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Hobby that never runs out of steam.

Byline: DAVE HIMELFIELD

IT'S an old-fashioned hobby - but model railway building is far from running out of steam.

Huddersfield Railway Modellers (HRM) which has been running for 44 years, hosts its annual exhibition at Holmfirth Civic Hall, on October 29 and 30.

With 10 varied layouts and the chance to buy and swap model railway gear, it promises to attract a steady crowd.

The exhibition includes models of Hebden Bridge station in the 1960s and the now defunct Longroyd Bridge station in the 1950s.

A Thomas the Tank Engine layout is likely to attract the youngest fans, while two contemporary computer operated layouts are likely to interest the more technically minded.

A vintage bus will be ferrying visitors from Huddersfield Railway Station to Holmfirth.

Model railway building was hugely popular in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

But the hobby lost many of its young followers to computer games from the 1980s on.

And while model railway building acquired something of an uncool image, it failed to deter the hobby's hardcore.

HRM publicity officer Graham Harpham explains: "There are quite a lot of youngsters supporting the railways but not modelling - that tends to be for the 40-plus crowd who are into the nostalgia and reliving their teenage years.

"It's probably waned a bit because it's not cool but young people are quite enthusiastic about it until they're 12 or 13 and they start discovering girls. But some come back to it when they're more stable in their 20s and 30s.

"We're all labelled 'anoraks' and you have the typical image of a train spotter but we're more sophisticated than that."

Visitors even come from the Midlands and the South to see the HMR layouts.

So what is the appeal of building model railways? Graham, whose son David helps manage the exhibition, says: "Often people just enjoy making things while some like it straight from the box.

"Some are into it purely for the electronic side of it. You can run layouts via the computer.

"One guy wasn't remotely interested in railways but he got a kick out of creating programs for the layout."

Pop mogul Pete Waterman and veteran rocker Rod Stewart are both avid model railway builders and there are probably more famous fans out there.

Graham adds: "I'm sure there are a few closet celebrity railway collectors!" Visit: www.huddsrailwaymodellers.co.uk or call Graham on 07950 425782.

CAPTION(S):

* MODEL WORLD: Huddersfield Model Railway Engineers' publicity officer Graham Harpham and his son David, the exhibition manager, seen with a layout of Hebden Bridge station; inset, model railway fans pop mogul Peter Waterman and rock star Rod Stewart (AC141011Htrain-01)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 21, 2011
Words:440
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