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  1. Apologies if this sort of post isn't allowed on the forum, but I would like to share this. The last few days/weeks I've seen here and on facebook, people mentioning that they are unsure of how the likes of Murphy Models will be gauging interest for how many units to make for upcoming runs, with people expressing concern about maybe missing out because of limited numbers being made again. I can understand that back in the 90s etc, it would have been difficult to gauge interest in irish railway models, but in todays social media age I believe it would be easier than ever. I understand that MM and IRM for example have their own facebook pages, as do other manufacturers, and they can maybe use these to get an idea of interest, however I would personally like to add a bit more 'science' to it. To that end, I have created a facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Irish-Railway-Model-Enthusiasts-104105321748403 The aims of the page are the following: 1 - To reach as many irish railway modellers as possible, so that companies can use these numbers as a gauge of interest. (not the number of likes on the page, but participation in polls etc run by the page, as this allows for a more accurate guesstimate of interest) 2 - To raise the profile of Irish prototypes in other parts of the world, that can be reached on social media, which would further drive demand. This will show companies that its not just a handful of lads on a wee island in the atlantic that want these models, but that potential is there for a larger market. It will be particularly important to get momentum going in the UK and the US given their already large model railway markets. 3 - To be completely neutral. The page would aim to work with companies to gather information for releases by running polls etc and gauging interest, however the page would not accept sponsorships or advertising from any company. There will be no favouritism or hate thrown towards any model railway manufacturer, the aim is to raise awareness and raise ideas etc, not to do reviews on existing products. We would also like the page to become a 'two way street' in the sense that as well as companies being able to gauge interest, people can pitch ideas to the manufacturers (the method by which this will be done is yet to be decided, but I was thinking perhaps something like monthly polls where folks can add their own suggestions and vote, and the winner of each poll vote can be presented as an official 'suggestion' to the various manufacturers.) 4 - To push the case for more RTR Irish models, in under-represented areas (such as steam, or NIR for example). Don't get me wrong, kit builds are great and this forum showcases that well, there are tonnes of talented people making awesome kits, however, the reality is that most model railway folks are not at that level, and more RTR models on the market will be extremely important for getting people involved in the hobby who may not have the skills to make brass kits yet, everyone starts somewhere afterall. 5 - To build on point 4, to brainstorm and suggest ways for accurate entry level models to be made. (No I am not talking about Hornby doing their orange hymeks or anything like that lol), I am talking about, for example, a railroad level locomotive that is representative of a real Irish prototype. This step is super important for getting the next generation involved. It may also be a way for certain manufacturers to dip their toe into the Irish market and see what happens. At the moment, the page is very sparse as I have only just set it up, but if we can get interest going and get it growing, then in my view it would be a great way to show companies that there IS in fact more of a market for it than they realise. My nightmare would be for MM for example to underestimate interest and only produce very small numbers of the announced stock, only for it to be hoarded and flogged on Ebay in a few years time for extortionate prices. Would it not be better for everyone involved to have accurate expressions of interest so that supply can meet demand? This of course relies on community support and engagement, so if anyone here is interest please feel free to give the page a like and to share it with people who will be interested. Also if anyone has suggestions or ideas for the page please let me know. I know model railway manufacturers work months and years ahead, so it is unlikely that this push will see any immediate results because most companies are probably already working on their 2022 and 2023 products, but we can use this time to build momentum and get involved. So what do you think? (PS - I would also like to say in case it is brought up, this page is in no way designed to be 'competition' to any other group on facebook, or to these IRM forums. Unlike these groups and forum, it is designed to be as neutral as possible and as public as possible, because I hope to raise awareness and ideas rather than building a group or community as exists on this forum and various facebook groups. The groups and the forums are fantastic, but very different to what I am envisioning with this public page. )
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