The MREmag & RMweb Wishlist Poll 2012 â€“ Questions & Answers
Before The Poll â€˜goes liveâ€™ tomorrow (Monday 19 March), we thought you might like to have some questions answered in advance. Andy York has OKâ€™d publication here. Pat Hammond will publish the same thing tomorrow on MREmag.
What is the background to The MREmag & RMweb Wishlist Poll?
For nearly a decade, model railway historian and author Pat Hammond has run an annual model railway wishlist poll on his on-line modelling magazine, MREmag (www.mremag.com). In response to feedback from voters that they wanted to see â€˜rationalisationâ€™ in 2012, Pat asked a new team â€“ comprising nine highly-experienced modellers â€“ to overhaul the content.
Who is in The Poll Team?
We are (alphabetically): Neil Burgess, Robert Carroll, Chris Knowles-Thomas, John Lewis, Jeff Lynn, Brian Macdermott, Nick Stanbury, Ian Taylor and Glen Woods. We bring with us more than 400 yearsâ€™ combined experience of railway modelling â€“ and some members of the team are published book/magazine article authors; some have model trade experience; some are ex-BR staff; some are working on preserved railways
Do you get paid?
No. We are neither commercially sponsored, nor remunerated.
What is the purpose of The Poll?
It is to enable the railway modelling and collecting community to let the major ready-to-run manufacturers and those who commission models know which railway models they would like to see made from new tooling. It is intended to evaluate what participants would realistically buy â€“ not what participants would like to see â€˜winâ€™.
Who do you see as the â€˜majorâ€™ manufacturers and those who commission models?
We see the major ready-to-run manufacturers as: Bachmann, Dapol, Heljan, Hornby and Peco.
We see those who commission models as: Hattons, Hornby Magazine, Ian Allan, Kernow Model Centre, Model Rail, Model Zone, NRM, Oliviaâ€™s Trains, Rail Exclusives, Rails of Sheffield, STEAM Museum (Swindon) and TMC.
What will voters find when they first â€˜clickâ€™ into The Poll?
The title page gives some background as well as â€˜linksâ€™ to our Jargon Buster, bibliography, list of websites and The Guide. However, there is no actual need to access these â€“ if you are an experienced modeller who knows what you want, you can â€˜dive straight inâ€™ to the N or 00 Polls via the link at the foot of that page.
For those who need a little reassurance, The Guide will help. Letâ€™s say that you are a Southern Region modeller looking to broaden your range of green coaches but donâ€™t know which of the three types of Tavern Car Sets would best suit your needs. Within The Guide you will find seven lines of text about each to help you put them in context.
Some voters might find it useful to print out The Guide and study it at leisure prior to voting. It is listed in exactly the same order as the voting pages, so you can use it as a planner.
What happens when voters â€˜clickâ€™ into the actual voting link?
They will find 29 voting categories covering the â€˜Big Fourâ€™ and on up to the modern day. If you are only interested in, say, 00 GWR locos, all you need do is â€˜clickâ€™ GWR â€“ Steam Locos, and up will come a clear list of 46 locos by order of wheel arrangement, smallest to largest. BR running number ranges are stated (where appropriate).
If you want to vote in any or all of the other 28 categories, simply â€˜clickâ€™ on those you want, and up will come the relevant list(s). You will be able to â€˜saveâ€™ your selections and come back later. Itâ€™s a good idea to do that to obviate any possibility of getting â€˜timed outâ€™.
What about the other categories?
A number of The Team come from editorial backgrounds, so we have not only considered what is listed, but how it is listed. We have â€˜stylisedâ€™ the listings, which will make it easier to find specific items. For example, we have separated BR steam/diesel era freight vehicles from those of the TOPS era and have split the previous single listing of Quad/Quint Art sets into two (viz. Quad Arts GN Section, and Quint Arts GE Section). General Railway Service vehicles are in a separate category.
Are voters still restricted to 10 votes?
No. Voters can now vote for whatever they would realistically like to see made and would realistically like to buy.
Wonâ€™t you get lots of voters ticking all the items?
We like to think that modellers and collectors are intelligent folk who will â€˜play the gameâ€™ in the way it is intended. We did consider an â€˜upper limitâ€™, but felt that it wasnâ€™t for us to decide â€“ however, we do urge voters to only vote for what they would realistically like to see made and realistically buy. If you bought just one of every item listed you wouldnâ€™t get much change out of Â£50,000.
How have the lists been compiled?
The Poll could easily show over 10,000 items if every loco and item of rolling stock that ever ran on the railways of this country was listed! Clearly, thatâ€™s not practical. The Poll Team has carefully re-viewed what voters said they wanted. We have balanced that against what is typically being made by the major manufacturers and those who commission such models.
There were calls for the lists to be rationalised â€“ how have you done that?
We have excluded in general any item that has been produced since 1 January 2000 from new tooling; or has been announced since the 2011 Poll for future production from new tooling. Other examples of exclusions are: airport inter-terminal systems; dock, military and industrial systems; broad and narrow gauge stock; tram, metro and underground systems; and Thomas the Tank.
