It may be somewhat overused, but the phrase ‘good things come to those who wait’ certainly rings true given my latest doorstep delivery.
I’ve really been looking forward to Hornby’s new ‘OO’ gauge Class 87 Bo-Bo electric arriving, as the full-size prototypes have always held a fascination for me ever since my first West Coast Main Line (WCML) adventure in the late 1980s. On that occasion I was heading north to the Kyle of Lochalsh for a few days’ post A-level rest and relaxation, but over the years I’ve travelled along the WCML on many occasions, often hauled by a Class 87 whilst sat in a remarkably comfortable BR Mk 3 carriage.
In the late 1990s my job involved a lot of travelling between Manchester and London, and of course, I usually opted for the train rather than fly. By then the external livery was very different, but the locomotives and rolling stock were much the same and the ride was still exhilarating on departure from Stoke-on-Trent (usually the last stop before Euston) – frequently arriving at our destination 5-10 minutes ahead of schedule.
Amongst my model railway collection, I recall having a Lima Class 87 in BR large logo blue, a model that still exists in the Hornby range today, albeit with interior upgrades and improved decoration techniques. But following the announcement that Hornby was to produce a new model, I just knew I had to have at least one example to add to my fleet. And I’m not alone in this, as both Mike and I have purchased examples of 87010 King Arthur in Intercity livery (Cat No. R3582) to suit our next big layout project for Hornby Magazine Yearbook No. 11 which will be on sale in November.
Whilst bearing a resemblance to its predecessor, this newly-tooled model is in a different league and positively bristles with fine detail, crisply moulded grilles, exquisite roof detail and much more. Lighting options include day or night-time modes and it is fitted with an 8-pin Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder socket to which I’m hoping I’ll be able to add digital sound in due course, so I can relive the whining sound of the full-size locomotives. You can read our full review in HM132 – our June dated issue – which included a full four-page preview of 87035 Robert Burns plus a detailed history of the Class 87s and and introduction to installing catenary in ‘OO’ gauge using Peco’s equipment. If you didn’t see it first time round back issues are available through the Key Publishing shop.
There is an ulterior motive here to, as Hornby Magazine’s next exhibition layout project will be based on West Coast Main Line practice in the late 1990s/early 2000s, so both Mike and I should be able to run our models on the layout along with plenty of other suitable models, although one of us will need to renumber and rename our model, though that’s something we still need to decide on. With Oxford Rail’s complementary BR Mk 3 carriages appearing on shelves in recent months, plus a few Hornby Mk 3 Driving Van Trailers (DVTs) languishing in the cupboard at home, I’m really looking forward to being able to let my ‘87’ stretch its legs on the layout, once it has been built that is!
And for a bit of added value, here is our video of 87035 from HM132 as a reminder of its performance on our test track…
Watch this space and make a date for your diary to visit the Hornby Magazine stand at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition on the weekend of November 24/25 to see the new layout in action with Hornby’s new Class 87s and a whole lot more!
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