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Hornby Trains - Always A Great Gift Idea

Updated on April 21, 2013

Hornby Caledonian

Hornby Caledonian
Hornby Caledonian | Source

Hornby Trains

If you're looking for a suitable gift for a child, especially a boy (although to be strictly politically correct there's absolutely no reason why girls should be excluded from this), then you could do a lot worse than look at something traditional. When it comes to traditional toys they don't come much more traditional than a train set.

Of course, kids today have plenty to keep them amused. There's always a hot new toy on the market - often linked with the latest kid's TV programme or movie. Video games are also extremely popular and account for a large part of the toy market today. You may be tempted to think of a train set as being old fashioned rather than traditional and wonder if it will be a well received gift.

If you're in doubt, then just ask any male of your acquaintance whether or not they can remember their first train set. Watch their face take on a dreamy expression as they travel back in time to the moment when they crept into the living room on Christmas morning and found that Santa had not only brought them the train set they wanted but been kind enough to set it up for them as well.

Your first train set is, for boys (and again apologies to any female model railway enthusiasts) almost like a rite of passage. It's a memory that will remain with you throughout childhood and beyond. And of course, if you are the gift giver, then you will probable acquire favourite aunt/uncle status rather rapidly. It really is a perfect gift.

Hornby Thomas The Tank Engine

Train Sets Appeal To A Wide Age Group

A train set can be a great gift for any child - over a very broad age range. Younger children may find something like the Thomas The Tank engine set entertaining. Thomas and his friends are extremely popular worldwide.

Slightly older children may find this a little too young for them of course - but they may be more interested in the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movie.

Both Thomas The Tank Engine and the Hogwarts Express have been very good sellers for Hornby in recent years.

Moving further up the scale, Hornby are probably best known for their detailed replicas of real trains. It's perhaps debatable whether or not these are toys or should be referred to as model trains. Certainly there are plenty of adults who collect them and enjoy them.

Famous locos, such as the Flying Scotsman, the Mallard and the Royal Scot are all available - either as individual locomotives or as part of a boxed up train set. However, if the golden age of steam isn't what interests you, you can also get workhorses like the type 52 diesel and the Virgin Pendolino electric train - currently to be found ploughing up and down the UK's mainline routes. The Hornby Virgin Pendolino comes as a boxed set and it even tilts when it goes round the bends in the tracks at speed - just like the real thing is supposed to do.

Class 52 Diesel

The class 52 diesel - a stalwart of the UK rail network for years.
The class 52 diesel - a stalwart of the UK rail network for years. | Source

Customising Your Train Set

One reason why Hornby trains make such a good present for a child is that the range can be expanded upon. Obviously a boxed and themed starter set is a very popular choice for Christmas and birthdays - but because Hornby have a standardised system, it's possible to expand.

Kids can use their imagination and add extra track. They can add new locos and carriages. They can even landscape their train set should they wish - Hornby also produce a range of model buildings, vehicles, people, farm animals, trees etc. (called the Skaledale range) to help with this. Different models are available to suit the set up of the individual train set. You can get buildings that look appropriate to the age of steam, cars and vans that would fit in with a '60s or '70s themed diesel electric set up and modern day wheelie bins if you're concentrating on a more modern look. Kids can really let their imagination run wild.

And of course, if your intended gift recipient already has their own starter set, you can simply give them a new train or some accessories to help make it even better.

The Flying Scotsman From Hornby


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    • Thamisgith profile image

      Thamisgith 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Lyndoman - I do hope you will let your son have a shot of "his" train set from time to time. Choosing it is definitely a big part of the fun isn't it?

    • lyndoman profile image

      lyndoman 6 years ago from London

      I'm getting a train set for Christmas, well me son is ;) It's a lot of fun just choosing and looking through the catalogues. I think I will go with Hornby, though. Cool hub btw

    • Thamisgith profile image

      Thamisgith 7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Sounds like your sons are lucky boys!

    • profile image

      Syreeta 7 years ago

      I have 2 sons and we are converting our loft for space for their hornbys I purchase mine from this shop

    • Thamisgith profile image

      Thamisgith 7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks for the comment BK -I knew that there were ladies who liked model trains!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Ooooh love that diesel. Love all these trains and I am an old lady by the way. Thanks for those videos. One fine day I want to pursue this hobby - for myself!

      I'll bookmark this for reference. Thanks so much!