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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Watching the latest Hornby Model World episode on Yesterday, Kohler mentioned he had insight that a 'competitor' was planning a new HST, causing the programme to follow this upgrade. Does anyone know who this might be eg Dapol (with them having done a version in N gauge) and will this upgraded tooling model be an improvement on what they are producing to date? I find this whole ongoing 'we have to be first to market' mantra from Hornby (Kohler) a bit wearing now and it seems to stem right back to the James May programme where neither Rails or Hattons were impressed to see what Hornby had planned v their new products. I appreciate they have to maintain a strong profit forecast but they should be focussing on new ideas and packaging (marketing) eg more packs like the Continental manufacturers do
 

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Well Kohler is right, be has some market leaders that sell well and clearly in the modern image the HST is one such so defending that market must be a priority thus I can see the effort that makes a better product as a follow up and given the mechanism is OK and goes forward it should do well, in steam I suppose the equivalent is the Flying Scotsman screw those up and you have a lot of sales and hence revenue to make up, no interest to me but I appreciate that as a nearly qualified old git I have the right to moan and disagree, that said after being a decision maker for over 40 years then I see where and why Mr. Kohler is coming from.
 

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My wish is that Hornby moves into 21st century couplings and mechanisms. The HST would be a perfect start to develop or adopt better standards. A model 7 or 8 coach rake HST should be capable of being pushed as if the leading power car had failed. The concept of top and tailing in 1976 was adopted to avoid loco changes in termini; following the success with the Blue Pulman sets in the sixties but with an increase in power. The model should be equally comfortable operating in that fashion.

Hornby will probably just update the bodyshells and perhaps upgrade drive mechanisms with the introduction of sound at both ends straight out of the box ......... well let's hope so ........ but corridor connections and close coupling on the straight with increased separation on curves has been a feature sur le continent for some years. I doubt that Hornby will go that far but I would so like to be proven wrong.

Best regards ...................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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My wish is that Hornby moves into 21st century couplings and mechanisms. The HST would be a perfect start to develop or adopt better standards. A model 7 or 8 coach rake HST should be capable of being pushed as if the leading power car had failed. The concept of top and tailing in 1976 was adopted to avoid loco changes in termini; following the success with the Blue Pulman sets in the sixties but with an increase in power. The model should be equally comfortable operating in that fashion.

Hornby will probably just update the bodyshells and perhaps upgrade drive mechanisms with the introduction of sound at both ends straight out of the box ......... well let's hope so ........ but corridor connections and close coupling on the straight with increased separation on curves has been a feature sur le continent for some years. I doubt that Hornby will go that far but I would so like to be proven wrong.

Best regards ...................... Greyvoices (alias John)
As someone who runs an HST with 7 coaches and both power cars powered and with sound, I am probably in a good position to answer this one.

The real HSTs were powered at both ends, partly, as John correctly indicates, a follow in from what was learned with the Blue Pullman, but also because the understanding of high speed push-pull wasn't yet known. At the introduction of the HST it was thought that high speed propelling could cause jack-knifing. Of course, later on, this was found not to be the case.

But that early thinking at BR still applies to our model railways. I am probably in an extreme minority, running a 7 car set plus power (and sound) at both ends around minimum 5 foot radius curves, so propelling wouldn't be a problem for me, but the vast majority insist on propelling at high speed around sub-3 foot radius curves and wonder why their stock derails. I wonder why ?

Fixed bar couplings like Bachmann fit to their Mark 1 and 2 coaches would probably solve the problem, but the bottom line is that physics still applies and the expectation of propelling 7 at high speed around sub-3 foot radius curves is just not realistic.

