News Archive

Past news items you may have missed
Wednesday, 23rd October, 2013

Scottish large logo Class 47s have been despatched

Our new ViTrains large logo Scottish Region passenger Class 47s have arrived, been tested and checked over, and have made their way out of the door to you via the Royal Mail...

AFTER A COUPLE of false starts (including over-optimistic delivery dates from ViTrains and the fact that our consignment was delayed by the Italian late summer factory shutdown) we are pleased to report that our two Scottish Region large logo Class 47s are now with us!

The models look great and reflect the minor livery variations on these machines such as the iconic West Highland Terrier and Highland Stag emblems, extent of black window surrounds and running number size. Both have our now standard specification factory-fitted metal handrails and include complimentary sets of photo-etched stainless steel nameplates that set the locos off a real treat.

After undergoing a short period of testing, checking and packaging, all orders have now been despatched via the Royal Mail tracked service. If your expected model has not arrived and you haven't been charged yet then please contact us on 01780 470086 during office hours. We have a small number of models still waiting despatch due to updated payment details being required.

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Wednesday, 23rd October, 2013

Class 33 'Crompton' upgrade project is postponed

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, our major project to produce an upgraded and backdated 'Crompton' has had to be put on hold for the time being

You may have noticed that there has been very little news to report lately on our delayed Class 33 upgrade. Despite having invested a large amount of time and effort into this model, and generated a healthy order book, we have recently taken the very difficult decision to postpone the Class 33 project until these delays, due to unforeseen circumstances, are resolved.

Please note that the project has NOT been cancelled, and we expect to re-open for orders very soon. All customers that have reserved these items will receive a personal notification explaining the situation by letter or e-mail. Please accept our apologies for this situation which has been beyond our immediate control. We wil post more news as soon as we are in a position to. Thank you for your understanding.

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Tuesday, 19th March, 2013

Class 47 DCC sound kits: Sulzer sounds for all!

Due to popular demand we have released our ZIMO Class 47 sound project as a range of ready-to-fit kits, enabling modellers to install sound in almost any Class 47 model.

Imagine the scene: Having avoided the Foreman's office, you're wandering quietly around the shed recording the identities of the machines undergoing maintenance whilst trying to make yourself as inconspicuous as possible. You pause to frame a couple of locos in the camera viewfinder when, amid the fug, a Brush Type 4 bursts into life, its distinctive Sulzer engine sending out a beat that echoes around the walls. There's muffled voices, a slam of a cab door and a headlight pierces through the exhaust smoke. Then, the unmistakable 'spoon' warning horn sounds as the big diesel starts to rumble forward, the rails squealing in protest...

Due to demand, we are now offering our acclaimed Class 47 sounds to everyone! We have been bombarded by modellers wanting to retro-fit sound in our previous products and also eager to try them in other ready-to-run items such as those from Bachmann and Heljan. As a direct result, this exclusive sound project, as employed in our ViTrains 'Special Edition' models, is now available for purchase ONLY from us on ZIMO decoders – widely acknowledged for their quality and functionality. And we've made life easier by selecting the correct chip for fitting into any type of Class 47 model, irrespective of scale or manufacturer. We truly believe we've produced the best Brush Type 4 sounds to date, reproducing the instantly recognisable Sulzer exhaust beat and distinctive off-key warning horn note. Match this with new ZIMO driving techniques and you have a winning combination!

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Tuesday, 12th February, 2013

New for Spring 2013: Large Logo Scottish Class 47/4s

Following on from the incredible success of our quartet of Railfreight Distribution Class 47s we are delighted to reveal that we will be offering two further ViTrains models in the coming months, as a direct result of repeated customer requests.

WE TAKE GREAT PLEASURE in announcing our first 'OO' gauge model locomotive commissions for 2013: A pair of Scottish Region Class 47/4s in 'large logo' livery, complete with Highland Rail Stag and West Highland Terrier motifs! Yes, we've decided to recreate one of the most widespread liveries on the passenger Class 47s in the form that enthusiasts regard as the most enduring - that of named Inverness and Eastfield machines wearing their iconic depot emblems. They are both available to pre-order now.

Inverness allocated No. 47617

Although the completion of the RfD 'Double Diamonds' project means that all the major liveries have now been covered by the Italian manufacturer, we have bowed to pressure and have placed an order for a further duo of Class 47s. This time, passenger operations north of the border are the theme and the locos will feature the popular 'large logo' paint scheme carried during the 1980s. Demand appears to be strong since ViTrains has produced this livery just once before - several years ago - as No. 47401 and only then in its preserved guise. That model has long sold out and is hard to find even on the second-hand market. Additionally, other manufacturers have only recently made one similar issue selecting a locomotive with non-standard features.

