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One of the lots coming up at Ewbank’s Toys & Models sale on October 28.

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Built up over many years, it came to light when the late collector’s sister, the vendor here, went to clear out his house after his death. His love of trains went back to his childhood when his mother, who was French, worked for the French national railway company SNCF. “He didn’t want a model railway, he just wanted the trains and the coaches. He always bought the best. I think it just reminded him of his childhood,” said his sister.

“He loved trains all his life, but really started collecting when we had a recession and he had to give up work as a commercial artist. Then he went to work for South West Trains. He loved it and the money was very good, so he started buying seriously then.”

The items will be offered on October 28 an among the highlights is a Hornby 00 gauge R332 High Speed Train Pack offered with a Tyco Steel Hauler Giant set with 5-Way operating crane, and, all from Hornby: R543 Advanced Passenger Train set, R1019 Flying Scotsman electric train set and R791 LMS Express Passenger set. Estimate: £150-250.

Ewbank’s specialist Andy Delve said: “This is the sort of offering to get serious collectors very excited indeed. The sheer volume – over 40 packed boxes containing hundreds of trains and other pieces – has made the cataloguing process a huge undertaking.”

View the train collection online via thesaleroom.com.