Atlas Model Trains – A Lifetime Of Innovation

In 1924 Atlas Tool Company was founded by Stephan Schaffan Sr. His son, Stephan Schaffan Jr., didn’t have the same passion for tools as he did, enjoying to spend more time with his model airplanes. Working for his father didn’t make as much money for his taste and he often harassed the owner of the hobby shop he frequented about possible ways to make a little extra money. Finally tired of being harassed the owner gave him some model railway parts and told him if he wanted to make money to improve upon it. He did and Atlas Model Trains was born.

Back in the early decades of the 1900s model trains were difficult to assemble. Owners that enjoyed this craft had to build everything from scratch. They would then have to go through the difficult process of assembling them. Stephan Jr. took improved on this design by making what he called a “switch kit.” Jr. the found a way to fashion the rail to a fiber track making it the first rail joiner to be easy to join and created pre-assembled tracks and turnouts. Jr. and his family quickly outgrew the basement in which he started. So he and his father opened a factory. Atlas trains became the first mass produced model trains. They went on to be the reason many people got into model railroading.

Today Atlas rains are still among the leaders in model railroads. They specialize in the selling of HO, O and N scale trains. The family still runs the company, with Stephan’s daughter at the helm. They now offer customers a wide variety of track options.

Atlas is known for their innovative True-Track that is designed for their HO scale tracks. This track is snapped into a grey base. It gives the hobbyist an advantage. Unlike the majority of tracks the True-Track doesn’t have to be secured, the roadbed base doesn’t have to be secured to the table or bench for the train to run properly. If you don’t want to put the track on the base you don’t have to. The track is so versatile that you can attach it directly to the bench top. The True-Track is available in their HO and N scales.

Atlas trains are among the leaders in track manufacturing, with their innovative Snap-Track, Custom-Line turnouts, and Super-Flex tracks.

Their HO scale comes in two heights of track. The HO 83 is .083 inches high, while their HO 100 is .100 inches in height. Their N scale also comes in two codes, the code 55 and code 80.

If you are still new to model railroading they can help you figure out what your railway should look like. The offer several different layout books that can help you.

Those that are the true do-it-yourselfers can enjoy their expertise on wiring. Atlas also offers hobbyist a how-to book on electronics. Their step-by step books make electronics easy for you to do it all. It is complete with diagrams to help you on your way.

Atlas model trains have everything for you to make your model railroad. Not only are they manufacturing trains and tracks for their railroads. They also offer a wide variety of structures and accessories. The structures available include everything from buildings to animals and people.

They are also home different clubs for railway enthusiasts. Their Golden Spike Membership has many different levels. These clubs are pay to join clubs and the different levels include different perks. Some have free cars while others have not just cars that can only be received by joining but access to areas that others can’t enter. These clubs are available only on their “O” site and the free cars that can be received by joining the higher club entrances are O scale only.

With its long history of innovation, it’s little wonder that Atlas trains is considered to be the leader of the pack when it comes to model railroading.

Rivarossi Model Trains – The Italian Collectors Item

When Alessandro Rossi started his company in 1945, he knew that he wanted to make model trains. His fascination with trains began as a small child when he was given a Hornby Meccano train. This old clockwork train inspired Rossi to create Rivarossi model trains years later. He learned everything he could about the trains by reading subscriptions that his father bought him, written in both English and French.

At the time that Rivarossi was the only model train manufacturer in Italy. Rossi setup shop in a part of a factory the created electric commutators. This is where Rossi met his soon to be partner, Riva. Riva unfortunately wasn’t with the new company long, once he realized the direction things were headed.

Rivarossi started out producing solely the OO scale trains. In the early 1950s, the interest from America caused the company to start going in a slightly different direction with the production of HO scale trains. By the 1970s, Rivarossi sold mostly to the United States. Under pressure from their clients the company moved in the direction of creating the N scale trains.

Due to some financial difficulties, however, the name Rivarossi is not produced by its own company anymore. Today the intellectual rights and casts are owned and still produced by the Hornby company. While the Hornby line of Rivarossi is still a popular line, true collectors often search for the original trains that were once sold by Rivarossi. Their N scale line, however, is the property of Atlas motel trains so you can find many of their N scale designs here.

If you are in the market for one of these little gems you just need to take a stroll on the internet. Since these trains are exceedingly popular don’t be surprised if you find some of these pieces can be a little pricey. A great place to start your search is on EBay. You can often find good deals on these types of models. If you are looking for one in good condition, be sure to look very closely at the pictures.

