The Vitrains Railfreight Distribution Class 47s are proving a big hit, and whilst the named duo of No. 47365 Diamond Jubilee and No. 47555 Commonwealth Spirit have been romping out we've been especially delighted by the response to the offer for un-numbered and named models. There's not much longer before the pre-ordering option ends, so make sure you don't miss out!
THE TELEPHONE HAS BEEN red hot over the last couple of weeks after the announcement of our Railfreight Distribution Class 47 Special Editions. The launch of our webpages plus national advertising and mentions on specialist news sites and forums have meant that an incredible 70% of our allocated production capacity is alread taken up with pre-orders. The good news is that the Italian company has allowed us an extra two weeks before closing its order book, meaning we can extend the pre-orders deadline until May 14th. We will place our firm order quantity on that date, so thereafter there will be no guarantee for those who have yet to commit although we will build in a small contingency order.
The normal, fully-decorated, locos are as popular as ever but its the un-named and un-numbered models that have generated the most interest. It is clear there is a big market for personalisation and we are providing an easy route for modellers to add their own names and numbers using the extras supplied (or we can do it for you for a small charge). As promised, and to provide that extra incentive for those thinking about an un-numbered purchase, we present the list of machines that fit our models specific detail variations. Of course, if you are not that fussy about such things as marker lights, underframe tanks and boiler panels you can choose pretty much any loco you like. Don't forget, all the un-numbered models are still available to pre-order in standard, DCC chipped and sound-fitted configurations. The details and prices are all listed in our on-line shop.
With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 50th anniversary of the Class 47 diesels coinciding, the opportunity to mark the occasion proved too good to miss! We have teamed up with ViTrains to bring you a run of appropriately chosen 'Special Edition' Class 47s all with a ‘diamond’ theme.
THIS YEAR is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee but another, equally impressive railway milestone is that which arrives at the end of September when the commonplace Class 47 diesels will have achieved an impressive 50-year service life. This deserves recognition; so to follow a rather contrived theme we’re producing a selection of made-to-order models displaying the ‘double diamonds’ of BR’s Railfreight Distribution sub-sector.
With the co-operation of Italian manufacturer ViTrains, RAIL EXCLUSIVE has commissioned no less than four different locomotives featuring both the original Railfreight Distribution and the later ‘European’ colour schemes (some of the most common liveries on Class 47s during their latter years). Surprisingly, this has yet to feature on what could be termed ‘third generation’ models.
As well as being priced below that of similar items from another well known manufacturer (not counting over £8.00 worth of complimentary etched fittings), ViTrains have promised to ‘pull out all the stops’ to get them to us for September!
LIve report from the Hobby & Model trade event at Coventry Transport Museum
With Bachmann Europe having provided many of our past limited editions, there is plenty of excitement surrounding the 2012-13 catalogue, which is to be officially released later this morning at the trade-only Model & Hobby Show. As one of the company's largest customers (the GWR Class 57 being our most recent item), RAIL EXCLUSIVE is priviledged to attending and reports live from this invitation-only event. We will provide an overview of the new announcements, updating our posting regularly throughout the day with images of any noteworthy products on display, so please remember to refresh your page.
ANTICIPATION FILLS THE AIR as we wait to see what surprises, if any, are in store for us today. The odds are stacked in favour of another busy year with Bachmann having dismissed the economic downturn and recently revealing that 2011 was it's best trading year since 1989 (although we can't vouch for how good this really is). Hornby's 2012 announcements were a little underwhelming again, especially for the Diesel & Electric modeller and were widely leaked before the official announcement. Now it's Bachmann's turn, and as is traditional, the new catalogue is revealed to trade customers at 10.00 on the first day of the Model & Hobby Show, which this time is again being held at the Coventry Transport Museum.
Images added at end of story. Confirmation of price rise - 12.5%. For example Class 47 RRP now £101.60, with 15% discount applied is £86.36. Time for lunch...
The ‘Cromptons’ are getting there… but slower than hoped. Heljan continue development but we are caught in a backlog at the Chinese manufacturing facility
OUR CLASS 33/0 project has advanced significantly since we made our last report with all the major improvements now incorporated, including the additional modifications to improve the look of the bogie sideframes and fuel tanks.
