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Own your own Rail Network 





Peppercorn Toys Featured by Quintessentially Gifts 


If you owned the British Railways network (and arguably you do) you would have to budget a cool £37 Billion to keep it running. According to Pete Waterman this investment is long overdue and as the proud owner of one of the biggest model railways on the planet Pete speaks from a position of some authority. When you add the £15 Billion being spent by Crossrail to transform London's rail infrastructure and the budgeted £33 Billion for the UK's new High Speed London-Birmingham Rail Link you start to realise that train sets are expensive!


Not so on the UK's exclusive gift site QuintessentiallyGifts.com. They have launched the Peppercorn Toys range of Hornby O Gauge Train Collections, each of which provides a ready made rail network that is fun, educational and an attractive investment. For not even £1 Billion you can bag one of these unique collections of retro train heaven, packaged in a stylish and home-friendly railway trunk, and start rolling!


But don't take our word for how much fun owning a British railways network can be, whether full size or the Hornby clockwork marvels that Peppercorn Toys revitalise. Check out Dan Snow @thehistoryguy and his fabulous new TV series called Locomotion, or indeed his famous father Peter Snow who likes nothing more than playing with his model railway, or catch up with Pete Waterman himself on BBC’s recent documentary on the joys of owning  a railway network  



Quintessentially Gifts is a luxury gifts and shopping service, dedicated to hand-picking the world's finest and most exquisite designer gifts.


Peppercorn Toys source trains, construction sets and their components, building them up into collections that achieve three simple objectives - fun, educational and a sound investment.

Spring 2013


We thought you might enjoy the new year press release from Peppercorn Toys which contains a variety of links to whet your appetite for retro train sets - and for real ones!

TV Review "The Joy of (Train) Sets" 










"Pete Waterman may have a lot to answer for after introducing Rick Astley, Steps and Jason Donovan to the airwaves, but having seen how he spent some of the proceeds, I'm now prepared to forgive him. Waterman is the kind of friend every middle-aged man should have; a man who has built an extension to accommodate his model railway set. Before last night, I hadn't even realised I was interested in toy trains, let alone suffered from engine envy. But now I feel I could happily while away an evening with Pete, helping to direct his trains round and round in circles.


The Joy of (Train) Sets: The Model Railways Story (BBC4) made no great claims to be anything other than an entertaining film about the male fascination with trains (it is almost exclusively male, despite the appearance of Maggie the Modeller), and how it was indulged by the Fabian WJ Bassett-Lowke for the gentry before the first world war, by Hornby for the middle classes between the wars, and by Triang for the working classes in the 1960s. There was a bit of social history – I realise now that my own father would have been far more likely to have bought me a bigger train set if he had smoked a pipe – but it was chiefly a celebration of futility.


"It's essentially a pointless activity," said Iain Rice, a model railway enthusiast. And how refreshing it was to hear him say it. I'm deeply suspicious of people who insist their interests are morally and educationally superior to everyone else's. Whatever it takes to keep anyone sane – or at least out of trouble – is fine by me. The only slightly jarring note was several modellers talking about how nice it was to see a younger generation, inspired by Thomas the Tank Engine, taking an interest in the hobby, when the only person in the whole film who looked under the age of 50 was the editor of Model Rail Magazine. The whole point of hobbies like this is that they are an exercise in nostalgia; if you're nostalgic in your 20s, you probably do have a problem.


I don't suppose there were many women, or men under 50, who bothered to watch this. Come to think of it, I doubt there were many people watching it at all. But it made me very happy. There's more than enough rubbish on television for every other demographic group, and it makes a change to having something just for me. If Timeshift wants to make documentaries about philately, collecting first edition books and football memorabilia, then I promise I will stay in to watch those too.

Summer 2013


The BBC Documentary whimsically entitled "The Joy of (Train) Sets" stimulated press reviews in all the top newspapers - our favourite being that of the Guardian's John Crace - reproduced in part below for your amusement.


Whilst the best of the bunch, alas, John's witty analysis could not uncover the only point really worth making. "The world that once captured the imagination of children" begat today's generation of UK railway modellers - the point surely is that this generation were inspired in their youth by technology, engineering and science.

model-railway-010 john_crace_140x140

John Crace

Some were fortunate enough to have their fires lit both at school and at home, and to go on to have jobs involved with making things that people want to buy or maintaining things that people need to work - engineering jobs. The UK manufacturing sector, exhausted after WWII then decimated by political neglect and more recently deserted for the spectacularlyl mis-managed and poorly staffed financial services sector, is enjoying a glacial pace of recovery not least because we are not inspiring our young people into engineering and science.


We can't just criticise the critics though. The programme, whilst probably the best ever for the hobbyist, only occasionally got below the surface to explore the role engineering based toys and hobbies play in a technological society. It was left to the excellent  Dr. Julie-Marie Strange of Manchester University to outwit both the hacks and the program makers: "Its about mechanics. It's educational. It's about engineering, science , mathematics.It's about self-improvement through building things", insights which explain the roots of railway modelling as an engineering inspiration and point the way to growth by lighting the fires of creativity in our future engineers.