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MODEL RAILWAYS ON-LINE MAGAZINE


Tuesday 8 January 2019

I am going to try out a different format for our 'Putting Your View' page.  Instead of publishing each edition on a planned date we will just add emails from readers as they are received.  If you would like to make a comment about the website, ask a question or just have a rant about your pet subject and would like to see it published here please send your email to me at editor.mrol@gmail.com.

May I draw readers' attention to our new sales page.  It can be found as a tab on the main menu bar.  If you should wish to advertise on this page please contact me, also at editor.mrol@gmail.com.  This service is only available free of charge for private sales and for model railway items.

Paul Plowman      Editor


Thursday 28 June 2018 edition

Editorial

Unfortunately this trial run of a new magazine has not attracted the level of interest we had hoped. I have not received any contributions from readers for several days and the hit counter for viewings is extrememly low.

It is with regret, therefore that I will not be continuing with this experiment.

Paul Plowman      Editor


Tuesday 26 June 2018 edition

Editorial

Hornby's financial woes again leads us to ask where this hobby might be heading. The prospect of Hornby going to the wall is a concern for us all. I don't envy the Hornby directors at this time. There seems to be a whole range of factors driving the business and the hobby down. Firstly one now has to be around at least 58 years of age to be able to remember steam in regular service on BR. Coupled with this surveys conducted by various websites indicate that the age range where we are most active in the hobby is from 50 to 70 years of age. Other factors are the dumbing down of essential skills, few people can use a soldering iron these days and have little understanding of electrical matters, less spare time, less spare cash, little space for a layout and the distraction of computers and social media.

Of 188 new Hornby steam models advertised by Hattons, I found only one fitted withh DCC and one fitted with sound. Nowhere did I find the words "DCC ready". It would appear that despite all the advantages of DCC it has been an unmitigated failure. Why?

With the introduction of the Merchant Navy and high quality, high cost models Hornby moved to targetting cashed up customers in their middle-age. Modellers of this age have usually already committed to large DC collections on their layouts and are not in any position to change. The current marketing encourages collectors who have no need for DCC. Whilst some of us are reaping the benefits of DCC it would appear to be a marketing failure.

We will all have our own opinions as to what Hornby should do. What we do know is that modellers are generally interested in the period from about 40 years ago to the present day. This implies that the BR steam era is now so far in the past as to be of significantly diminishing interest. Hornby need to consider the future of the steam era products. It would seem that with the current interest in preserved railways the most profitable option would be to only market models of steam locomotives which can be seen in preservation with their elaborate pre-grouping liveries. Having invested in the tooling it would make sense to market these models in former BR liveries. The current practice of scraping the barrel to provide examples of everything that ever ran is doomed to failure.

Putting Your View

Australia to Apply Goods and Services Tax to UK Sales from 1st July

Australian readers may not be aware, but on 1st July 2018, overseas retailers are required to collect GST and submit it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Hattons have sent an email out to its customers advising that as they send more than the ATO's 1000. This was based on the model of the Post Office and Customs collecting it - organisations owned by our government which therefore, incur collection costs. Someone has come up with the idea of offloading those collection costs onto foreign companies with no laws in those countries to back it up.

Realistically, there are going to be numerous countries who do not particpate with the ATO's wishes, principally the US and China who would never cooperate.

Hattons will apparently label parcels to indicate GST paid. Does that mean Australian Customs is going to check every parcel ? And what if they don't find a label ? They will simply resort to the old post office approach of popping a slip in your postbox telling you to come and collect/pay for your parcel. So why don't they do it this way in the first place ?

This is an absolute mess, it is wide open to abuse and is unenforceable.

My suggestion is to write to your MP and tell them to rescind this rediculous implementation and implement it property via the post office, couriers and customs here in Australia. I'm not against paying taxes, but if Government wants to collect tax, then it should incur the costs of doing so - but then that is not what this is about.

This whole nonsense is a political stunt to placate a few high-profile retailers at every one else's expense. The joke is that even with GST, it is still way cheaper to purchase from Hattons than to buy locally. It is a blatant tax grab!

Graham Plowman

Hattons has for many years been my first choice of supplier. Sadly this imposition by the Australian Government will have the consequence that on-line customers, not just railway modellers, will now go looking for suppliers whose trade to Australia falls below the limit of A 75,000 p.a. (£42K ) to register and collect Goods and Services Tax (GST) on behalf of Australia. Amazon and other suppliers in the United States have refused to co-operate and Amazon will shut off access to its US website to Australian customers. Hattons have posted a statement on their website - Read more:

Putting Your View

We have not received any letters for inclusion in "Putting Your View". Ed.

Hints and Tips

Readers are invited to send in their hints and tips to share with their fellow modellers.

Ed.

Readers are invited to send me their posts by email to editor.mrol@gmail.com. I will then edit your posts into the magazine which will be published on the website every Tuesday and Thursday. The usual rules for e-groups will apply. I will assume that all emails sent to this address are intended for publication unless it is clearly stated at the beginning "NOT FOR PUBLICATION".

