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Wright writes.....


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1 hour ago, grahame said:

 

I wouldn't worry about an old car and bike at the age of 25. By the time you shuffle along, probably in more than 50 years time, they'll have rotted away to rust and nothing. Dust to dust and so on . . . 

 

 

Quite possibly, but the idea of a Will is to cater for the wishes of those making the Will from the moment the document is signed and witnessed.  Fortunately, for the vast majority, we never know how long we've got left - ranging from a minute to 80+ years.....

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1 hour ago, Tony Wright said:

...the subject of the members' age in the club we're in came up. Guess what? Average age nearly 70! 

 

I'm in two other (active, or were) model railway clubs, and the average of the members in those is even higher. It's not sustainable.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

It depends, Tony.  People were saying the same thing 20 years ago and we’re still here.

 

I think there is a steady supply of retiring blokes who are interested in either resuming or starting up in the hobby now they have more time on their hands.  A club that has a welcoming approach to new members, has good modelling taking place, a good social scene and makes itself available via local exhibitions and open days, will tap into this.  The new blood is there, though not always young new blood!

 

Embracing an interest in blue diesels rather than just late British Railways steam helps reach into the memories of the guys who are now reaching retirement.  Enthusiasm for Deltics, Peaks and Westerns is becoming more prevalent in new members, as time inexorably moves on.  So much so that at two-day exhibitions, our club started to operate its main layout with ‘late crest’ Saturdays and ‘blue diesel’ Sundays.  The level of interest in blue diesels took us by surprise, but on reflection makes sense, as that’s what was around when those now retiring were in their youth.

 

Inward focused, cliquey bunches of mates that are hard to break into, and stuck in the steam era, will be the clubs more likely to fade away...

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Chamby
Removed an errant apostrophe.
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1 hour ago, Chamby said:

 

It depends, Tony.  People were saying the same thing 20 years ago and we’re still here.

 

I think there is a steady supply of retiring blokes who are interested in either resuming or starting up in the hobby now they have more time on their hands.  A club that has a welcoming approach to new members, has good modelling taking place, a good social scene and makes itself available via local exhibitions and open days, will tap into this.  The new blood is there, though not always young new blood!

 

Embracing an interest in blue diesels rather than just late British Railways steam helps reach into the memories of the guys who are now reaching retirement.  Enthusiasm for Deltics, Peaks and Westerns is becoming more prevalent in new members, as time inexorably moves on.  So much so that at two-day exhibitions, our club started to operate its main layout with ‘late crest’ Saturdays and ‘blue diesel’ Sundays.  The level of interest in blue diesels took us by surprise, but on reflection makes sense, as that’s what was around when those now retiring were in their youth.

 

Inward focused, cliquey bunches of mates that are hard to break into, and stuck in the steam era, will be the clubs more likely to fade away...

 

 

 

 

 

'Inward focused, cliquey bunches of mates that are hard to break into, and stuck in the steam era, will be the clubs more likely to fade away...'

 

Talk about being 'damned by faint praise'! 

 

When people were saying the same thing 20 years ago, the average age of the members of the clubs I belong to was around 50. 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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6 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

'Inward focused, cliquey bunches of mates that are hard to break into, and stuck in the steam era, will be the clubs more likely to fade away...'

 

Talk about being 'damned by faint praise'! 

 

When people were saying the same thing 20 years ago, the average age of the members of the clubs I belong to was around 50. 

 

Oh dear. 

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1 hour ago, polybear said:

 

Quite possibly, but the idea of a Will is to cater for the wishes of those making the Will from the moment the document is signed and witnessed.  Fortunately, for the vast majority, we never know how long we've got left - ranging from a minute to 80+ years.....

Dont forget if you die intestate the state will have a field day and take for their services potentially as much as 90%.  So make a will just to stop the hanger ons, etc. getting the money

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35 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

 

Talk about being 'damned by faint praise'! 

 

 

 

Hi Tony,

 

I think what I meant to say, is not what you thought you heard.  

 

There’s nothing damning at all about being in a cliquey bunch of mates.  I wasn’t pointing fingers, but commenting on my own experience.  I attend two clubs, one is a cliquey bunch of mates with a shared but focused interest, the other is embracing new member’s broader interests.   I very much enjoy being a part of both, but realistically only one will most likely survive.  

