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Confessions of a Railway Enthusiast

Ian Fowler

IAN FOWLER muses on the benefits of loving trains...

I always knew I was different from the other boys, even from an early age. Even though I was into the same stuff as them like football, music and girls, deep down I knew one day I壇 have to face my feelings or live the rest of my life as a lie, so I知 taking the plunge and telling you all this now as I feel I知 among friends...

My name is Ian Fowler and I am a Railway Enthusiast!

PR10545 Trainspotters

Have you seen any of these characters on the platform?

I致e always liked the real railways as well as those in model form, and as a youngster used to spend as much time as I could in the summer outdoors watching trains and the colder winter months indoors playing with model ones. Of course, in my teens I took a lengthy sabbatical from these pastimes as revealing that you are into trains is possibly the single most effective form of contraception on the planet, but having met my now-wife who was clearly "the one" I felt that the time was right to start dropping hints about my love of railways while still having the option of maintaining my oh-so-cool exterior. Of course, she壇 known for some time and although a little bemused by it, was and still is happy to see me happy. This of course makes the acquisition of items for "the railway that will never be built" much easier as did the emergence of my son which gives me a valuable "alibi" to travel on trains in the summer and to model them too!

Tangmere at Chichester

You never know what you'll see on the mainline...

Being the Managing Director here allows me the good fortune of indulging my passion for railways and putting some of the (normally useless) knowledge I have, productively. It also means that I travel around a fair bit and sometimes have to stay away. A side-benefit of this is that I carefully plan my stopovers with interesting lineside locations. A huge benefit of this is that when my wife rings in the evening, she knows that I知 far more likely to be at a station than a bar of ill-repute getting myself into trouble!

These sessions observing the real railway have taught me many things. Firstly, how ungrateful I was back in the day as I remember cursing certain classes of locomotive on passenger turns (what I壇 give to see them again!) and secondly, that when it comes to railway modelling, just a day observing the "real" railway can prove an absolute inspiration in terms of what we try and re-create in model form.

Horsted Keynes Bluebell Railway

Preserved railways can help with modelling period buildings.

Not so much what痴 running on them, as the major manufacturers generally do an excellent job in making models that are true to life but more some of the nuances, like train formations, railway architecture, signalling, trackwork and scenery. The explosion in digital photography, particularly in smartphones means that you can take hundreds of top quality photos to assist you in your modelling, after all a picture paints a thousand words as they say...

So over the coming weeks, I知 going to pick a few of my favourite locations and give you an idea of what you might see there, how you can replicate it in model form and also whether there are some model shops to visit in the area too.

I hope that some of you might be inspired to spend some time watching the real railway as I知 certain you値l be surprised by what you will absorb which I知 certain will make your modelling more enjoyable. Maybe I値l see you out there sometime?

It's no accident that Ian's office window faces straight out onto the railway line...

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