There has been a lot of discussion recently on the price increases for ‘N’ gauge stock imposed by Graham Farish and others. There are some good thoughts in this month’s Railway Modeller from Ben Ando (of NGS and Revolution Trains Pendolino fame.) Apart from the interesting thought:
Suddenly, it seem to me, railways are cool…..
But not all is rosy. Manufacturing delays, increasing costs of manufacturing in the far east, and most of all, the decline of the traditional high street shop threaten to undermine progress.
On rising costs, although Peco still manufacture all its track and accessories in Devon, almost all other firms use Chinese factories. Could manufacturing return home? Should it return home?
Surely it is as unrealistic to expect those making models in China to move their production back to the UK overnight as it is to want Chinese workers to keep working for a pittance. Either way, factory prices have gone up, and the rises are likely to continue.
But is this a bad thing? I believe it is time to analyse the real cost of low prices.
He goes on to say that low prices are good for us who want lots of lovely new models and also for young modellers starting in the hobby.
But low prices mean low margins for the trade. This means no shop outlets, but perhaps more importantly, no research and development to improve the product. He may well be right – I’ve seen so many complaints about the quality of Dapol mechanisms and how Farish valve gear drops off. Either way, we need development in out hobby to allow it to continue to evolve in the 21st century.
Railway modelling is indeed cool – let’s keep it that way.
The answer, as ever, to me is higher costs = smaller layouts…..