 

The hobby definitely has a future, but maybe not as we currently know it.

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41 minutes ago, Chamby said:

 

Hi Tony,

 

I think what I meant to say, is not what you thought you heard.  

 

There’s nothing damning at all about being in a cliquey bunch of mates.  I wasn’t pointing fingers, but commenting on my own experience.  I attend two clubs, one is a cliquey bunch of mates with a shared but focused interest, the other is embracing new member’s broader interests.   I very much enjoy being a part of both, but realistically only one will most likely survive.  

 

The hobby definitely has a future, but maybe not as we currently know it.

Thanks Phil,

 

Who knows what the hobby's future will be?

 

In a way, I feel a bit of an 'I'm all right Jack' character. I have my trainset to operate (thankfully, now again with visitors), I have my workshop, tools and raw materials, and, most important, I still have the necessary faculties to be able to build things.

 

Yes, I have to replenish materials; and, having nibbled away quite drastically at my stash of kits during lockdown(s), I'm acquiring more, but my personal modelling future looks quite positive (I'm not telling God my plans!), if (obviously) more-limited than it was 20 years ago. That said, I won't ever build another exhibition layout or be part of a team which does so. Those days are gone for me. 

 

I'd still like to do more exhibitions, but far fewer than in 2019. 

 

I'm not RTR-dependent and I can usually do most model railway tasks myself, though I prefer to barter, especially where I know my skills are weak - good painting, for instance. 

 

I do care about the future of the hobby, and I actively encourage others to develop their skills (with one-to-one tutorials - or I did up to 15 months ago). 

 

Maybe the cliquey 'clubs' will fail (extinction is, after all, inevitable for everything). I suppose I've been involved with 'cliquey' projects down the years, where the 'entry' to them was dependent on skills brought to the table, not cash or a fat chequebook. They were certainly not evangelical, but what they made was good, and it worked! 

 

What I do see is more and more model railway equipment coming up for sale than just a few years ago. Why? Because the previous owners are no more.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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1 hour ago, Theakerr said:

Dont forget if you die intestate the state will have a field day and take for their services potentially as much as 90%.  So make a will just to stop the hanger ons, etc. getting the money

I must make a will.  As much as I like Jack Russell Terriers, I don't want my estate to go to Dilyn and his hanger-ons.  Bill

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2 hours ago, Chamby said:

 

People were saying the same thing 20 years ago and we’re still here.

 

 

1 hour ago, Tony Wright said:

When people were saying the same thing 20 years ago, the average age of the members of the clubs I belong to was around 50. 

 

But (Tony), my bet is that your 'clique' (in terms of the members of the club you 'grew up' with) are all roughly the same age. So, 20 years ago, of course you were all around 50!

 

I agree with Chamby - there are plenty of other 'cliques' following on behind you. Blokes (mainly) who get to know each other in their 50s post-kids / mortgage (outrageous over generalisation!). Take 'Team Grantham'. It occurs to me that the core of the team are - with a couple of exceptions - all within a few years of being the same age. That means that we all naturally relate to each other because we all grew up with the same influences around us. Music, sport, tele, politics, cars - doesn't matter, the point is that when one person cracks a joke or makes a reference to something from 30 odd years ago we all say 'yeah, I remember that!'. The modelling just flows around those sort of common bonds and we gradually create our own culture based on the adventures we've been through, whether that be surviving freezing cold conditions at Barrow Hill, certain locos that attempt to redefine the loading gauge or boasting about our P2 locomotives by referring to the first part of the name of the prototype ...

 

I'll wager it is / was the same with the groups you've been part of. You've grown up together and becoming owd gits together ... but that doesn't mean there's no-one left to carry on the hobby.

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I’ve just got back from our club meeting tonight having signed up two more new members - that’s 7 since lockdown 1. And these two were aged 26&31. I believe the hobby will grow over the next five years as people who’ve got into it over lockdown keep building their interest. After that, who knows? Nothing lasts forever and I suspect it will decline slowly in the medium to long term but I’m confident that the hobby will see me out!

