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The Railway Magazine, February 2009

1205 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Robert Stokes
Andrew Dow has written a piece in the RM that is worth reading. The Railway Club (founded 1899) has just folded and Andrew asks the question about the difficulties faced by the hobby in general. Is railway enthusiasm doomed? Or is it just that the spotting generation are fading away into their 70s? It is worth catching this article, it is pretty thought provoking.

What do you all think?

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Well initially I think it has a lot to do with the attitude of Railtrack and the way they view station security, removal of seats etc. Not to mention the demise of the BRUT - all good spotters sat on those in the seventies!

Additionally there is the "nerdy anorak" image.

I think that the differing versions of "spotting" are most likely to be in serious decline as hanging around stations or airports seems to be discouraged or even impossible these days and as Dave has said the "nerdy anorak" image added onto that just seems to me to be terminal.

That said I don't think that modelling is in the same state - there will be challenges in getting youngsters involved (or sufficent interest to come back to it later) but there is enough going on to keep all sorts of folk interested. I have a sneaking suspicion that the younger folks' interests may lie with DCC and more modern image rather than hankering back to the days of steam but I will wait to get shot to bits on that view - it just depends upon what catches your personal imagination.

Doomed? Personally I don't think so.


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QUOTE (BRITHO @ 8 Jan 2009, 20:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Additionally there is the "nerdy anorak" image.

And you would know about that

(not that you would be expecting me to say anything of the sort
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It may be that a lot of people now vist Heritage Railways instead of hanging around unwelcoming Mainline Stations.

Anyone who attended the Severn Valley Autumn Gala or the most recent event at Barrow Hill or watched Tornado's Test runs would testify to the continuing facination with Railways.

I confidently expect to see plenty of people between York and Newcastle Jan 31st/Feb1st to see Tornado in action.

It is not just Steam, When I went to Whitby behind two 37s a couple of years ago the were plenty of people line side.

I think the hobby, full size and model is in good shape.

Best wishes,

John H-T.
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*** I think that modelling is evolving positively: Sure there may be fewer and fewer who model what could be termed "classic era" pre BR but there are very many newish modellers who have a more eclectic approach, mixing both period and prototype.... There is also a really heartening trend which has a much younger set of modellers who are D&E/Electric oriented and very focussed on what they do, including operations , model quality and detail - so at all levels, I don't see a decline, only a change in modelling era dominance.

I think its simply evolution - when steam era modelling was at its peak Steam was still there or perhaps only just dying in the real world... Then layouts abounded with LMS/LNER/GWR/SR/early BR focus etc... because that was within the "living memory" of the modellers - this has since steadily translated to a core of BR transition, early diesel and now modern layouts because, now, THAT is the "living memory" of the average new modeller.

Have you ever noticed that those who worry at the passing of the hobby are always the older modellers - I really think what they are seeing is adecline in their style / prototype modelling, not the hobby! ...and I also think that is the area where some clubs miss out on growth and new member interest, as their executives are almost inevitably older or of another era, and they simply miss seeing the possibility of modelling a more modern era.

If evidence of the health and age of our hobby is needed MRF wise - look back to a 2006 or 2007 Warley thread - and look at the group photo - MOST of those in it are much younger than you may expect - and I think that is the fantastically positive reality.

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the railway club is a very sad case.

its a classic case of what happens when a club is poorly run. they are really not far from my house but had it not been for a friend i would never have known of their existance.
To my knowlage they have done no recruiting in recent years and the membership has quite literally died.

I understand that some of their archive is to be transfered to york.

i can think of a couple of other clubs that are going to go the same way if they are not carefull.

I would have rather liked acess to their archive and would have been prepared to pay the membership fee but how do i become a member?? where is it?? who do i contact?? what do they have there??
these questions never seemed to have an answer.

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The hobby continues to evolve and people still come in big numbers to the model railway exhibitions.

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I'm not so pessimistic. We recently took our 3+ year old grandson to a preserved steam line. While waiting for our train, he stood on a chair watching a model railway. He was absolutely spellbound for 20 minutes. Nothing else has made him stand still for anything like that length of time. I confidently predict that he will be a modeller in a few years time. (Well he will if I have anything to do with it.)
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