Letting off steam: Lucian Doyle talks about the impact that his first train set had on his modelling life…

I have been fascinated with model railways ever since I was introduced to a friend’s Tri-ang Railway train set back in the late 1950s but I had to wait until the early 60s before I received my very own.

That set was the Tri-ang Railways’ RS24 that contained a little blue 0-4-0 loco named Connie, two wagons and a brake van. The incredibly sturdy track that was included made up a small oval on which I cannot recall how many times Connie and her wagons, running at full tilt, traversed the circuit but it must have been thousands upon thousands of times.

But I remember as if it were yesterday the Christmas morning that I opened up my ultimate Christmas gift. I had a strong feeling that my dad was going to buy me a train set but as money was very tight in our household all I dared do was to dream.

I received my first model railway set on the Christmas morning of 1962, it was my ultimate Christmas gift.

I ripped off the Christmas paper as quickly as I could and the very moment I saw the bright red box I screamed with absolute delight. I am certain that before the wrapping paper had time to hit the floor I had taken off the lid of the box and viewed the contents with awe. From that very moment on Christmas morning 1962 my enjoyment of model railways blossomed into a passion that has brought me a great deal of joy and satisfaction ever since.

Now I would be lying if I said that model railways had always been the number one interest in my life because of course it hasn’t. I am a baby boomer and we baby boomers in the Sixties all aspired to be members of a rock band and consequently much of the model railway items I had collected since obtaining my train set were sold off to buy a second-hand drum kit.

Very quickly I realised that I could bash out a beat yet more importantly I quickly realised that I was certainly not a Buddy Rich or even a fledgling and much-maligned Ringo Starr, so my days of romancing about being a rock star soon waned and the drums gave way to my first car, an old Ford Anglia 105E.

That car morphed into a Vauxhall Victor, which was then part-exchanged for an MGB GT and it was that particular car with which I first enticed my future wife to accept a lift home from a friend’s party.

For the full article, see December’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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