Between the two World Wars, O Gauge dominated the British Model Railway Markets. However in the 1920's technology with electric motors had advanced enough for manufactures to look at smaller scales. In Germans Bing announced the Table Top Railway at half O scale or 3.5mm to an inch called HO. From Bing sprang the German Trix Company however to avoid Nazi persecution the inventors fled to Britain and set up a British Trix company in association with Bassett-Lowke.

British Locos where smaller than their continental counterparts, manufacturers struggled to get the new smaller electric motors into the models. To give themselves more room they increased the scale to 4mm to a foot, but left the track gauge at 3.5mm, calling the new scale OO. It was this scale that Meccano Ltd decided it need a stack in the market thus in 1938 Meccano Ltd launched Hornby Dublo.

Hornby Dublo Tank Loco

A Hornby OO BR 2-6-0

In hindsight 1938 was not a good time to launch a new product as World War 2 was looming on the horizon, and started in 1939. By 1941 wartime shortages had forced the ceasing of production. However in the year before the war Hornby had launched two locomotives the A4 Pacific LNER Sir Nigel Gresley and a LNER N2 0-6-2 tank loco that was also produced in LMS,GWR and SR colours, on cast metal bodies all available with the choice of clockwork or electric motors. Some rolling stock, track along wood buildings.

hornby dublo coach

A Hornby OO Mail Coach

It was 1947 before new stock reached the shops. the locos and rolling stock where equipped with a new Peco automatic coupling., clockwork motors where never reintroduced, buildings where now in Diecast Metal. A new Loco the LMS, 'Duchess of Atholl,' was introduced.


In 1953 following the nationalization of the railways, Hornby Dublo dropped the 4 regional companies liveries in favor of the new British Railways. New locos introduced included the 2-6-4 standard tank, the Castle, 8F and Bo-Bo diesel loco

hornby dublo tanker

A Hornby OO Tank Wagon

During the inter war years Meccano Ltd and Hornby Railways had dominated their respective markets. However by the 1950's plastic injection moulding was making its make, with Triang Railways increasingly taking a larger share of the OO market with its plastic locos and rolling stock and 2 rail system compared with Hornby Dublo's 3 rail track. Hornby Dublo had no alternative but to compete with Triang, thus in 1958 rolling stock appeared in plastic whilst 2 rail locos followed in 1959.

hornby dublo train set

A Hornby OO BR Set

This competition was proving too strong for Hornby Dublo with the cheaper Triang and Playcraft sets taking most of the christmas markets by the early 1960's. With Meccano also in decline by 1963, it was decided to end production of Hornby Dublo. The following year 1964 with Meccano Ltd in a dire financial position the company was put up for sale, with Lines Brothers the owner of Triang taking over the company. The name Hornby was added to the Triang name to become Triang-Hornby, however its stock was taken almost entirely from the Triang range. The Hornby Dublo tools where sold to another Lines Brothers company G&R Wrenn who produced the former Hornby Dublo stock under there own name from the 1960s up until 2001


    1938 Meccano Ltd Launches Hornby Dublo
  • 1941 Production Ceases due to Wartime Shortages
  • 1947 Post War models introduced
  • 1953 British Rail Colours adopted across the range
  • 1958 Plastic Rolling Stock introduced
  • 1959 2 Rail power system adopted
  • 1963 Meccano Ltd cease production of Hornby Dublo
  • 1964 Lines Bothers take over Meccano Ltd
  • 1965 Triang Railways become Triang Hornby
  • 1966 Hornby Dublo tools sold to G&R Wrenn