Here is my HST in action:

A few more videos can be seen at the bottom of: Fitting DCC Sound to a Lima HST - Model Railways On-Line
 

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My wish is that Hornby moves into 21st century couplings and mechanisms. The HST would be a perfect start to develop or adopt better standards. A model 7 or 8 coach rake HST should be capable of being pushed as if the leading power car had failed. The concept of top and tailing in 1976 was adopted to avoid loco changes in termini; following the success with the Blue Pulman sets in the sixties but with an increase in power. The model should be equally comfortable operating in that fashion.

Hornby will probably just update the bodyshells and perhaps upgrade drive mechanisms with the introduction of sound at both ends straight out of the box ......... well let's hope so ........ but corridor connections and close coupling on the straight with increased separation on curves has been a feature sur le continent for some years...
Hornby have implemented on their steam era coach stock, and included a pair of Roco clone couplers, albeit with an overlong mount. Use the Roco 40270 and they function exactly as they should, gangway faceplates in contact on straight track.

On their centre motor diesels (30/31, 50, 56, 60) they have also applied a close coupling mechanism, which causes endless trouble with the tension lock couplings on wagons. Of course the diesel they didn't put it on was the HST power car, clearly because: well I don't know, but perhaps to have to avoid putting matching mechanisms on the MK3's? What are Hornby going to do on 91's and MK4's I wonder.
 

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Of course the diesel they didn't put it on was the HST power car, clearly because: well I don't know, but perhaps to have to avoid putting matching mechanisms on the MK3's? What are Hornby going to do on 91's and MK4's I wonder.
Exactly. It is not impossible to acheive a close coupling that can withstand being pushed around curves. With the introduction of a new HST now would be the time to upgrade the Mk 3 coaches and, as you say 34C, prototypically the Class 91 with Mk 4 combination really needs it.

It really is not difficult as I proved when living in Germany. I never had the time to construct a "real" layout so relied on a 1 x 1.6 metre picnic table arrangement with a loosely laid double oval of Piko set-track for test purposes. I had no trouble running my Deutsche Reichsbahn streamlined Class 175 (Kato) or pushing Piko double deck coaches around those tight curves ............. close coupled. There is a similar radius on Berlin Re-visited and the double deck coaches ran through it perfectly except for the leading bogie of the driving trailer which had thick wires leading from the pickups into the body. Replacing those wires with much thinner and more flexible wire solved that problem.

Train Rolling stock Vehicle Railway Track

Here we see the Class 175 "opening up" to take that very tight curve. Apologies for the picture quality; I normally delete such bad results but somehow kept this.

Building Infrastructure Plant Train Track

Here close coupled on gentle reverse curves.

Best regards ..................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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I might add to this, that to the best of my knowledge, neither Bachmann or Hornby have put out any information on how to obtain the best performance from close coupling mechanisms, since their first appearance in RTR OO which must be over 20 years past by now! Both work well, used with the necessary 'rigid link' couplers, of which I have chosen to use the Roco pattern.

If anyone knows different do say! Come to that have any of the emerging competitors anything to say on this subject?
 

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Can anyone please explain what is wrong with the current Hornby HST ?
I for one think that it is a superb model and can't see why some think it needs upgrading.

But then again, I don't have expectations of being able to propel at high speed around train-set radius curves.

I would have thought the obvious solution would be to simply power both ends. It actually makes things rather prototypical and solves a lot of problems!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Graham & John. I will look into those Roco couplers and prob order a few sets. I do also hv the old 125 dummy and power car from the 70s in original Inter-City livery with yellow body and ringfield/pancake motor which I bought when I came back into the hobby in the mid 90s. I also have several Lima/Hornby blue/grey coaches and in the interests of economy, will look at making up this set and save myself nearly £300 (which can be re-allocated to some Conti locos 😉 ) I will need to prepare the locos for DCC running but did the old 125 model run OK?
 

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Can anyone please explain what is wrong with the current Hornby HST ?...
When last I looked, superfluous features on the power cars such as spinny fans and moveable louvres which were too coarse as a result. (The mechanism was a good centre motor unit, perfectly adequate for traction.)

