1970s/80s children’s book featuring miniature people living on a model railway?

Discussion in 'Memorabilia, Media & Publications' started by Cowley, 3 Jan 2018.

  1. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    This is very obscure but you never know...
    From my local library growing up I used borrow a series of books (and I read them all quite a few times) about a young lad who had a quite impressive model railway with different lines and even a mountain line (there were maps of the lines in the books), and on that railway the 00 figures came to life after he went to bed.

    The figures had homes in the scenery and buildings etc and had various adventures, they were also able to drive the trains around (the more I write the more bonkers it sounds o_O).

    The main protagonists of the story were all named after shall we say, quite famous names... There was a Drummond (I think he had a limp :lol:), a Stroudley and maybe a Stanier but I’m not totally sure.

    In one of the books the area of town that the house was in was badly flooded and I think that the floods were based on the ones in East Anglia in the 1960s with all the perils you can imagine that a 2cm high person with an old fashioned name and a limp might find themselves caught up in...

    Does anyone remember who wrote these books.
    I promise you that I’m sober as I write this...
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,027
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool
    I don't remember who wrote them but they were called "The Model Railway Men". My dad used to read them to us as bedtime stories! Are we related? Ha ha ha. Feels like we lived the same life in different parts of the country.
     
  4. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,027
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Wasn't there a character called Brindley aswell? I remember one book where there were American model locos aswell. Ha ha.
     
  5. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,027
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Google it mate, written by a chap called Ray Pope. Loved them.
     
  6. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    That’s them! I’m going to order one if they’re available (even though I’m not ten anymore).
    I’ve wondered about them for years. Excellent.
     
  7. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    I’m starting to wonder which one of us was adopted? :lol:
     
  8. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,027
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Ha ha ha.
     
  9. Neville King

    Neville King New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2018
    Location:
    Mount Hawke
  10. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
  11. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    Hi Cowley, I hope you got one OK, and I'm glad you liked them. They are quite quirky stories! Coming back into print by popular demand! Mark. (The authors son.)
    The figures had homes in the scenery and buildings etc and had various adventures, they were also able to drive the trains around (the more I write the more bonkers it sounds o_O).
    Yes, the ideas and concepts were pretty much off the wall, perhaps that's why they were so popular amongst some people and could be still for kids and adults. Are they any less quirky than Harry Potter?
    They were named after famous engineers and they were dressed as old railway people might have dressed. ie They to some extent represented railway families of the old days complete with indomitable spirits and values of the time, they could also be humorous and at times vulnerable.
     
    Last edited: 7 Apr 2018
  12. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    Hi Fowler, I'm glad you liked them. That chap was my father! All done based on our layout and a lot of imagination! Mark
     
  13. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    Eclipse247 - Welcome to forum :D.
    It just goes to show that you never know who’s reading what you post on here...
    First a confession. I still haven’t ordered one because I’ve been incredibly busy of late. That said though, if they’re coming back into print I’ll ask for the set for Birthday/Christmas, brand new and settle down on the sofa to lose myself in them as I did when I was a lad. Can’t wait actually because I realised that there was one of them I hadn’t actually read at the time.
    It’d be interesting to see if they do well in the present world. I seem to remember them being pretty timeless and completely absorbing.

    Your father was a great writer and thanks for getting in touch, you must be very proud of him.

    Nick
     
  14. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,756
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2008
    Location:
    Northfleet, Kent
    This is rather cool! There's two things I really remember, one is that one of the characters (Stanier, maybe?) really didn't like Bulleid's BFB (aka Boxpok) wheels, and also their disdain at an American loco that a friend brought on holiday with them.
    I seem to remember the phrase 'got all its insides on the outside'!
     
  15. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    I only have the first back in print so far. The first 3 are on Kindle. I am not sure if the demand is there but you guys show good signs. I didn't know they were so popular amongst some people. I think they are timeless and there is some interest in nostalgic things atm. I am proud of him and he would have been so pleased with the comments here and from others I have read elsewhere. Your point about the "completely absorbing" nature is great to hear. I just hope others from a younger generation will find them so, and there is the rub. It's finding them amongst so much else out there. I have No.1 on Amazon and some heritage railways are stocking them. Mark
     
    Last edited: 7 Apr 2018
  16. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    'Telford and the American Visitor' had an American 'BigBoy' loco brought over by Pete the son of an American business man. Telford was a bit scornful but eventually came round. The small people managed to film themselves leading to having to hide the film or be discovered!
     
