rolling stock.
I've been dying to get the trainsets back ever since, and if it wasn't for the fact they cost a fortune, I would have . The older they are, the more they cost - and the brand new stuff is expensive as it is, with the cheapest one I've seen being £100+. What I did find rather funny (mainly because it's true) is that James mentioned the trains aren't played with by the younger folk anymore, but it's their dads and grandads that play with the trains. I've been asking myself why this is, and haven't come to a reason yet. Trains have always been fun to setup, play with and fix whenever they broke (indeed, I loved fixing the broken engines, track and such when they broke or got damaged).
I am slightly thankful that the trainsets got nicked (in a wierd twisted sense of course as I wish to christ I still had them), as if they hadn't, chances are I wouldn't be as much into computers as I am. Because my parents couldn't afford to replace them for me, I got into playing with the Commodore, and from that, into the Atari, and then onto the BBC's we had at school. The rest is history.
I am aware of the virtual trains, and found out about them a few years ago. Alas I've never been able to "get into them" as it were. They don't quite thrill me as much as the "real" Hornby stuff did.
If you are into trainsets yourself, get your kids into them too if they aren't already. Get them away from the playstations, X-Boxes and the likes - there's nothing challenging about those. Infact, try getting them into the other older stuff too, such as Scalextric and Meccano (and not the newer versions of this stuff, but the originals), the amount of fun you can have playing with these is unbelievable (and will be something I'll be experiencing again myself as soon as I can afford the damn things).