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  Is this gold thomas a custom?
Posted by: GreatGordonFan - 07-20-2021, 07:43 AM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (6)

So whilst browsing the ttte wiki through the merchandise section, and found this image. It was listed as "motor road and rail gold thomas". It has the gold ribon at the front end, just like some other metallic plarail thomas. I think this thomas here may be a custom and it being on the wiki is just a mistake. Just want confirmation.
[Image: Motor-Road-And-Rail-Gold-Thomas.jpg]

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  Plarail sound variants
Posted by: MyGoodThomasFriend74 - 07-19-2021, 04:15 AM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (9)

Most might not know this, but I'm keeping track of Plarail's sound gimmick trains. Not just Thomas but other trains Plarail made during their course of life. I wrote down (in paper) MOST of the sound variants, not all of them.
[Image: 20210718-120531-1.jpg]
[Image: 20210718-120544-1.jpg]
[Image: 20210718-120602-1.jpg]
[Image: 20210718-120622-1.jpg] 
Sure the drawing aren't good, but the purpose of this is to show what Plarail made. This doesn't include the Thomas products. Just these other trains You might remember seeing.

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  Plarail Metallic Thomas
Posted by: Akito_Okane - 07-18-2021, 03:39 PM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (7)

Hey! So this is my first post of being in this community, I'm glad I was able to join so getting down to the topic I was browsing around looking for the Plarail 60th Anniversary Thomas when i found this other Plarail Metallic Thomas with two Clarebels with a him and both Clarebels each having their own plain box. I looked around the internet and also couldn't find an Metallic Annie with her own box and I haven't found any posts talking or mentioning this Thomas at all so could it just be an obscure rare metallic Thomas release? 
[Image: k322210467-1.jpg]
[Image: 474447166-1.jpg]
[Image: m66831356057-1.jpg]
[Image: m66831356057-2.jpg]

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  Keihan Thomas & Friends Wrapping Trains
Posted by: Fred_Pelhay - 07-15-2021, 12:19 PM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (7)

Anyone know how many of the Keihan Electric Railway trains they did with Thomas & Friends wrapping?

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  Series 100 shinkansen is expensive
Posted by: GreatGordonFan - 07-15-2021, 08:03 AM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (2)

Why is the plarail series 100 shinkansen (blue belt) so darn expensive?
On ebay it can sell for over $70 USED, yet in 2015 I got a new one for less than £15 ($20) of amazon! What made the prices skyrocket?

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  plarail event exclusive engines
Posted by: GreatGordonFan - 07-10-2021, 08:05 PM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (7)

So today, I was browsing ebay when I stumbled upon this listing of two plarail engines that I have never seen before. The description says " 2 RARE Plarail Event Exclusive Steam Trains. These were never sold in stores and were only given out during selected Events in Japan during 2007 ". Anyone can tell me more about these??

[Image: s-l1600.jpg]

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  Tomica World - A trainspotter's guide to every model.
Posted by: Plarail Man UK - 07-07-2021, 02:57 AM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (2)

Hello everyone!

I had been considering doing something like this for a while, either in video or blog form, and in the end, decided to use a BPT thread for this - I am, over the coming weeks, going to create a detailed 'guidebook' of sorts for all the trains that were released in the UK/European Tomica World line of trains and sets. 

By this, I don't mean just listing all the trains that were in the line, as BPT has many posts/lists like that, but rather creating posts that have information and facts about the different trains from within the line - As a rail enthusiast, it has been fascinating to learn all about the many different trains that I have purchased and collected in building my Tomica World/Plarail layout, and if anything, I have been really keen to share what I have discovered with others  Big Grin.

[Note - Not all of the pictures used are mine, but i've labelled the ones that are]

So, without further ado, I'm going to start with what might have been one of my favourite research subjects, the Tomica World 7465 Virgin Train, and it's sister unit, the 'Hi-Speed Express', actually the Kintetsu 21000 Series, from the Tomica World 7421 'Large Set'.

