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The Internet can be a blessing or a curse - it depends on which side of the fence you are on.
One Hobby shop group here in Australia is getting out of model rail due to the net.
Hornby in Aust is good prices compared to UK while Bachmann is at least 33% dearer than UK even taking into account postage.
Sometimes postal service from UK is extremely good - it has been known for goods ordered from Mainly Trains in Watchet to arrive down under in 4 days. That beats even local postage.

While the local hobby shop maybe disappearing for many reasons, when I went into one here ( who has now closed) & hear the dealer tell a modeller that bearing cups as used in rolling stock kits are no longer made, I had to interject ( both the dealer & modeller are friends) & say that they are still made & readily available. When questioned by both, I advised that they are obtained from one dealer that we both know in Australia but takes about 3 weeks to process mail orders or get them direct from UK. The dealer did indicate that this maybe true but they could not afford to keep lots of little items that may or may not sell - he was only interested in big sellers.

Many of us modllers of UK who live in Australia know that to obtain the many small pits & pieces ( not RTR) , Mainly Trains is our saviour. Heavan help us if that firm closes down.
Exhibitions here in Australia tend to have traders who "box shift" - , not all of them but the big majority.

To my knowledge, there are not many dealers/traders in Australia who can/could match Mainly Trains for UK bits but there are a few who do very well it for USA modelling.

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