Peters Spares Model Railways

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Peters Spares Model Railways's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Peters Spares Model Railways is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Peter Corbitt, director and
Warehouse of spares
Established in 2009 with a specialist history in model railways,
Peter’s Spares Model Railways Ltd has developed and
evolved over the last nine years at its retail premises in
Middlesbrough. By developing a network of trade accounts and
building on his eBay and ecommerce skills, director and founder
Peter Corbitt grew his retail and online stores greatly in just one
year, to a point where manual stock changes with standard tills
were greatly limiting the otherwise rapid growth of the company.
Peter Corbitt brought 15 years of diverse knowledge in trading
and repairing model trains into Peter’s Spares Model Railways Ltd.
Below is his description of the company and how it operates.
A small government grant was accepted in 2010 to modernise the till to a
computerised system, and this was integrated into the eBay ecommerce platform.
However, after nearly two more years, our needs had outgrown this system.
Change ahead
I’d always wanted to change the old-fashioned stereotypical look and operation
of model shops from what they were in the past into the newer, sleeker way of
modern shopping. New phone systems were required so that customers could
get in touch more easily. Rather than having one line, we have increased this to
four with the option to call out on another six using a call diverting system to get
customers to the correct member of staff for their needs.
More staff were recruited to help with the increase in sales. As the staffing level
and stocks grew, the retail and storage space became the next step forward.
»Director and founder:
»Established in 2009
»Based in Middlesbrough
»Services: Model railway supply
»No. of employees: 6
»3,000 square foot facility
Peter’s Spares Model
Know your
market and go
after it. Find
new products
or have them
Thistime a move was required – only
one street away, but it was necessary
to expand the 750-square-foot
premises to a new 2,000-square-foot
building. It was radically redesigned
and had more space to include a new
fully integrated till system to cope
with the stock transfer through all
channels of the shop till, eBay and
the ecommerce website. This clever
system changes the stock levels at
the same time through all channels,
such that the stocks are accurate at all
times. This time, though, it was funded
without any government help.
The newly streamlined operation
– from goods inwards to despatch
to the customer – brought further
growth and expanded sales. This is
now a key part of any modern retail
store. The introduction of the system
and its related growth required extra
staff, however. This need coincided
with a government-backed scheme
for training staff for the retail
environment. This was extremely useful
and brought the six-strong team up to
speed with modern sales techniques.
I decided at some point to diversify
from reselling products from the
large manufacturers that all the
other stores were fighting to sell at
discounted prices. Instead, I looked
into the possibility of manufacturing
and redesigning replacements for
long-discontinued parts. I did this with
contacts I had made in the UK, and
indeed as far afield as China. These
parts keep older model trains on the
rails, along with a UK-manufactured,
environmentally safe lubricating
oil. Some of the parts I made in
China were even purchased by one
of my large retail manufacturers
and suppliers to use as spares for
We’re now known worldwide for
providing innovative new products,
retail purchases and older spare parts
sourced from around the globe.
Whether buying old stock from closing
shops or making new ones to keep up
with demand, there is plenty of scope
for more in the ranges.
During the expansion of Peter’s
Spares Model Railways Ltd, my
company has been approached by
older stores and manufacturers alike
to buy their remaining stock or to
become a wholesaler. For example,
it was a great boost to the company
when Mega-Steam, a US-based
smoke oil company, invited me to
become their UK wholesaler. When
MB Models (an older Lima Spares
Supplier) closed, I was approached
and purchased the remainder of
the stock. This happened again in
late 2017 when East Kent Models,
a Hornby Spares supplier, closed
their doors due to retirement. I then
contacted them and purchased
424,000 parts from their store.
The Peter’s Spares team
Inspired by his
father Trevor’s
passion for real
trains, Peter’s
grew over 15
years buying,
selling and
repairing model
trains into a
large business in
the North East
Highlighting best practice
After this, the old challenge of
lack of space returned, so another
1,000-square-foot industrial unit was
rented. Luckily, this had just been
vacated and was to the left-hand side
of the retail store. DCC Supplies, an
Australia-based company, was partly
relocating to Settle, and in mid-2017
I was invited to join their specialist
dealer network of only 15 stores,
which I gratefullyaccepted.
In the latter part of 2017, I was called
upon by the manufacturer Pritchard
Patent Products Co (Peco) to see if
I was interested in purchasing their
old model spares supply of around
314,000 items. These parts had never
been advertised on the market before,
so a deal was made and these have
just been added to the retail stocks
and are selling well.
Challenges going forward
With an increase of sales last year
of around 11,000 extra products (a
13.5 per cent rise from the previous
year), the integrated till system is the
next to be replaced with hopefully a
faster, more modern operation to send
Peter’s Spares Model Railways to the
forefront of retail and manufacturing.
This has been looked into, but as yet
no system can cope with the store’s
volume and diversity of sales. To keep
up with the sales demand, more staff
will be recruited through government
apprenticeship or training schemes.
A bright future
Having hurdled the challenges of the
last nine years, signs pointed to a
bright and busy future in 2017. That
year, we achieved our best ever set of
results, posting a turnover of around
£770,000. In our next set of results,
there is an optimistic view of achieving
18 per cent growth.
Along with healthy sales, an increase
of 13.5 per cent in revenue over the
last year and a forecasted increase
for this year’s results of 11.5 per cent
growth, things are looking up.
Peter’s Spares
Railways Ltd is
worldwide for
new products
The Peter’s Spares retail

This article was sponsored by Peters Spares Model Railways. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister