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Counting postwar Hornby clockwork as ‘toy’ rather than ‘model’, I think it would be fair to date the end of the first wave of commercial 0 gauge model railways to the date of end of production by Precision Models, if only I could work out Exactly when that was.

 

After that, the only model railway items that BL were selling seem to have been things they already had in their warehouse (far too much for good business, judging by how long stocks eked out for), and short-run or commissioned models, made by hand.

 

I’ve heard various dates for the end of PM production, some people say as early as 1956, but I think it possibly folded with the passing of its head, Robert Bindon-Blood, in 1958, although the company wasn’t formally wound-up until the early 1970s. He was the man who had led the design and production of things like the Flying Scotsman in the very late 1920s, when they set new standards of excellence for British made “mass production’” models, but the troubles of the business got too much for him, and Fuller, who worked with him, effectively says in his history of BL that he drank himself to death through stress at age fifty-seven. Very sad ending indeed.

 

Probably best to enjoy playing with the trains, rather than dwell too much on the foregoing.

Edited by Nearholmer
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Back in the early sixties, I left for the US to seek my fortune and got a job which paid about three times what I made in the UK.  I was able to rent a flat at $90 a month, buy a used Plymouth and save enough to go back home for a holiday in a year and still have money in the bank.  The next year I got a $50 raise so the savings rose quite rapidly; previous deductions to my Mother were three Pounds for my keep, three for savings and three for me, or something like that!:happy_mini:  At this time I was exposed to Lionel trains but then I had nowhere to run them!:(

     Brian.

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1 hour ago, brianusa said:

Back in the early sixties, I left for the US to seek my fortune ...

I did the same in the Bicentennial Year, 1976, which was at an interesting time to be going there ... and a very good time to be leaving the UK.  Nevertheless, in 1983, I returned to the UK more knowledgeable, rather wiser, somewhat better off and with some great memories.  I wouldn't change any of it :-)   David

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I’ve had a long, mostly rewarding and at times, chequered relationship with the USA and to a lesser extent, Canada. I have family in both, have worked for American and Canadian companies, have travelled in the US and had friends in USAF in the U.K.

 

On the whole, I quite like the place, have certainly profited by the association, feel at home there (mostly, and certainly more so than in Europe in the sense of “The Continent”) but have never really felt the urge to live there. This was in part, because of the experience of growing up with my late mother’s chronic and serious ill-health; she was unable to get insurance and never saw either of her “War bride” cousins again. I don’t care to imagine how her later years might have played out in the USA. 

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Work took me to quite a few places:  I spent 4 or 5 months commuting on a fortnightly basis to Detroit, and always felt comfortable and welcome there.  I met some lovely people, warm, open and friendly.  I visited model railways in basements (huge HO layout) and went boating in the lakes.  I also met bigotry, and some of the most bizarre “logic” attempting to justify the lack of gun controls.  I never seriously considered moving, though the opportunity presented itself a couple of times.

 

I worked for a French division of an American tier1 automotive supplier.  I also spent the thick end of 11 years to-ing and fro-ing between Loiret and Birmingham, with frequent trips to Germany, Italy & Spain.  I feel as at-home in France as I do in the UK, and find the current politics incomprehensible.  I was very close to moving there some 20 years back but the stars didn’t quite line up.

 

I very much enjoyed Japan, but it’s too crowded for my taste, and lived in the lively chaos of India for three very happy & busy years.   Turkey was fun, but only there a few months, Italy likewise.

 

I wonder where next!

atb

Simon

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You can’t get a great deal more old-fashioned when it comes to commercial toy railways than this, clattering round a TCS meeting today. Nothing here after about 1905, I think. Gauge 1 clockwork, except for the electric loco, which is electric.

9B5D4B66-C92F-427C-ABB7-C4E35CC31069.jpeg

4A74090B-DA8D-413A-9773-644B2297E1D8.jpeg
 

For the avoidance of doubt that might otherwise arise, the electric loco (very loosely!) represents this, from the Tupenny Tube in 1900.

