Replica Railways

Tony Stratford continues the story from the demise of the Mainline range after the owners of Palitoy pulled the plug!

Over the past few issues we have covered in depth the emergence on to the market in 1977 of both Airfix and Mainline Railways. Their stay was, however, short-lived and the OO-scale Airfix Railways’ range was absorbed by Mainline in 1981, which likewise closed down in 1985.

Replica 0-6-0PT 57xx GWR No.7768 Cat.11001 (1986). PAT HAMMOND.

In the last issue we covered the Dapol acquisition of the former Airfix tooling and the old Mainline tools, which had been sourced from outside Kader, the usual supplier of the Mainline Railways’ range and its parent company, Palitoy.

With a large inventory of former Mainline tooling standing idle in Hong Kong, there had to be a resolution. It is at this point that Replica Railways enters the scene.

As with Dapol in the last issue, Replica Railways is still involved in the current model railway scene producing a range of ready-to-run products and also its long-standing transfer range.

Replica Suburban Coach Set BR Cat.15402 (2005). REPLICA


In 1975 Godfrey Hayes opened a model railway shop in Chipping Norton.

In the 1980s he began producing a range of waterslide transfers through his model railway business, introduced as Replica.

These soon developed into rub-down transfers that had no carrier film and therefore provided a better finish.

These were aimed at the diesel and electric modeller, although the range soon expanded to cover rolling stock and other periods.

These were produced in both N and OO scales and were sold through retail premises and also at exhibitions.

Flying Scot set for the American market. Pat Hammond

Today with advances in technology relating to the waterslide process both waterslide and rub-down transfers are available.

The move towards ready-to-run

Closure of the research and development department at Palitoy’s facility in Coalville in 1983 effectively brought an end to the Mainline Railways’ model railway range although it did linger on for a couple of years, but relied solely on work already in hand at the Kader factory.

As early as 1983, Godfrey Hayes had realised that the range was in decline and sought to ascertain the ownership issues of the tooling and stock then in hand at Palitoy’s Kader facilities.

A year later Godfrey was invited to Palitoy to discuss the issue further. During the meeting he discovered that Dapol was bidding for the stock and also for the tooling that was not Kader owned. In the meantime Mainline continued to supply stock to its dealers.

For the full article, see this month’s edition of Modelling – available now!
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