by Matt Stott
Thursday, December 27, 2012
FROM Australia to Thailand, model train enthusiasts from across the world have tracked their way to Scograil – East Anglia’s only dedicated model railway shop.
Family-run Scograil Model Railways, of Woodbridge Road, sells everything from classic Hornby steam engines to Bachmann steam locos to regional residents and worldwide tourists.
“There’s a chap from Thailand who flips between Thailand, London and Ipswich,” said Neil Scoggins, who helps run the shop. “He always comes in to see us.
“For most people it’s part of their travel plans but they’ll make sure they see us. There are some from Holland who visit.”
Wife Stephanie Scoggins said: “If that’s your thing, even when you go abroad you’ll check out other railway shops. We have someone from Australia who comes over to see his mum and he comes in.
“Even BBC News reporter Nick Robinson came in with his children because they love their train sets.”
Scograil, previously based in St Helen’s Street before moving into its new home in October, has provided the model train community with friendly expert advice and hard-to-find products since 2005.
And a band of loyal customers are being joined by an online wave of model train devotees, from Asia to America.
“The majority of people that come to the shop are local but we do have customers from all over the world ordering from our website,” said Neil.
“We have repeat orders from people in Australia, New Zealand, America and Japan. This week I sent out packages to Newcastle and Croatia!
“We’re the only stockers of two quite big European manufactures – Fleischmann and Roco – in the area.
“That’s where we get most of our mail orders from around the world.”
Family members help out Neil and Stephanie, with their love of model railway and wealth of knowledge leaving customers impressed and eager to return.
“They know exactly what they talking about,” said Stephanie. “They have pretty much come out of retirement to help us – like my Dad!
“They’ve got the knowledge and that’s what people like. With us you have that personal service. You build a rapport with customers.”
In-store customers can try before they buy by setting the train in motion in Scograil’s testing area.
“The majority of people who come in are buying for their pleasure because it’s their hobby, or it’s a granddad doing it for their grandson,” added Stephanie.
“It’s a very popular hobby. People are very into it and want to check out new products.”