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An interest in railways is it ok now?


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I wonder is it ok to like railways now, with quite a few programmes on telly about railways and related topics, it just seems a better time than a few years back to say you like railways or railway modelling without people thinking you are an odd ball seeing the hobby as serious rather than something you should be ashamed of. Also at the pub last light we discussed that our Risex show was really busy and the numbers well up and those members who had been to other shows had seen a simular trend in the increase in visitor numbers.

 

Have TV programmes promoted the interest in railways to the wider world.

 

David

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I wonder is it ok to like railways now, with quite a few programmes on telly about railways and related topics,

 

Have TV programmes promoted the interest in railways to the wider world.

 

David

 

An interesting point. But that puts us alongside "normal" TV viewing, including murder and mayhem of all kinds, celebrities lolloping around in sequins (on or off ice), Jeremy Clarkson,  "extreme" fishing/cleaning/truck driving and luvvies on talk shows promoting their new film/book/beauty product.  I suppose that is progress?

Best wishes

Eric

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TV has a lot to answer for! Mrs Gruffalo likes a certain type of program, I like another so it is likely that we will end up one in front of the box, the other doing something else.

 

Given the high level of cheap-to-make DIY talent(less) shows and those worshipping celebs around on TV these days, it isn't surprising that anything to escape that is welcomed. (pulls pin from grenade and rolls it across floor before retiring)

 

There is a generation retiring that can remember model railways and now have a measure of time and disposable income to pursue such interests; they also have grandkids that they may wish to introduce to modelling.

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Not sure if I'd unzip my parka just yet, but it is common knowledge amongst my friends that I worked for BR, later NSE and Connex for 20yrs, so why wouldn't I take an interest.? Also, living in Sheringham (this weekend's steam gala is in full soggy swing), taking an interest in railways is probably more acceptable than elsewhere. Having an interest in railways is ok, but will never be seen as a totally normal interest, like football. Having an interest in model railways is a different matter and I suspect a lot of us will continue to remain in the closet. Example: my 10yr-old daughter wanted to check her email yesterday evening and complained to mum that she couldn't because dad was "on his anorak facebook"... RMWeb to you and me!

With the recent primetime Flying Scotsman documentary on the Beeb pulling in decent viewing figures, railways are ok, but when was the last time you saw anything to do with model railways that wasn't tucked away on BBC3 or 4 or buried in the late night schedules?

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My girlfriend happened to mention to a colleague that I collect model trains and volunteer on a preserved line. "Does he?" the man replied, "Wow, I can come out to you then!" He's an enthusiast too, but would never have mentioned it unless he knew he was in good company!

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Yes it is.

 

I think that the answer may well vary with the age of the respondent, after a suitable number of years one tends not to worry too much about whether an interest in trains is thought to mark one out as a geek or nerd. Weirdly one finds that others of similar age share or can understand that interest; it has sufficient commonality with enthusiasm for classic cars, ships, planes, architecture, history and horticulture for the motivation behind our appreciation  to be recognised as similar.

 

Like Big Cheese I've recognised that the increase in railway related documentaries, particularly on the Beeb, and that they have a pleasant mix of studiousness and whimsy. It's perhaps just the tv media catching up with the popularity of railways,look at how much shelf space the average Smiths outlet gives to railways and model railways; it's hardly a minority interest.

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Guest 40-something

Most folk I know are aware of my hobby.  Some think that because I dont go p*ssing £100 up a wall and getting in to fights of a saturday night, that Im weird...

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Yes it is.

It's perhaps just the tv media catching up with the popularity of railways,look at how much shelf space the average Smiths outlet gives to railways and model railways; it's hardly a minority interest.

 

W.H. Smiths have always had good coverage of railways titles - probably connected to the fact that they opened their first railway station bookstall in 1848! Even our local Morrisons store carries RM and the Hornby magazine these days, though.

 

Gordon

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For me the question has never been if it is OK to show an interest in railways. The question should be - is it really acceptable for others to despise them and criticise people who do? 

 

In an age of (supposedly) greater tolerance, it must surely be wrong for anyone to criticise a hobby. Everyone in the UK - unless they are extremely unfortunate - has some interest other than simply living.

 

Why should model railways be any different to flower arranging, amateur dramatics, idolising pop stars, football and knitting?

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In fairness to Clarkson et al on Top Gear, they were very complimentary about Tornado, there has always been a railway book of some form on his or May's desk throughout the series since then, and May in particular has helped bring railways to the masses in the best possible manner through his Top Toys program on several occasions. 

 

They've helped as much as anyone to bring the hobby closer to being "mainstream" and accepted.

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Of course, even within any interest group there can be antagonism between subgroups. I've heard rugby forwards describe the backs as “the girls”, and railway modellers dissing those who spend too much modelling time on buildings. Quote: “Perhaps they would be happier making dolls houses” - I can't imagine anyone saying that about Jason (Sandside) ...

