The Third Rail: Elaine of Elaine’s Trains offers some advice for would-be modellers

I have grown up around trains and all things mechanical; I had Lego as well as dolls and teddies. As a toddler I was taken on the footplate of Flying Scotsman with my dad and to various steam railways and events at Tyseley.

In the late 1970s a model railway was built for us, Dad did the track work and electrics, Mum did the scenery. As we spent our holidays in Teignmouth, we had to have the Heljan kit of the station.

We had the Hornby InterCity 125 set the first Christmas it came out and of course the Flying Scotsman followed soon after. It was a mixture of Tri-ang Hornby and Hornby items, Dad was even given bits and pieces at work for the model railway project.

In 1994 I met my future husband, Andy, who had a small model railway in his flat and was quite surprised when I wanted to run some trains. He also took me on a great railway holiday across Europe, which was my first time abroad.

My company Elaine’s Trains was created in 2006 when I needed a career change. I started selling a few items to friends and at Sunday swap meets, I attended a few auctions to buy stock and Andy showed me how to service the locomotives I had purchased.

In 2010 we got the website up and running and I now send parcels of trains all over the world and have a large returning customer base, as well as attending model railway exhibitions around the country.

I cater for two markets in the model railway world – the collectors and vintage railway enthusiasts, including people who want to get their old train set running for the grandchildren and then the scenic modellers who want the newer models and scenic items as well as those with an interest in European model railways. I am usually remembered because I am a girlie selling trains and there are not many of us!

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

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