Hornby Model Trains



2015-06-26 11:03:22

Hornby is a brand that almost any model train collector or aficionado can identify and recognize.

Vintage model trains made by this company are regarded as highly collectible and extremely valuable.

Locomotive sets that Hornby produced at the beginning of the 20th century sell for really high prices but are nonetheless highly sought after by hardcore collectors.


The history of Hornby can be traced back to Meccano Ltd, a company founded by Frank Hornby in the year 1901. It wasn’t until 1920 when the first Hornby model trains were released on the market. One thing that makes their train sets stand out from others is their high level of detail. Older train models made of tinplate are highly prized due to the fact that they are close to being identical in features to actual trains.

When trains made of plastic started to enter the market, Hornby found it hard to compete with other toy makers. It was only through some strategic acquisitions and buyouts that the company was able to outlast some of its contemporaries.

In the latter part of the 1960s, the company launched its pre-Nationalisation liveries for steam locomotives. Around the same time, Hornby also released their Battle Zone and Battle Space train sets to the market. The models though that became hugely profitable for the company during these years were the Evening Star, Flying Scotsman, Class 37, M7, Hymek, Coronation Class, Hall Class, and E3000.

In the 1970s, Hornby released new train models such as the A4, Patriot, Duchess Classes, King, and Footballer. But it was in their High Speed Train line that they were able to hit it big. This particular period proved to be very prolific for Hornby as they were also able to introduce a number of new coach designs to the market. It was also during this time when Hornby came out with a steam model of Stephenson's Rocket.

In 1986, Hornby officially became a publicly traded firm. During the same year, the company adopted a lot of changes and introduced a number of new train lines such as the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, which is based on a popular TV show, Class 91, Class 90, and Mk4 InterCity coaches.

To keep up with the times, the company relocated its production facilities to China in 1995. In the same year, Hornby came out with the Far East model, a modified Merchant Navy Class train. In 2003, this toy maker began producing its first commercial OO gauge steam train. In 2008, a new line of British diesel and steam trains were released by the company.

In 2010, due to problems in their China site, the company was forced to move back its manufacturing facilities to England. Today, the company continues to make trains that are highly regarded the world over.

Popularity among collectors

Model trains from this company are very popular among collectors. In fact it is not surprising to find rare 1930s Hornby model trains selling for more than £3000 in toy auctions.

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