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Chatelaine's Antiques and Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Feature: Train Collectors' Fear No More Hornby Model Trains
 


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TRAIN COLLECTORS' FEAR NO MORE HORNBY

 
 Remember model trains? The shiny boxcars, the soft whir of the electric motor, and those tiny trees more than simply childhood toys, model trains are cherished collectibles.

A Hornby Millenium Model And model train collectors, like other enthusiasts, are typically an informed bunch. 
 But even they might've been surprised to recently hear that the makers of Hornby trains England's most popular were looking to sell the company.

 There may be a bit of a panic among collectors.  Collectors would likely go on a buying spree perhaps fearing an end to Hornby trains.

 Several other model train makers were bought by big companies in recent years. Hornby, meanwhile, has remained independent.
 
 Hornby trains have been the top model trains in England virtually since their introduction in 1920.  The name originates from Frank Hornby (1863-1936), who in 1901 formed a toy company called Meccano Ltd.  Soon after, the company started producing Hornby model trains.  The most well-known are the classic Hornby Dublo trains.
 
 Like the other big names in the model train business Lionel and Marklin Hornby trains were coveted not only by children, but by adults as well.

 
That's a key point.  Because it's the adults who've kept the model train market thriving, he says.  And most of the adults buying the trains aren't just putting them up on shelf.  The trains are bought to run.
 
 So, if or when a larger company buys Hornby, would that mean the end of the line for the model train legend?
 
 Hardly, says Hornby's operations director N.B. Cole.
 
 He explained that the company has hired a firm to conduct a "strategic review, which could result in the sale of the company or a merger."  That would not mean the end of Hornby trains, he added.
 
 That's one piece of news that doesn't surprise Mr. Hammond.  He says the Hornby name is too well-known and valued to disappear.  Even if the company was acquired, the name Hornby and the trains would likely remain.
 
 However, Mr. Hammond didn't have time for further speculation.  He needed to get back to work writing and editing the model train collectors' magazine he publishes with his son.
 
 There could still be some Hornby train enthusiasts who need reassuring and it's Pat Hammond's job to put them at ease.

 



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