Realism - what is that?
I think we are probably at the artistic end of the railway modelling spectrum.
Some modellers seem to try and recreate what actually exists, and some achieve success, but most are happy to get most of the way(r2r and r2p models in abundance). On the other hand, we set out to create something that might be possible, and try to get all the parts fitting together, so even if it is totally fictitious, it is plausible. When I talk to some railway modellers, they don't get that, but I think it is possibly a better way to approach railway modelling.
Another point is that we tend to have far more fun, and although more traditional modellers will walk past at exhibitions, many will stop and look, and often they are the ones we want to attract into the hobby. They are also often the ones who have been taken to the exhibition, so that one person can see their own (sometimes) narrow spectrum of railway models. I tend to talk to many of those who have no specific interest, and notice what actually interests people, in particular the very youngest, and the scale time, rivet counting (lack of anything actually moving) layouts don't necessarily promote our hobby that well, unless you are one of the minority who actually like scale time, rivets and a Sunday morning feel to your layouts.
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges. http://www.rue-d-etropal.com