Absent features.

This is a unit train and should be made available as such, complete formation uniformly liveried, none of this nonsense of having to hope the retailer obtains the full set of individual pieces. It's not beyond the wit of man to devise a system to deliver this, while maintaining the present availability of motor pairs and individual coaches.

Coaches way off the pace, where are the close coupling system and lights? (Compare to Hornby's QoS Pullman cars, those are of an appropriate standard.)


I want a unit train, either of 125 or 225; but am only going to buy when some maker delivers on the full job.
 

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Playing 'Devil's Advocate' here:

When last I looked, superfluous features on the power cars such as spinny fans and moveable louvres which were too coarse as a result. (The mechanism was a good centre motor unit, perfectly adequate for traction.)
Those are features that some people want but others don't.
Neither demand a whole new model or an upgrade.

Absent features.
What features are absent ?

This is a unit train and should be made available as such, complete formation uniformly liveried, none of this nonsense of having to hope the retailer obtains the full set of individual pieces. It's not beyond the wit of man to devise a system to deliver this, while maintaining the present availability of motor pairs and individual coaches.
That's a manufacturing and supply chain scheduling issue. It has nothing to do with the model itself.

Coaches way off the pace, where are the close coupling system and lights? (Compare to Hornby's QoS Pullman cars, those are of an appropriate standard.)
'Way off the pace' is an opinion. What makes the models 'way off the pace' ?
The coupling system and lights (I presume you mean in the intermediate coaches) are features that some people want but others don't.
Again, it doesn't demand a whole new model or an upgrade to apply them.

My interpretation:

1) Some people want the coupling system upgraded so they can propel around trainset radius curves at high speed
2) Some people want lighting fitted to coaches
3) Manufacturers need to ensure that all vehicles to make up a unit train are available at the same time

I don't think any of these make the models 'way off the pace' or in need of a total replacement or upgrade.

(3) is a very reasonable request and I would think that most manufacturers try to achieve this. I suspect that if this is not the case, notwithstanding restricted supplies to retailers, it is probably because what we see on retailer shelves is what is left after those who have made up their rakes have left the store.

Personally, I find carriage lighting annoying unless it is controlled by a DCC decoder because it cannot be turned off if a regular DC wiring strategy is used per the Hornby Pullman coaches.

I find it amusing that there are a few people who think that diesel locos run with the cab lights on all the time! 'We turn them on because we can'. This is not done for the same reasons that you don't drive your car with the internal lights on all the time, especially at night.
 

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...'Way off the pace' is an opinion...
It's my opinion certainly. The Bachmann Midland Blue Pullman model is the pace-setter in RTR OO. That's the concept I am after, sold as a complete set, with provision for integrated DCC control of lights in all trailer vehicles.

First to offer a 125 or 225 set to this standard raids my wallet!
 

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I think the answer to that is 'cost'.

The Blue Pullman is a unit which can be prototypically packaged up as a 5 car unit and the overall cost probably just about fits into what the market is prepared to pay. Clearly, Bachmann didn't think that the costs added up for an 8 car Pullman. Mind you, I think the choice the have made is sound because it covers the greatest amount of variation: the original Midland Pullman and the later 'Westernised' version when they all ended up on the WR.

I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable about 225's to comment, but I would suggest that a complete HST set would be outside of the cost boundaries that the market would pay and that may be why it hasn't been done.

This also poses the question as to what formation is provided: the WR sets were 2 power cars + 7. All other regions were 2 + 8. I'm an exception here, but how many people actually run scale length HST sets ? I'd suggest that most people don't have a layout large enough.

This would tend to indicate to me that an approach rather like Hornby have done with their APT might be in order ie supply a base 6 car set in a pack and supply the extra coaches individually or as pair packs. Maybe a base 6 car set consisting of two power cars, a buffet, a first, a second and a TGS. Extra packs to be combinations of TSO's and FO's. Or more likely, TSO's and FO's to be available individually.

