Well done Sarah – and thank you.
Nothing in this first editorial is more important than paying a warm, heartfelt and richly deserved tribute to my colleague Sarah Palmer for bravely taking on the task of becoming the first editor of The Railway Magazine Guide to Modelling and bringing her own unique perspective to the hobby that we all enjoy so much.
It must have seemed a mountainous task for Sarah and the team when they were first faced with getting a publication like this under way, but no one could have been a more committed editor than she, and we wish her the very best in her new occupation.
While many envisage railway modelling as a male preserve, we certainly see many instances of the female touch, and in my experience women are usually much better at crafting and scenery, and even in the world of full-sized railways many seem to have a particular empathy with steam, so come on, girls – let’s have your railway modelling stories!
Life is full of ironies. Six years ago I decided to take up railway modelling so that, from time to time, I could take my mind off the relentless pressures of monthly newspaper and magazine production by spending a few quiet hours developing my first layout, yet here I am once again with a hobby turned into a job!
However, RMM will always be about you, not me, and I intend to embrace with equal enthusiasm every standard of modelling ability, every gauge, every era, every kind of motive power and every size of layout. Because we happen to like doing this gives us no cause to decry anyone who chooses to do that, so I’ll be giving equal credibility to those who prefer to run their trains and switch their points the old-fashioned way, and those who cannot wait to embrace every advance in ‘technology’.
As revealed by the pictures of my still-unfinished N-gauge layout, ‘Cathedral City and Meadowsweet’, railway modelling is relatively new to me, but railways themselves have been a big part of my life since childhood.
If I think back far enough, I can even see the begrimed initials ‘LMS’ on the tanks and tenders of locomotives at Dallam Shed in Warrington (8B) and ‘LNER’ on the tenders of former Great Central locomotives such as the O4 0-8-0s and J10 0-6-0s that still worked on the Cheshire Lines System – not that I had a clue, nor cared about, what they actually stood for at such a tender age.
Around that time, I recall waking up one Christmas morning and finding a huge red box with a fantastic painting of a busy main line station on the front on my bed. Thinking that this was exactly what I’d find inside, I took off the lid to reveal a basic Hornby clockwork train set that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm in the slightest.
I couldn’t wait for Dad to wake up and show me how it worked, and after breakfast we played with it all day! How evocative of this is my old friend Trevor Mitchell’s wonderful limited-edition print Grandad’s Attic, which we have duly reproduced this month.
During 57 years of journalism and counting, I spent some of the happiest years of my life editing magazines about the real thing, starting with Steam Railway in 1980, launching Rail Enthusiast soon afterwards, and finally embracing The Railway Magazine for the best part of six years, and I cannot wait to follow in Sarah’s footsteps with The Railway Magazine Guide to Modelling.
While other subjects and interests too numerous to mention have since come and gone, that love of railways has always remained locked in my heart, and I only wish I could portray in words the pleasure that recreating panoramic railway scenes from more than 60 years ago still gives me.
I look forward immensely to spending some time in your midst.