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A Touch of Class 87

A Touch of Class 87

Hello and welcome to The Engine Shed, your look inside the Hornby Development Office and all the goings on from within. We’re back this week with a look at one of the most anticipated models from our current range, a model that we had numerous requests for in previous years and a model that will be a must for all AC electric modellers (and some others) out there. We’re talking of course about the Class 87.


87010 Berkswell 1996 © Martin Loader


Keen readers of the latest Hornby Magazine and attendees at the Great Electric Train Show and The National Festival of Railway Modelling will have seen that we had the decoration samples for this long-awaited model on display, and today we’re pleased to be able to reveal them to you here in The Engine Shed.

Originally announced in our Facebook LIVE presentation at Warley 2016, the unveiling was met with applause in the presentation room as well as receiving a great response with hundreds of you tuned in on Facebook and on Forums. The Class 87 has been in the works since March 2016 and many blog readers will remember that in order to thoroughly check the accuracy of the roof shape, we scaled up the cab to something resembling O gauge – something we have never done before when designing a model.



For the first time ever we announced key items from the 2017 range LIVE on Facebook

Our OO Gauge Class 87 prototype seen with our upscaled cab


The upscaled prototype attracted a lot of attention at model rails shows around the country and prompted many enquiries as to whether we would be venturing into the world of O Scale, something not currently on our radar. The prototype proved to be extremely useful when scrutinising the finer details of the cab.


Our first running prototypes are often painstakingly built here at Hornby HQ



Many of you will know we go through many stages of Development when designing a model and once we’ve received the engineering sample, hand built here at Hornby, and we’ve seen how it performs on our test layout, the next exciting stage is the Decoration Sample. We’ve shown you the renders for the decorations in a previous blog and whilst we are very proud of them, nothing quite compares to unwrapping the decoration sample for the first time and seeing the results of many, many months of hard work right in front of you.


A render showing the decoration of R3580 'Robert Burns'


Now that we’ve all agreed on the colour of the battery box on ‘Robert Burns’ we are extremely proud at how these look, but we’ll let you be the judge. Take a look below at the decoration samples for R3580 - Class 87 87035 ‘Robert Burns’ and R3582 - Class 87 87010 ‘King Arthur’.


Decoration sample for R3582 Class 87 'King Arthur'


Decoration sample for R3580 'Robert Burns'



The Class 87s are currently expected in February 2018, and can be pre-ordered from the website or your local stockist



A big thanks to the crew, at Crewe…


As we mentioned earlier, work on the Class 87 started way back in March 2016 with a visit to The Crewe Heritage Centre – currently celebrating its 30th year, to measure up the loco they have in preservation. It was a wet and windy day but sometimes you need to brave elements like this to create the highest detailed model possible, and actually some of our happiest times as designers have been spent in a drizzly yard, in the howling wind with a tape measure in our hands! Anyway, for fear of digressing too much, our friends at Crewe have spent the past few months giving their Class 87 a thorough restoration and bringing it back to life as ‘Robert Burns’ (complete with a black battery box…). The chaps there have done a marvellous job, particularly when you take in to account how busy they must be. 



Constructed on the site of the original Crewe locomotive works by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council during 1986-87, the Heritage Centre was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in July 1987 and is home to 3 signal boxes; Crewe North Junction, Crewe Station A and Exeter West as well as the last surviving Advanced Passenger Train (BR Class 370) that has sat alongside the West Coast Mainline since 1992. All this, as well as the first Class 47 locomotive to enter preservation, and also locomotives of classes 03, 87 and a 600 yard Miniature Railway!


The Crewe Heritage Centre is a must for all Railway enthusiasts and families alike


As ever we can’t express how grateful we are to the team at the Heritage Centre for allowing us access to their Class 87 – the project simply wouldn’t have been possible without their help.


Read all about it!



It is that time of the month once again when the new edition of Hornby Magazine hits the shelves, and this month focuses on engine sheds with stunning feature layouts together with track plans to inspire your own railways and archive photographs of locomotive sheds at work.

Plus, and perhaps most exciting of all, an exclusive first review of our soon to be released all-new Stanier ‘Duchess’ 4-6-2 covering 6231 Duchess of Atholl (R3553) and 46256 Sir William A Stanier FRS (R3555)! There's also an exclusive competition to win your very own ‘Duchess’ together with our reintroduced ‘Royal Scot’ and a collection of six Skaledale buildings worth more than £550 in total!

You can see a sneak preview of this month's issue on our Hornby Magazine page.

Take a look below at their exclusive video featuring little teaser of their review for R3555 ‘46256’ 'Sir William A. Stanier F.R.S.' below.




Well that about does it for this week except to say one final thing... we have been bringing you The Engine Shed every fortnight (or thereabouts) now for well over two years and we cannot express how much we enjoy writing the blog and letting you in on all the behind the scenes content from Hornby HQ. However, as we look to the future and in an effort to keep bringing you the same level of high quality content we have made the decision to move to a monthly blog format. This does not mean the end of the blog, we will still be here with all the latest samples and news direct from the Hornby Development office and you never know there may still be some surprise Stop Press editions along the way.

So there we have it, the next edition will be coming to you next month, just before we head off to the annual Warley National Model Railway Exhibition and we can’t wait to get going. We have a BIG surprise in store, to which the final touches are being applied now so keep an eye out on here and on our social media channels for more clues on what that might be.

As always, please do let us know what you think of any of the content from this edition and particularly the Class 87 which we’re sure should go down well, on our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) and our Official Forum.

Until next time…


Happy modelling! 

The Engine Shed Team


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