05 December 2022
Models of forthcoming bi-mode trains for OO gauge 'one step closer' as sound project recorded, and bogie design refined to improve reliability.
Hornby's forthcoming Class 755 models for OO gauge of Greater Anglia’s Stadler bi-mode trains have reached a step further, after sounds for the model were recorded in October.
The manufacturer is creating both three- and four carriage variants of the trains which can run on diesel and electric power and run on Greater Anglia’s regional routes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
Hornby started work on its models in 2021, when it obtained blueprints of the full-size trains from Swiss train manufacturer, Stadler. The model manufacturer visited Greater Anglia’s Crown Point depot in Norwich in June 2021 to photograph and take measurements of the Class 755 trains, looking at roof details, underneath and inside it.
Steve Merry, senior product designer at Hornby Hobbies, set to work designing a 1:76 scale model of the trains at Hornby HQ in Margate using CAD (Computer Aided Design) and spent months working on details – from the arrangements on the roof such as fans, exhausts, GSM aerials, electric cabling and the pantograph, to the toilet tanks on the undercarriage of the train.
The train’s large windows – ideal for views of the East Anglian countryside in the full-size version – presented design challenges, not only for its interior, adding seating, tables and passenger information screens, but also making it more difficult to hide the motors which power it.
A 3D print was made of the train so that Steve could run it on a test track at Hornby HQ to check his design worked. During the testing phase, he discovered problems with the small motor and the articulated bogie, and so modified the design, testing his modifications until he was happy that the model would be reliable. This included designing a new bigger motor and trying to hide it from people looking through the windows.
Chris Reilly, sound and electronics engineer at Hornby Hobbies, visited Greater Anglia in October 2022 to record the sound for the project at the depot and by riding a few trains. The horn, diesel engine, and automated announcements on board were recorded, including a conductor going through the train asking for tickets.
A pair of Stadler-built Class 755s in Greater Anglia livery await their next services at Norwich.
The train is ready to be made by Hornby’s manufacturer in China and should be in the shops in 2023, with models available to pre-order, with prices starting from £362.99.
Martin Beable, Greater Anglia engineering director, said: “It’s fascinating to see how much work goes into producing a scale model of our new trains. Just as we have worked hard and taken time to make sure the new trains are reliable and the highest possible standard – the team at Hornby has obviously approached their project with the same level of dedication and determination to produce fantastic new trains, as we have.”
Simon Kohler, marketing and product development director at Hornby Hobbies, said: “Greater Anglia’s Stadler Class 755 trains are a radical design for the UK railway which we understand have caused a lot of excitement among rail passengers in East Anglia.
“It’s a radical design for us too and one we were very excited to reproduce in 1:76 scale. We take great care with every model we produce. Railway model enthusiasts are an exacting community who expect our models to be exact scale reproductions of trains – down to the number of fans on top of a train and rivets on the bodywork.”