Today's lockdown exercise caught an interesting move in Long Ashton sidings. GBRf 20901 and 905 had made the trip over from Worksop and were shuffling about to free up 901 to access the shed.
Both the new Hornby Railroad Plus model. I'd pre-ordered 20901 when announced, mostly because I had a TTS20 chip knocking about and I liked the livery on it. Relatively cheap so willing to accept the compromise in detail compared to the Bachmann offering, and on arrival it's a well applied livery (if suffering similar colour questions to the 50s).
20905 was the dark horse. Snuck in on Hornby's 2021 announcement, and from the promo looked like 20901 with a different last number, as opposed to the centre headcode variant. Thoroughly annoyed as Hornby had that in their repertoire with the BR blue / Technical Services versions, I ignored 905 until I happened to see the listing appear on Hattons with some actual photos. Hurrah! It was the correct 20.
Similar impression to 901 really. Well applied livery and a solid runner with a TTS chip. Not completely sold on the high intensity headlights, not a great moulding and look like a bit of an afterthought (flat end should be off centre etc), but they're there and look alright in the flesh. Certainly fitting for the railroad badge and the price.
If I'd paid comparably to the Bachmann offering this appraisal would be less favourable, but at the end of the day the pair came in at less than a 20/3, and they look and sound the part shuffling about on the layout.
As a hobbyist with limited skill (or available time at the moment!) I'm a huge fan of what Hornby are doing with Railroad Plus. I'd never get a £250+ sound equipped loco past the missus, but as most of these can be had below £100 they offer a realistic route in for those of us in the middle ground of the hobby, between the kids and those with the resources to really 'go for it'.
It's a nice gently paced release schedule as well, so I reckon there's about one every two months coming this year (97302/4, 37884 - well done Hornby for changing from 510, 47812/5 (both being NHS staff we kinda had to buy that one!)
Just got to resist the Colas set now, I've already got GBRf and ROG / Network Rail dropping in to the depot at the moment, think I'd be pushing it with the others!