The planned date for the next edition of this magazine is Tuesday 26 June 2018.


Tuesday 19 June 2018 edition

Editorial

An interesting article appeared in the International Express this week titled "Trainspotting and quilting are on the way to dying out" by Astrid Hall.
A study commissioned by online casino Casumo.com has found that hobbies such as trainspotting, quilting and astrology are slowly dying out. Working longer hours, having less disposable income and the attraction of social media are leaving less time for traditional pastimes. Stamp collecting, embroidery and model making are also among the hobbies which Britons are losing interest in.
I think this trend is possibly occuring, not just in the UK but across most western countries.

Paul Plowman      Editor

Putting Your View

The Future of Our Hobby

I read the two comments in the emag about the future of modelling and the cost of models and smiled. Why? Because this constant harping about the price of models going up and being 'expensive' seems to me like a load of tripe. When I came back to modelling in the early 1990s, after ten years away, an OO gauge tender loco cost about £90, now they are £140 without DCC or £180 with it. Hardly a massive increase yet these aren't the same models - they are much more detailed and better looking than the old ones. It seems to me that people who harp on about the cost of models live in a fairy-tale world where they do not want anything to ever go up in price but in the real world we have better quality models, which not surprisingly cost more, and we live with inflation, which of itself would put the price up. Get real people an RTR model today is cheap compared to 30 years ago..... For myself I am a model maker - I build all my own models from kits or scratch so what an RTR model costs is immaterial but it does make me smile when I again read someone moaning about the price of a loco......

Andy Watson

I have been looking at a spreadsheet which I keep of my purchases:

Bachamann 22xx - November 1998 £42.95 - Today £81.43
Hornby Duchess - August 2005 £64.68 - Today £136.67
Hornby Grange - November 2008 £47.66 - Today £110.00
Hornby Castle - December 2010 £84.26 - Today £116.67
Bachmann Hall - October 2012 £68.33 - Today £116.67
Bachmann 45xx - October 2012 £16.67 - Today £81.42

The above prices are exclusive of VAT. None were DCC fitted. None are Bachmann split chassis and all were purchased new from Hattons or Gaugemaster.
I'll leave it to readers for comment.

Ed.

Hints and Tips

Readers are invited to send in their hints and tips to share with their fellow modellers.

Ed.

Readers are invited to send me their posts by email to editor.mrol@gmail.com. I will then edit your posts into the magazine which will be published on the website every Tuesday and Thursday. The usual rules for e-groups will apply. I will assume that all emails sent to this address are intended for publication unless it is clearly stated at the beginning "NOT FOR PUBLICATION".

The planned date for the next edition of this magazine is Thursday 21 June 2018.


Thursday 14 June 2018 edition

Editorial

We have made a good start with some readers writing in to "Put Your View". Please keep your messages coming.

Paul Plowman      Editor

News

This section will be used for latest news. We will keep a watch on the major manufacturers' websites and draw attention to anything of interest which we notice. We would also be pleased to publish announcements about forthcoming events both in the UK and Australasia.

Bachmann

11/06/2018 - Bachmann will be at the GCR Model Event - Read more:

06/06/2018 - Latest Bachmann Collectors Club Update - Read more:

04/06/2018 - New Scenecraft Catalogue - Read more:

Putting Your View

The Future of Our Hobby

Hi Paul,

I have been a model maker all my life, firstly as a childhood hobby, then professionally in design and prototyping, then as a full time hobby and part time business. Throughout, model railway modelling has always featured large, particularly so during the winter months when my many and varied outdoor radio controlled interests take a back seat.

However, whilst all my other model making hobbies have become less expensive and more readily available, model locos and rolling stock prices have become silly. Retailers are frustrated as they cannot afford to hold stock and their customers cannot afford to buy it! As a direct result, customers are looking for other, more affordable hobbies.

Given that all stock is now manufactured in the far east, as are all the parts being used in all my other model making hobbies, it is very evident that the model railway companies are both unable to negotiate realistic prices from their manufacturers and/or are trying to maintain their profits by increasing retail prices in a declining market, a strategy that will never work. This is driving their long time loyal customers away.

RIP model railways. I will retain fond memories as l enjoy my working model boats, cars, planes, trucks, drones etc., all very affordable and thriving.

John Turner

High Speed Rail

I fear June, well the summer, is a bad time to introduce a mag, mind you I suppose it's the winter for you.

However I read track pages and now understand a bit more - in particular the environmental link type footbridge at the other end of Strood. A narrow heavily fenced in pathway about 20ft from either bridge parapet. I will look out for more examples.

I have also long considered that several parallel platform roads are required because of the time to slow down and accelerate as otherwise the high speed tracks would need to be slowed to allow for the train ahead. Mind you I've never seen any "goods" train on the line since opening. These days there aren't any even on the non high speed lines just some maintenance trains though there were container trains to Thamesport on the Medway till about three years ago and car and steel trains from Sheerness and Chatham docks until about ten years ago.

