The Best Hornby Train Set

The Best Hornby Train Set

With an abundance of choice when it comes to the best Hornby train set to buy, it can be difficult to choose the most suitable one for you. Perhaps you're buying the kids their first train set, are looking at getting into the hobby yourself, or maybe you're a seasoned collector - there's certainly a train set for you. Here we have identified some of the best Hornby train sets currently available for different age groups.

Best Train Set for Kids

The Highland Rambler Train Set

The Highland Rambler Train Set is an ideal starter set for children. This includes an 0-4-0 locomotive, four-wheel coach, wagon, and sufficient track for an oval circuit, in addition to the train controller and transformer.

The advantage of a train set like this is that it provides a good introduction to the world of model trains at a very reasonable initial cost. It is very expandable, with a wide variety of additional locomotives and accessories available, meaning that if your kids get more interested in train sets, it's easy to expand in the future.

The locomotive in this set is small with only four wheels, which makes it easy for younger children to operate and put back on the track. It will also be less fragile than larger alternatives, meaning it should stand up to harsher treatment.

Whilst this set would ideally come with a little more track, as previously mentioned there are many expansion packs that can be purchased later and are easy to integrate.

This is certainly up there as the best train set for kids currently on the market.

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Another very popular Hornby Train Set for kids is the Hornby Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train Set. This is a fantastic train set and is sure to be a hit with any Harry Potter fans!

Hornby Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train Set

Hornby R1234 Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train Set

This train set features locomotive number 5972, Hogwarts Castle, two maroon carriages, oval track, mat and controller. Hornby have produced a train set that is of great quality, features a fantastic level of detail, and is easy to assemble and use. Whilst this set is primarily aimed at children, anyone who's a Harry Potter fan is sure to have fun!

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Hornby Train Set Thomas the Tank Engine

For younger children, there are several Thomas the Tank Engine train sets available. Depending on the set these either come with a 'Thomas' or 'Percy' locomotive and a pair of wagons or carriages, some track to make an oval, and train controller. These can vary significantly in price, so you'll need to consider how long your child is likely to maintain their interest and for how long the set will be used, and balance this against the initial cost to determine whether it is worth purchasing. You may be better off with a train set like the Highland Rambler previously mentioned, as this will appeal to a wider range of ages.

Model Train Sets for Adults

Perhaps you've just got into model trains, or maybe you're restarting the hobby after spending some time away from the tracks. There are many good options for 'starter' model train sets for adults. One of the best options is the Mixed Freight Digital Train Set. This includes a J83 steam locomotive and a class 08 diesel (both in 0-6-0 wheel arrangement), along with a selection of wagons and track.

Hornby R1236 Mixed Freight Train Set

The previous sets mentioned in this article are all operated by Direct Current (DC). However, this set is DCC - meaning a digital controller is included. This essentially allows more operational control and flexibility, as each train can be controlled independently. For more information on this, check out our article on the differences between DC and DCC model trains.

This set represents good value and is a great cost effective introduction to the world of DCC model railways. It also provides a good base on which to start your model railway journey, and allows for easy expansion should this be required in the future.

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Hornby Train Sets Collectors

There are also a wide range of train sets available for collectors. The used market is likely to be the best port of call here. It's possible to find many Hornby trains for sale second hand that are suitable for collectors. Always do your due diligence prior to purchasing to ensure the product is genuine and in good condition for its age. Ideally view the items prior to purchase.

In addition to this Hornby occasionally release limited edition runs of certain train sets. These are certainly well worth adding to any collection of model trains. However, as these are produced in limited numbers, they usually sell out very quickly.

Hornby Train Set Flying Scotsman

The Hornby R1255M Flying Scotsman Train Set

An article looking at the best Hornby train set would not be complete without including the iconic LNER Class A3 Flying Scotsman locomotive. Famous around the world, this engine needs no introduction and a train set featuring this locomotive would appeal to almost anyone.

The set, of course, features a model of the legendary locomotive, in addition to three coaches, track, and controller. The included loco has the benefit of being DCC ready, meaning that it's very easy to use with a DCC setup if you upgrade in the future.

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Whether you're looking to rekindle a past love of model railways, or just getting started, this train set is sure to be a hit!


No matter your motivation for purchasing a train set, we hope to have provided a good overview of some of the potential options in this article. With such a variety available, there is going to be a train set to cater for a wide range of tastes and requirements, making it easy to find the best Hornby train set for you.

Be sure to do your research and shop around for the best deals. There are possible bargains to be had on the used market, however (as with all second-hand items), it's potentially a risk. If you're going down this route, be sure to purchase from a reputable seller and ensure the products are genuine items. Inferior quality imports or replicas often pop up - particularly on auction sites. These will almost certainly be a waste of time and money, as they will likely not run correctly or break down after significant use.

If a manufacturer's warranty is important to you, then definitely buy new - either direct from Hornby or an authorised dealer, to give yourself peace of mind should there be a problem.