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8 hours ago, grahame said:

 

I wouldn't worry about an old car and bike at the age of 25. By the time you shuffle along, probably in more than 50 years time, they'll have rotted away to rust and nothing. Dust to dust and so on . . . 

 

Oi, don’t speak like that my Hq’s very sensitive when it comes to rust...

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1 hour ago, Tony Wright said:

I think the hobby is bulging with 'returnees' right now. Those, as has been suggested, have come through the perils of life - job, marriage, mortgage, kids, divorce, poverty, etc! Now, into retirement they're looking for a hobby, and railway modelling attracts. It's especially attractive given the quality (and exceptionally good value) of what's offered 'out of the box' right now. 

 

As has also been mentioned, there are members joining clubs for whom the 'perils' have only just started. 

 

And, there always have been (and always will be?) new generations (or half generations) who take up the 'torch' as the older gits (we're all 'gits') either become too infirm or expire. 

 

From my observations of late, I've come up with the following thoughts..............

 

1. We've never had it so good. Yes, I know there have been issues regarding some new models of later, but a full-blown LNER Pacific in full regalia in OO for £170.99 (Kernow, latest RM)! 

 

2. Many suppliers of kits/bits have had their best year ever! Which rather means that there'll be even more kits to 'dispose' of once the buyers expire..............

 

3. Investment in new kits (particularly 4mm locos) has slowed down considerably (I used to get a new one every couple of months to build and review). That said, the re-emergence of Nu-Cast is encouraging (my review of the K2 is in the August BRM). However, the likes of DJH hasn't produced a new 4mm loco kit for nearly 20 years now. 

 

4. The average age of most clubs' membership has never been higher.

 

5. Prior to three years ago, I've never heard of a club show ceasing to exist because its membership were all too old/infirm to stage it any more. 

 

6. Though I've done it (with Mo's help) for several years, the number of examples where we're asked to find new homes for model railway items on behalf of families, either because the (usually) husband/father/bloke has died or is too ill to carry on modelling (I have five boxes of stuff in my shed of such stuff, will collect more on Sunday, have to travel to see a widow in the near future and am expecting a hefty parcel today), has never been greater. 

 

7. The average age of punters at shows (particularly O Gauge) has never been higher (and, as shows return, it'll be even higher). 

 

8. The last 'trainspotting generation' (the schoolboys I taught in the '70s/early-'80s) is now approaching retirement, and, thus, an interest in BR blue in model form is probably going to increase as its members relive their youth in miniature (just as I'm doing, but a generation earlier, and with steam-outline). After that? There haven't been schoolboy trainspotters on platform ends for a long, long time now in my experience. Yes, there are trainspotters, who once were schoolboys, but, hmnn............. That's not to say all trainspotters become (serious?) railway modellers in later life, but tens of thousands did. That's also not to say that one must have been a trainspotter to be a 'serious' railway modeller, but the link between the two hobbies has always been very strong. A link now broken in more-recent years. In another generation, the interest will be very, very little. 

 

9. I'm still being asked by RTR manufacturers to assist (in a small way) with the development of new models. As is the case with some kit-makers, which is encouraging.

 

10. Do I care what happens? I suppose so, but as long as I'm stocked up with enough kits to build, have enough solder and flux (I've used 'tons' and 'gallons' respectively in the last 12 months or so!) and still have enough friends who want to visit and operate Little Bytham, then I'm all right Jack! 

Tony,

 

I think that’s a good summary...certainly more balanced than the Sergeant Fraser ‘We’re all doomed’ line!

 

I’d query a couple of your points:

1. I’m not convinced £170.99 would be seen as good value to a potential hobby entrant who probably doesn’t care about all the detail. Those who enter from the perspective of a love of that loco class or steam in general might think it good value. But for the general ‘train in the landscape’ or ‘gismo-holic’ entrant a cheaper price point is probably required. They will have to go with Hornby’s railroad range or secondhand.

 

2. I’d agree with you in 4mm. I would hope that some in 7mm might have their best years ahead. (I know you said ‘many’ which is fair enough). 

 

6. This has always been a feature of our hobby. I think your growth in this area might owe more to your making yourself available and known as someone who can/will do it successfully. I know of others who made a living (pocket money?) from clearing estates who are finding it hard to find new stock because of online sales making it easier for the general punter to cut out the middle man.

