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Hornby's production of OO scale model trains began with Hornby Dublo in 1938. These trains were roughly half the size of O gauge, hence the name OO. Hornby Dublo produced OO gauge model trains until 1964. At that time, Meccano, Hornby's parent company was purchased by Lines Bros. This company also owned Rovex Scale Models Ltd., the makers of Tri-ang Railways. In 1965, the company became known as Tri-ang Hornby.
Tri-ang Hornby was known for the British blue color on the liveries of its diesel locomotives. During this period, several locomotives, including the Coronation Class and Flying Scotsman, were introduced. The Tri-ang group was disbanded in 1971 and the company became Hornby Railways in 1972. Production was adjusted to make Hornby model railroads more attractive to adult model railroad hobbyists.
Hornby continued to produce new model railroad locomotives and cars throughout the '70s. In 1980, the company regained its independence under the name Hornby Hobbies. Demand for higher standards of modeling during this time led the company to retool many of its models. Hornby also produced a "Thomas the Tank Engine" series based on the television show in 1985. Hornby has continued to expand its range of model railroad products, including its first live steam locomotive in OO gauge in 2003.
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