  17. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    TATAVfront.png
     
  18. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    Great memories.
    I seem to remember that they had maps at the beginning of each book that showed the layout and where the different characters lived.
    In each book the railway was added to and extended. Including a mountain scene and railway in one them.
    Excellent stuff to young boy that loved model railways.
     
  19. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,027
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Delighted to make your acquaintance. I loved them mate. My dad read all of them to me and my brother as bedtime stories then I read them all myself. You must be very proud.

    Edit: Just told my dad and that's got him started now. Ha ha. Remembering other books he read to us. The Wood Street Gang, about a group of kids living in the streets around Wood Street in Liverpool. The Model Railway Men though, they were something else. I used to immerse myself in their world. When I was little there was only one other lad I knew who liked trains and it felt like someone had somehow written books just for us. Magical.
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2018
  20. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    Great memories Fowler. They were written by and for railway fans but I'm not sure if they originally found there way into all railway fans hands. I have attended railway club exhibitions and older buffs either walk straight up and say "These were great. I'll have a copy" whilst the majority have never heard of them. I am looking to put that right. The same happens with Heritage railways I contact. "Immerse, absorbing, reread" are words that frequently pop in communications with fans which I need to get across to potential future fans.
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2018
  21. talltim

    talltim Established Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    Joined:
    17 Jan 2010
    I still have two or three of the books I had as a kid, I think I read most of them but some were from the library
     
  22. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    Hi Talltim,
    Yes libraries were a good source and I think that was partly due to positive reviews from School Librarian journal who probably recognised the value of the stories. Many second hand copies that come onto the market are ex-library whilst you guys hang on to yours!
    Btw The first is ~£60 on Amazon.
     
  23. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    I think they are somewhat ageless because kids will tend to identify with Mark whilst adult readers may see things from the adult characters perspective. Either way they are potentially a good read.
     
  24. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,027
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Yeah indeed. I'd read them again and when when I mentioned this to my dad yesterday he said how much he enjoyed them.
     
  25. GusB

    GusB Member

    Messages:
    880
    Joined:
    9 Jul 2016
    Location:
    Elginshire
    I'm of a similar vintage to Messrs Cowley and Fowler (I think), but these books seem to have escaped my notice entirely. I don't ever remember seeing them in my local library when I was a kid. When did they go out of print?
     
  26. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    Hi Gus,
    Around 1985 I believe. You and many others appear to have missed them. This is perhaps what happens when you rely on a publisher to get the word out. They are self published now and if you or anyone else know of a model/club/shop/heritage railway organisation that might want to buy at wholesale price send them to info@themodelrailwaymen.uk
     
    Last edited: 10 Apr 2018
  27. malc-c

    malc-c Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    1 Dec 2017
    Mark,
    I must confess I missed these books, and this is the first I've heard about them, but I have a kindel so will pop over to Amazon shortly. But the reason I'm posting is that this concept the books are based on would make an excellent children's TV series. Maybe it's worth approaching some of the smaller independent companies or even one of the companies who made the "Thomas the tank engine and friends" series ?
     
  28. Eclipse247

    Eclipse247 Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2018
    Hi Malc, I have already approached a few. Aardman showed slight interest but they are concerned the core audience has moved on. But I agree as do others that the books would make good TV/film. There are some other avenues I am exploring to engage those in that sphere. It just needs a light bulb moment from one of them. The lady who bought the film rights for Thomas mortgaged herself to the hilt but we know where that went!
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2018
  29. malc-c

    malc-c Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    1 Dec 2017
    Mark,
    I ran into a small problem with the e-book on Amazon. I confess I haven't use my old Kindle for ages and when I went to purchase the book it wasn't possible to delivery it to my device - on checking with Amazon there would seem to be a file comparability issue making the book unsuitable for older (4th / 5th) generation devices.

    I'm not that savvy on how / why Amazon have changed formats over the different generations - I would have thought that given they were the driving force behind e-readers everything would be backwardly compatible....

    Anyway, just a little bit of feedback for you...
     

Share This Page