[Image: DSC-0136.jpg] 

[Image: DSC-0137.jpg]
[pictures from my layout]

It's fairly obvious to anyone looking at these models side-by-side that they are exactly the same model, but in reality, the two trains they represent are very different indeed, from opposite sides of the world no less.

Of the two models, the original was the Kintetsu 21000 series, released originally under that name in the Plarail line. 

[Image: 330px-KINTETSU21000-20131028-A.jpg]

Kinki Nippon Railroad, known as 'Kintetsu', and operating services in the Kinki and Tokai regions of Japan, ordered the 21000 series units as the next generation of their 'Urban Liner' series of limited-express* railway units, under the name 'Urban Liner Plus'. These electric multiple units, built by Kintetsu subsidiary Kinki Sharyo, would first appear on the route between Kintetsu's stations in Osaka and Nagoya in the year 1988 [Showa Era 63]. One notable feature included their streamlined front end, something which will come into play with the model's later use.

[*Limited-express trains are similar to the UK Inter-City or express train, in that they are trains that do not stop at all stations, instead calling mostly at major stations only]

These units carried a white livery with orange stripes from the outset, with the original version of the livery having orange lines around the windows, and a later version omitting the window lines. The version seen in the Tomica World Large Set was re-named to the 'Hi-Speed Express' on the box, however the model was simply a re-packaging of the Plarail 21000 series with no paint or visual changes for it's international release, arriving here in it's first-generation colour scheme with orange markings at the windows.

However, for the international line, predominantly the UK release of the line, the model would receive a unique re-tool. This was the Tomica World 7465 'Virgin Train', which was heavily promoted as one of the exclusive trains avaliable in Tomica World, having never been released as part of a set, and never being released in Japan, despite the model's origins.

[Image: 43155-Garringtons-25-September-2002.jpg] 

The High Speed Train, also known as the HST, or Inter-City 125, is arguably the most famous modern railway unit in the UK. Developed in the 1970's as state-owned British Rail's answer to the TGV and Shinkansen, the HST is argued as a modern engineering masterpiece, both for it's design and it's versatile capabilites, becoming the flagship train for British Rail and it's privatised successors.

The HST is a diesel-powered unit, consisting of two Class 43 locomotives/power cars, and a variable number of British Rail Mk3 coaches. Typically, the units ran at a maximum speed of 125mph, making them the fastest scheduled services on the UK network. For reference, it is widely agreed amongst UK rail experts that 125mph is more or less the maximum speed that can be attained on the existing, unmodified network, much of which was built in the Victorian era. The HST was built as a versatile unit that could achieve TGV/Shinkansen style speed and comfort, without the need to build a brand-new network of lines to accommodate them like in France and Japan, something that was deemed impractical to build within the UK at the time.

Indeed, to this day, the only domestic trains that are faster are the Shinkansen-derived Class 395 'Javelin' trains that operate on parts of the dedicated 'High Speed One'/HS1 rail network in London and the South-East, which operate at 140mph, but 125mph is still the absolute fastest any train is allowed to operate on the normal network, without the presence of in-cab signalling.

Curiously, the HS1 network is a fusion of Japanese and French technology, with the line being built to French standards as it is shared with the Eurostar and leads to the Channel Tunnel, while also having Japanese trains use the line too, bringing the high-speed system of Britain full-circle; We created our own compromise high-speed unit because we didn't think we could make something like what France and Japan had, only to then build a high-speed network using the very technologies that we couldn't emulate at the time.

The HST is easily Britain's most venerable high-speed unit, having only just recently been replaced in front-line Inter-City service after almost 50 years of service by a mix of different new stock, predominantly the Hitachi 'IET' series, derived from both the Class 395 and Shinkansen platforms. Even so, many units are still in service on secondary long-distance routes in Scotland and the West of England, as the ScotRail 'Inter7City' and GWR 'Castle' series, as well as several units being in preservation.