Archie Campbell

One of the more serious problems of very high speed running are brick throwing idiots. On one occasion I was travelling as an observer in the cab of a Waterloo to Southamton non-stop train. Between Brookwood and Basingstoke we hit a pidgeon at about 90 mph. The loud bang on the front was quite alarming, at least to one who was not familier with the experience. There was no damage to the train. However, when the missile is a house brick and the train is cruising at 186mph (300kph) the dangers become very serious. To counter this problem all overline structures along the Channel Tunnel Rail Link were designed to prevent public access to the parapets.

There are no platforms on the high speed tracks of HS1. The concept is analogous to a motorway where the road is entered and exited by slip roads. Service stations on a motorway are analogous to stations on the railway.

The huge technical success of the French TVG lines is partly due to having all trains run at the same speed. The British Government, still in Privatisation mode decided that the CTRL would be available to all TOC's provided they met the technical requirements of the route. So the Railway was designed for Eurostar trains running at 300kph, domestic trains at 200kph and freight trains at 140kph, an operators nightmare for a two-track railway which was expected to become the busiest railway in the world. Not only was it a nightmare for the operators but the civil engineers as well. The starting point for design of cant was the Eurostars at 300kph with the application of maximum cant and maximum allowable deficiency. The consequence of this was that freight trains ampling along at a cool 90mph were leaning inwards on many of the curves. Such a situation results in little or no steerage of the wheels and very heavy wear on wheels and rails, a situation which cannot be tolerated on a safety consious high speed railway. If as Archie suggests there is no longer any freight on the line then it would appear that someone has made a senible decision.

Ed.

Hints and Tips

Readers are invited to send in their hints and tips to share with their fellow modellers.

Ed.

Readers are invited to send me their posts by email to editor.mrol@gmail.com. I will then edit your posts into the magazine which will be published on the website every Tuesday and Thursday. The usual rules for e-groups will apply. I will assume that all emails sent to this address are intended for publication unless it is clearly stated at the beginning "NOT FOR PUBLICATION".

The planned date for the next edition of this magazine is Tuesday 19 June 2018.


Monday 11 June 2018 edition

Editorial

Welcome to this first edition of our new on-line magazine. Firstly let me give credit to Pat Hammond who first devised this style of magazine some 15/20 years ago with his Model Railway Express Magazine (MREmag) website. The MREmag website is now owned by DRMe Publishing who have changed the style of the magazine out of all recognition. At the time of the change there was much lamenting by former readers and contributors. Indeed the then Editor called a halt on all further discussion on the subject. Over the past few months there seems to have been a general decline in interest in egroups, particularly in the model railway hobby. In response to this apparent decline we have decided to run a two month trial for an on-line magazine in this old format.

Readers are invited to send me their posts by email to editor.mrol@gmail.com. I will then edit your posts into the magazine which will be published on the website every Tuesday and Thursday. The usual rules for e-groups will apply. I will assume that all emails sent to this address are intended for publication unless it is clearly stated at the beginning "NOT FOR PUBLICATION".

Paul Plowman      Editor

News

This section will be used for latest news. We will keep a watch on the major manufacturers' websites and draw attention to anything of interest which we notice. We would also be pleased to publish announcements about forthcoming events both in the UK and Australasia.

Hornby

The latest announcements to appear on the Hornby website:

23/04/2018 - Hornby no longer to produce Thomas The Tank Engine - Read more:

02/06/2018 - A4 'Bittern' Arrives at its new home in Margate - Read more:

Bachmann

26/03/2018 - First pictures of the Class 117 3-car DMU - Read more:

MROL Website

05/06/2018 - My blog on the MROL website has been updated - Read more:




Putting Your View

The Future of Our Hobby

This section will be used for you to Put Your Views. I'll kick off the discussion by raising questions about the future of our hobby. The availability of bits and pieces such as accessories, kits, ready to use buildings and scenic materials has never been better. However, there seems to be growing issues with the cost and availability of model rolling stock. It is now virtually impossible to purchase a model loco for under £100. A pacific comes in at around £180 with DCC sound or £140 without. Coaches come in at around £40 each. These prices are making me think carefully about my purchases. Then there is the problem of availability. To be sure of being able to purchase a desired model one now has to go through the ritual of placing advanced orders. Personally I prefer to wait to read reviews. New models sometimes come with unforseen issues and I prefer to wait for the second batch run when hopefully problems have been ironed out. The problem here is that there may not be a second batch such as the Bachmann C Class in full SE&CR livery which has become a collectors item. I would be pleased to hear readers' views on the future of the hobby and any other subject that would be of interest.

Paul Plowman

Hints and Tips

Superglue

I found in the past that I tended to waste superglue due to its short shelf life once a tube is opened. I have found that by storing opened tubes in a jam jar under water the glue stays in good condition much longer. They tend to float so make sure they are stored with the cap downwards under the water.

Ed.