 

1DAB512D-714B-4B58-B9CF-B49214116749.jpeg.52c70f8ed558d5105af40a396605b85c.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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It is noticeable that everything has very short wheelbases just as well some of those curves look very sharp to me including turnouts. Still without them you couldn't fit that much in.  Those coaches at the top which look to be in LSWR livery are impossibly short but charming. Looks real fun. Some of the lineside details are done very well.

 

Don

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I’d have to check, but I think that ‘ordinary radius’ for tinplate curves something like 7”, with next up at 13”, then 24”, all impressively tight, but if you look carefully, you will see that the sleepers are tapered, even on the straights, to give sufficient super elevation to prevent too many disasters.

 

Apart from the 4-4-0 tender engine, these are very much posh toys, rather than anything that approaches ‘models’, and the great genius of W J Bassett-Lowke was to spot that factories/craftsmen that could make these, could equally well make things that were working scale models - the manufacturing skills in early model railways were German, but the design impetus towards scale fidelity came from England, and was then picked-up and run with in Germany (the US path of development was slightly different).

 

in many senses, what you see here branched onto two development paths, one became scale model railways, the other became modern Playmobil.

 

I should have photographed the big green lump at the far end more closely. It’s a huge  scenic toy, representing a cutting in the mountains, with a bridge soaring above the track, and houses and a a schloss in about N scale (forced perspective) at the top, all made entirely from tin, hand-painted.

 

The signals are beautiful too, some of them hugely complicated three-arm jobs, but again made to a size that facilitated play (they are about 18” tall) rather than scale fidelity.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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That would be consistent with Lionel 0-27, which has a radius on centreline of 13”, give or take.

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I had a look for the standard dimensions, but can only find the very first ones used by Maerklin in the 1890s, which for G1 was 95cm diameter circle, and for G0 50cm diameter circle, quickly increased to 60cm diameter circle, but I know that smaller ones were standardised shortly after, and a big fuss was made in the 1900s when G0 moved up to 120cm diameter to permit ‘scale’ trains, “two foot radius” still being the de-facto standard curve that commercial coarse-scale trains must be able to pass around.

 

LGB have always used 120cm diameter circle as it’s defining curve, although they long ago introduced much shallower curves too, which illustrates that ‘corners’ in G1 can be very tight, provided that the wheel profile is suitable.

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I cannot check as all my tinplate track was given away when I was given an electric train set (I was not involved in the descisions) but I had curves of two radii in 0 gauge my vague recolection is 1ft and 2 ft radii. The tightest of those G1 curves look close to 1ft to me.

Don

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1ft and 2ft radius were certainly the standard Hornby tinplate dimensions, with 3ft radius in the solid-steel ‘Princess Elizabeth’ track. 
 

notice how the 1ft matches the Maerklin 60cm diameter, and the 2ft the slightly later 120cm diameter.

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5 hours ago, Donw said:

I cannot check as all my tinplate track was given away when I was given an electric train set (I was not involved in the descisions) but I had curves of two radii in 0 gauge my vague recolection is 1ft and 2 ft radii. The tightest of those G1 curves look close to 1ft to me.

Don

My own Hornby clockwork set mysteriously disappeared when I was young.  On questioning my Mum about it a good many years later it was apparently deemed that 'I had grown out of it' and it had been given to a relative's subhuman pointy headed young children who no doubt had it smashed to bits by the end of the day.

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9 minutes ago, Annie said:

My own Hornby clockwork set mysteriously disappeared when I was young.  On questioning my Mum about it a good many years later it was apparently deemed that 'I had grown out of it' and it had been given to a relative's subhuman pointy headed young children who no doubt had it smashed to bits by the end of the day.

A very common experience, by all accounts.  My father's B-L set sufferred so and my mother sent mine to a jumble sale without my knowing on the grounds that I was a big boy now, going up to big school, so I wouldn't be needing it any more!

 

Hah, little did she know!  With my meagre pocket money I started to buy more, which I proceeded to 'improve' - yes, I know now (see: How I Came To Be Mutilating 0 Gauge Collectors’ Pieces In The 1960s for details and images) and I've worked in 0 gauge/7mm scale ever since.