Putting the whole lot in one box is a marketing thing, not a function of the model itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Would concur. The original release of the BP was £295, DCC Fitted (!) and the concept to do a base pack of 5 or 6 cars is the way to go, like they do with Continental packs. Hornby have done similar in the past with the GNER Eurostar sets ie the end cars and then packs of the divisible coaches. They are missing a trick there I think
 

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On the marketing, it might well make commercial sense to split authentic formations into 'halves' : power cars / power car + DVT, and a representative group of trailer cars, and the remaining trailer cars to make the correct full formation; and none of this precludes offering power cars, and individual coaches as separate pieces.

It's all about making the purchase as easy as possible for as many of the potential customers for the product. I have declining confidence in supply stability to enable correct formations to be bought piecemeal, and 'the complete set' overcomes that. There are a goodly number of large OO layouts out there, triggered by the competent RTR OO offerings of the last twenty odd years, making the kind of project that once required a model railway club effort now feasible at home.
 

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My comments are based upon experience of standards being applied by other manufacturers such as Roco with their ICE intercity high speed EMU rakes. A basic close coupled 4 -set comprising 2 power cars with additional twin packs of imtermediate coaches to make up your chosen rake. What makes this set stand out is the fact that all couplings conduct power and open up on 14 inch curves; traction is via a centre coach so yes this is always push/pull. Roco catalogue page for their latest ICE set A glance through the specification tells the story.

Train Rolling stock Rectangle Railway Mode of transport

So this is a toy train built to exacting modellers standards.

For comparison here is the Trix ICE set catalogue page. The full 8-car rake costing €949 (around £810) before discount. The odd statement by Trix that this model is not for children under the age of 15 is insulting for my younger self. I had a working Electra and overhead wires on my layout at age 11. A much loved Christmas present. In 1961 Hornby were true engineering innovaters.

Train Vehicle Rolling stock Railway Mode of transport


What are Hornby offering: The LNER farewell pack

Train Land vehicle Vehicle Wheel Light


The specification is far less detailed and offers a Radius 2 capability that is a shade over 17 inches. To be fair, I actually like the choice of intermediate Mk 111 coaches for the farewell set but at £40 per coach you are approaching £800 (before discount) for the correct formation (those with more knowledge than me will know if the available models match up to the prototype rake). The couplings look decidedly twentieth century ............. or am I missing something. So gaps between coaches on the straight as well as curves. At £329 for two power cars am I right in assuming that both poer cars are motored? If not that is one heck of a markup for what is basically a relivered old model. The specification page gives no clue.

I had a quick look at other comparable Hornby sets and not one was listed below Radius two, so a tight 17 inch. The Azuma set illustration did however seem to have an advanced coupling system though I have no idea what vehicle is supplying traction. The Hornby tech information is woeful.

All in all, if I was a well heeled grandfather looking to buy a Christmas train set for grandchildren who had retained an interest in the hobby into their mid teens then I would go for the 1:87 offerings (you should see what other "continental" model companies have in their catalogue). Hornby lose out technically, on information on their website and useability.

I know this post may seem contentious but I really do want Hornby to wake up. They have their corporate head stuck firmly in bean counter mode and must surely adopt modern model engineering standards if they want to attract younger folk to the hobby. Yes I know how good some of their latest locomotives are ................ and yes birdcage coaches are impressive ............ but let's move on from this old fashioned idea that there are two markets to cater for, the train set and the serious modeller. By making all products technically advanced you will have a better chance of youngsters with Christmas trainsets remaining with the hobby to become serious modellers.

