One of the things that struck me when doing research for this website was that Frank Hornby intended his original Mechanics Made Easy (Meccano) to build models based around the railways. So it should come as no surprise that in 1915 Frank Hornby announced the move into model railways with Hornby Trains being launched in 1920, this time using his own name starting with a Tinplate LNWR 0-4-0 Locomotive.

no 2 loco

A Early Hornby O Gauge LMS 4-4-0

The range was quickly extended to 0-4-0's in LNWR, GNR and MR in company colours and interestingly made of nut and bolt construction similar to Meccano. The first Locos and rolling stock where freelance in design, although the colours where company co;ours the design was a representation of a loco rather than a scale model, however by the late 1920's new introductions where more of a scale model. The first locos where clockwork power however from the late 1920's electric became available.

 Early LNWR Wagon

A Early Hornby O Gauge LNWR 4 Wagon

As well as locos, coaches, wagons and tinplate buildings where available, with train sets being available from the start in 1920. Hornby dominated the O Gauge market in Britain during the inter war years. However after 1945, sales of O Gauge started to wane as the smaller OO Gauge became increasingly popular. The Hornby O Gauge range was very much reduced and finally ceased production in 1962

0-4-0 tenber BR Loco

A Later Hornby O Gauge BR 0-4-0




  • 1915 Meccano Ltd Announces Hornby Trains
  • 1920 Hornby O Gauge Launched
  • 1923 Group Liveries LMS and LNER replace liveries of previous companies
  • 1925 Electric power introduced
  • 1945 Limited Range reintroduced after World War 2
  • 1962 Production of Hornby O Gauge ceases