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British Model Train & Railway layouts
Moore's Trains - OO/HO & N Gauge Steam, Electric & Diesel Trains


OO/HO and N Gauge Model Railway Steam Engine Diesel or Electric Train layout photographs

British Model Railway OO/HO Gauge Train layouts†
My name is Craig Moore and I admire the skill and craftsmanship of the railway enthusiasts who make model railway OO/HO Gauge Train layouts of the British railways. They span from early steam engines of the Victorian times to the modern high speed intercity express locomotives. Hornby is the main company specialising in British model railways but others like Lima Marklin Peco Mainline Roco Graham Fraish and Bachmann are available.

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Hornby Model Railway trains coaches track and layouts
In 1901, Frank Hornby applied for and received a patent for his Meccano construction toy idea. He formed the Meccano Ltd company based in Liverpool to produce his soon to be successful new product. He then used his surname Hornby to as a trading name to launch a line of clockwork O gauge trains in 1920. Some 00 gauge locomotives were introduced in 1938 under the name 'Hornby Dublo'. The trains were die-cast, and the carriages and wagons were normally made of tinplate.

This was a very well planned range of electric and clockwork models. They lead to the adoption of 00 gauge as a broadly accepted modeling standard in Britain, whereas much of the rest of the world had adopted HO gauge. Clockwork models were not produced in 00 gauge after the World War Two. Hornby was slow to realise the potential of plastic unlike some of its competitors who could produce cheaper but still good quality products like Triang-Rovex.

In 1964, Lines Bros Ltd., the parent company of rival Tri-ang Railways purchased Meccano Ltd., and merged Hornby and Tri-ang into Tri-ang Hornby. The former Hornby line was discontinued in favour of Tri-ang's less costly plastic designs. The Tri-ang group was disbanded in 1971 when Meccano Ltd's owner Lines Bros. filed for bankruptcy. The former Tri-ang Hornby was sold to Dunbee-Combex-Marx, becoming Hornby Railways in 1972. By 1976 Hornby was facing challenges from Palitoy and Airfix, both of which were producing high quality detailed models. Detail on the models was upgraded to make the product line more attractive to adult hobbyists. By 1980 the market was extremely tough and Dunbee-Combex-Marx was liquidated, placing Hornby in receivership. In 1980 Hornby became Hornby Hobbies and in 1981 a management buyout saw the company back on a sound footing. It went public in 1986.

Manufacturing was moved to Guangdong province in China in 1995 to cut costs and improve quality because of competition from Dapol, Lima and Bachmann Industries. Hornby tried to become more profitable by producing licensed train sets to increase its appeal to a younger customer. The railway sets based on Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and Harry Potterís Hogwarts Express have been particularly profitable ventures. Hornby decided to acquire itís competitor Lima, an Italian model railway equipment manufacturer that had previously acquired Jouef, a French manufacturer. Some of the ex-Lima models appear in the main Hornby products list. This range is known as Hornby International. This acquisition also included the Rivarossi line of HO-scale products, also originally from Italy, and the Arnold brand of N-scale products. In November 2006, Hornby Hobbies acquired Airfix and Humbrol paints for the sum of £2.6 million. Airfix is now a successful tradename of Hornby. In May 2008, Hornby announced the acquisition of Corgi Classics Limited, one of the world's oldest makers of collectable die-cast models of trucks, buses, cars and airplanes.

Bachmann Industries Model Railroading Equipment Manufacturer
Bachmann Brothers was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA it is now owned by a Chinese company called the Kader Group. This manufacturing company has been around since 1833 but it was only in 1966 with the sudden popularity of N scale model railroading in the USA that Bachmann entered the Model railway market. In 1968 Bachmann launched its N gauge products and in 1970 it entered the HO scale toy train market. In 1990 Bachmann started to produce large scale train sets called the Big Haulers. These G scale models include trains, shays, and also streetcars. In 2007 Bachmann purchased the Williams Electric Trains company, which has allowed the company to expand into the O scale market. Because of dwindling interest in model railroading, the Brothers decided, in 1981, to sell to their manufacturer, the Chinese Kader Group. The company name was changed to Bachmann Industries and the new owners started to expand the brand worldwide. It is also part of the strategy to take over other failing companies in Europe and put them under one single name for example the British model railway company Graham Farish.

Graham Farish Model Railway Equipment Manufacturer
Graham Farish was based in Poole, Dorset, Southern England. They produced radio sets during World War Two. As demand decreased after the end of the war they decided to enter the model railway business. They started to sell British OO gauge railway layout track, wagons and other supporting items. Originally the OO railway locomotives were powered by an 2 pole DC electric motor which was an unconventional choice. The company suffered at first from faults with some of its models due to its uses of impure mazac which is an alloy of Magnesium, Aluminum, Zinc and Copper similar to Zamak. They started to crumbled over time due to Zinc pest. With the arrival of N scale Graham Farish really found its niche market. Under the name Grafar they became the major supplier of British N scale models. Grafar produced reasonable models and had many fans even though some of their models unreliable and regularly suffered splits in plastic gears.

In 2001, Graham Farish was absorbed by Bachmann who were originally an American company, are now owned by Kader Industries of Hong Kong, China. To cut production costs Bachmann immediately closed the Poole facility and moved production to China. Bachmann improved the model range robustness by redesigning them as they reintroducing the entire range. Bachmann have downscaled the N gauge models and added them to their OO gauge range. British made Graham Farish models is sought more by model railway collectors because it is 'older' and 'British'. New model railway enthusiast generally prefer the more robust and detailed Chinese-built models. The way to tell these two types apart is that UK built models have a yellow sticker on the ends of the box and models built in China have a white sticker on the end.


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