The Best Hornby Model Train Layouts

The Best Model Train Layouts

Over the years, Hornby model trains have got the best review from train hobbyists. The Hornby brand is a common mention with most people regardless of their expertise – whether beginner, intermediate or experienced.

Having been producing high-quality train models with the best merchandise assembly, the Hornby brand continues to gain significant traction across the United Kingdom as no other brand comes close to it.

Their train sets provide you with an amazing opportunity to start your own collection from scratch or just add more layouts to what you have.

From vintage steam railways to high-speed railroads, Hornby produces a large variety of model train toys. Regardless of whether you want to start or expand your already existing train layout, Hornby has definitely got something that will suit your needs and taste.

Their models are designed in such a way that they are compatible with either the analogue OO-gauge or the most recent DCC layout sets that are controlled digitally. The availability of digital model train layouts for those who want to upgrade from analogue makes the Hornby model train sets more attractive.

To give you one of a kind experience, the Hornby model train layouts are authentically designed and resemble real trains with their minute details. The model sets have everything – coaches, track, goods wagons, train controller or transformer or the Hornby TrakMat – that you will need to get the ball rolling. If you are in search of one and have no idea where to start, don’t worry, you came to the right place. Our review has the best Hornby train model sets that will appeal to your preference and need.

What it is

The Hornby model trains layouts are largely produced for railway hobby. Hornby is a known UK brand that designs and produces model railways.

The Hornby company was founded by Frank Hornby who lived between 1863 and 1936. The establishment of the company begun in a unique way. In 1901, Frank applied for a patent in order to protect his invention. He names it ‘Improvements in Toy or Educational Devices for Children and Young People’. At the time, no one had an idea of how big the brand would grow to become and influence it would have on the model railway hobby.

The Hornby train models have a rich history dating back to the 19th century. After getting his patent approved, Frank begun producing the models. He kept moving factories to new spaces in search of enough space. The first train model known as Meccano was produced and is a classic of all time.

Hornby begun by producing the O gauge locomotives during the First World War. The fact that Meccano was gaining a lot of traction made them introduce new lines of train toys by 1920. At the time, they were powered by clockwork motors that were of exceptional quality. These motors were designed from metal pressings that were held together by nuts, bolts and were ‘0’ gauge in size.

They became an instant success and have continued to experience tremendous growth up to date. Hornby went ahead to introduce more accessories and engines that gave users a unique experience.

The year 1925 saw the production of the first electric train by Hornby that operated from an electric supply of 100 – 250 volts. In 1929, there had been massive industrial changes which of course made it possible for the company to make electric models that were much safer and worked from a DC source.

Hornby has continued to grow and become unrivaled in the train model layout industry and enjoys a large market share.

What to look for

There are several things that you need to have in mind when buying the Hornby model train layouts regardless of whether you are a beginner or an expert.

  1. Age

The Hornby might not be suitable to people of all ages. Not all kids may be interested in the train model layout. It may not be their fun thing to do. As such, when considering getting a kid or adult a Hornby train model, you need to factor in their age. Ask yourself whether they will like it and how long are they likely to use it. Remember, this is an investment.

  1. Interest

What may seem interesting to you may not appeal to appeal to someone else. If you are buying it as a present for your kid or friend, you should consider their interest and the exact model they’d be interested in – analogue or digital. This way, you don’t end up buying a model toy that they won’t use.

  1. Budget

Of course, Hornby model trains are expensive. You might be asking yourself whether it’s worth the price. Yes, it is. Hornby is by far the only company that has set the pace for the production of model train layouts. As such, they are worth every coin and are of high-quality. When considering what Hornby model train to buy, ensure you consider the price of the available options and whether they fit your budget.

  1. Size

A complete model train layout takes up a lot of space. Therefore, when buying one, you need to consider the amount of space you have available. Moreover, most people with time want to add to their collection. Ensure the room you have can easily accommodate the models so as to have fun.

  1. Design

Design is of course, very key when you want to buy a Hornby model train layout. Here, you will need to factor in the track, gauge, layout and whether its analogue or digital. Having a rough idea of the design model you want to spend money on will easily help you when it comes to decision making.


If you are here, then you are definitely thinking of starting a model train layout collection or adding to your already existing one. We know how hard it can be to make a decision on which one to buy. I mean, don’t all decisions that involve purchases of hobby stuff seem hard sometimes?

However, don’t fret, we’ve got your back. Our review will give you the best options of Hornby model train layouts to consider regardless of your level of expertise. our review list has factored in all the points on what to look for hence makes it quite easy for you to decide on what train model to go for.

