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The British O gauge tinplate revival began in 1993 when Ron Budd suggested making a reproduction of the Hornby 4-4-4 tank loco in electric. In 1995 when the initial 4-4-4 was ready to go into production, a company now called “ACE Trains” was founded by Allen and Charlotte Levy. Production was initially based in Taiwan, then Thailand and then later Bangkok. ACE Trains founding shareholders were and still are Allen and Charlotte Levy. The company was originally named Allchem Trains Ltd, Allen, Charlotte and Emily latterly abbreviated to ACE Trains Ltd.
The first locomotive in the ACE Trains project was the E/1 based on the original Hornby clockwork 4-4-4 with over 1,000 models being manufactured between 1996 and 1997 in a variety of colourful liveries. As British Railway Modelling magazine reported in February, 2006: “It may come as a surprise to learn that over the ensuing years ACE Trains not only produced many more locomotives (including an A4 and A3), but have also produced well over 20,000 coaches – not bad for revivalist tinplate”. The A4 Pacific, the A3 Pacific and Castle Class were cast bodied locomotives; and similarly built Duchess class locomotives took O gauge revivalist tinplate to new heights not dreamt of by the early toy train pioneers of the 20th Century. Semi proto-typical production now sits in the mainstream with an increasing following for British style locomotives and trains not only in the UK but around the world. Not so much a niche market but a growing market segment for the global model railway fraternity.
ACE Trains products are manufactured in China and Czech Republic. Their locomotives, carriages and rolling stock use wheels with a back to back measuring 27.5 mm. ACE wheels are less coarse than other model railway manufacturers. Their slightly reduced flange depths make them suitable for most proprietary two and three rail track types. This includes angular and tubular tinplate style three rail track together with Peco fine scale code 143 flatbottom and coarse scale SM 32 two rail track. Running ACE locomotives, coaches and freight stock produced since 2008 on Peco 143 flatbottom and SM 32 two rail track should present no problem as the flange wheel depth should not rub against the chair bottom.
If running large ACE locomotives it may be sensible to select wide radius points at the outset as they may have some difficulty negotiating tight radius points. Short wheel based ACE locomotives should have no problems with any radii points.
Two rail railway modellers should consult our two rail track pages for an extensive range of options. Prior to 2008 ACE locomotives, coaches and freight stock were manufactured to a coarse scale standard with heavier tinplate style wheel flanges and may be appropriate for three rail running only. If rolling stock has been changed to ACE universal wheels they should run in the same way as all post 2008 production.
Shamrock Trains is a provider of O gauge ready-to-run model railways and similar associated products. We provide a high quality, professional and personalised service to our customers. We are a highly knowledgeable operation providing specialist advice to customers around the world; we believe we are one of the few model railway retailers to operate in this way. Honesty, integrity, providing value for money and the highest level of customer care are the principles of our business.