Riviera Blue trainset (Hornby 1926)

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Star Exhibit

Riviera Blue trainset (Hornby 1926)

Hornby Riviera Blue graphic small.jpg Hornby Riviera Blue Train Set graphic, 1938 (i)

BTMM map 037.gif
Arch Four , Area 37
Hornby Wall (display)
Shelf 1

A Riviera Blue clockwork train set E320, made by Hornby in ~1926.

1938: Hornby Riviera Blue train Sets


The Blue Train was a useful choice for Hornby not just because the train was famous and glamorous, and would appeal strongly to the French model railway market, but because the train's peak period was during the winter months as wealthy Britons took a ferry to Calais and then used the train to flee from the British winter to the sunny coastline of the French Riviera. At least some moneyed Britons who were a target market for the purchase of expensive trainsets would not only know the Blue Train, but they and their children would have happy memories of travelling on it for their holidays.

The model

The Riviera Blue Train appeared in the Hornby Book of Trains in 1926, and was notable not just because it depicted a famous foreign train, but because the Riviera locomotive in the set was arguably only the second Hornby loco closely designed around a specific original (the first being the Metropolitan loco introduced in 1925).

The basic Hornby "Riviera" 4-4-2 loco design is generally credited with inspiring the later 4-4-2 "No.3" and 4-4-0 "No.2 Special" locos. The Number 2 Specials were again based on specific locomotives, and the No.2 specials in different colours for different railway companies had physical differences to fine-tune the basic design to the target locos, rather than just being given different paintwork.

The idea that this new emphasis on trying to accurately reflect the shape of the original locos started (for steam locos) with the Riviera Blue set gives enthusiasts another reason to have fond feelings towards the set.

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