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The Sovereign & Signature Collections and a Final Look at the ‘Toad’

The Sovereign & Signature Collections and a Final Look at the ‘Toad’

Greetings and welcome to The Engine Shed, the Hornby blog powered by our Development team. Unfortunately the nights are getting darker, and Winter is definitely on the way, but we hope The Engine Shed can offer you some small solace with all the latest news from Hornby HQ.

While it is not ideal to begin with an apology, we are sure many of you will have noticed that today’s blog is one week later than you probably expected. We had been doing all we could to feature the last few new tooling samples for you in this edition but, alas, it was not to be. Of course, we will look to include them in future editions but with plenty more to discuss (and with no shortage of approval samples to show you) we are certain you won’t be too disheartened.

Before we get started, we would like to mention what you can expect from The Engine Shed as those dark nights draw in and Christmas edges ever closer. While there has been a week’s delay for this edition, we hope the three additional blogs due before the end of the year will more than make up for it. We will avoid giving any exact dates (as we can be very reliant on those samples arriving) but following today’s edition, you can look forward to November’s instalment in the coming weeks, a ‘Christmas’ edition and then our yearly review just before we move into 2019.

We certainly hope that makes up for our small delay and with the likelihood of an Engine Shed Christmas competition, we can banish any negativity and look on to a busy and enjoyable Christmas period. With that in mind, let us begin…

The Sovereign & Signature Collections

Sovereign & Signature Banner

It may seem like quite some time ago now, but since the last edition of The Engine Shed we here at Hornby launched the Sovereign and Signature Collections. You could be forgiven for feeling as if these two new collections appeared out of the blue, but the team had been working on these additions for some time. Offering several models in new Train Packs, these collections have been created as a way to offer fantastic sets for both newcomers to the hobby and more experienced collectors who want that ‘something extra’.

Available only through selected model shops, both the Sovereign and Signature Collections will hopefully ensure collectors will be visiting their local shop, especially over this critical period.

With four train packs available including the ‘Southern Rambler’ and ‘Pullman Days’ in the Sovereign series, these packs contain detailed models that many collectors will want to add to their layout. In bespoke Sovereign packaging, we are hopeful the Sovereign Collection is the perfect train pack for the discerning enthusiast.

Sovereign R3790

Also included with the Sovereign Collection are two Coach packs, perfect for any modeller who is keen on some rolling stock for their layout. Offering what could be considered an ‘instant train’, these packs are a great deal for anybody looking to add to their setup.

On the other side of the coin, the Signature Collection has offerings that newer members of the hobby will likely be interested in. With three Train Packs available, ‘The Welshman’, ‘East Lincs Special’ and ‘Eastern Suburban’ are much more akin to what you might find in a train set. However, with the inclusion of a HM2000 controller and the Track Plans book, these train packs will definitely assist any fledgling modeller taking their first steps in the hobby.

Sovereign & Signature Posters

With supporting adverts and activity online and in the press, we’re very hopeful these two Collections will be incredibly useful additions to the range.

For more information on all the Train Packs that have been released, and for information on where to find the Sovereign and Signature Collections, please click here.

Signature R1245

The Latest Samples

We are never short of samples to show you and today’s edition sees a wealth of Approval Samples for your viewing pleasure. Beginning with the smaller star of the 2018 range, the Toad Brake Van has appeared frequently in these blog pages following its announcement at the beginning of the year. With the Decoration Sample showcased in July’s instalment of The Engine Shed, we have since received the Approval Samples, the last we see of a model before it comes into stock.

With the BR Toad joining us a little while ago, all eyes have been on the LNER iteration and we can confirm that it should not be too much longer to wait. We’re sure these images will only increase the expectations of fans of this model, but that is not all we have for you in today’s Engine Shed.

Engine Shed LNER Toad Brake Van
Engine Shed LNER Toad Brake Van

While briefly mentioned in our January ‘Stop Press’ instalment, the Mid-Suffolk Railway were instrumental in the production of this model, affording us a great deal of assistance on the project. Having visited Mid-Suffolk Railway to view their Toad Brake Van, it felt right to cover the immense amount of work the team have put in to restore their Toad.

Mid-Suffolk Railway Toad
Mid-Suffolk Railway Toad

The story of Mid-Suffolk’s Toad Brake Van starts in March 2017, as the body of the brake van was moved into the works for re-building and renovation work. With the main frame rotten, the team there began replacing the frame from the bottom up. It was not an easy task, but a completely new frame was inserted. All exterior wooden panels were removed, replaced with new wood, including a layer of insulation.

Following some research from the Mid-Suffolk Archivist David Chappell, the correct specifications for the design of the ‘duckets’ on either side were made, complete with new viewing windows for the guard. There were also grab rails and lots of hand holds either replaced or made while the brake van was in the works.

Mid-Suffolk Railway Toad

As the vehicle is often Santa’s home too, small doors have been made and fitted so that no-one can fall out from the outside platforms at each end. Thankfully the roof canvas was in good condition and didn’t need any work. The brake van has then been painted in red oxide, lettered and numbered by Bill Smith, the Mid-Suffolk artist.

While this had been going on, the track team had stripped down and completely restored the chassis. On Friday 8th December 2017, the body was re-united with its chassis. The fit was almost inch-perfect with the ‘Toad’ moved into the new restoration shed for the final work, which has since been completed. The Toad is now in ex-works condition.

Mid-Suffolk Railway Toad

With the Mid-Suffolk Toad complete and having been present at a number of events through 2018, the Hornby model can now be considered in a very analogous situation. We hope you’ve enjoyed watching the Toad develop throughout the year here in the blog and for any of you adding these models to your collection, we certainly hope the finished article is as good as Mid-Suffolk’s example.

It feels almost poetic that we can finish our discussion of the Toad Brake Van by thanking the Mid-Suffolk Railway who were so helpful in the creation of this model. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the entire team from everybody here, with special mention to John who shared the details of the work the Mid-Suffolk team took on.

Engine Shed Toad

Moving on, we have plenty of other samples to show you, including two locomotives that no-one has laid their eyes on just yet. Like the Toad, both of these models are expected very soon, and we hope you enjoy another ‘Engine Shed sneak peek’ before both the R3681 ‘City of Edinburgh’ and R3682 ‘Duchess of Gloucester’ come into stock.

Engine Shed R3681
Engine Shed R3681
Engine Shed R3681
Engine Shed R3682
Engine Shed R3682
Engine Shed R3682

Following these locomotives, we have a small selection of rolling stock, featuring BR Maunsell coaches R4835, R4837, R4838 and R4842. Again, these images are exclusive to The Engine Shed and, unsurprisingly with a new range on the horizon, all these models are also due very soon.

Engine Shed R4835
Engine Shed R4837
Engine Shed R4838
Engine Shed R4842


The Great Electric Train Show took place at a new venue on 13th & 14th October. Hosted by Hornby Magazine, ArenaMK featured more than 80 stands, including Hornby who assembled a team and made the trip to Milton Keynes.

We thoroughly enjoy attending these events and chatting, face-to-face, with so many of you is hugely illuminating and very enjoyable. Fortunately the team were able to grab some photographs while they were at the show, giving an indication of both the Hornby stand but also just how busy it was.

'GETS' 2018 was a huge success and we are already looking forward to next year!

Hornby at GETS 2018
Hornby at GETS 2018
Hornby at GETS 2018
Hornby at GETS 2018

Looking ahead there’s also another big event on the horizon. The Warley National Model Railway Exhibition is taking place at the NEC in Birmingham on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November. You can bet that we shall be there, with a range of samples on show. If you enjoy The Engine Shed do pop along (if you can) as there are not many replacements for seeing samples and layouts in the flesh.

We have heard a small rumour that we may have a couple of tickets to give away in the lead up to the event too so please make sure you keep an eye on our social media for all the details.

We look forward to Warley every year and we do hope you can make it – we will see you there!

Not for the first time we have been rueing our luck as we have been patiently waiting for samples. When we say we completely understand the frustration when you’re waiting for a model, we really do mean it. There are many different considerations that must be taken into account though and while waiting on one or two samples there are always plenty more that have arrived.

As always, we truly hope you have enjoyed this edition of The Engine Shed and we will be back with you in only a few weeks. We will be crossing our fingers for those samples, but with so many editions due before the end of the year we are sure we will have them for you soon. Either way, you can expect lots more of the latest samples and all the news from the biggest model railway event of the year in our next blog.

Until next time please get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or our Forum as we always do our best to respond to feedback. We’ll be seeing you very soon,

Happy Modelling!

The Engine Shed team


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