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• Update: See our hands-on Hornby Elite Review here

Also, check out the specs of the Hornby Elite compared to other DCC systems here

Intensive layout testing of the Hornby Elite and Select units here




Darth Vader made a dramatic entrance on Saturday at the London Toy Fair and headed straight for the model railway arena. Refusing to sign autographs, when questioned about his interest in model trains he simply breathed heavily and clenched his fist. I took this as a sign and moved quickly out of his path.

Having left the Bachmann and Hornby stands relatively unscathed, I was able to follow in Darth Vader's tracks and take a few pictures. Dennis Lovett of Bachmann kindly offered to open up their glass cabinets and they pointed me in the direction of locomotives and rolling stock that would be of particular interest to Model Rail Forum members. Bachmann also had several locomotives operating with sound chips and this seemed to draw the interest of every visitor. The sound was superb and anybody who has a chance to listen to Bachmann locomotives with sound chips will almost certainly want to operate locomotives with sound chips fitted.

I was standing by a real Class 20 at the Crewe show when the owner started up and allowed the engine to chug before clearing the cylinders by revving the engine releasing a cloud of black smoke. The sound then was music to the ears and it is amazing that Bachmann have managed to capture an identical sound. Bachmann claim that the Deltic sound will be absolutely as stunning!

Hornby had a full working layout operated by a pre-production version of their new digital system and Simon Kohler was pleased to report that the unit had remained robust and reliable for the entire duration of the show. The same digital unit will be appearing at the European Toy Fair in Nuremburg during February. There were no pre-production models of the M7 or King Arthur on show, or any of the new UK outline Lima models, however Simon assured me that grey pre-production moulds had been produced and the results were very satisfactory.

There are not too many Hornby loco shots in the gallery as Model Rail Forum already has good coverage of the new range so I went around the Hornby stand picking subjects that I considered may be of interest to Model Rail Forum members.

So to visit the Model Rail Forum London Toy Fair 2006 picture gallery click the link below:-

London Toy Fair 2006 Picture Gallery

And for those who have arrived late and missed the Bachmann 2006/07 Range press release there is a link included here for this story also:-

Bachmann 2006/07 Range Press Release

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Dear Gary,

Many thanks for your efforts in getting the pics to us. Some very interesting views and information therein.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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It's a shame that the joins are visible in the canal and road system - I was looking forward to using that on my layout!

Does anyone know the price of the Bachmann '66' with sound yet?
 

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I spent some time both with the canal and road systems and the joints situation was my reason for doing this. I did spend a lot of time pushing things around as it was all laid loose with a "do not touch" notice. People generally ignored this request. The lighting was very bright and it was flash photography. And it is possible to push things tight together so that joints are not intrusive. In a typical home environment lighting will be less extreme and if fixed permanently then it should be possible to do something if this is an issue for the modeller.

Hornby seem to think that a high proportion of their customers loose fit the buildings and scenic objects and the road and canal system has this type of customer in mind. And these items were a popular request. For those who make temporary layouts before moving on to the next and who reuse scenic items time after time then these items are likely to be well received.

And besides, where are you going to place your canal boats and cars?


Happy modelling
Gary

PS Digital device - don't know is the honest answer.
 

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Anyone fancy building the 5 rise locks at Bingley? That'd make a good little feature for a layout, the railway at one side, the new relief road dual carriageway right next to it, a bit of field then the canal and famous lock system.
 

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Alas, spongebob's thoughts about the Bingley 5-rise would need a great deal of carving up of the new Hornby locks. The Skaledale locks are 'narrow' and therefore take a 70ft approx long by 7ft wide narrow boat. The Bingley 5-rise are 'broad' ie 14ft wide, but only some 60ft long as the Leeds and Liverpool canal was built to take a local boat which was already around those dimensions. (It wasn't only the railways who had gauge differences and resultant problems!)

Possible places for models of real-life could be the Watford [Gap] flight which is close to the A5, the M1 and the West Coast mainline, and a number of places around Birmingham/Wolverhampton where railways run (or used to) close to flights of locks. This area also had a number of railway/canal interchange basins at one time.

But all praise to Hornby for this significant addition to their range.

John Webb
 

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QUOTE Was any further information given out about the Hornby Elite and it's capabilities/features

What surprised me was how big the units are. This will probably be the reaction of most people who see the units for the first time. However big buttons and a big screen make for easy control.

If you have points and other accessories controlled by your traditional Hornby switch and point motors all wired up, etc off your analogue controller power sockets the Hornby Digital unit has an outlet to allow you to continue to power and control these accessories in the traditional way. If you only want to use the Hornby Elite to control trains so be it. You may want to control your turntable for example by using the standard circuit that Hornby supply with the turntable and so the unit allows this.

If you want to have seperate power to the track beyond the 4 amps Hornby supply you can do and still control the trains using the Elite unit.

Hornby said that the port permitting a connection to a PC would be put to good use by Hornby in the future and that this was the start of a whole new Hornby Digital era with plenty of developments and accessories to look forward to in 2007 and beyond.

Hornby made it very clear that whilst there are systems for American and European markets that are imported into the UK there is no system specifically designed for the typical Hornby UK customer and that this product has been purposely designed with this in mind. Hornby provided facts and figures and it does seem like there is a massive void to fill. Instructions will be simple and will not include jargon imported from overseas. You are expected to plug the leads into the track and you are on your way. Nice and simple!


Happy modelling
Gary

PS The BIG red emergency stop button was tested on one occasion whilst watching the demo as Simon got a bit sidetracked and wondered why visitors were starting to shout and wave their arms at him!
 
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