Author Topic: Sad Day for Anoraks  (Read 822 times)

Online Taman Tun

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Sad Day for Anoraks
« on: October 25, 2020, 07:46:31 AM »
Ian Allan closes down.  This from today’s Tim’s:-

It is raining in central London but, at a shop near Waterloo station, trade is brisk. Ian Allan Book & Model Shop is a focal point for trainspotters, bus lovers and aviation enthusiasts. It is the last specialist transport shop in the country, but on October 31 it will close.

For the shop’s devoted clientele, it is devastating news. “The only other place to go is Foyles, and their transport section is two shelves,” said John Scott-Morgan, 66, a customer since it opened in 1987.

People travel here from all over the country, said Kerry Foster, 56, the shop’s manager. “One of our clients comes from the West Country, several others from Scotland and Wales,” she said.

Others journey from abroad to get the thrill of buying models in the land that invented the steam locomotive. One teenage boy comes from California with his parents every year. He calls it “the best shop in the world”, Foster said.

Nick Allan, director of the company founded by his grandfather Ian, said Covid-19 had hurt it: “Our average customer is over 50 and we don’t think the average 50, 60 or 70-year-old is going to hop on a train to London any more.”

He said the closure was also a sign of waning interest in transport history: “We are finding there is not as much interest with the younger generation because of iPhones and computer games.”

In the past decade the company has closed shops in Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff and sold its magazine and book publishing arms as sales declined.

How you feel about this will depend on your point of view. Here, I should declare an interest. My father, 70, is a railway enthusiast. As a teenager, I spent more weekends than I care to remember standing in the rain on a platform trying to hide my face and smother my shame.

If there is a brutal regime looking for new ways to torture young women, asking them to pick up a copy of Railway Modeller on the way home from school is a good start.

Yet it was not all that long ago that trainspotting was a national obsession, and Ian Allan was the one who kicked it off. Allan, who died in 2015 at the age of 92, worked as a clerk for the Southern Railway’s publicity department at Waterloo during the Second World War. He had the idea of compiling a book containing the technical data of the engines and listing them by number.

Remarkably, given the constraints of wartime censorship, his first booklet, ABC of Southern Locomotives, was published in 1942 and sold out immediately.

The hobby took off in the postwar decade. At its peak, 250,000 schoolboys joined the Locospotters’ Club, gathering on platforms or at the lineside to cross off the numbers of passing steam engines in their ABC British Railways Locomotives (one pocket volume for each of BR’s four regions). By 1950 police were being called to exciting stations such as Preston to deal with the crush of spotters.

For most, the enthusiasm died out over time. The locospotters morphed into a railway preservation movement, rescuing dozens of branch lines and engines for posterity. One or two celebrity anoraks remain. Last year Sir Rod Stewart, 75, revealed to Railway Modeller (the magazine I once hid inside a copy of Vogue) a huge, intricate model of a US city he had built and donated £10,000 to restore a model railway in Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, that had been destroyed by vandals. Jools Holland and Neil Young are also fans.

For the most part, the transport fanatic is much maligned. My father has weathered our mockery with good- natured forbearance. When we made a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for my son’s birthday last year, my dad pointed out that Thomas is an E2 class locomotive and ours had too many biscuit wheels.

Lately I have realised he is having the last laugh. Not only has his hobby relieved the stress of a high-pressure career and eased the shift to retirement. It is also now mitigating the boredom of being locked down. There is a poignancy to Ian Allan closing at a time when hobbies have never felt more important.

Nick Allan says the decision to close is commercial. Most specialist titles are now on Amazon and, while the magazine circulations drop, the chatter of excited hobbyists thrums on in online forums.

In fact, the internet seems to be taking the hobby in directions it has not been before. Vicki Pipe, best known as half of the YouTube sensation All the Stations — she and her partner, Geoff, spent 2017 visiting every railway station in Britain — said she was motivated partly by wanting to show that women have a role to play on the railways.

Nevertheless, when Ian Allan closes its doors later this month, a piece of British transport history will be lost for ever. The customers in the shop last week had turned up despite Covid-19. People do not come here just to buy books, Foster said: “As you get older, your circle of friends gets smaller and it is nice to go somewhere where people know your name.”


If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Offline thaiga

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 10:46:25 AM »
Good post that T.T. interesting to see how the world is changing, nothing wrong with train spotting and the likes of, a healthy hobby. the history of transport i find interesting. there are still many clubs online where as books or reading can be obtained. a lot of interest died out as the trains themself are not of much interest today ie: electric, diesel.

