I have been to a number of model railway exhibitions recently, and they seem to be very poorly attended compared to when I were't lad. Since I've also recently dug out my models, bought a few new ones, and am contemplating a layout, I have read a few magazines and so on recently as well. I don't know if its me, but the hobby seems to have been entirely taken over by what we used to call 'rivet counters' obsessed with making an accurate 'model' of a particular stretch of line. Very few seem interested in just running trains, shunting etc., and indeed modern models seem to be so light and delicate and have such fiddly couplings that the latter activity seems next to impossible anyway. When I had a railway in my youth, we were much more interested in planning timetables, devising ways to make up goods trains, sending trains down the line to the other operator and seeing if he could untangle himself, that sort of thing. In short, where's the fun any more? If I wanted to make an accurate diorama of a piece of railway the last thing I'd try and do is make it work. (And I have made military model dioramas). While I accept that the possible accuracy of a working scale model has increased out of all recognition since, say, 1950, it seems to me the pendulum has swung far too far towards (alleged) accuracy and away from actually running the trains. Is it because people are scared of being accused of 'playing with trains' unless they take it all deadly seriously? I think I'd have a lot more fun with a four track main line round my room that a branch line on which nothing moves - or if it does it moves in a series of jerks because the track is insufficiently robust and nothing is properly run-in. And I expect the same is true of potential exhibition visitors, especially young ones. It's not as if any of the models you see are actually accurate, anyway. In real life curves tend to be check railed if they are less than say 15 chains radius - that'd be 12 feet or so radius in 1:76. Absolute minimum for turnouts would be something like 4ft radius. And that's not getting into signalling details of point work etc. Anyone not building their own track has the main element of their railway so far out of accuracy that they may as well run Tri-ang Princesses. Nor am I one of the 'collectible' fraternity - I want to _run_ models, not collect them untouched in their original boxes. - I'd just like to see a signal pull off or turn green and a train roll round the corner. To use a modern word, its the meme that matters, the sequence or pattern of events that surely is evocative, not the exact detail. Hornby Dublo used to advertise their system as the ultimate model railway, and in some ways it was - it had a sound and working details that evoked real railways, without in fact being terribly accurate - it didn't seem to matter too much in terms of enjoyment. Obviously more accuracy would now be possible, but at some point isn't the working side and the evocative side of things lost? All plastic models, for example, just seem to have something lacking. Now, I'm not wanting to discourage those trying to build exact models (and I can think of one station myself which would be practical in a long narrow site) but surely that's beyond the ability of most, and the hobby - magazines, exhibitions etc. - should cater for those of us (and the potential audience) who just want to see trains running on a huge layout with lots of tunnels and points and viaducts etc. (Like the one that used to be at New Romney, for example). But perhaps they aren't 'Model Railways'? Sorry for long randomish post. I'm not having a go at anyone, I just think there is a huge middle ground in the hobby that has fallen into disuse.