However, the testing of these parts and how they interact with the existing tooling (eg brake cylinders and cab footsteps) has been slower than hoped. We were also hoping to provide you with confirmation of a modified printed circuit board but this has not arrived to date. This would allow simple modification of the lighting circuits to provide prototypical tail light operation.
Despite all the groundwork having been completed long ago, it appears that we have been caught in a long queue at Heljan’s factory in China, with the Danish company’s own Railbuses, Class 22, DP2 and DPU in front of us. It is looking increasingly likely that the models will not be with us before the late-autumn at the earliest. We apologise for this and you can rest assured we are doing everything within our capabilities to speed the process up.
Although we are disappointed by the delay, we would rather accept this than compromise the models by rushing through the checking procedure and making a mistake. We think customers would prefer that we take longer to make sure all parts are as they should be, to the highest quality. Maybe the best things in life are worth waiting just that little bit longer for!
In the meantime, we are planning to announce a smaller (much speedier) project with a nice 2012 theme on April 3rd. We have also provided a report on Bachmann’s 2012/2013 catalogue launch (where the new models for the next 18 months are announced), so please come back and visit the news pages soon.
The RAIL EXCLUSIVE website continues to expands with the opportunity to purchase the best of Hornby's recently announced 2012 range… and a great new range of weathering paints
HORNBY'S 2012 CATALOGUE, revealed at the beginning of January, has already generated plenty of discussion. Whilst the range is still slanted heavily in favour of steam outline subjects, it does includes a good number of new items that are sure to be of interest to our regular customers. Whilst we have no plans to become a general model railway retailer, we can - through our official trade account - offer you the chance to purchase a selection of the new D&E era items at very competitive prices, especially as many products compliment our previous commissions.
We are delighted to be abe to announce the winner of our Night Riviera competition
UPDATED 06.02.12: With the GWR 175th anniversary commemorative Class 57/6 model about to sell out, we are pleased to be able to annouce the winner of the prize draw, kindly donated by First Great Western. All early purchasers of the Class 57 had a chance of winning a fantastic return trip for two on the London to Penzance sleeper train which, of course, is regularly hauled by Class 57s. Congratulations therefore go to Alistair Grant, from Macduff, Aberdeenshire, who was the first to be drawn out of the hat. First Great Western's public relations team will shortly be in touch with him to organise his tickets. We hope he enjoys what looks to be an exciting and very long trip!
Celebrity Class 57/6 No. 57604 Pendennis Castle is a regular performer on the Night Riviera Sleeper between London Paddington and Penzance.
A suprising January rush means that two of our range of models are now completely sold out.
IF YOU HAVEN'T PURCHASED our Loadhaul Class 37/7 twinpack or the Gateshead-based dual-braked Class 03 then we are afraid to say it is now too late, the remaining small stock being sold during January. As much as we like to assist those who missed out, we cannot supply any more of these items since they were made to order with only a minimal contingency surplus. We are quickly approcaching a similar situation with the Mainline/Transrail Class 37/7 pack and Stratford vacuum-braked No. 03160 since there is less than handful of each of these remaining on hand. If you wish obtain one of these then please order immediately to avoid dissappointment.
With the Christmas & New Year Holidays almost upon us, we will continue to be available to take on-line orders and answer queries.
WHILST WE WILL STILL BE TUCKING IN to turkey with all the trimming, the beauty of modern technology means that our online shop will remain open throughout the holiday period and you can still contact us by telephone if you have any questions or queries (although we might be a little tipsy!). Our office will be closed from 12.00 on Thursday December 22nd, re-opening on January 3rd, 2012. During this time orders will be processed normally but can only be despatched in the first week of the new year, so please be patient.
Fulfilment of all pre-ordered GWR Class 57/6 models has now been completed and all should have been received by now. The only outstanding models waiting to be sent are a small quantity awaiting confirmation of changed card details. We have written to all these customer now, so if your loco is amongst these please ring as soon as possible to organise payment. For those still keen to purchase the model for their collection, perhaps having seen the mention on the Didcot Railway Centre website or the press reviews, small stocks remain available of both standard and DCC sound fitted locos.
We are now well on the way to completing delivery of the Class 57 pre-orders with Royal Mail making regular collections. There is also an update on instructions for the DCC version after we found that old information had been re-printed.
