Some good insights from Steve Flint, writing in the latest Railway Modeller editorial…
There are three categories of model railway enthusiast. The first is the person who has a specific layout project on the go…. The second is the collector…. The third is the person who, one day, is going to build a layout….
Not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with any of these three modeller categories, although the first two types are possibly more fulfilled than the third one…..
But – and it’s a but that’s getting bigger – the dynamics of modern living are steadily eroding that potential start date [for type three] for many modellers.
For instance, the government has just announced another increase in the state pension qualifying age, pushing many younger people’s retirement date further into the future. Then there is the housing situation in the UK, this can mean that the ‘spare’ bedroom – for decades and ideal place for a layout – remains occupied by grown up children who can’t get on the housing ladder themselves. Likewise, those consigned to renting a home, find the lack of any long term security of tenure discourages any ambitions of a permanently housed railway layout.
We cannot solve those problems alone, so we have to work around them, and several contributors in this issue show different ways in which the hobby can be enjoyed without spacious ‘domestic’ resources. ….a rummage around the second-hand stalls (and) shows how, with a bit of ingenuity, old generic coaches can be transformed into plausible models. … two portable mini-layout schemes….. and an unbelievable ultra-compact Gauge 1 layout….
Be wary, then of banking on a future start date for that big project, for it may be further away than you think. Start today with something small, and begin immediately to reap the rewards of this fabulous hobby.
I can identify with some of this. We’ve got one (of three) children still at home, and if we downsize, where does the railway go? I also think the article could be followed up with one on the problems faced by model railway clubs – we equally have a problem with the high cost of club rooms!