Dawn of the modern era

New management was just the start of sweeping changes at Hornby Hobbies which were to take the business to a new level. MIKE WILD brings the story of the railway division up to date.

The Bulleid rebuilt ‘Merchant Navy’ 4-6-2 kick started today’s Hornby ‘OO’ gauge railway range bringing with it a new standard in ready-to-run production for British outline models. Here, in a classic Southern Region scene from the 1960s, a Hornby Bulleid rebuilt ‘Merchant Navy’ takes centre stage between a Bulleid ‘Q1’ 0-6-0 and an array of Hornby’s Southern Region electric units.

THE BEGINNING of the 1980s saw Hornby in trouble again as its owner Rovex Limited entered receivership. The first year of the new decade had seen poor sales impacted by the arrival of new competition on the railway side through Airfix and Mainline – both of which were creating a collection of sought-after subjects in ‘OO’ gauge and delivering them to a high standard too via manufacturing in the Far East.

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