Vintage pieces can date all the way back from the middle 1940’s which ran on AC power, unlike most of today’s trains. Rivarossi didn’t start developing and producing DC powered trains until the mid 1950s. The AC powered trains are probably the most difficult to find. Since they were not manufactured for as long as the remaining models produced by Rivarossi, these will be on the upper end of the range when it comes to prices.
With such a limited amount of trains made this way it’s little wonder why they are considered to be among the more popular pieces collected by enthusiasts.

Finding original 1940’s pieces might be a little difficult or pricey for many collectors. There are still extraordinary pieces available. Even if you aren’t interested in spending that much, there are other, newer models for you to choose from. Another popular version is their Big Boy. While this was one of the more popular pieces in the later years of the company, the original Big Boys are still sought after by most collectors. These HO scale models replicate the 1940’s engines that were so massive that it required eight axles per engine. The actual engines were used to help run supplies during World War II. Because of the historical significance of the actual engines, the replica trains have become popular.

If you still want one of these wonderful pieces and are willing to do a little restoration work, there are several vendors out there that have just that. You can get some for real cheap if you are willing to do some of the work. You might have to put in a new motor, or replace some other parts that are prone to wear but it is worth it to have a fully restored Rivarossi model trains. Be careful, however, when you purchase one of these second hand trains. You want to make sure that you inspect the engine as closely as possible. You want to ensure that the engine you are purchasing is not rusted in any way. There is some damage that may not be repairable and you need to look for that kind of damage. You also need to know your limits when it comes to restorations. You don’t need a train that needs more work than you can perform so it will be restored properly.

Rivarossi trains, even though they can still be found new, their vintage pieces are the prize for many. As the first Italian manufacturers, they are a true gems.

Marklin Model Trains – Leaders In European Model Railroading

If you are looking for a European model train then you have probably come across Marklin in your searches. They are one of the biggest toy makers in Germany and have been manufacturing toys since the mid-1850s. Today Marklin model trains are leaders in the European industry.

Marklin trains first came about as simple toys that were controlled by a windup key and clockwork insides. Today they are not just electrically powered they are also among the leaders in digital innovation.

One thing that you can be sure of if you are interested in a Marklin train is that it will be electrically safe. These trains follow the strict European safety regulations. This insures that if the train is used as instructed then you can be certain that there will be no overloads or any other issues.

Marklin originally manufactured their trains in many different scales. O, HO, Z, Gauge 1, and N, better known as narrow gauge, were the scales that were originally manufactured. Today, however, Marklin trains are only manufactured in HO, Z and Gauge 1. The digital trains are available in HO, N and Z.

Marklin model trains tracks are unique. They use a third rail, which is concealed within the roadbed. The only evidence of this third rail is the line of studs that run down the center of track. It connects the two outer tracks electrically making it simpler to wire. You can lay down tracks, make more intricate designs and still have them look more realistic with this inventive design. There is some disagreement over whether or not this system is a true three rail system, since the two outer tracks are not isolated from one another.

In coordination with the Trix Company, a subsidiary of Marklin, and Motorola they came up with the digital controller. Two of the Trix models of trains have been installed with digital chip that controls the locomotive. They have become leaders in the digital railway industry.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these innovative trains a good start is on the internet. You can find them available on many sites. EBay, as well as resellers are good places to start. Their home site is also a good place to head for the newest models of Marklin trains. They also have a wide array of accessories to complete your railway. Everything you need can be found here.

These trains are also considered collector’s items. Vintage trains can bring you a great since of pride, one of these wonderful old trains can become the star of your collection. As with anything you purchase on line, before you purchase your vintage piece be sure that you investigate the piece carefully. There are many online guides to help you determine if you will be paying too much for the train.

Depending on the condition and age of the Marklin train piece you could pay as little as $50 to up wards of $1,000. Since Marklin has been around since the mid 1800s you might find some unique and very old pieces. These pieces in fair condition would draw a high price from most collectors.

No matter if you pay $50 or $500 for a piece you need to make sure you do your research on the model train and the company involved. If you are buying online see if you can get detailed pictures and descriptions before agreeing to purchase. Most reputable dealers will be willing to send you anything you require, within reason, to ensure you have a full picture before you purchase.

Marklin trains have been around for well over one hundred years. Their clockwork trains were state of the art back in the day. Today they are leading the way in digital receivers and trains. Marklin trains can give you the modern touch that you want. They are known for their detail and innovation, and still remain among the leaders in their industry.

