When I was young, like many kids I had a Hornby train set. Living on the Isle of Wight, I’d forever be hanging around Shanklin Sports Shop figuring out how much I’d need to save to buy another locomotive. (Shanklin Sports Shop is a survivor of the Internet era and is still there after some 50 years, they even made it onto the Official board).
These days of course it’s so much easier to buy model railway stock and accessories online, and what prompted this post is that they’ve made it onto this week’s .
There are three options currently on eBay with up to 58% discount from the RRP. Up for grabs are the , the , and the . If you’ve not already got a Hornby train set you’re best bet is the Doncaster Sheffield Pullman Train Set as that includes an oval track.
What I was struck by most however is the difference in technology. Buying on the Internet is worlds apart from buying in the local toy shop, and Hornby Trains of today are vastly more complex than when I was a kid. Today Hornby trains have gone digital, and rather than varying the voltage on the line to drive the locomotive, each engine can have it’s own microchip allowing it to communicate with the control unit.
If you want to go really high tech, you can even hook your train set up to your computer for the full Hornby Digital experience. Program in your track layout and name your engines and you can set all your trains running and record their movements so that in the future you can simply sit back for some miniature train spotting.
If you want to go really mad you can register 254 locomotive addresses as well as 255 accessory addresses (signals, points etc) all onto the one controller, although you’d need a pretty big space to house that number of engines and associated rolling stock.
Christmas is coming, and doubtless there’ll be more than a few train sets given as gifts. If you’re buying one make sure you’re prepared to give over the family computer to run it!