What items have you deleted?
We deleted several as a result of Hornbyâ€™s January announcements, and we have deleted a number subsequent to those of Bachmann on 13 March 2012. Interestingly, Hornbyâ€™s SR PP-sets, Van B, Thompson non-gangwayed stock and 42xx were top of the respective categories in 2011 â€“ and the 72xx was second in GWR steam locos. Bachmannâ€™s Compound, LMS Goods Brake Van, J11, Fish Van, PMV and Class 101 were all in the respective top tens.
How will you know what eras and companies and/or BR regions are of greatest interest?
We have provided a table based on Bachmann eras, and voters can tick whatever they like. That will show us which are the most popular, and we will be able to gauge company/BR regional interest through the overall results. All items are prefixed GWR, LMS, Class x etc â€“ when you see the Top 50 list, votersâ€™ preferences will be abundantly clear!
Is the Poll just for locos, coaches and wagons?
No. We have plenty of DMUs and EMUs as well as a category entitled â€˜Other Itemsâ€™ in which voters will find such diversity as signals, turntables, level crossings and pigeon baskets.
Will there be anywhere for voters to say how many they want of any item?
No. Please see â€˜the purpose of The Pollâ€™ above.
Will there be anywhere for voters to vote on wheel standards or liveries?
No. Please see â€˜the purpose of The Pollâ€™ above. (The purpose helps keep the good ship Wishlist on a very steady course!) A recently-published book says that around 200 liveries and variants have disappeared since 1994. With that in mind â€“ and after much deliberation â€“ we came to the conclusion that it was too vast a subject to contemplate. However, a correspondent suggested that we looked at it again, and we did â€“ but that evaluation only served to bolster more firmly our original decision.
Will you be showing photos of any or all of the items?
No. We took the view that photos might turn The Poll into â€˜a model supermarketâ€™. Local/national elections and most polls assume voters to have made some prior effort in considering who or what they want to vote for. If voters do find they need help, we have mentioned earlier that The Guide, the Jargon Buster, the bibliography and the list of websites will all be sitting in the wings ready to help. You will find â€˜linksâ€™ to photos in a number of places.
Is the N data the same as that for 00?
No. Naturally, there are many overlaps, but the two are materially different.
Why arenâ€™t you running an 0 gauge poll?
We simply did not have the time or resources this year. Rest assured, though, that it will be an agenda item for 2013.
What if a voterâ€™s favourite item isnâ€™t listed?
Although the Poll Team has taken great care to include what voters said they wanted last year, there will almost certainly be some omissions. To overcome this, voters will find a box where they can suggest up to five items for inclusion in the 2013 Poll.
Please note, though, that that is the only place where we will accept suggestions for future inclusion. If you donâ€™t enter, we wonâ€™t take suggestions on board. That is because The Poll is â€˜by the modeller, for the modellerâ€™ and it would be unfair on participants to list anything suggested by a non-participant in the future.
Do you â€˜collectâ€™ or â€˜storeâ€™ votersâ€™ email addresses?
No. Andy York of RMweb has constructed the computer elements of The Poll, using text supplied by The Poll Team. Andy has fully assured us that whilst his system checks emails for double-voting etc, it does not â€˜keep recordsâ€™. (See also Andyâ€™s postings Nos.98 and 112 on this thread.)
When will the MREmag & RMweb Wishlist Poll 2012 â€˜go liveâ€™?
We â€˜go liveâ€™ on Monday 19 March and run until Sunday 15 April. See RMwebâ€™s home page on Monday 19 March.
When will the results be published?
We aim to publish the results by no later than Wednesday 25 April â€“ but please watch MREmag and RMweb for details nearer the time. We know of at least two printed magazines who will also publish them.
Does The Poll Team expect the â€˜topâ€™ items to be made?
We have spoken to the manufacturers and assured them that The Poll results are â€˜wishesâ€™ â€“ not â€˜demandsâ€™. The manufacturers have to balance votersâ€™ wishes against their current and proposed portfolios â€“ as well as those of their competitors. To us, itâ€™s a hobby; to them, itâ€™s a matter of what contributes most to â€˜the bottom lineâ€™. We have to appreciate that difference.
What if voters have a query on the content of The MREmag & RMweb Wishlist Poll?
Please email us at: ThePollTeam(at)gmail(dot)com. A reply will normally be sent within 24 hours. We will also answer queries here on RMweb. Bear in mind, though, that not every member of The Team is at their computer 24 hours a day, and it might take a few days for a full answer.
What if voters have any technical difficulties whilst voting?
Please email Andy York: info(at)rmweb.co.uk. Voters will see details on The Poll pages.
Anything you want to add?
We have been supported by all the model railway magazines and several other publications, shops and clubs â€“ to them, we say many thanks. It is much appreciated! Our thanks also go to Pat Hammond and Andy York for their commitment to this project â€“ again, much appreciated!
We hope you all enjoy voting.
The Poll Team