Best regards .................. Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That is exactly the pack I was looking at...and at £329 rrp is a joke (and Winter 2022 release...what's all that about?) The mods they have done as detailed in the Hornby Model World programme, are a massive missed opportunity. And yes, only one powered car. Why couldnt they have developed a coupling closer to the prototype? And on conti train packs, MSL have a Peco set for 149.99 Euros Piko 57179 Gauge H0 Start-Set Railjet of CD, Epoch V modellbahnshop-lippe.com When I see pricing like that 125, it just make me want to upgrade my locos with lighting and dcc sound, plus coach lighting and install some passengers. I think I also saw that Kaydee couplers are a good solution, esp since they have the knuckle style of the prototype. So that's my Xmas project fired up. Cheers
 

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What are Hornby offering: The LNER farewell pack

The specification is far less detailed and offers a Radius 2 capability that is a shade over 17 inches...
I had a quick look at other comparable Hornby sets and not one was listed below Radius two, so a tight 17 inch...
I think the idea of expanding couplings as Bachmann have done and a number of Hornby coaches do (although not Mark 3's) is a very good move, however, my support for this is predicated on the fact that it permits close coupling in general, not the fact that it permits trainset radius curves. I personally don't think we should be encouraging sub-17 inch radius curves for anything other than trainsets because that is what they are - completely unrealistic. We should be encouraging people to achieve 'best possible results and best possible realism'.

.... but let's move on from this old fashioned idea that there are two markets to cater for, the train set and the serious modeller. By making all products technically advanced you will have a better chance of youngsters with Christmas trainsets remaining with the hobby to become serious modellers.

Best regards .................. Greyvoices (alias John)
My information from a number of industry sources, including manufacturers is that there are two markets. Figures I have been quoted are 5% are the serious modeller and 95% for everyone else.
However, as the Hornby Merchant Navy proved, an significant improvement in quality and standards was highly successful.
Certainly agree that technical advancement across the board is a good idea. We should always be encouraging best possible practice and not be encouraging toy trainset radius curves - they can never look realistic. What makes an even more laughable proposition is that those with trainset radius curves also want 'better OO track' with correct sleeper spacing!!! Hello???
 

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That is exactly the pack I was looking at...and at £329 rrp is a joke (and Winter 2022 release...what's all that about?) The mods they have done as detailed in the Hornby Model World programme, are a massive missed opportunity. And yes, only one powered car. Why couldnt they have developed a coupling closer to the prototype? And on conti train packs, MSL have a Peco set for 149.99 Euros Piko 57179 Gauge H0 Start-Set Railjet of CD, Epoch V modellbahnshop-lippe.com When I see pricing like that 125, it just make me want to upgrade my locos with lighting and dcc sound, plus coach lighting and install some passengers. I think I also saw that Kaydee couplers are a good solution, esp since they have the knuckle style of the prototype. So that's my Xmas project fired up. Cheers
I did exactly that with old 1980s HST125, added lights and DCC. Eventually I did upgrade to the latest HST as I got fed up with the noisy ringfield motor and more especially the lack of traction because of those traction tyres. Being at the back of the loco doesn't help either. So I bought the new one, a lot cheaper than you are quoting still a lot though, but then I bought it before the prices went up. Now the power car is great it drives both bogies, but the unpowered car although is a nice model seems somewhat overpriced for a basically a carriage without windows. On another site someone said it is Hornby's cash cow so they basically charge what they like. I can see why they wouldn't want any competition, but surely to stay in business you upgrade your product so you don't lose business, not because someone else might be thinking of making it. I mean even if you took a Bachmann diesel loco at £200 and one of their latest DCC fitted carriages at £80 which would probably be as difficult to build, the pair are still substantially cheaper.
 

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...On another site someone said it is Hornby's cash cow so they basically charge what they like...
All the manufacturers price their products for what they believe the market will bear, pricing has no definite relationship to manufacturing cost beyond 'returns a minimum target margin'. Hornby are currently able to go for all they dare on the HST because there is no direct competitor, for what remains a iconic and popular design; and because they own the 'Hornby' name, and a large proportion of UK customers for RTR OO really do want 'Hornby' on the box.
 
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