Frank Hornby had introduced 'Mechanics Made Easy', later renamed 'Meccano', to little boys and their fathers in 1901. After WWI, he extended the range to include model railways and simple trains that could be built and dismantled. These were clumsy in appearance and unsuccessful as toys. However, unwilling to give up, Hornby developed a range of 0-guage clockwork trains, including the 1927 No.3 Flying Scotsman and the sought-after Private Owner vans.

Despite its dangerous mechanism, the first electric train was introduced as early as 1925, although clockwork examples remained popular. Prices for 1920s and 30s trains vary a great deal. A Hornby LMS locomotive could sell for around £50, while a rare Eton Southern Railways locomotive and tender could fetch £600-800.

Hornby scaled down its trains in the 1930s, to a size more appropriate for smaller homes, and introduced the successful Dublo 00 range. Dublo trains produced before 1940 can be valuable and a 1935 clockwork 0-guage may fetch over £1,000. Three-rail electric sets, produced from the 1930s until the late 1950s when Hornby resorted to cheaper two rail tracks, are also popular. Trains should be in good condition and boxes tend to increase value. Production of Hornby Dublo ceased in 1964 and the company merged with Tri-ang in 1965. Although Tri-Ang was disbanded in 1971, the train arm of the company continues today and focuses on the collector market.

Other sources

For more info & history read this Hornby page. Find more Hornby trains on and here an interesting thread on the value of a clockwork Hornby train.

Hornby Clockwork value and price guide

What's your 'Hornby Clockwork' worth? Here are some recently sold items (UK):

Item Title Date sold Price
Hornby Train Goods Set No 50 Clockwork O May 2019 £ 159,32
Hornby O Gauge Lner 460 444 Tank Apr 2019 £ 202,53
C1935 Hornby No 5 Meccano Clockwork May 2019 £ 125,00
Rare Hornby Meccano Tin Plate Clockwork Feb 2019 £ 120,00
Hornby O Gauge Sr No 29 No1 Tank May 2019 £ 78,31

Take a look at all sold Hornby Clockwork items on eBay for a value indication. If you're not sure what you have, you can post your question below.


Do you want to dive into the fascinating world of collectibles, and want to learn about value and identification? Discover more with these price guides on Amazon.

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