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trains4U are moving store


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Yes, I can confirm that we are moving. 

We are re-locating to No 27 St. David's Square, Fengate, Peterborough, PE1 5QA (Next door)

We will be moving at the end of August.


There are a number of good reasons for this, but it has and will have a number of impacts on how we have run our business in the past.


When we moved into our current premesis, the economy was growing and our business was also expanding at a phenomenal rate, but shortly afterwards, the economy went wrong.

The modelling business has remained remarkably resilient, but the downturn has caught up.  Initially, dramatic increases in RRPs  had a double whammy on retailers - the profit we had made on the previous sales was swallowed up in increased replenishment costs,  and over the last 18 months customers spending habits have changed considerably.


Whilst we are having more customers than ever, the average spend is much, much less than in previous years.  it is clear, despite positive government spin - that consumers have the lowest level of disposable income for many, many years.  Hobbies are often one of the last luxuries to fall, after holidays, home improvements and replacement cars, but fallen they have, and this can be witnessed in the troubles faced by companies across the sector.


All of this sits with a backdrop of erratic supply, increasing energy bills, commercial contracts and payroll, as well as increased legislation from govenrment, designed to make things "simpler" (I'm not sure for who though) that has made running the business increasingly tough.


When we moved in to 28-29 we had visions of growing into the space over several years, but unfortunately the economy and lack of disposable income in the market has rather put paid to that, and the decline in overall income in the last two years has meant that the overheads associated with such a large space have become increasingly difficult to cover with a degree of comfort.


Serious consideration was given to closing down completely and exiting with our investments intact, long before getting to a stage where it might be forcibly taken, but,  we have a large band of dedicated customers, we have employees who need their jobs, all of whom we desperately want to avoid disappointing,  and we have the foundations of a successful business that, if we can weather this economic storm, could come out of it in a very strong position.  

In addition, given the imminent demise of Modelzone and closure of the Peterborough branch, we are again the only model shop of any substance for many miles around.  So, we are not going to give up without a fight!


We have taken the decision to move to a smaller unit, with manageable overheads, that will allow us to trade with at least a modest profit, based upon our current pattern of trade.  I am hopeful that trade has reached the bottom of the dip, and that we can start to see some growth in the not too distant future, but we now need to learn to live with more modest prospects and the volatility in the market that the future is likely to hold for all of us.


The new unit is still over twice the size of our original location (Those that remember it) so in model shop terms, it will still be pretty flipping big! but it is probably 60% less than we currently have, so we have had to make some sacrifices.


The Scalextric layout is gone.

Testing facilities for locos will remain, but will be reduced

Runswick Leamside, regrettably, has had to go - it can still be seen at Crewe heritage centre on their regular modelling events.

and we will be discontinuing some slow selling lines and reducing some others, particularly the big Scalextric sets and resin RTP buildings

there will also be a slight reduction in our staffing hours and possibly our opening times, though these will be superficial.


Sometimes, we have to adapt to survive - I am determined that Trains4U will survive - so we have to change.




As a consequence of downsizing and moving, we are liquidating a chunk of our stock so that we can make best use of the new space, and to help finance the move.


There are bargains to be had accross most of our ranges, with the majority of discounts being up to 20% off our previous prices (equivalent to 33% off RRP) on Railways (Including Hornby - unlike Modelzone!), plastic kits, Scalextric, scenics and buildings. - although there are some significantly deeper cuts to be found if you look carefully.


We are aiming to reduce overstocks on previous year's catalogues and clear out the final ones and twos of particular models to free up display space in the cabinets - but please don't expect to see, or ask for, the latest releases at cost price - we still have a business to run!


Where we can, we have replicated the prices on-line (The range is not as exhaustive as in-store), but for the latest offers it is best to drop by the shop and take a look in the cabinets, or keep an eye on our e-bay shop for some great offers, particularly N gauge wagons.


The sale stock is changing too rapidly to issue a list, but examples include Bachmann MLVs for £55, Hornby 56s from £73.80, Hornby Clans and Bachmann A1s for £98. (And micro scalextric sets from £19.50 for those of that persuasion  :stinker:  )



We will be gradually breaking down the existing shop over the coming weeks, and we may need to close for a few days to facilitate the move, but we will aim to keep disruption to service to the minimum, and I will let you all know of any impact closer to the time.



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I also forgot to add,

We will no longer be able to run the open days.


This is really sad as they have been fantastic events.

I will consider whether there is something we can do in future as it is always good to give something back to our customers.

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Best Wishes with the move.


Understand totally re spending habits. My hobby budget has been reduced so I'm always on the hunt for bargains unfortunatley.


I'm fortunate that I have a Model Shop locally for General things like Humbrol Enamels, paint brushes and thinners etc. However most loco purchases are made from Hattons, Rails or your  goodselves.


I have also pre-ordered the odd L/E


Here's hoping your downsizing allows you to weather the storm !

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Yes good luck to you. Refreshing honesty on the current state of the market. Hopefully you will have made the right movestoenure survival. No where near Peterborough but if ever I'm around will certainly drop by. Bet wishes and good luck

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I can feel for your predicament, Gareth. While I'm not a customer of T4U as such, I am one of those people who has seen their income destroyed by this recession and so represent the group who aren't buying much (or any, in my case) model railway stuff when previously they could. I sit here with my fingers crossed, both for people like myself and for stores like yours, that the economy will improve somehow and this desperate hanging on can finally be over.

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Hope it all works out as anticipated, Gareth.


My local model shop did a downsize by cutting his opening times, and that has served to concentrate his sales into a shorter working week, with less day to day overheads, and so far it's worked for him.

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Shame about Runswick but it's great to hear a business is facing the the current trading conditions with a positive mind and addressing them with a plan which will serve to ensure it can continue to flourish in tough times. Customers are crucial to any business and we've seen numerous examples of business which have stuck two fingers up to them in an effort to cut costs and the customer has suffered in the process. Good luck with the move and I'll look forward to seeing the new premises in due course.

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Nipped in today for a few bits.


Nice to see Gareth and Steve, not seen them for a while.

They are still unpacking boxes and sorting stuff out from the move.


The shop is looking really good and even though it's smaller than the old place you still don't feel cramped in.


Hope it all goes well!





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