At the time of Tomica World's existence however, the UK railways were undergoing their biggest change since the Second World War, with the demise of British Rail, the state company responsible for operating all aspects of the railways since 1948. The result was the division of B.R into many smaller operating companies on a franchise basis, Railtrack to maintain and own the track and network, and several freight companies.

[Image: 1280px-Virgin-trains-Leamington-Spa-3.png]

In this case, the UK conglomerate Virgin Group, headed by Richard Branson, decided to move into railway operations with successful bids for the Inter-City West Coast and Inter-City CrossCountry operations, which meant they inherited a large fleet of HST's, and other assorted rolling-stock from British Rail. Virgin themselves had started in the 1970's as a record and music buisness, expanding into a diverse number of fields by the time Virgin Trains came into existence in 1997. Where transportation was concerned, they had experience as an airline operator, running a series of airlines including Virgin Atlantic, the first majorly successful competitor to the monolithic British Airways on transatlantic flights. 

At the time, the HST's under Virgin were common-pool, so CrossCountry [marked as XC originally] or West Coast units were used on whatever routes they were needed on.

[Image: EOLf-Cx2-Wo-AA-b-VV.jpg]

1997 was also a significant year, as this was the year that Tomica World [also referred to as 'Tomica City' in a 1997 Tomy USA catalogue, see picture] would release for the first time, and for the UK release, an agreement was reached with the brand-new Virgin Trains to release a train to promote their new privatised operations in the UK.

Owing to the fact that their model of the Kintetsu 21000 series shared at least a passing similarity to the HST, especially with it's streamlined front and rear coaches, the resulting model was a re-paint of the 21000 series shell into the original Virgin Trains red and black livery. However, the use of the 21000 series shell did throw up a couple of errors; Firstly was the shaping, as the 21000 series has a much more rounded front end than the HST, and secondly was the inclusion of the pantographs moulded onto the roof of the front and rear coaches - As the HST was a diesel unit, this was a pretty glaring error.

While I understand that these errors were simply the result of re-using a mould, it is interesting to note that the earlier Tomy Trains line actually had the same error, but reversed, with a diesel standing in for an electric train!

[Image: 45942-orig.jpg]

[Image: 546455-orig.jpg] 

In the Tomy Trains line, a model existed of the HST, in it's original B.R colours [albeit with Tomy logos on the power cars], and later a special set containing the Eurotunnel 'Le Shuttle' was released - The 'Le Shuttle' model was a re-painted HST, complete with diesel chimney detailing, despite the fact that in reality, the 'Le Shuttle' operation is fully electrified, using custom 0009 class electric locomotives.

In the end, the Virgin Train would be sold as part of the Tomica World line right up to it's discontinuation, which almost coincided with the gradual retirement of the HST's from the Virgin West Coast fleet. This was due to the desire to completely modernise the West Coast operation with entirely new trains, as many of the units used on that line were old and unreliable, so the newer Class 390 Pendolino electrics, and Class 220/221 Voyager diesels took over.

The HST allocation transferred to several areas where more HST's were required, including to Virgin CrossCountry [now Arriva CrossCountry], First Great Western [now GWR], Midland Mainline [later East Midlands Trains and now E.M.R], GNER [later East Coast, Virgin Trains East Coast and now LNER], and Grand Central. 

Virgin themselves would leave the UK rail buisness altogether in 2019, after their West Coast franchise was replaced by the current operator, Avanti West Coast. Attempts have been made by Virgin to invest in Brightline, a new U.S passenger railroad operation to compete with national operator Amtrak, with the announcement that the operation would be named 'Virgin Trains USA', however it appears that they are going to stick with the Brightline name, as Virgin appear to have revoked their investment in the plan.

[Image: national-rail-logo-svg.png]

The current franchise arrangement in the UK that led to all this is not set to last much longer either, however, as the UK Government recently announced that the entire UK rail network is to be semi-renationalised under a state owned organisation that is set to be called Great British Railways, or G.B.R.

This new system will work on the basis that the Government will control most aspects of passenger rail operation through G.B.R, contracting the day-to-day passenger operations and staffing out to the private operators currently managing the passenger operations side of the system.