Our review list has both the analogue sets and Digital Command Control (DCC) sets.

  1. The Hornby West Coast Highlander



The West Coast Highlander allows you to reminisce about the golden days of trains that would carry goods across hills and valleys to their destination. It has four wagons with two of them being open, a petrol tank and a closed van. With an extra track, a point and a buffer stop, the West Coast Highlander train set is quite operational allowing you to easily shunt it between tracks.  It has 0-4-0 tank engine capacity. In addition to the great tank capacity, the West Coast Highlander is a great train set for a beginner or an experienced train hobbyist. This is made possible by the assortments available that include sheds, signals, telegraph poles and a water pump. This makes it easier for users to transform the train set from a basic one to a fully functioning model railway layout.

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  1. Hornby Western Master



Of course, the thing that makes DCC train sets more attractive is the fact that they offer a lot more flexibility and control. This therefore means that they are more expensive than the analogue train sets. The Hornby Western Master definitely falls under this category. This Hornby set has a 0-6-0 GWR tank locomotive and three wagons – an open wagon, a brake van and a low loader wagon. For space, this DCC train set will require 1600 by 1180 millimeters of space. The extended track layout has an oval track that makes it easier for siding and buffer stop. The e-Link control unit allows you to control the train layout from a laptop or PC. However, in the purchase, these are not included and have to be bought separately or make do with what one already has.

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  1. The Hornby Country Flyer Train Layout



The early train days in Britain saw small trains crisscrossing the countryside. The Country Flyer is designed to help train model enthusiasts relieve those days. The set includes a 0-4-0 steam tank, a 4-wheel passenger coach, an open wagon, an oval track and an R8250 analogue controller. The 0-4-0 tank model is a common one on most of Hornby’s model train layouts. Hornby’s Country Flyer liveries – the passenger coach, the wagons – make this model attractive for beginners. However, since it lacks a wide range of accessories, beginners may not be able to create a full layout train set.

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  1. The Hornby Somerset Belle



If you are looking for the perfect train to start your digital train model layout collection, then the Somerset Belle is a must have. The 0-6-0 tank engine is a much better deal compared to the Western Master. This makes it easy for it to fully handle the three wagons. The Hornby Select control unit has multiple accessories with up to 38 points and 60 locomotives. Moreover, the amazing functionality coupled with the available accessories makes it easy for one to slowly upgrade and get a full functioning model train layout. The Hornby Somerset Belle DCC Select Controller makes it easy to operate and is understand thus providing a unique experience to enthusiasts. Anyone looking to for a model train set that will give them multiple functionality and a lot more accessories should definitely go for the Somerset Belle.

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  1. The GWR Passenger Freight by Hornby

This Hornby model train set requires space of 1575 mm by 1143 mm. The engine tank capacity is 0-4-0 which makes it easy to shunt the train’s two open wagons and the 4-wheeled passenger or freight coach. The ova track has an extra siding that allows one to put any of the wagons and pick them again as the train moves along the circuit. The set comes with a midimat where you can place the track before starting the ride. Moreover, you can purchase additional tracks to give the GWR Passenger Freight model train a full model layout. Included in the set is a train controller, a midimart, a trakmat, power track, two wagons, a coach and wall mounted power unit for control.

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  1. The Mixed Freight DCC



The four wagons are no heavy fit for the 0-6-0 diesel tank engine that the Mixed Freight DCC by Hornby offers. Once assembled, this set gives you an epic entry into the digital model train world. With two DCC locomotives that are fitted and ready to use, you can’t go wrong with a Hornby Mixed Freight and is also worth the price. Each loco has an independent control regardless of whether they are using the same track. With several points available, the train can easily shunt the wagons around the circuits with a stop at the BR 0-6-0 J83. These can then be reversed to the front of 08. The engines can be programmed to work together making it possible to move the train off the track. The fact that it’s possible to add additional tracks makes it flexible for one to construct a fully functional train model.

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  1. The Hornby Flying Scotsman



The best world train feature sets can only be found in the Hornby Flying Scotsman. This model train layout enables you to recreate the golden days of traveling in a train back in the 1930s. The striking resemblance to the A1 Flying Scotsman helps you relieve old memories when the LNER and LMS competed for passengers between Scotland and London. The set has a LNER 4-6-2 tank engine and three coaches. The large oval track has a siding that makes it possible to stop the train along the circuit. With additional track layouts, once can be able to transform the train from a basic model to a fully functional one. Additionally, you can add coaches to the train model.

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