Are the younger generation embracing steam?

Are the younger generation embracing steam?

In our Why I love Mamod series we have focused on the seasoned pros of the model steam community but what about the younger generation and is the hobby translating well into the 21st century?

During the last feature with 17-year-old Callum McGrory he explained his love of model steam engines and despite his age is totally fascinated with them. Young people have so many avenues for entertainment open to them at the moment with the rise of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets so embracing steam may not be at the top of their list of priorities.

Sadly, the days of children playing in the street until the sun goes are on the decline and even young children now have their own mobile phone or are logged on to some kind of social media website. However, Callum believes that having a hobby such as steam modelling is still viable in this environment.

The Buckinghamshire teenager has been collecting Mamod models since the age of ten and loves nothing more than firing his favourite TE1A engine or the newer Mamod Challenger. He believes that more and more people of his age are becoming interested in steam as the heritage movement becomes bigger.

Heritage railway lines are a huge part of the nation's steam community and Callum thinks that as they continue to expand they could attract more young people. Embracing the internet is one way in which the steam community can boost its profile and attract the next generation to the hobby.

Callum is already a member of unofficial Mamod forum as well as the Beds and Bucks Internal Combustion Stationary Engine Club. Organisations and societies of this ilk he believes can introduce young people to steam and give them some great ideas about which engines to buy into first or how they can expand their collection.

Explaining the advantages of steam modelling, Callum says: "I do believe that in the past 10 or so years there are more young people getting into proper hobbies but whether that’s because I’m just getting a bit older I don’t know.

"An advantage would be the pure simple pleasure you get from it. if you’re all steamed up (pardon the pun) after a long day you can come home and relax the throb of a Mamod!"

However, he admits that it is not all plain sailing and people need to be fully committed to the hobby if they want to get the best of their steam engines and collection. It is a very time-consuming pastime and also one that may not suit everyone's wallet.

Callum adds: "Unfortunately it can get quite expensive but I do believe the price is a fair price considering the work that goes into each model."

While the world seems to be moving at an extraordinary pace and new technology keeps on being developed, for people like Callum nothing will beat the thrill of firing up a model steam engine.

Who knows maybe in ten years time youngsters are embracing steam models and ditching the iPad? One can dream.