LGB Model Trains – Garden Trains That Are Easy To Use

Who doesn’t love the look of a train outside in the garden? The G scale train is popular for this type of use. The LGB model train company is the pioneer of this type of train and if you are looking to add a garden train to your repertoire of trains, then checking this company out might be in your best interest.

LGB stands for Lehmann Gross Bahn, or in English Lehmann Big Train. And that’s essentially what it is. These trains are G scale which is the biggest scale of model train available. They are made to run outside in a garden or, for those of us in the US, in the yard.

These trains are often seen in parks and malls around Christmas time. Seen circling Santa’s village or a large Christmas tree, their charm brings joy to just about everyone that sees them, and for a moment adults are children again.

The great thing about the LGB trains is they look good. They don’t look cheaply made. Their detail is just as good as the smaller bench top trains that so many collectors use.

These trains are also simple to use, making them perfect for someone who is just learning about model railroading. All the wiring on the LGB trains is color coded so you can set up the system with no knowledge of how the electronics actually work.

Because these types of trains are meant for outside use you will find that they are quiet rugged. They don’t break easily and are made to be handled over and over again. They are a good choice for homes where children are running about and might even be handling the trains.

The mechanics are also built for the great outdoors. The gear boxes are sealed. That means that no dirt, water or other debris can get inside and destroy the inner workings. And the tracks are built to withstand it all as well having been machined from solid brass. Many of these models can withstand just about any weather that can be thrown at it. Hot days, rainy weather, even snow storms, all are no problem for this tough piece of equipment.

Unlike many of the other types and scales of model trains, the LGB trains are limited in the accessories that you can get with them. You don’t have as many styles and cars to go with the limited variety of locomotive. All total there are only about 150 passenger and freight cars to choose from, and there are only about 30 different styles of track. The good thing about that is you won’t find yourself going overboard on accessories and parts. The bad part, you are limited on how to make your train look.

You can get a variety of different engines though. Where there are only 150 cars, there are 600 engines. You can decide if your train is a steamy or a diesel, or maybe you prefer all electric.
LGB trains are so simple to use. The train tracks assemble with no tools required and come with pre-drilled holes so that you can secure the track to something if you wish. All the extra’s work in concert, a simple push of the throttle will take care of the lights, whistle and smoke (if you have a steam engine). It’s so simple that anyone can work it.

The large trains market themselves as being high quality, complete trains. If you aren’t a model train aficionado but you want to add a sense of character to your yard or garden the LGB model train might be just what you are looking for.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these trains you might be able to find one at your local hobby store. If not then head to the internet, there are many sites that offer LGB trains for sell. Their site could be a place to head, if you can read and understand German, if not look around there are many other sites out there that you can find what you need.

Roco Model Trains – Trains For Beginners And Beyond

When the Roco Company started out in the 1960s they had one goal in mind: make an economical but highly detailed model kit for people to enjoy. That is exactly what they did. Thanks to plastic molding techniques Roco’s founder was able to make massive amounts of model kits for young and old to enjoy. Today they are more popular for their wide array of Roco Model Trains than any other models they produce.

Let’s face it, getting into model railroading can be expensive, especially if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. The Roco line of trains offers you fashionable trains for a fraction of the cost. Part of the reason is plastic. Many model railroads are made of die-cast metal. This is not necessarily a bad thing, they look nice and quiet often more realistic than those made with plastic. But die-cast can be expensive. Not only do you pay for the metal, but the extra work that goes in to detailing that metal.

Also the more expensive models have tiny pieces that are easily broken. Children who enjoy trains can’t really enjoy these models, because for one thing their parent’s won’t let them touch it. The train costs too much for them to risk breaking it. For another, some just aren’t ready to handle the metal pieces; plastic really is the way to go with these children.

Roco lines come in the same popular scales as all other brands. They are available in the ever popular HO, N and TT (or table top) scales. These scales are attractive to anyone interested in the hobby of model trains.
Roco model trains also come in three main designs: Playtime, Professional and Platin.

Playtime is just as it sounds. These locomotives are geared towards children. It is the most reasonably priced of the three models available. The tracks are simple to use and it overall designed to encourage youngsters and new hobbyists to get down and “play” with the track. If you aren’t sure that you are getting a Playtime set, just look for the color. Playtime sets always come in orange.

Professional sets are a step above the playtime sets. These have more detail to them. They are geared for someone who has a little more experience with railroading. They are made of the highest quality and the technology is state of the art. Hobbyists who take their railroad seriously would love to have one of these economical trains as part of their collection. To distinguish these train sets from the Platin just look for the lovely blue color.

