Eton 900 locomotive (Hornby E420, 1937)

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Eton 900 locomotive (Hornby E420, 1937)

Eton 900 locomotive detail, Hornby.jpg Hornby 900 Eton loco (i)
BTMM map 061.gif

Arch Three , Area 61
1930s Layout, station side


Article in Meccano Magazine on the launch of the model, 1937

A green 20V gauge 0 4-4-0 Schools Class Hornby "Eton" E420 Special locomotive with (Southern Railway running number 900) and a No.2 Special tender, made by Hornby in 1939. The model appeared in the Hornby Book of Trains in 1937.

This loco is on the 1930's gauge 0 layout, coupled to a rake of seven brown-and-cream No 2 Special Pullman coaches.

Catalogue numbering

The catalogue number breaks down into "Electric, No.4, 20V". The clockwork version is listed as a No.4C (No.4, Clockwork).

However, there weren't any other Hornby "E420" locomotives, the Eton being a one-off. At this point it was starting to become clear that although Hornby's No.0, 1, 2 ... numbering system had been workable when the company was producing generic designs with different paintwork (where, for instance, all contemporary "No.1" locos were physically identical apart from their colour and numbering), this system started to break down once the locomotives started to become proper models, individually designed to correspond to their original locos.

Hornby's range of individually tailored "No.2 Special" locos were certainly based on the same basic design, but now had different physical detailing, and for the "Princess Elizabeth", Hornby gave up and didn't bother trying to invent a number classification for what was very much a one-off model.

Catalogue images

Hornby E420 Eton locomotive, 1938
Hornby E420 Eton locomotive, 1939 catalogue

The original locomotive

The forty Southern Railway "V Class", or "Schools Class" locomotives were designed by Richard Maunsell and built at Eastleigh between 1930 and 1934. Derived from the 4-6-0 Lord Nelson class, the more compact Schools Class could fit onto shorter turntables, and its round boiler allowed the locomotive to be certified for use in smaller tunnels.

The series were originally numbered 900-939 and were named after famous public schools, with 900 Eton being the first.


925 Cheltenham is on display at the National Railway Museum.

External links