Kirkcaldy man’s online success thanks to model railway hobby

When David Watson began building his model railway layout in his attic he never expected to have thousands of people watching videos of his work online.
Pic: Fife Photo AgencyPic: Fife Photo Agency
Pic: Fife Photo Agency

But the high school teacher, from Kirkcaldy, has become a YouTube sensation in the model railway community with over 18,000 subscribers to his Dean Park channel after posting videos on the site to document his own progress.

David (42), said: “My dad got me, when I was three, a wee train set for the dining room table at home, and I had a loft layout in my parental home and I kept in it until I was probably about mid teens then other things took my interest.

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“Then in 2010 I was in Glasgow and the annual Model Rail Scotland show was on at the SEC.

“I was through with my wife shopping and I thought ‘I don’t really like shopping’, so I let her go, and I nipped across to the SEC.

“That reignited my interest in it.”

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David began converting his loft into a railway room seven years ago and took to the internet to help get started.

He explained: “I went on to YouTube to find the basics, how to do things and to find my feet.

“I started creating my own videos.

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“I was just doing it to document what I was doing myself because you only start it once and when you’re working on it you maybe forget how you built something a year or two years ago, so I used it as a reference point.

“I just thought I’ll share it to see if anyone else had any advice to give me, then all of a sudden I had folk saying ‘you’re inspiring me to have a go myself’.”

David’s layout features a station inspired by Edinburgh’s Waverley Station in the 1980s as well as a builders’ yard, street scenes and a housing development.

And his YouTube channel now has 18.3K followers from countries across the world and the number is growing on a daily basis.

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He’s gone from filming videos simply for his own records to providing tutorials.

“I don’t know how I’ve got so many subscribers,” he said, “it’s quite flattering actually.”

Despite having spent thousands of hours working on his layout, Dave is only half way round it.

“The first half has taken me seven years, the second half will probably take me a little less than that because I’ve got a bit better at doing things quicker now. I’m in no rush.

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“Model railway-ers always say you never finish because by the time you get round to finishing it, your first bit is looking a bit tired so you think I’ll change it.

“It’s kind of like the Forth Bridge really, you just keep going round in circles.

“It’s a passion and a labour of love, it’s frustrating at times but it’s really rewarding.”