 

7. Having recently got into it, I have never been to an O gauge show but I would agree that the average age at virtual events seems to be high. I can’t comment on how this compares historically but I would expect this to drop over the next few years as the scale becomes more mainstream.

 

8. Agree totally. BR blue will become the new ‘transition era’. As for the future entrants we may rely on Rev Awdry and some persuasive parents/ grandparents. I failed on the parent front (in that respect) but will try harder should I get the chance with any grandchildren.


Regards

 

Andy

 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Chamby said:

Embracing an interest in blue diesels rather than just late British Railways steam helps reach into the memories of the guys who are now reaching retirement....  The level of interest in blue diesels took us by surprise, but on reflection makes sense, as that’s what was around when those now retiring were in their youth.

 

Inward focused, cliquey bunches of mates that are hard to break into, and stuck in the steam era, will be the clubs more likely to fade away...

 

Well I'm still below the age that used to mark statutory retirement and I can assure you that blue diesel modelling has absolutely no appeal for me, along with anything even more modern. I find BR steam modelling a bizarre prevalent trend too, as for me that era represents neglect, decline and fall. Any time pre-1939 is the era of real appeal, which is clearly too long ago to be modelled from my memory or for the purposes of trying to re-live my youth, and I'm far from alone in my interest in truly historic modelling. I have a slight interest in vintage electrics too, probably because they are unusual. Some of those with similar interests are certainly younger than me, so I imagine that their route into the hobby was in some ways similar to mine, being nothing to do re-living memories but instead being based on an urge to re-create something they never had the chance to see.

I'm afraid that I tend to regard "modelling" that relies largely on RTR blue boxes-on-wheels with noise-making devices, running on non-scale track, as being about as mature /sensible /serious for an older person as for instance the the purchase of a car with huge wheel arch extensions, go-faster stripes, whale-tail spoiler and annoyingly loud exhaust.

Edited by gr.king
Spelling mistake!
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2 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

10. Do I care what happens? I suppose so, but as long as I'm stocked up with enough kits to build, have enough solder and flux (I've used 'tons' and 'gallons' respectively in the last 12 months or so!) and still have enough friends who want to visit and operate Little Bytham, then I'm all right Jack! 

 

Reminds me of what Fred Dibnah said in one of his episodes, "When I die, if I go to the right place all I want is some tools, a lathe, selection of hammers and an endless supply of old rusty traction engines to restore".

 

I've finished the main construction works of my mine branch line to the sky and got trains running, seven cars max at a time, and run VERY slow due to curvature, gradient and height. I'm very pleased with the results, bridgework detail and the actual mine loader still to do.

 

 

IMG_1741RSZD.JPG.6b246c9de68c7a369ef778e32529d51b.JPG

 

IMG_1742RSZD.JPG.7e82bdbca135637b86518cd27e59d288.JPG

 

IMG_1752RSZD.JPG.79a38ddb7f0446b903acf3dfb5c9fc35.JPG

 

Now this last bridge was a challenge. Built on a sharp curve on a cliff edge directly over a bit of narrow gauge line. I took my inspiration from the prototype, Imagination was required to get the railroads through the Rocky mountains. (and a root through my plastic bits scrap box).

 

DRGW Royal Gorge hanging bridge - still there and now a preserved line.

 

image.png.32e241d9e51813ac703f57a518c464b7.png

 

Such a great hobby is ours whatever you model.

 

Brit15

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2 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

8. The last 'trainspotting generation' (the schoolboys I taught in the '70s/early-'80s) is now approaching retirement, and, thus, an interest in BR blue in model form is probably going to increase as its members relive their youth in miniature (just as I'm doing, but a generation earlier, and with steam-outline). After that? There haven't been schoolboy trainspotters on platform ends for a long, long time now in my experience. Yes, there are trainspotters, who once were schoolboys, but, hmnn............. That's not to say all trainspotters become (serious?) railway modellers in later life, but tens of thousands did. That's also not to say that one must have been a trainspotter to be a 'serious' railway modeller, but the link between the two hobbies has always been very strong. A link now broken in more-recent years. In another generation, the interest will be very, very little. 

