This is a proud
– dare I say, surreal – moment as I welcome you to our 20th birthday issue. It’s a bit difficult to pin down exactly when Model Rail No. 1 hit the newsstands because that first issue was simply dated ‘Autumn 1997’. But, with the leaves turning brown and the temperature dropping, it seems like the right time to break out the balloons and candles, and to celebrate. Model Rail had been around a lot longer than that of course, but previously only as a slim supplement in RAIL. MR1 was the first standalone issue, 100 pages of excitement and innovation, never before seen in a railway modelling magazine. To celebrate our birthday, you’ll find the top 20 layouts that have appeared in Model Rail over the years, as chosen by our friends, colleagues in the industry and loyal Facebook followers. We’ve also got 20 ready-to-run locomotives to give away to 20 lucky readers, collectively worth over £2,800. Our main features in this issue also pay homage to MR1. We’ve selected subjects from that inaugural edition and revisited them, using 20 years worth of experience and new product development. So, George has weathered the wagons to go behind the ‘9F’ that appeared in MR1, has found some new tweaks to make to Lima Mk 1s and has hacked about a Class 31. Enjoy!