This is a joystick intended for use in an arcade game - something like one of those claw games where you might (but probably won't) hook a cuddly toy and transfer it to a hopper so you can get your hands on it.
Underneath, the stick is connected to 4 microswitches.
Anyway, he suggested that there must be a model railway use for this and I agree - it's robust, easy to wire and stupidly cheap at a smidge over 4 quid.
But what is this use? I'm sure there is one, but apart from operating a gantry crane like device, I'm foxed. Maybe an idea to keep in the back of my mind for another day.
You can find the joystick on Amazon, there's also the matching heavy duty buttons too.