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Watch James May Documentaries online: Episode 16 James May's Toy Stories: Hornby

May, who had previously identified the train set as his "absolute favourite" attempted to build the world's longest model railway. The team hoped that a train would run successfully along the length of the track, built on the picturesque Tarka Trail a disused 37-mile (60 km) long railway line acquired by the local council in 1990 and which was converted for use as an off-road cycle track. May chose the site because he thought that people wanted to see a line rebuilt there and because of the dramatic scenery. May joined 400 enthusiasts to build the miniature railway stretching 10 miles (16 km) from Barnstaple to Bideford, in North Devon. The attempt was disrupted by vandals and thieves who interfered with the track. Coins were dropped on to the line, causing short circuits and some batteries and parts of the track were taken. Simon Kohler, marketing manager of Hornby model railways, said that the train which travels at just 1 mile per hour (1.6 km/h) failed two miles short of Bideford station; but he also told BBC news "Even though the last locomotive gave up the ghost at Instow, we did link the track in fact I finished it at about 2230 so we'll just need to wait and see what Guinness make of it. As shown in the programme, five trains set off on the track. The first, James' own Flying Scotsman model, failed very early. The other trains were a passenger steam train (a rebuilt SR West country and pullman coaches), passenger diesel train (a class 42 Warship with mk1 coaches), goods diesel train (EWS liveried Class 37 and freight) and the prototype of Hornby's Class 395 "Javelin" model. Passing sections allowed the faster models to overtake the slower ones. The Hitatchi was the last train running.

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