The following is reproduced from an article by Pat Hammond of Model Railway Express Magazine.
One version of the Hornby APT had an all yellow front and the other a partly black cab front. It is also true that the unit was sold as a train set and as a train pack. But what was the relationship between model type and method of packaging?
The model first made an appearance in the 1980 catalogue as R543 a 5 car set containing the following:
I often wondered why R705 had been skipped in the number sequence until I looked up the number in the Company's 'Samples' book and discovered (pencilled in) 'R705 APT Intermediate 1st 1981?' suggesting that a further coach was considered for the following year but abandoned.
Due to the prototype's unique body curves, the model was first sculptured in wood. This wooden model, which was painted in its proposed final livery, would have been used for measuring when the drawings for the moulds were prepared.
Once the moulds had been made, an unpainted 5 car testing set was assembled in plastic to test its performance. The wooden models of the driving trailer and the van trailer have survived and were bought by a collector in 1994. The same year, the 5 car testing set was sold at auction and ended up in another private collection.
The version illustrated in the 1980 catalogue was finished in InterCity grey livery with an all yellow front. The livery was applied to a clear plastic moulding in order to achieve flush glazing.
Over 15,000 of these sets were made in 1980 and dispatched, probably in the summer of that year.
By the following year the model was illustrated with a black front window panel and was sold like this in both the R543 set and a new train pack (R794), as well as a whole range of mail order and export sets including one specially for Libya! By 1984 only the train pack was still listed and although it remained in the 1985 catalogue, none were made or dispatched after 1984.
With it being available with a black window panel for four years (1981-84) as against one year (1980) with a plain yellow front, you would be justified in assuming that there were far more black versions than yellow ones around but this is not so. It seems that much of the initial demand for the APT was satisfied in 1980 when 15,000 sets were made and sold. Whereas from 1981 the total production figures were as follows:
|R860 mail order set||202|
|R861 mail order set||101|
|R864 mail order set||95|
|R855 treasure chest set||470|
|R655 Libyan set||980|
|R978 export set||146|
It is amazing what one finds when one starts to dig!