British Railway Modelling (BRM)
THE HORNBY BOOK OF TRAINS THE FIRST ONE HUNDRED YEARS, by Pat Hammond. PRICE : £25.00
This is my principal review from Key this month, but there’s also a range of pictorial softbacks from the same house including works on Cornish Railways, latter-day Scottish railways, the Nuclear Industry’s links with the railways, the last of Welsh coal on rails, freight operations in North West England, Western Class diesels and Class 47s as well.
An author who needs no introduction with regard to the history of model railways is Pat Hammond, and in this hefty tome (448 pages!) he turns his attention to Hornby’s 100 years of making trains. I’d better state an interest right at the start, because I’ve provided some of the images, though this book is excellent not because of anything I’ve done; it is a typically scholarly work on a subject matter that is dear to the hearts of all model railway enthusiasts; even those who ‘graduate’ to finescale scratch-building in all the disciplines, because, I’ll bet, somewhere in their childhoods they’ll have played with Hornby trains – I certainly did! The full story of the company’s history is told over the 10 decades, with an incredible selection of high-quality imagery. The ups and downs are made clear, as are the various mergers and take-overs. Such is the power of the name that it’s been perpetuated to the extinction of the one (Tri-ang), which took over the range in the late ‘60s. I found the whole story fascinating and enlightening (despite the odd blooper – no ‘m’ in Grimsby and I don’t think a Chinese manufacturer was called Sandra!) It’s definitely the ‘definitive history’. It might be perceived as being aimed more at the collectors’ end of the market – the early, ‘crude’ toys of a century ago, certainly – but, don’t forget that since the start of this century, Hornby has been making ‘scale’ RTR models, the likes of which are now superior to what most kit-builders/painters can achieve. Thoroughlyrecommended and superb value for money.