 

Gordon

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Every time one of these threads appears I shake my head and wonder what on earth is up with the English that they can't just accept people having an interest in railways and get on with life. I've never encountered that attitude in the US. The most common responses when I explain what I do are along the lines of "I don't know how you have the patience" or "I wish I had a hobby like that." I've never encountered any kind of ridicule or negative attitude.

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...Even our local Morrisons store carries RM and the Hornby magazine these days, though.

 

I noticed that too, and I live in Stratford, East London which is not exactly a place of choice for railway or model railway enthusiasts to be living.

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Hi David,

 

It is absolutely acceptable and always has been, to have an interest in the (legal) subject area of your own choosing. Too many railway enthusiasts have historically accepted that having such an interest sets them up for ridicule etc. I exchange polite conversation with many people regarding what they do in their spare time and neither seek to undermine their choice or accept similar treatment for my interest area.  

 

Stand up for what you believe in.

 

Cheers

 

Dave

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Too many railway enthusiasts have historically accepted that having such an interest sets them up for ridicule etc.

 

I think "historically" is exactly right. Just when did the whole "sad anorak" thing begin? Even in my youth, trainspotting was widespread in the 70s (remember platform tickets?), and although maybe not a mainstream interest, as in the 50s when you couldn't move at the end of any platform for notebooks and box brownies, I was never ridiculed for it... Media, maybe? They get the blame for everything else.

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Example: my 10yr-old daughter wanted to check her email yesterday evening and complained to mum that she couldn't because dad was "on his anorak facebook"... RMWeb to you and me!

An interesting take on RMWeb there ;-)
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I think "historically" is exactly right. Just when did the whole "sad anorak" thing begin? Even in my youth, trainspotting was widespread in the 70s (remember platform tickets?), and although maybe not a mainstream interest, as in the 50s when you couldn't move at the end of any platform for notebooks and box brownies, I was never ridiculed for it... Media, maybe? They get the blame for everything else.

 

...many quiet and shy individuals took up the interest and these personality types are easily targetted and undermined. There is nothing sportsmanlike or macho involved in the hobby, it is therefore hard to mount a defence against others determined to take a rise out of it.

 

Dave  

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There does seem to be a current trend towards more, for the want of a better word, traditional (or retro) hobbies - knitting and baking are the obvious ones but railways would definitely count. It's probably all connected with high sale of seventies comfort food

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It`s the saddo`s whom spend their lives binge-drinking and buying scratchcards that need watching!......they gawk and giggle like gibbons whilst passively filming other`s 'interesting lives' on their mobile phones: and then have the crass-idiocy to say that it`s they, whom are "living the dream". :no:

 

A constructive, creative and intelligent hobby (of any kind) should single one out as being "different" these days; but in a very good-way. :friends:

 

 

 

 

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Come up here and you fall over railways, known collectively as The Little Trains of Wales.

 

We are spoilt for choice and their shops, between them, sell a good selection of memorabilia, books and rolling stock in various gauges, including Thomas and Ivor.  It's quite normal to have at least an interest in going to see or go on one of these railways.  And if you mention an interest in modelling, it's surprising how many other enthusiasts suddenly appear out of the closet who then reveal their layouts or start building them.

Then there are the mainline routes including those along the west and north coasts and the preserved standard gauge railway at Llangollen.

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Ah - the "Only Way Is Essex / Gypsy Wedding / Geordie Shore / Big Brother" crowd. Trouble is, they think they are cool whilst we have never pretended to be cool. I know which camp I'd rather be in - and the final score is: railway enthusiast 1, ride home in a police van 0.

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 And if you mention an interest in modelling, it's surprising how many other enthusiasts suddenly appear out of the closet who then reveal their layouts or start building them.

 

Something similar happened here only last night. We had a couple of friends round for supper and my wife mentioned that I'm involved in helping set up a model railway club here in Haderslev. Male guest's eyes suddenly brighten: he builds and flies model helicopters - and the discussion broadened to whether we shouldn't in fact be forming a general modelling club. I like his thinking.

 

By such happy accidents are lasting friendships formed.

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It's always been ok, provided you can handle the incessant derision and ridicule from individuals who choose to mock you. I do not even dare post on here using my real name rather than the pseudonym I use.

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I never hear people shouting out in public that they play golf, collect Rupert Bear Annuals, hunt butterflies, bait chickens or roger sheep, so why make a big thing about ones railway interests? Who gives a damn?  We do however hear folk banging on endlessly about Corrie, Dancing on Ice, Get me out of here and the rest of the drivel pumped out for folk who depend on Television to fill their free time....And they are "normal"???  Makes me quite proud to call meself a railway enthusiast.

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