Video kills the model train set

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The Independent Online

Train spotters are flocking to see the biggest pre-1964 Hornby model railway collection - begun 60 years ago by Brian Cook in Margate, Kent - which is on display at the National Railway Museum in York.

But such gatherings of dedicated collectors may soon become a thing of the past.

Today's children apparently prefer Nintendo to miniatures of the Flying Scotsman, and Hornby, seeing its sales in the lucrative toy market drop away, is seeking a takeover or a merger after 80 years of making model train sets. The company has already moved production from Margate, Kent, to China in an effort to cut labour costs.

The prospect of the firm's merger has alarmed collectors. Norman Raven, 51, from Edinburgh, said: "There is concern whether the model railway line will continue at all if Hornby is bought out by another company."