Saturday, July 7, 2012
As I don't yet have a permanent home for my layout, and I'm not sure what shape it will eventually take, the obvious solution seemed to be to buy the cheapest Hornby train set I could as this would give me some track, a controller, a new loco, and some rolling stock.
Having had a hunt around I settled on the Caledonian Belle set which I bought from Amazon at a ridiculously reduced price (the price on Amazon varies but I saved over £20 compared with Hornby's RRP). As the set only contains a very basic oval and I really wanted a siding as well I bought Track Pack A (again from Amazon, and with their crazy discounts I actually got both the set and track pack for less than the full price of the set alone).
So on the afternoon of Wednesday the 20th of June 2012 I took over the dinning table (actually a fake top we place on the dinning table so we can seat more than four people -- this gives me a working area of exactly 6 foot by four foot) and got ready to run my first model train in over 15 years. It was great! I'd forgotten just how relaxing watching a small model train go round and round a simple oval could be.
Interestingly when I eventually got around to unpacking the old locomotives I found that we already had a Caledonian 0-4-0ST locomotive (Hornby R.057) and carriage (Hornby R.219). Here you can see both the old and new models.
As you can see both the locomotive and carriage are painted in very different liveries. Having had a look at photos from the Caledonian Railway Association, I'd say that the older models (on the right) are a better representation. Not only is the locomotive more detailed (e.g. wire handrails and the coat of arms) and painted in the early light blue colour scheme, but the coach uses colours also seen in original photos and paintings. The newer coach, painted in blue, might better match the painting of the new locomotive in the darker blue livery (which also seems accurate) but it doesn't seem to match with any carriages used on the old Caledonian Railway. I'm guessing that, with a starter set aimed more at children getting into the hobby than adults with a historical interest, Hornby went for aesthetics over accuracy - I'm not very good at picking complimentary colours but even I find the old coach and locomotive combination a little jarring.