 

David

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7 minutes ago, Annie said:

My own Hornby clockwork set mysteriously disappeared when I was young.  On questioning my Mum about it a good many years later it was apparently deemed that 'I had grown out of it' and it had been given to a relative's subhuman pointy headed young children who no doubt had it smashed to bits by the end of the day.

 

A similar event happened during WW2.  I had a Dublo SNG set on a baseboard which was set on our indoor Morrison air raid shelter and one day a relative visited with a child of your description.  Wanted to see the train run and due to a call from my Mother, had to leave the room.  In my absence the little b**t**d cranked up the speed sending the engine to the floor breaking all the drivers.  My grandfather who was in the RN at Devonport dockyard was able to turn the drivers in brass; they ended up looking a bit like Boxpoks, not exactly prototypical but it worked.  In the end it all went same as your trains and no doubt suffered a similar fate!:diablo_mini:

      Brian.

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I think our Hornby Tinplate went the way of all recycled metal, although it must have lingered a fair while before doing so, because I remember my youngest brother receiving the plastic clockwork "Percy" train set as Christmas present, and we ran that train on the tin rails. "Percy" was the last 0 gauge train made by Meccano, and I think he was only sold during 1965. He certainly had his own blue plastic track, but that didn't have any points, and got forgotten about pretty quickly.

 

The only surviving items were a water tower, which I repainted with Woolworths gloss green paint in about 1972, and The Lead Sheep, both of which figure on my current layout.

EE8F4B05-64AF-4912-81F0-6273E956F2E9.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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Photos of the big green lump! 

 

The radii of the gauge 1 tinplate track is 18" for the sharper stuff and 3' for the larger. 3' radius was as large as any of the manufacturers made back in the day, and roughly equates to 2' radius in O gauge. Thankfully I have some Alan Middleton produced gauge 1 tinplate track, of 3' 6" and also 4' radius, which is useful for most of the larger Bing for B/L locos in gauge 1.

 

Mark

 

WP_20191109_14_14_48_Pro.jpg

WP_20191109_14_17_29_Pro.jpg

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You are a gentleman, sir!

 

No big green lump has ever been better-photographed.

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Of what is said lump composed?

 

I’m guessing it was a commercial item?

 

sorry, belay that, I read back and spotted the original reference.  What a remarkable thing.

 

only mildly dafter than the TriAng 00 “hill-with-pointless-tunnel”, I guess.

 

atb

Simon

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1 hour ago, Simond said:

Of what is said lump composed?

 

I’m guessing it was a commercial item?

 

sorry, belay that, I read back and spotted the original reference.  What a remarkable thing.

 

only mildly dafter than the TriAng 00 “hill-with-pointless-tunnel”, I guess.

 

atb

Simon

'Hills-with-pointless-tunnel' have a long tradition in trainsets.  If I dug about in my storage boxes I'm sure I could lay my hands on at least two examples of the breed.

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Must confess to owning 2 pointless hills with tunnel !....think the Hornby moulds are now worn out so your nightmare has come to the end of its life Simon.....but  just when you thought it was safe .....continental hills with pointless tunnels are available !        :rolleyes_mini:

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I’ve got one of those, a survivor of my childrens’ Hornby set! No trainset is complete without one! 

 

That scenic.... feature.... is quite remarkable, though. 

 

 

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One of my very few financial successes with old trains came from pointless tunnels.

 

i bought a big job-lot, a major bargain, to get two locos, and among it all were three 1930s or earlier Hornby tunnels, quite big ones, made from what looked like wood, canvas and a skim of plaster paint and dyed sawdust. Horrible things.

 

i decide to trade them in, to get some wagons that I wanted, and the dealer credited me a very tidy sum for them - he offered a price, I looked quizzical and said nothing (I was amazed he’d offered so much), and he promptly doubled the offer!

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Garden railway builders have been known to deliberately run track through the highest point of the ground just so they can create a tunnel.

 

Don

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20 minutes ago, Donw said:

Garden railway builders have been known to deliberately run track through the highest point of the ground just so they can create a tunnel.

 

Don

 

And, I suspect, subsequently regret having done so, when their knees are wrecked, and there's a mark 1 on its side, just over an arm's length from the nearest portal...

 

:)

Simon

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