Opening the box
Welcome to the first issue of 2017, a year that holds special significance for Model Rail as we turn 20. Yes, you read that right: Model Rail, as a magazine rather than just a supplement in RAIL, has been around for 20 years. It doesn’t seem that long ago, does it? Oasis’ Be Here Now became the UK’S fastest-selling album to date, boxer Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear, Tony Blair became Prime Minister, and the world mourned the death of both Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. A lot has changed since then, and so has the world of model railways. But our ethos has remained the same. To quote Chris Leigh’s opening comment from issue No. 1: “Model Rail is unashamedly an ‘active magazine’, packed with advice and information to help you DO your modelling. However, in providing such comprehensive help it also gives the ‘armchair’ modellers lots to read, study and enjoy.” Twenty years on, we’re still following that philosophy. We’re still bringing you top quality layouts (ones that ‘never leave home’ wherever possible) plus inspiration from the real world and its railways, and all complemented with the best photography available. Only the increasing complexity of new models means that it’s not always possible to take a model apart, but if we review a kit, we do actually build it. Some things have changed: the team is bigger, for one thing, and a new generation of modelling heroes - George Dent and Chris Nevard, to name but two - have emerged. And we’ve gone from ordering 500 Class 90s from Hornby to having our own models designed and manufactured. But Model Rail’s core values remain the same, and we’re able to do this because, after all this time, Chris Leigh and Dave Lowery (above) are still key members of the team. The drive, enthusiasm and passion of the magazine’s founders hasn’t waned, and they keep the rest of us on the straight and narrow. Being in Chris and Dave’s company is a real pleasure. The good-natured jibes and leg pulling mask a genuine friendship - the type of bond that people can only make when they’ve worked together for so long. As a relative newcomer, it’s a little awe-inspiring too, as they’re two of the hobby’s ‘greats’. But then, I’m sure that Chris and Dave would have probably felt the same way about being in the company of their own modelling heroes. Let’s hope that the model railway world will be as strong and vibrant in 2037 as it is today. And there’s no reason why Model Rail won’t be there with advice and information to help you do your hobby!