Wednesday, 29 January 2014

NWR Editorial: Hornby discontinuing the Thomas & Friends range (EDIT:3/2/14)



After nearly 30 years of being on the shelves of hobby shops around the UK and Australia (I don't believe they were sold in the USA) and after years of rumours and speculations of Hornby waning their Thomas range due to £1 million annual loss and supply issues, Hornby had discontinued their Thomas & Friends range, as reported by ''. 

The range first started in 1985, under Hornby Railways, a year after the debut of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends on ITV when it was under the Britt Allcroft company label. Quite obviously the range was a huge success gaining characters that were in the television series and quite rarely, the Railway Series books. However since 2011, speculations had risen since Hornby had discontinued characters such as Duck, Stepney, Henry etc. and as well a year later in 2012 when HIT Entertainment were bought under the owners of Mattel and has ceased Learning Curve's licesne for their Wooden Railway range and Take-N-Play range. 

First off, if this story is confirmed true by Hornby, I am disappointed that Hornby had come to this conclusion with their well-known range to Thomas fans and railway modellers. I started collecting the models from the Hornby range since I was ten years old until I've lost some interest in it until I got back into it in 2009 when I bought the 'Great Discovery' set with the weathered Thomas model. But I'm also not surprised by the discontinuation. Hornby had been lacking with their Thomas range ever since the release of Murdoch and Dart in 2011 when the 2012 range was being announced via the Hornby website and by the result of their poor sales during the London Olympics of 2012.  

Bachmann had been pretty much keeping up the Thomas characters that were either made by Hornby or not and kept well accurate towards the television series model. If either anyone from HIT or Bachamnn US are reading this I think they may need to consider to bring the Bachmann models to UK hobby shops for the keen Thomas collectors since that the Hornby has been discontinued. 

Once again I am disappointed by also not surprised by this news. Hornby had produced such wonderful models, despite a few flaws with characters like Edward and Emily, but as the Hornby and Marketing manager, Simon Kolher says 'Nothing ever lasts forever.' If anyone from Hornby is reading this, thank you for producing such a great range that brought kids into railway modelling and hope that you may continue on with your success with your other respective range of locomotives, rolling stock and sets.

EDIT - 3/2/14: It's been confirmed that Hornby has discontinued their Thomas range, so as I said before if any representative from Hornby are reading this, thank you for making such a terrific range for railway modellers and children and good luck with your other products from their respective ranges.

EDIT - 25/09/15: Even though it has been months, turns out the 'news' from last Feb was nothing but false and that Hornby had resurrected the range. This post will stay up though.