I think that this is because BR is so bland and uninteresting compared to the past-every modernisation, rationalisation, updating and renewing has made the railways increasingly colourless-think Spalding today compared to the fifties. 

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5 minutes ago, gr.king said:

 

Well I'm still below the age that used to mark statutory retirement and I can assure you that blue diesel modelling has absolutely no appeal for me, along with anything even more modern. I find BR steam modelling a bizarre prevalent trend too, as for me that ere represents neglect, decline and fall. Any time pre-1939 is the era of real appeal, which is clearly too long ago to be modelled from my memory or for the purposes of trying to re-live my youth, and I'm far from alone in my interest in truly historic modelling. I have a slight interest in vintage electrics too, probably because they are unusual. Some of those with similar interests are certainly younger than me, so I imagine that their route into the hobby was in some ways similar to mine, being nothing to do re-living memories but instead being based on an urge to re-create something they never had the chance to see.

I'm afraid that I tend to regard "modelling" that relies largely on RTR blue boxes-on-wheels with noise-making devices, running on non-scale track, as being about as mature /sensible /serious for an older person as for instance the the purchase of a car with huge wheel arch extensions, go-faster stripes, whale-tail spoiler and annoyingly loud exhaust.

Hi Graeme

 

It is interesting who and why they model the period they do. I know many members of DEMU who model very modern railways and despite being older than me and trainspotting and/or traveling behind steam have no interest in steam. Conversely there are many modellers who are younger than me who model more historical railways. I fall into that group who model what they saw as a kid, stuff from before I was a trainspotter.

 

Who are we to say what someone should be modelling, and how they enjoy their model railways. The guy who buys a red engine this month because last month he bought a blue one is as much a railway modeller as the bloke who winds his own motors and turns his own wheels if both are enjoying what they do. It is a hobby for enjoyment after all.

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I model a mix

 

1 What I remember from being young up to a mad amount of steam specials in 85 - hence my large amount of Blue Grey stuff,  and a few shiny steam locos such as Leander, Evening Star and others. Still need Clun Castle. Lots of DMUs including 116, 117,118, 119 and 120.

2 An interest in local lines, seing old photos of closed lines with interesting trains - so building a few suitable things such as an ex MR 2P and a 1950 Swindon Inter City 6 car set.

3 An interest in 1960 WR with classic GWR moving to Hydraulics, so a 22 on a B set, seen pictures of it.

 

I have a connection to all 3.

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Posted (edited)

I like Tony’s list above. Potential worries for the future though also include (A) the current lack of a good grounding in basic craft skills at school and (B) the latest iteration of tension lock couplings.

 

I cite these from personal situations. Re (A) my daughter is struggling with basic electric wiring for my train mad grandson’s train set. Too far distant for me to go and do it for her even without COVID rules but the type of basic circuitry needed for DC was ingrained in my generation when we were still just young boys along with other craft skills. Maybe I was lucky that I also had relatives into such things.

 

Re (B) I have been using some r-t-r stock on a shunting plank lately and the new thin spike t/ls are beeping useless on 2nd radius. Many on here would not go near either that track or those couplings BUT my point is they are being sold to beginners, who do use them, but because they are so unreliable they will become disillusioned with the hobby and never progress to the delights of 3ft+ radius curves etc.. This is not something I have seen magazine reviewers criticise, namely that despite being sold as suitable for 2nd radius curves the items cannot couple  on such a tight radius and hook swing derails the vehicle even if they’ve been coupled on a straight.

 

Older models may have been built more crudely as regards standards but they worked at entry level, got a newbie interested, and encouraged progression to better standards in due course. Space, currently, precludes me using the larger radius curves I desire unless I drop to 2mm. I’ve compromised and dabble with what I’ve got.
 

I have posted this in the hope that as a BRM reviewer it is something Tony might mention in future reviews - what is the minimum radius curve an item of rolling stock can go round and stay coupled with the fittings as supplied.

 

Edited by john new
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11 minutes ago, Clem said:

As promised, here is K3 61833 on her first public run on a down Burton goods whilst J39/1 crosses on an up Burton.

 

 

 

Lovely stuff. Great to see you back.

 

Kind regards,

 

Iain

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