Mainline Model Railways
Updated 20/03/08

This Site is dedicated to the Mainline Railways System of the late 1970's and early 1980's. The Mainline, ready to run, Model Railway range was launched at the Harrogate and Brighton toy fairs in the UK in January 1976. It was much later in the year before the models actually became available.

In the mid 1970’s the ready to run market in the UK was rather stagnant and much of the existing rolling stock, some of which had been around for many years, was lacking the detailing and scale accuracy that the modeller was demanding. Both Airfix and Palitoy saw this gap in the market and decided to introduce a ‘ready to run’ range taking advantage of the modern moulding technology that was available with the reduced costs of Far East manufacturing. Their 'Ready to Run' ranges were both launched at the Harrogate and Brighton Toy Fair in January 1976.
Palitoy was a division of the General Mills Corporation of America and were probably best known in the UK for the Action Man range of toys. The Palitoy range was called Mainline Railways. Unlike Airfix, Palitoy took the decision not to own the moulding tools for the models. They ordered the models from Kader in the Far East. Kader paid for and kept ownership of the moulding tools.
In 1981 Palitoy took over the Airfix, Ready to Run, Railway System when the Airfix Parent Company went into Receivership. Airfix owned the tools for their Model Railway Range and Palitoy placed them with Todco again based in the Far East.

In 1983 General Mills decided to re-organise its European operation and announced it was ceasing production of the Mainline Railways Range. This had nothing to do with the lack of success of the Company, in fact it was performing well, but a Corporate decision and rationalisation made in America. In 1985 the remaining stock and Airfix Moulds were sold off to Dapol.


This Site, at the moment, is mainly built from information and images from the Mainline Catalogues. It will be added to as time goes on. It was originally designed as an extension of my Airfix Model Railway Site.


Some of my other Sites

© D L McCarthy 2008

Train Collectors Society