Although the introduction of new locomotives and rolling stock provided by the purchase of tooling in 1997 from an external source had been extremely useful, Hornby desperately needed to introduce a totally new locomotive and one in demand by the railway modellers.
After much research it was abundantly clear that the model most in need of introduction was the rebuilt Merchant Navy. Hornby’s rebuilt Merchant Navy was released in 2000 and was the first Hornby model to be designed in the UK but developed and manufactured in China.
The body and chassis detail were like nothing else that Hornby had ever produced. A totally new power drive was developed which utilised a large 5 pole, skew wound motor that provided ultra-smooth and low speed running, while the gearing and weight of the model offered immense tractive effort. In short it was by far the most advanced locomotive that Hornby had ever produced.
The first model released was the rebuilt Merchant Navy ‘Clan Line’ and heralded Hornby’s desire to produce high quality, detailed model locomotives. Since then Hornby has continued to develop new and ground-breaking models but the success and development of such items stems back to the launch of ‘Clan Line’ in 2000.
A landmark in Hornby’s development programme, the rebuilt Merchant Navy models and in particular, ‘Clan Line’ were milestones for Hornby in the 2000s and consequently ’Clan Line’ has been included as part of Hornby’s Centenary Collection, celebrating the 2000 decade by utilising box artwork inspired by the Hornby Railways packaging style of that period. However, the model has also been produced where the exterior metal parts have been plated in 18ct gold. With each locomotive there is a wooden plinth fitted with an 18ct gold track piece, plus a numbered certificate authenticating that the model is just one of 1000 models produced.