All The Stations - The Documentary

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks - A Visit to Ian Allan Model & Bookshop
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 02:11:24 PM »
clip from 2019 Ian Allan Model & Bookshop in a pedestrainised part of Brum. Grand Central Station (New Street)
interesting shop could spend hours browsing there

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 12:07:20 AM »
Confessions Of A Train Spotter 1980 - Michael Palin's Great Railway Journeys
In this affectionate documentary, Michael Palin confesses to being a train spotter when he was a boy and fulfils his ambition to travel to the Isle of Skye by train. On the way, he contrasts the practical world of modern trains with the nostalgic dreams of steam and stops off to hop on a steam train in Yorkshire. His mission fulfilled at the Kyle of Lochalsh, which route will he take home?

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2020, 12:16:15 AM »
Trainspotting in the 1950's -  trainspotters at King's Cross and Euston stations in 1957 and 1958. how different things were then, not a mobile in sight. just pencil n paper, the kids are happy. not sure i like the change to modern society.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Online Taman Tun

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 09:50:47 AM »
Thaiga, interesting film.  My train spotting revolved around a set of level crossing gates.  Most of the trains were dirty old freight locomotives, but a thrill in late afternoon was to see the “boat train” come through.  This was always hauled by a Brittania Class 7000 in its shiny green paint.  Of course, we had the Ian Allen books in which to tick off the numbers.  Far better than just spotting the trains was to actually “cab” them which we achieved by sneaking into the local depot and jumping aboard the footplate of a still steaming and hissing locomotive.  One friend at school was a train spotting hero..he had been to York and had actually cabbed a “streak” (Gresley Class A4). 
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Offline thaiga

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2020, 12:04:21 AM »
Gresley A4 Pacific
Hi T.T. sounds like you had bundles of fun. Dirty ole smokey game railways of yesteryear - the clip below uploaded by the name of ENGINE PORN sounds seedy no less to say, wonder if he has a TENDER BEHIND  ;D  you mention The Gresley A4 Pacific Considered by many as the greatest locomotive of all time, nickname the Flying Hamburger, London to Newcastle. which in 1938 set a world speed record of 126mph. from London to Newcastle took 4 hours.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2020, 12:04:32 AM »
"A TPO from the Footplate!" of Britannia Class No.70013 "Oliver Cromwell"
I see Dave likes playing with his whistle doesn't he!. Great clip of the cab action.

"I am a massive mighty creature. When fed and watered I am Engergy, I am Effort, I am power. I am a product of the skill of man, and therefore respond to Man's commands. When I am unleashed I am a furious, rushing beast of burden. Industry and Commerce cannot do without me. I am essential in Peace and War. I am the STEAM LOCOMOTIVE"
Taken from "Meet the Locomotive" by R. Bernard Way (1947)

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Online Taman Tun

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2020, 09:14:20 AM »
Here are a couple of orgasm inducing clips from Banbury North Signal Box.





embedded by thaiga



If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Online Taman Tun

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2020, 04:39:52 PM »
Here is photo of Gresley A4 taking on water.  Early trains were like electric cars:-  they had a range problem.  They could not carry enough water for the boiler and had to take on extra water from water troughs installed between the rails.  The photo shows what happens when the fireman is too slow to retract the water scoop after the tank is filled.

Many thanks to Thaiga for technical help in getting this photo posted. 
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2020, 05:54:32 PM »
good shot T.T. makes you wonder where the camera man was standing.
HEY! do you remember Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Miniature Railway
Oh! the memories - they was one third of an ordinary train size, the kids had so much fun and some adults to. on the beach there near dungeness people made homes out of old full size abandoned railway carriages and made gardens around them, which i'm sure they actually lived in.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2020, 12:17:41 AM »
on the beach there near dungeness people made homes out of old full size abandoned railway carriages and made gardens around them, which i'm sure they actually lived in.

around the 1920s, the railway company allowed the redundant workers to buy the old rolling stock which many turned into homes. not to worry about planning regulations in them days, they just dragged them onto the marsh and made them homes.

pic@ theromneymarsh.net
Railway Cottage Home c1935
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Online Taman Tun

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2020, 11:29:18 AM »
Finest quality Thai steam.

If the old only could, if the young only knew.

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Re: Sad Day for Anoraks
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2020, 11:22:48 PM »
Massive Miniature Railway Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Model Railway Exhibition
The train set all the kids loved and some adults were really serious, collectors as well, One of the biggest and most impressive Model Railways was the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Model Railway Exhibition.



Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

 



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