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Model-maker Hornby says Brexit may delay its trains

Model-maker Hornby says Brexit may delay its trains
By Reuters
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By Noor Zainab Hussain and Samantha Machado

(Reuters) - Now even model trains face possible delays due to Brexit, with Hornby, the maker of such children's favourites as Thomas & Friends and Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express, flagging potential supply problems at ports ahead of the Christmas shopping period.

Hornby, headquartered in the Kent coastal town of Margate, said on Wednesday that it had started its Brexit preparations last year, without giving more details.

"Timing is everything when it comes to Christmas and we are mindful of the potential supply disruption at the ports if/when we leave the EU," the company said in a statement.

Hornby is one of Britain's best known model-makers and its train sets and accessories have been bought by generations of enthusiasts, young and old.

They include locomotives based on the Thomas the Tank Engine children's books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, the Hogwarts Express, and real-life lines.

The company did not specify exactly how its supplies might be disrupted and if that involved its own imports or exports through ports, or if it referred more generally to the anticipated traffic jams on roads in Kent in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal by Oct. 31 - increasing the chance of a sudden break that would bring with it trade tariffs and customs checks.

Companies including retailers, drugmakers and supermarket owners expect costly and debilitating delays at Britain's port of Dover and the Eurotunnel, leading them to stockpile ingredients, raw material, insulin, water and even toilet paper.

The Department for Transport said, however, that hauliers with the correct documentation should face limited disruption at the border.

"We have implemented a major campaign to ensure hauliers can take action to get ready and are able to operate and that trade can continue to move as freely as possible between the UK and Europe after Brexit," a department spokesperson said in response to Hornby's warning.

A survey from The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, however, found only 22% of respondents among British firms with EU suppliers believed they had completed the paperwork to trade outside the bloc.

(Reporting by Samantha Machado and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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