The Platin is the last type of train Roco offers. It is for the most experience and distinguished hobbyist around. The Platin series is a beautiful silver color and has the most distinctive detailing available. These high end models pull out all the stops for the serious collector.

Because of their extensive plastic line and modeling some of the trains for children there are those who might want to argue that Roco sells toy trains versus model trains. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because their “Playtime” line is geared towards children doesn’t mean that they are only toys. Their goal is to introduce the art of model railroading to the next generation of hobbyist.

Roco model trains are home to not just the trains and tracks that have made the popular. They include an entire line of railroad scenery that will make your set complete. From greenery to homes and people they have everything you need.

They are part of the pack when it comes to leaders in the industry. Roco trains are detailed but simple enough to make them inexpensive for the new train lover. They seek to provide a train for all ages and skill levels. Train enthusiasts of all stages would be proud to own one of these trains.

Life Like Model Ttrains – Great Detail For Less Price

Many model train enthusiasts will tell any newbie that model trains can get really expensive really fast. You are paying for not just the scale of the engine but the name brand and the detail work. Not all name brands pride themselves on having detailed cars and engines. They promote other major selling points, since not every model railroader is interested in having a detailed train. Life Like model trains takes pride in not only having detailed engines and cars, but also of the smooth ride of their trains.

PROTO 2000

The company keeps things simple by having two main lines of locomotives. For those that are extremely detail oriented then you need to check out the Proto 2000 Line. These cars and engines deliver detail such as uncoupling bars and grab irons. Even though you can find the same amount of detail work on their competitors you will find that you will pay less for the Life Like brand. Although many of their models are N scale they have started producing the more popular HO scale models as well.

Probably one of the main complaints about the Proto 2000 line of trains is the small detail parts can break off easily. So for new comers to the game these might not be the perfect engine for you. However, for those who
know how to handle an engine gently you still might find them easily broken. Because of that Life Like now offers their cars in either ready to run form or kits.

Another problem that early Proto 2000’s had was axel gear noise. You could literally hear a crunching or crackling sound on some of their earlier models. This was before they improved their drives. If you do have one of these earlier models you can contact the company to get a replacement unit. The units are free since the trains were to have a lifetime warranty. Even though the company has changed hands, Wm K. Walthers still honors the lifetime warranty.

PROTO 1000

Still designed to be cheaper than its competitors the Proto 1000 is a mostly N scale line that is a little less detailed than the Proto 2000. This line is not only lower in price than many of its competitors it is also lower in price than the Proto 2000. Even though it doesn’t have all the intricate detail that the Proto 2000 does, it is still nicely detailed. Since it doesn’t have all the small parts of the Proto 2000 line the Life Like Proto 1000 trains are perfect for those just starting out in the model railroading hobby.

Until recently, the Proto 1000 was strictly an N scale like. Because of this short coming there was a distributor that noted the “hole in the market” for quality HO scale models that were affordable to all. Working with Life Like, Canadian Hobbycraft designed and began marketing a Life Like model train Proto 1000 series in the HO scale. Unlike the N scale, these HO scale models have all the detailing work of the Proto 2000 series but are included in the Proto 1000 series banner. This means that you can get the more popular scale train, with great detail work for a fraction of the cost of other model trains.

Like the Proto 2000 the Proto 1000 offers its users the same smooth drive system as the Proto 2000. Also their tracking capability matches that of the Proto 2000. With their low price, attractive paint schemes and Kadee-compatible couplers there is little wonder to why these trains are so popular with those just starting out in the hobby.

Life Like trains are marketed as a great way to start learning about model railroading. They are the low cost alternative to many of the brands available. Perfect for new railroad masters but detailed enough to make even the most experienced proud to own one.

K-Line Model Trains – True Collectors Pieces

When it comes to finding the prize piece of your collection it all depends on manufacturer. With leaders in the industry such as Lionel, Hornby, and Life-like, it’s easy to overlook one of the original competitors of these giants. K-Line model trains hit the scene in the late 1970s as a major competitor to Lionel’s O and S scale trains. Made of slightly cheaper material they were able to price their products lower giving Lionel great competition. They lacked the prestige of a Lionel train but their price made them right for the picking.

Today, after a few lawsuits between K-Line and Lionel as well as other problems, K-Line was acquired by Lionel and they continue to reproduce some of the pieces that made K-Line famous. But for a true collector, a reproduction of the K-Line brand is just not the same.

