Why take up railway modelling?

Firstly – is it too expensive?

This section repeats a blog post. There has been a lot of negativity surrounding the hobby of late due to one, but only that one out of several, retail outlets closing and one major exhibition organiser downsizing their event away from the NEC. Yes, some of the latest, top of the range products are expensive, but a beginner does not need to cut their modelling teeth on such purchases.

If your interest is in crafting and making things then arguably such new and expensive items are the wrong place to start your railway modelling journey. There is a lot of pre-owned material available at much lower prices and therefore a more suitable starting point to learn the trade of skills like painting and modifying you purchases. Don’t let prices put you off, the hobby has far more to offer entrants than merely taking part in a one-upmanship, keeping up with the Jones’, rush to prove who has the biggest, shiniest most expensive set-up. (Section added 14 March 2024)

The hobby outlined

Railway modelling is a hobby that provides the opportunity to gain a wide range of skills in many areas. From the day that you add your first point (turnout) to a ready to run train set you are learning the art of layout planning. As you progress to a layout on a baseboard you begin to master carpentry, as you add wiring to the layout you move into simple electric circuitry. At some point you will begin to add scenery and move into kit building for both buildings and rolling stock. As you further develop your knowledge and skills you will begin to build items entirely from scratch.

It is also a hobby that can grow with you. For the child with a train set imagination lets the model train be whatever they want. It may only go round and round but it represents the Cornish Riviera Express, the Flying Scotsman or just the humble 12:10 to the junction. Shoe box tunnels and building block stations turn in the mind into the grandeur of Paddington et al.

As we get older the quest for greater realism gains in importance but enjoyment and satisfaction are what counts. For one person that may be found in operational exactness whilst to another it is constructing models to the finest degree of accuracy they can manage. For other modellers building and operating their models is almost secondary to researching information ready for the next project. What unites us all is the common thread of railways.

What we all as railway modellers find in the hobby, whatever the emphasis we place on particular elements of it, and whatever our level of skill, is satisfaction.

Don’t be put off by the examples on show at an exhibition, thinking that if you can not attain such standards the hobby can’t offer you anything. We were all beginners once and our early, less sophisticated, models offered just as much pleasure to us at the time as these do now. Join us in the hobby and you will find an interest to satisfy a lifetime.

Railway Modelling – the creative hobby of today. *

*Acknowledgements to Peco Publications for this slogan.

NB This page has been reissued in the site’s new format due to corruption of the old page coding.

Site first created 29 September 1998. This page last updated 14 March 2024.