When you discuss Class 47/4s for long enough, sooner or later the subject of Scottish-based locomotives comes up and it appears almost everyone has fond memories of the machines allocated to Glasgow's Eastfield depot or those that worked from Inverness shed. Somehow, these locos had much more appeal than the plain 'vanilla' ETH Class 47s from Crewe. This, of course, could be down to the fact that they worked scenic routes and carried some of the best known depot emblems. Eastfield had its 'Westie' dog, whilst Inverness applied the outline of a stag as part of its 'Highland Rail' branding.

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Thursday, 8th November, 2012

'Double diamond' Class 47s: All still available at 12.02.13

The Railfreight Distribution Class 47 special editions have been slightly delayed whilst ViTrains incorporate a few minor livery improvements. We've approved the changes and the samples look stunning. Production is now underway in Italy with delivery expected in the next four to six weeks.

UPDATE 12.02.13: Due to slight under-supply from ViTrains before Christmas, you will notice that all but one of the four RfD Class 47s have reverted to 'pre-order' status. Don't worry if you still want to purchase any of these popular models since the outstanding balance is being made up and will be dispatched to us from Italy in March. All original orders were fulfilled but it was a tight run thing so we have created a reservation list for customers since the start of the year. At the time of writing there are good numbers of all models available but the fresh delivery is quickly being pre-sold, leaving less than a couple of dozen of each variant free. All these RfD models have been extremely well received (especially those with free transfers and nameplates) and will never be produced again so this really is the last chance to obtain them. Pre-order through the online shop or give us a buzz now.

VITRAIN'S VICENZA FACTORY is now in full swing manufacturing our four Railfreight Distribution Class 47s after receiving final approval of new livery samples. The models look tremendous and all will feature pre-fitted metal handrails and black painted wheel faces, not to mention a selection of etched nameplates where appropriate. Delivery is expected in the UK at the end of November or very early December.

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Monday, 26th November, 2012

Hornby reveals major delays to some 2012 products

Hornby has advised retailers that a large number of new models due this year have been delayed and pushed back into 2013.

MANY OF OUR REGULAR customers took advantage of our pre-ordering arrangement for the pick of Hornby's 2012 diesel and electric range. We are sorry to report that a communication has been received from the Margate-based manufacturer indicating a significant number of these expected new releases (and numerous other steam-era items) have been severely delayed and will not be available until next year!

Hornby will not confirm these new delivery dates for next summer, other than to say they are 'provisional' at this stage. All orders will be held on our system and dispatched as soon as the stock arrives with us in 2013.

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Thursday, 4th October, 2012

Major quality problems hit Hornby Class 67 models

RAIL EXCLUSIVE is disappointed to report major problems with the new Class 67 model from Hornby. Despite obvious quality control issues and plenty of feedback to the manufacturer, the Margate company seems to think the faults illustrated and described here are 'acceptable'. What do you think?

LIKE MANY diesel and electric modellers, we welcomed the recent arrival of Hornby's brand new 'OO' gauge model of the GM Alstom Class 67 diesel locomotive, having waited eagerly in anticipation since it was first hinted at over two years ago. However, our joy has quickly turned to disappointment for the reasons given below, especially so because many customers had placed pre-orders with us. If you had to wait a little longer than normal for delivery from us, then read on. If you bought your model elsewhere, we suggest a close inspection is in order...

The first delivery, R3038 in Wrexham & Shropshire livery as No. 67012, looked promising enough, and you will have already seen our mini-review elsewhere on this website. One of the first surprises was the new packaging format and size, almost identical to that used by Bachmann and, in our view, a retrograde step compared with the half-split yellow expanded polystyrene used on the Class 60.

We noted a few issues on the sample model we selected to photograph, particularly relating to the fit of the plastic body on the die-cast metal chassis but we put this down to production variation within the production process. As despatch progressed we recorded a higher than normal number of scratched, dented, deformed or torn boxes – something that didn't bode well.

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Thursday, 30th August, 2012

Hornby's all-new Class 67 model breaks cover

A first look at the all-new Hornby Class 67 featuring a heavy die-cast chassis and etched grilles.

A NUMBER OF HORNBY 2012 products have seen significant delay but we are pleased to report that the brand new 'OO' gauge Class 67 is not one of them, possibly due to its long gestation period having been mooted many moons ago. The first to arrive in our hands is this Wrexham & Shropshire example - R.3038 No. 67012 A Shropshire Lad. Pre-orders for this particularly locomotive have been despatched but we are still taking orders for the R.3040 EWS maroon and gold & R.3039 DB 'Maple Leaf' red examples at £95.99 plus £3.95 P&P (DCC/sound options also available) - please visit our online shop or call 01780 470086.