You obviously can’t go out and purchase a new MDK Corp K-Line these days. They just don’t exist. So to get a true K-Line you have to purchase second hand. While these trains might not be considered a collector’s item as of yet, for a fan of K-line trains, they already are.

The great thing about these trains is that right now, you can still find many of these at the original asking price. Since not everyone views them as a collectible this is the time to get them at a bargain. You don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for one of these trains. They just simply aren’t worth it.

To find a good price you need to turn to the internet. It’s important to take your time at this point. Again, you don’t want to pay too much for your treasured find. Check out sites such as EBay and Yahoo to see what kind of deals you can get.

A good thing about the K-Line brand is that many of the K-Line cars designed from the mid 1980’s on are compatible with Lionel engines. That means if you have your heart set on one of the fancy passenger trains that was originally designed and marketed by K-Line then get it. It will work with the Lionel train, since the couplers were designed to be compatible. Incidentally, even though you can find the K-Line by Lionel line available you will not find their extravagant trains since there were the direct competitor to Lionel’s own line.

One of the other things that you won’t find on the K-Line by Lionel offerings is the S scale trains and engines. These locomotives were originally designed to run on A.C. Gilbert’s American Flyer line. Maury Klein, managed to acquire the track after Gilbet’s death. Lionel had their own line of American Flyer engines and cars but did not have the track. After acquiring K-Line they acquired the track needed to complete their American Flyer series so they no longer produce K-Line’s S scale locomotives.

This makes the S scale more collector friendly than any of the other models produced by K-Line. There is no replica or reproduction out there that meets the K-Line standard. For those interested in collecting K-Line products these might be more elusive than the rest.

K-Line is a collectors dream and nightmare. Because many people love these trains there are going to be many people out there that want to take advantage of others. For this reason always make sure you do your homework not just on the train itself but on the seller when possible.

K-line model trains have been on the market for over 30 years. They have been known not only for their innovative construction which allowed them to compete with more popular brands but for their beauty and price. A true collector’s item now that the original manufacturer is no longer in the picture. It’s easy to see why so many people enjoy the K-Line brand train, and it’s going to be harder to locate them as the years go on.

Model Train Manufacturers – Differences That You Should Know

If you are interested in model railroads you have many different manufacturers to choose from whether you are looking to expand your model railway or if you are starting for the first time there are several aspects to consider. With so many different scales, styles and models to choose from, you have to research you option carefully.

Atlas Model Trains

The Atlas Model Train company was founded in the mid 1900s. They specialize in HO and N scale models. They also have an offshoot company, Atlas O, which manufactures O scale model trains. Atlas trains’ founder Stephan Shaffan Jr. made the model train popular in the United States by redesigning them and making a switch kit. He also innovated many of the pieces such as a pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. Today the Atlas Company has everything you need to easily set up your railway system. Beginners and experts alike will find something they enjoy.

Hornby Model Trains

Hornby Trains were founded in 1907 as Meccano Ltd. Until the First World War it sold other types of toys but Frank Hornby decided to introduce the toy train into their line 1920. Originally it was a clockwork train. He introduced the electric train a few years later revising them soon after to make them safer. Today, Hornby is among the top producers of O scale trains. They are also among the leaders in OO scale trains, having debuted it in 1938 under the name Hornby Dublo.
They also produce an N scale line under the name Lyddle End. This company is also known for its replica models such as Thomas the Tank Engine and the Hogwarts Express.
The Skaledale is another popular line that is offered by Hornby Trains. This OO scale line shares many of the same styles of buildings as that of Lyddle End.

K-Line Model Trains

The K-Line Trains were founded in 1975 by Maury D. Klein. With his innovation, K-Line began producing model trains that were compatible with several other major names in model trains. They went on to produce O, O27 and S gauge trains. Today, however, you can’t get K-Line trains manufactured by their original manufacturers. Due to snipping and lawsuits with Lionel Trains their intellectual property is now the sole property of Lionel trains. You can still purchase K-Line by Lionel which is manufactured solely in O and O27 scale.

Life Like Model Trains

The Life Like Model train company manufactures their trains in the HO and N scales. This brand is a geared towards those who are new to the model train experience. They offer you detailed trains at a fraction of the cost of other model trains. You can get them in either an extremely detailed version of the Proto 2000 or the slightly less detailed version of the Proto 1000. If you are interested in just getting started in the model train hobby, then this brand might be the one for you to start with. Their less detailed, but just as nice version, Proto 1000, is robust and able to be handled roughly, perfect for kids and new hobbyists.

