What Are the Different Types of Hornby Locomotives?

Views 3 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
What Are the Different Types of Hornby Locomotives?

Model locomotives have been an extremely popular hobby for some years with the young and old being able to become enthusiasts thanks to one British company in particular – Hornby.

This following guide explains the history of the company, the vast amount of locomotive varieties available and how to buy one safely and securely using eBay.

The History of Hornby

Hornby was formed back in 1901 when Frank Hornby received his first patent for a Meccano construction toy and the firm’s railway arm was formed.

The first clockwork locomotive was produced in 1920 and that was to be the power behind Hornby trains for the next 30 years.

1938 saw the firm introduce the 00 Scale trains under the Hornby Duplo brand that remain the standard for the company today. The trains also ran on the same 12V DC power supply that is only now being phased out to make way for DCC power.

This led to it gaining a march on its competitors and saw that 00 Gauge became the standard for model trains in the UK.

The next significant development in the company’s history came in 1964 when rival Tri-ang Railways’ parent company Lines Bros purchased Meccano and created Tri-ang Hornby to cover both firms.

More change followed as Tri-ang’s was disbanded due to bankruptcy and Hornby Railways, or Hornby Hobbies Limited as it’s known today, was born.

Getting Started With Hornby

Hornby has made it easy for everyone to get started with model trains with a large variety of different packs available to help budding enthusiasts start their collections.

Apart from these packs there is also the option to begin from scratch by buying everything separately and building up a collection that way.

Buying Hornby items from eBay means be able to do either of these and the following table explains the main components that need to be bought when starting off the hobby:

Component

Description

Baseboard

Most collectors start off here as a solid and flat base to start building a layout.

Size preferred by many is 6ft x 4ft, although much depends on the room that it’s put in.

TrakMat

Available directly from Hornby and provide a set layout over which the track can be laid out easily.

Don’t allow for as much personalisation but are an excellent starting point for beginners.

Track

Come in a variety of different formats, lengths and sizes.

Needs to be tacked onto the baseboard when a layout is decided upon.

Power Supply

DC and DCC power are the two types of power available.

Type of locomotive dictates which type your set will use.

Scenery

TrakMats feature scenery ideas and it can be a good place to start with the customisation of a train set.

Locomotives

Run round the tracks that are laid down and come in various different guises.

Types include Steam, Diesel, Electric, DCC-fitted and DCC-ready.

Locomotive Power

There are two distinctive ways that Hornby locomotives are powered and each requires a different type of settings to make it function correctly.

The following bullet-point list outlines the different power systems available with a short description alongside:

  • Diesel & Electric – The most common locomotives manufactured by Hornby are powered by electricity and come in a number of elaborate designs. All diesel locomotives are powered by electric current and the words electric and diesel are regularly interchanged for both so exercise caution when buying them.
  • Steam– Locomotives are powered entirely by a steam system that is entitled Live Steam. The engines are very close to the real thing and emit steam like a real-life train would. Hornby sells the liquid that feeds the small boiler inside each locomotive

DCC and DC Control

In recent years Hornby has started to release trains that use a new power system entitled DCC that is more advanced than the original DC 12V system that powers most of the firm’s collection.

The table below explains the two controllers and what marks each one out:

Power

Description

DC Controller

Control speed using one wheel.

All trains are kept going by one controller and to control each one individually a number of controllers are needed.

More affordable and good for beginners.

Larger number of locomotives are available, both new and used, as the system has been Hornby’s standard for decades.

DCC Controller

Every train in a set can be controlled individually and easily.

The LCD controller is linked to a small computer inside each train that influences speed, direction and anything else the train can do.

Fewer wires as there is only one controller.

A lot more complex than a DC controller.

There are a lot fewer locomotives available with the chips ready fitted.

Difficult to convert older locomotives to use the system.

Hornby Locomotives Wheel Arrangements

Hornby locomotives are modelled on their real-life counterparts right down to the differing wheel configurations that can be bought.

The table below outlines the wheel configurations that can be bought as well as a description alongside each:

Wheels

Description

0-2-2

Also referred to as the rocket and features one large wheel and a smaller one behind it.

0-4-0

Two larger wheels attached by an axle.

0-4-2

Two wheels attached by an axel and a smaller wheel at the back.

0-4-4

Two wheels attached by an axel and two smaller wheels at the back.

0-6-0

Three wheels attached to each other by separate axles.

0-6-2

Three wheels attached to each other by separate axles and one smaller wheel at the back.

1-CO-CO-1

Two separate sets of four smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

2-10-0

Smaller wheel at the front and five larger wheels all attached to each other by axles.

2-6-0

One smaller wheel at front and three larger wheels attached by axles.

2-6-2

One smaller wheel at front, one at the rear, and three larger wheels attached by axles.

2-6-4

One smaller wheel at front, two at the rear, and three larger wheels attached by axles.

2-8-0

Smaller wheel at the front and four larger wheels all attached to each other by axles.

4-2-2

Two smaller wheels at front, one at the rear, and one large wheel in middle.

4-4-0

Two smaller wheels at front and two larger wheels attached by an axle.

4-6-0

Two smaller wheels at front and three larger wheels attached by axles.

4-6-2

Two smaller wheels at front, one at the rear, and three larger wheels attached by axles.

4-6-4

One smaller wheel at front, two at the rear, and three larger wheels attached by axles.

AIA-AIA

Two separate sets of three smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

B-B

Two separate sets of two smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

BO

Two smaller wheels.

BO-BO

Two separate sets of two smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

C-C

Two separate sets of three smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

CO-BO

One set of two and one set of three smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

CO-CO

Two separate sets of three smaller wheels attached to the base of the engine.

How to Buy Hornby Locomotives on eBay

There are thousands of different varieties when it comes to Hornby locomotives and huge numbers are available to buy on eBay. Whether it’s a used item or brand new, the sellers are extremely knowledgeable and will be able to guide you through every step of the buying process.

To search for a Hornby locomotive first visit the Collectables category and scroll down to Trains/ Railway Models and click on it. On the following page select Hornby under the Brand menu on the left hand side and once the next page has loaded, select Locomotives under Product Type.

To narrow down the selection even further you can search by Method of Power, Sub-Type and Condition using the parameters listed on the left hand side of the screen.

For some items, it’s easier to search using eBay’s extensive search feature. This can be done by typing in the search terms into the search box present at the top of every eBay page.

When the buyer is ready to finalise the purchase they can place a bid, click the Buy it Now button or place their Best Offer.

Safety Considerations When Buying

Buying items from eBay means taking a little more care than with other methods and the site gives buyers the chance to do this by providing a transaction history for every user.

Before bidding for any items on eBay be sure to look through the transaction history carefully and study any negative feedback that has been left. If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to Ask the Seller in order to find out more.

When you’re ready to make a bid, read the conditions of sale another few times to check everything is in order.

Conclusion

Hornby locomotives are the lifeblood of the British model railway system and there are thousands of varying types of available to buy on eBay. Before buying one of the trains, there are a few major questions to ask yourself, including:

  • Do you want the train to be powered by Steam or Electricity?
  • Is your set able to use DCC or just DC?
  • Are all the other components in place for the train set to work?

None of these questions should in any way limit the buyer and the final decision always rests with you.

Once ready to complete the purchase use PayPal to make sure it goes through smoothly.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides