Andries Grabowsky
Michelle Grabowsky
Vijay Velappan Kumar
Andries Grabowsky

AndriesGrabowsky, a Dutchman, who has been involved in model train manufacturing since 1991. Originally based in Taiwan, he designed and manufactured two models in HO scale for the Dutch market; the NS 2400 and the NS DE-2 (diesel electric 2-coach motor units). Both of the models won the first prize at the Nuremberg toy show for Dutch models in 1992 and 1994.

In 1993, having fallen irreversibly in love with O gauge tinplate and having a once in a lifetime opportunity presented to him, Andries bought outright the long established and highly regarded ‘Darstaed’ model train brand and tooling of Mr. Marcel Darphin of Zug in Switzerland. The buy-out included the entire trade-marked line of products by ‘Darstaed’ as well as all of the company tooling. Doing so was to lead to a revolution in the world of coarse scale O gauge tinplate.

The following year in 1994 Andries paid a visit to the U.K. and spent time with a former distributor of Mr.Darphin, Mr. Ron Budd. In the course of their discussions, Ron put forward an idea to Andries, that of manufacturing a replica of the much loved Hornby 4-4-4 clockwork but this time with an electric motor. The 4-4-4 was duly made heralding the revival of tinplate O Gauge in Great Britain.

Having met with Mr. Allen Levy, in 1995 AndriesGrabowsky appointed Allen and his own company, then known as ‘Alchem Trains’ to distribute the new ‘ACE Trains’ range as it would be known, initially the replica Hornby 4-4-4 and subsequent 4-4-2 were manufactured in Taiwan but soon manufacturing was moved to India where Andries founded ‘ACE Trains India Pt. Ltd’  and today, the brand name ‘ACE Trains’ is still jointly owned by AndriesGrabowsky and Allen Levy.

Among AndriesGrabowsky’s creations designed and manufactured by him sold under the ‘ACE Trains’ brand can be counted the 4-4-4 locomotive, the 4-4-2 locomotive, the A3 and A4 locomotives, the 0-6-0 locomotive, the  4-4-0 locomotive, the Castles, the Station Canopy and all coaches and tankers until 2009 (with the exception of the splendid artwork created by Mr. Brian Wright).

Currently, the Darstaed Vintage Trains Ltd. company has some of the most exciting projects ongoing and they will certainly enable all coarse scale O gauge tinplate train collectors and operators to continue to enjoy the hobby for many years to come.

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