Mamod is a well known and celebrated name among the model railway community and has built up a significant following since they were founded way back in the 1930s. In this series of articles we will be meeting the people who have grown up with Mamod and have bought models throughout their life.
Our latest interviewee is 17-year-old Callum McGrory, who provides an insight into how Mamod is being received among the younger generation.
Many people will look back fondly on their childhood and the simple days where they used to play with their toys till their heart's content everyday. A large proportion will remember their first ever train set. Whether it be the classic wooden sets or the more exciting battery-powered Tomy sets, these simple toys could provide the basis for a lifelong hobby.
This was the case with Callum, who developed a keen interest in steam models after receiving his first Mamod product at the age of seven. At this young age, his dad gave him a 1988 TE1A and this kickstarted a hobby that remains to this very day. Over the years, Callum has amassed a collection of six engines and two accessories but the TE1A still holds a special place in his heart.
It was his dad that first introduced a young Callum to the world of steam. From an early age both father and son would work on engines together with the focus being on a SE2A, which "still runs like a champ".
The TE1A was something that intrigued Callum and he was keen to see this engine in full flow. With the addition of a new sight glass, drive band and O-ring, the pair managed to get the engine steaming for the first time. The little engine chugged its way happily up and down their garden path as a proud father and son looked on.
This was the moment that Callum was hooked. Since then he has spent many a day improving the engines and ensuring he can get the very best out of them. Like for many older generations, this is where the hobby blossoms and is something they continue for the rest of their lives.
During his relatively short time collecting Mamod products, Callum has seen somewhat of a shift in the perception of steam engines and he thinks that more young people are becoming more involved.
"The older generations seem to be purchasing these great products. But I do believe that in the past ten 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," Callum explains.
As the younger generation become more interested in the workings of steam engines, this has prompted an increase in popularity in general. Callum believes that a key component of this is the role of the heritage movement which is inspiring youngsters to pick up their first steam model.
So why is steam so attractive? It provides "that heart warming fuzzy feeling", Callum concludes.