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Hornby ‘Country Flyer’ train set review

Hornby “Country Flyer” Train Set

r1188_country_flyer_3d_box

[Hornby Item Code R1188]

Hornby have just announced the new ‘Country Flyer’ train set – just in time to get one for Christmas! This set includes an 0-4-0 steam tank locomotive, an open wagon, a 4-wheel passenger coach, an oval of track, and a Hornby R8250 standard analogue (DC) controller.

Hornby’s own description of this train set says “The halcyon days of British Railways were epitomised by numerous small branch lines and light railways that criss-crossed the countryside. The Country Flyer set embraces those small local trains

The blue ‘E&GR’ livery of the loco is supposed to represent the “Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway”. The E&GR started running in 1842 between its Glasgow station (now Glasgow Queen Street) and Haymarket in Edinburgh, and it existed until 1865 when it was absorbed by the North British Railway, which in turn became part of the LNER in 1923. The main line of the E&GR still exists and is still in use; it has been upgraded over the years, including electrification, and still carries regular trains between the two cities.

The 0-4-0 tank is modelled on the GWR Class 101 side tank loco. This loco crops up in the Hornby range in various guises: it is currently available in the fictitious ‘Rothery Industries’ livery, and it has been available in various liveries in the past, including Hornby Collector’s Club limited editions.
(In real life there was only ever one Class 101 loco built and it spent its entire working life at GWR’s Swindon works; and it wasn’t built until 1901, long after the E&GR ceased to exist as such. So it would never have been seen in Scotland or painted in E&GR livery; but ‘Rule 1’* applies!)
*Rule 1: It’s my world and my railway and I’ll run what I like!

The short 4-wheel coach also crops up in other versions: it’s currently available in the ‘Caledonian Belle’ train set in Caledonian Railway blue livery. The wagon is an open wooden-sided ‘private owner’ wagon in green ‘Uplands Timber Co. Ltd’ livery.

The E&GR livery (and the antiquated coach!) place this set in Victorian times, in the period 1842 – 1865, so this train set would theoretically be suitable for a layout set in ‘Era 1’ (‘Pioneering’, 1804 – 1875), located somewhere in the ‘central belt’ of Scotland, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The colourful liveries of the loco, wagon and coach might make this an attractive starter set for a youngster, but the shortage of other Victorian era models would make it difficult for a beginner to develop a full layout set in those times.

The Hornby Country Flyer train set is (at the time of writing) available direct from Hornby for £74.99.