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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Full steam ahead for model trains
Hornby's Hogwarts Express model
The Hogwarts Express is a current best-seller for Hornby
Railway buffs will soon be able to take home their very own steam train - in their pocket.

Kent-based model maker Hornby has launched a new range of models powered entirely by miniature steam engines.

The firm, which has its headquarters in Margate, said the trains were a huge leap forward in miniature railway technology.

The engines - expected to be in the shops by the end of the year - are the culmination of three years' work, a Hornby spokesman said.

Hogwarts Express

The 1:76 (OO gauge) models are powered by a miniature steam boiler which replicates the driving action of the classic steam train.

The locomotive produces steam by drawing electricity from the track and is controlled by electrical signals transmitted via the track.

It will run on standard Hornby track and costs about 500.

Frank Martin, Hornby's chief executive, said: "We expect that the product will appeal not only to existing model railway enthusiasts around the world but will also attract new entrants into the hobby."

One of the firm's current best-sellers is its Hogwarts Express train, a model of the steam engine in the Harry Potter books.

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