Lionel Model Trains

Lionel model trains have been around from the beginning of the 1900s. They started out selling just O scale. Today they sell O, O27 and HO scale. They have anything from realistic models of trains to the more whimsical types. You can get antique models, that look like the trains from the 1800-1900s or you can find one that looks like the Hogwarts or Polar Express. They also have a variety of cars and trains that can suit any taste.

Roco Model Trains

Known for their HO, O and N scales Roco model trains are another good train set for those that are just starting out. They specialize in lower cost trains that look just as good as the more expensive models. They have three levels of trains, the playtime level is for children and beginners, professional is for more experienced hobbyists and the platin is for the hardcore enthusiasts. With its variety of levels Roco appeals to hobbyists of all levels that want to have model railroads on a budget.

LGB Model Trains

LGB model train specializes in only one scale train. The G scale train is the largest scale of all scales of trains. They are a normally used for garden or yard trains. These trains are simple to use and are robust enough for even the most inexperienced hobbyist to handle. You don’t have to wear kid gloves around these trains and many models are designed to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions.

Marklin Model Trains

Probably one of the oldest train companies, Marklin has been in business since 1859. They introduced their first clockwork train in 1891. Today they have HO, O, Z, N and Gauge 1 scale trains. They are also among the leaders in digital controlling of model trains. They have an innovative three track system that allows you to set up all sorts of layouts and still look realistic. This is probably the most complicated of all model trains and might not be ideal for beginners.

Hornby Model Trains

Frank Hornby originally started his company in 1901 after he received a patent for his Meccano construction toy. Almost twenty years later, in 1920, came the first of many model trains, a train that rain off of clockwork design. It was still another five years, in 1925, before the first successful electric train was produced. Since then Hornby Model Trains have been a leader in model trains produced in the United Kingdom.
Hornby Trains come in three basic gauges O, OO, and N. The company started out as strictly O scale trains and didn’t actually start making the OO scale until almost 1940. The N scale trains are relatively new to Hornby. This scale of trains and accessories is only available in their Lyddle End models.

When Hornby began making its O scale train they were only available as clockwork models until 1920. The first attempt at an electric model was met with great approval. These first trains were completely sold out in France, due to under-production. However, they didn’t attempt the electric train again for another 5 years. This higher voltage train was revamped a few years later to accommodate a lower, safer voltage.

Today, Hornby is considered to be the leader in model trains. Thanks to its long history and unique trains they are among the most sought after collections in the world.

Original Hornby trains are popular collector’s items. These trains, if you can find them, are worth a lot of money. Finding one in good condition can be time consuming and difficult but owning one is its own reward for the hard work and diligence of a determined soul.

Hornby trains not only simulate the real working trains seen around the world but recently has endeavored to replicate the movies as well. They are known for their Thomas and Friends collection. This collection recreates not just the famous engines of Sodor, which was created by English Reverend W.V. Awdry, but the island itself. With the many towns and stations that families have come to know and love.

They also replicated the Hogwarts Express. Fans of the Harry Potter movies and books can travel their scarlet engine through the country side. Both of these sets have proven very popular for Hornby collectors.
Hornby is also famous for its steam powered line. Its first and very popular steam powered engine was that of “The Rocket.” This model was released in 1970 on a 3-1/2 inch scale. It wasn’t until 2003 that the first OO scale steam powered engine came into existence, a model of the Mallard.

Failures and Controversy

Not all of Hornby’s endeavors were a hit though, The Zero I that was introduced in the late 70s seemed to be one of their biggest disappointments. Originally marked as a multiple train controller system it was a precursor to the Digital Command Control, or DCC, system used today. The biggest problem with the Zero I was, not only was it expensive, the control made the locomotives run very rough, not smooth like they normally did. Also the engines that had a Zero I decoder in it couldn’t be used on any other system. This meant if you wanted to run your locomotive on your friend’s line, it couldn’t happen, the train just wouldn’t work.

Hornby has had its other complaints as well. One of the biggest complaints is the use OO scale, which is roughly 1:76. Since Hornby is still the UK’s leading OO scale manufacturer it’s no wonder why their name comes up in this issue. Many of the OO scale tracks are the same size as the HO scale tracks even though those trains are marginally bigger at 1:86. The complaint is that the OO scale trains, which can run on the larger HO scale track as well as its own, is not scaled correctly, making the OO scale one of the most inconsistent scales out there. That being said there are many enthusiasts out there that love the fact that you can put both scale of trains on the same track.

Although Hornby model trains have had their ups and downs they are still considered the train to own if you are looking for a quality UK train.