Friday, June 10, 2011

UK – Hornby Railways

Hornby Railways is the leading brand of model railway in the United Kingdom. Its roots date back to 1901, when founder Frank Hornby received a patent for his Meccano construction toy. The first clockwork train was produced in 1920. In 1938, Hornby launched its first 00 gauge train. In 1964, Hornby and Meccano were bought by their competitor Tri-Ang, and sold on when Tri-ang went into receivership. In the 1980s Hornby Railways became independent.
Pre 1964 Hornby trains have enjoyed a level of adult collector interest since the 1940s. In 1969 the Hornby Railway Collector's Association has existed to cater for this and currently enjoys a membership of something over 2000, producing 10 journals a year, as well as other literature. Publications on older Hornby and Meccano products are dominated by those published by New Cavendish Books as 'The Hornby Companion Series', in particular Chris & Julie Graebe's 'The Hornby Gauge 0 System' and Michael Foster's sister volume on Hornby Dublo. The Train Collectors’ Association caters for triang-Hornby and later Hornby products. I still remember, how fascinated I used to be when I stood outside the toyshop and gazed at the Hornby trains whizzing past. Over the hills and down the dales. Through tunnels and over bridges. Past some stations and stopping at others. I used to love it. It was my ambition to one day have a Hornby train set covering the floor of one room. The whole ging bang, the lot, bridges, tunnels, stations etc etc. . This lovely Sovenir Cover issued by UK to commemorate Hornby Railways was sent to me by my Dear friend Stan.
An attempt to build the build the world's longest model railway formed the final episode of James May's Toy Stories. May, who had previously identified the train set as his "absolute favourite" hoped that a train would run successfully along the length of the Tarka Trail – a disused 37-mile (60 km) long railway line in North Devon. Hornby was heavily involved, providing the track and the prototype of their OO gauge British Rail Class 395 Javelin train. Simon Kohler, marketing manager of Hornby model railways, said that the train which travels at just 1 mile per hour (1.6 km/h) failed two miles short of Bideford station; but he also told BBC news "Even though the last locomotive gave up the ghost at Instow, we did link the track – in fact I finished it at about 2230 – so we'll just need to wait and see what Guinness make of it.

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