Following a website query from 'Roweena Hopeful', also known as Mr. Kirkwood, I have made some amendments to the website. 'Resources' has been renamed 'Resources and Publications' to reflect the addition of several Banbury Connections related publications. I have added a downloadable version of the Birkenhead Train Shed article from the January 2017 Railway modeller, the July 2017 OPSIG publication on the railway before the Shrewsbury/Birkenhead extension and a 1965 Model Railway News article on Keith Ledbury's layout which inspired the modern day Banbury Connections. I hope you find these additions useful.
The arrival of the newly tooled Hornby 8P Stanier Coronation Sir William A Stanier FRS was greeted with enthusiasm by Banbury Connections management upon its arrival in early November. Initial trials of the locomotive reported smooth running over point work and excellent adhesion. Furthermore, the application of modern manufacturing techniques has allowed for an unparalleled level of detail. As exciting as the arrival of Sir William was, it also marked the retirement of our faithful Hornby Dublo/Wrenn Coronation City of London. Given that the Stanier Coronation was also the flagship product of the Hornby Dublo range in the 1960s, Banbury Connections Cambridge University Model Railway Economics research division conducted an analysis to determine whether the new Hornby Sir William Stanier in 2017 is relatively more or less expensive than a Hornby Dublo City of London in 1960.
First, we approximated the average weekly salary, in the United Kingdom, in 1960 to be £20. The price of a Hornby Dublo Coronation at the time was 4 Guineas or £4.2. Therefore, the cost of a top of the line Hornby Dublo locomotive can be approximated to be 21% of average weekly income.
In contrast, the average weekly salary, in the UK, in 2017 is about £385 (assuming an average salary of £20,000 per annum). The price of a new Hornby Stanier Coronation is conservatively £150. Thus, the price of Hornby’s new flagship locomotive makes up a massive 39% of average weekly income. Alternatively, if we utilise the RRP of £189.99, this figure jumps to 49%. These calculations illustrate a substantial rise in the price of model locomotives over the past 57 years.
Notwithstanding, some model locomotives are relatively much cheaper, especially in the case of heavy discounting. For example, Hornby’s superb Railroad Hall model can be purchased for a mere £50. This makes up only 13% of the average weekly salary. However, if we utilise the full price of £80 this figure jumps to 21%. On the other hand, a Hornby Dublo Cardiff Castle in 1960 would have set you back about £4 or 20% of average weekly income.
In conclusion, our analysis demonstrates that the relative price of model trains is on the rise. This has been largely driven by price rises exceeding the rate of inflation in recent years. Nevertheless, heavily discounted items can prove relatively cheaper, suggesting that the variability of prices has widened substantially. Thus, the model railway locomotive market, in line with other global markets, has become more volatile and complex for consumers to navigate.
Following a shortage of qualified tram maintenance crews, Gosport Corporation Tramways ceased operation in late September this year. In the meantime buses are replacing trams for an extended period of time with the Mayor of Gosport commenting that "the introduction of buses has increased the reliability and frequency of transit services between Gosport Ferry and Gosport Station substantially. Given the high costs of maintaining tramway infrastructure and the growing shortage in technicians who can service this ageing technology, Gosport is undergoing a full review of its future transport direction to ensure its viability in meeting the needs of passengers." The results of this review are due some time next year.
Banbury Connections General Blog
The Banbury Connections blog looks at issues of significant interest involving the railway and its staff.