THE ROYAL MAIL collection driver has been a regular visitor to the RAIL EXCLUSIVE office these last few days as we continue to despatch pre-ordered Class 57 models as quickly as possible. Almost two thirds of these have now been processed and posted, with the remainder expected to be with customers by the end of the first week in December, so everyone gets an early Christmas present this year.
Remember, your model should arrive within a few days of your card being charged. Please do not contact us immediately regarding non-delivery as we are aware that the pre-Christmas post has already slowed down, with a couple of 10 day journeys having been noted already.
The model itself looks superb, and a number of our first customers have already commented on this, with friends and collegues now ringing up to order having seen the loco in the flesh. We still have stocks available of both versions but we don't expect them to last long on the shelves.
The Didcot Railway Centre/RAIL EXCLUSIVE commemorative Class 57 diesel is on the last leg of its journey to the UK and should be with customers by the end of November.
UPDATE 21/11: Great news! The GWR green Class 57 has now arrived at our warehouse. Those that have pre-ordered will have payment taken and can then expect reciept of their loco within the next fortnight. Don't worry If your card has not been charged yet as we are still processing payments and will be doing so for the next few days. We are now fully geared-up for despatch and once payments are cleared models will be sent out as quickly as possible. Kindly avoid contacting us by telephone at this busy time unless details (card number/address) have changed since placing the order.
UPDATE 04/11: We have been trying to get more specific delivery information on a daily basis and Bachmann's Graham Hubbard has now established that the models are scheduled to arrive at their warehouse on November 11th. We will begin charging cards and cashing cheques at the end of next week. It is likely that it will take a further few days for the delivery to be processed and forwarded on to our depatch department after which we will endeavour to turn them around as quickly as possible. Please do not contact us unless your details have changed - see main story.
PENDENNIS CASTLE, our brunswick green liveried Class 57 model, celebrating the 175th anniversary of the GWR will be in the hands of our patient customers during November based on the latest information received from Bachmann's logistics department. Arrival is currently scheduled for early in the month, after which our despatch department will go into overdrive to get all orders sent out as quickly as possible.
The first part of the process entails payments being cleared - cheques cashed and cards charged - before distribution can begin. We'll make sure this operation is as speedy as possible but please allow 21 days from payment for the goods to arrive before contacting us about non delivery. During this busy time it would be appreciated if you could contact us only if your payment or delivery details have changed as otherwise depatch will just take longer while we investigate queries.
We've been busy 'behind the scenes' as the specification for our new Class 33 models is further enhanced and final adjustments are made to the engineering drawings.
OUR UNDERTAKING to manufacture the first entirely accurate and authentic Class 33/0 'Crompton' in 4mm scale/'OO' gauge is progressing extremely well although there is little physical evidence to display at this stage, with hundreds of hours of design work having gone into the creation and checking of engineering drawings. Since the bold project was launched earlier this year – as a direct result of dissatisfaction with the heavily-flawed Heljan model and Hornby's vintage ex-Lima product – the feedback has been tremendous.
Praise for the decision to introduce two period-specific bodies has been overwhelming - clearly there is tremendous pent-up demand for the original as-built version as 'transition era' modellers discover the compromises made in earlier releases. This is also made clear by the bargain reductions being promoted by other retailers on the 'incorrect roof' green locomotives that were previously released, even extending to items branded as retailer editions. The order book for our twin packs is bulging and we would like to thank all who have had the confidence in us to pre-order as well as encouraging those still contemplating. Remember, should reservations continue at the existing pace we might be persauded to announce additional running numbers and liveries sooner rather than later.
The longest day of the year has given us the opportunity to have a tidy up in the warehouse and confirm stock levels.
A summer clean and tidy has provided the ideal opportunity to check stock levels on our specicial edition commissions from Bachmann. Packing remaining items ready for sale and despatch has revealed that we are down to just single figures (4) for the DCC Sound equipped Loadhaul Class 37/7s and Gateshead Class 03 No. 03371 (8).
That's not to say there are good stocks of everything else - a recent rush of Class 37/7 sales means that we have no more than a dozen left of each of the other packs and the Stratford Class 03s. If you require any of these models please do not leave it too long before ordering on 01780 470086. Remember they will never be repeated! With regard to Class 57 pre-orders we are now left with just double figures unreserved of which just a dozen are left available with sound.