The state had taken control of the network and infrastructure under the name 'Network Rail' after the privatised company Railtrack collapsed in the early 2000's. In practice, this means that the passenger operations and planning will be merged with the network and infrastructure controlled by Network Rail, with the whole package being branded as 'G.B.R', and the operations of both areas being divided between the state, and private companies.

As a result, all privatised branding from the individual companies is to be stripped from the network, to be replaced by a modernised version of the old British Rail branding, including the restoration of the traditional 'Double-Arrow' symbol that has been used throughout the private era as a generic symbol for railway stations on maps and signage as the main logo for the entire system. This re- brand is expected to have either begun, or completed by 2025.

Assuming that the remaining HST's are still in service by then, this means that they may return to carrying the logo they were built with originally, bringing a complicated yet fascinating story of Britain's most iconic modern train full-circle. My hope is that the proposed 'modernised' branding may see the return of the original HST blue/yellow, or black/white/red 'Executive' colours, but we will see Wink.

In any case, model number 7465 might just appear to be another train in the Tomica World or Plarail pantheon, but thanks to recent events, now acts as a unique model in the Tomica World line, being a reminder of a unique and unlikely to be repeated experiment in British railway history, as well as an unusual derivative of a relatively standard and ordinary Japanese limited-express that had a cool and futuristic streamlined look, and for that, I believe both models deserve to be recognized.

Next time, I'll take a look at the JR-East 400 Series, or the Tomica World 7464 'Bullet Train' which itself has an interesting connection to today's story, and a very interesting personal connection for me... Look forward to it  Big Grin.

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  Strange Plarail Coupling?
Posted by: TheDiamondDalek - 07-03-2021, 11:34 AM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (8)

Recently I purchased a lot containing lots of plarail Thomas models, inside was a plarail thomas with an odd coupling, like the standard coupling except there was no slit at one end, both ends are circular loops with no slit in either, does anyone know what kind of coupling this is? Is it rare to have one like this? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

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  loading station
Posted by: leylandvictory2 - 06-27-2021, 12:41 PM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (6)

Does anybody know the official name of this cargo loading station?  I am curious what that yellow thing on to the top track level does and what rolling stock it comes with.  
[Image: s-l1600-14.jpg]

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  Plarail Clear Nozomi 300 Series Shinkansen Info
Posted by: TrainsRawesome - 06-27-2021, 11:59 AM - Forum: Takara/TOMY/Plarail/Tomica world - Replies (4)

I’m trying to learn more about the clear Nozomi 300 Series Shinkansen from 1999. From the back cover of one of the Plarail catalogs I was able to discern this through machine translate:

In late summer/fall 1998, Plarail had a campaign with the chance to win either a gold or skeleton (clear) Nozomi Shinkansen. To enter you had to submit an illustration (related to Plarail I think) along with a form containing a section to choose which type of Nozomi you wanted (skeleton or gold). The grand prize for one winner who submitted the best illustration was “one original Plarail in the world” presented as a New Year’s gift. (If anyone knows anything about what this prize was, could you please provide some info? This grand prize could very well be the rarest Plarail item ever, seeing as it was one of a kind.) 500 other people would be picked by lottery to receive either a gold or clear Shinkansen (whichever they selected when entering). These prizes were awarded in January 1999.

So, from this, I would assume there were at most 500 of the skeleton version made, making it pretty rare. I’m not sure how many gold ones were made because I have seen another catalog advertising a campaign where 100 people could win it, so it seems that version was available in several different lotteries (could just be leftovers though). From what I have read elsewhere it also appears the leftovers from this 1998 campaign where given out as promotional items in stores.

This is all that I was able to gather from machine translate, so forgive me if there are some inaccuracies. I would much appreciate it if anyone here who knows Japanese or has more knowledge about this model could help out. Thanks!

Photo from catalog:
[Image: A7-F22-FA9-DAD8-4-DA7-BA65-D54-D4-DE0-C6-D8.jpg]

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