I launched Mid-Rail in December 2019 after having the idea of creating a railwayana-specific buying and selling website rattling around in my head for a couple of years.
The idea came when I noticed that prices for certain types of item varied tremendously depending on where the item was sold. I observed that on eBay, quite a few ‘top ticket’ items were struggling to attract the same interest and realise the same values as they did elsewhere, such as in a specialist auction. I then became aware of a feeling that many prospective buyers were giving eBay a wide berth, and with that it dawned on me that if there was an alternative to eBay – a website that vetted it’s sellers more rigorously and was more accountable – there would be a much wider, much more confident buying audience available, and accordingly, a chance of the seller securing a better price for their item.
Buyers could be enticed in by the promise of no buyers’ premium and a regulated application process for sellers; who benefit from our competitive 8% commission rate on sales. Bearing in mind that eBay charges a 10% sellers’ fee, and physical auction houses charging anywhere up to 20%, I believe that if you have railwayana to sell the cheapest way to do it is with Mid-Rail. You also don’t have to wait several months to enter the item into auction; at Mid-Rail, once registered, your items can be online in minutes.
So a bit about me then. My involvement on the railways began in 2005 when I took a job with a building services contractor in Melton Mowbray and was assigned to work on the firm’s contract with Midland Mainline, the train operating company (TOC) that operated trains on the mainline between Sheffield and London St. Pancras. During my time with the firm, I completed my electrical apprenticeship and became part of a 4-man team that maintained and repaired the stations in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Leicester, Market Harborough, Kettering & Wellingborough.
In 2009 the merger of Midland Mainline and Central Trains’ networks gave rise to East Midlands Trains, and with that, my colleagues and I suddenly gained another 82 stations to look after. Now, instead of just tracking up and down the M1, we suddenly found ourselves becoming acquainted with roads like the A50, A52 and the A17 in order to find and look after rural outstations such as Bottesford, Havenhouse and Alsager, and stations serving larger towns such as Mansfield, Kidsgrove and Skegness, each is unique with its own ‘feel’ and no two days were ever the same – just the way I like them!
It wasn’t until 2016, eleven years into my time on the railways that I took much notice of the railwayana scene. A spontaneous random search on eBay led to the purchase of my first sign – a Regional Railways platform sign from Spooner Row station in Norfolk. The rest, as they say, is history, and I have been collecting and trading railwayana ever since, making friends and meeting great people in the process.
Sadly my role looking after the railway stations of the East Midlands came to an end in September 2018, but my love for the railways has not ended, and my best friends are the men I left behind who still maintain the stations of the East Midlands to this day. I often long to re-join them, roving across the Midlands keeping our wonderful stations running. Maybe one day I may go back!
I live just outside Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire with my partner Sally, and our 9-year-old son, Lawrence.