The model is a clear improvement over the previous Lima offering, featuring a heavy die-cast chassis and some lovely etched grille detail. The distinctive angular shape of the 'Skips' has been well captured and we were particularly impressed by the see-through effect at the cooler group end and the small but chunky silencer. The W&S silver and grey livery is well reproduced although the grey does appear to be a little darker than it should - perhaps a deliberate move to match Hornby's WSMR Mk. 3 DVT.

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Saturday, 25th August, 2012

Pre-production RfD Class 47 samples roll in...

The Railfreight Distribution Class 47 special edition project is nearing completion following the reciept and approval of the pre-production samples. Manufacture in the Italian factory should be completed over the next few weeks with delivery still scheduled for late September-early October.

MYSTERIOUS brown paper packages arriving from foreign places are always exiciting, so we were particularly pleased to recently receive a nice box of goodies from Italy. Keeping to their word, ViTrains has pulled out all the stops to provide us with approval samples of our four special edition RfD Class 47s before the traditional month-long late summer factory shut-down.

A line up of the pre-productionion models, with some photo-shopped additions showing number and naming possibilities. In answer to those worried about a more expensive Bachmann model (advertised with incorrect livery), Diamond Jubilee is available in original RfD but the un-numbered RfD Euro model can also be employed to represent No. 47365 with the supplied free nameplate pack. We can even add the numbers and nameplates for you!

We think they've done a very good job - the models looked stunning as we pulled them from the boxes - and it was interesting to note that the fiddly metal handrails had all been pre-fitted along with bogie footsteps. Careful examination of the 'Brush 4' quartet has now taken place and some minor corrections noted, ready to be incorporated into the production run.

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Friday, 29th June, 2012

Two more sell-outs! GWR 57 and last Class 03s all gone

The last of our remaining stocks of GWR Class 57s and Class 03s have been sold.

THE CUPBOARDS are looking increasingly bare at RAIL EXCLUSIVE HQ as we have now sold the very last GWR green Class 57/6 (No. 57604) and vacuum-braked Class 03 (No. 03160). We are currently in the unusual situation of just taking orders on forthcoming locos, like the Railfreight Distribution Class 47s and Class 33 series.

It's still not too late to place pre-orders on most of the Hornby 2012 diesel and electric items, many of which have been delayed towards the end of the year. And of course, we have good stocks of the incredibly popular Lifecolor BR colours and weathering paints always available. Look out also for our on-line shop for ZIMO decoders and equipment which will be going live sometime soon.

Thursday, 7th June, 2012

RAIL EXCLUSIVE appointed distributor for ZIMO in UK

Following the choice of new DCC decoders for our RfD ViTrains Class 47 models, we've added another string to our bow by becoming the exclusive distributor for the prestigious Zimo DCC system.

RAIL EXCLUSIVE is delighted to announce that it has been appointed as the exclusive UK distributor for the ZIMO Electronik Gmbh range of technologically-advanced model railway control equipment, including its wide variety of Digital Command Control decoders and sound decoders.

Vienna-based ZIMO was established in 1977 with a vision for providing a powerful, consumer-friendly DCC system incorporating the best possible driving characteristics from the components that were available at the time. In the intervening years, the company has continued that philosophy by producing DCC products that focus on quality and functionality. Many modellers regard ZIMO decoders as the 'world's best', a reputation which has seen them adopted by Fleischmann, Roco and HAG as factory standard. More details can be found at

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Thursday, 31st May, 2012

Double diamond '47' latest, sound project announced

Our Railfreight Distribution Class 47 special editions have taken a big step forward with the final order now placed with Vi-Trains in Italy. We can also announce specifications of the exciting sound project which will be used in these locomotives.

CONFIRMATION has now been received from Italy that our order for Class 47 production has been accepted and ViTrains' factory is in the process of compiling components ready for manufacturing to begin over the summer. As well as providing final item quantities, our last requirement was to hand over artwork for each of the four models, ensuring that the correct styles of lettering and logos will be reproduced.

There was a last minute rush for un-numbered models and the order levels are surprisingly similar for each of the four models indicating that there is just as much interest in the original colour scheme as the later 'European' or 'Tunnel' livery. Everyone who has ordered to date has models personally reserved for him or her within the production run.

In view of the high level of interest, and the fact that we know additional customers will come along before they are delivered in September, we have 'topped up' the production quantities to avoid any latecomers being disappointed. This means that ALL locomotives still remain available to purchase at present. However, as soon this small contingency has sold out, which could be quickly, that will be it – no more. Don't hang around if you haven't ordered already! As per our Special Edition agreement, ViTrains confirms this is a once-only production run, never to be repeated.

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