My first train set

By Sarah Palmer

It’s that time of year again when excited children start asking ‘how many sleeps till Christmas’, while flicking excitedly through toy catalogues and making lists for Santa.

Something that will bring excitement on Christmas Day, and hopefully spark a lifelong hobby, if the memories on the following pages (18-19) are anything to go by, is a train set.

The Hornby Junior Express Train is priced very attractively with an RRP of £39.99, and is designed so that the locomotive can run on a OO-gauge track.

I gave the set to my five-year-old son and his friend to play with to see what they thought of it.

His first reaction when it came out of the box was: “Wow! A big, big carriage and two trains.” Okay, his railway lexicography is a bit off, but you get the gist. He was pretty excited.

Little fingers were able to put the carriages together easily.

We tested Marklin’s My World set in last December’s RMM, which we reviewed very favourably, although, at four at the time, he was a little bit too young for it.

This year, at just turned five, he’s probably at the right age for this Hornby set, which seems to be pitched at a younger market than the Marklin My World range.

It has some attractive detailing on the power car, carriage and dummy car. It certainly looked impressive when put together; in striking red, yellow and silver, it’s reminiscent of a Pendolino, and looks like a more ‘grown up’ model train, certainly more so than the Big Jigs’ wooden Thomas engines he’s used to playing with.

As you can see the track is plenty big enough for two to sit inside and play.

The detailing strikes a nice balance between creating an attractive model and limiting anything easily damaged, or broken off. As I have a regular pile of things ‘for mummy to mend’ in our house, I appreciate toys that look as though they will make it intact past the eating of turkey leftovers on Boxing Day.

The front car takes just two AA batteries. A limited and simple battery requirement is always a bonus on Christmas Day or birthdays, unless you’re lucky enough, like my son, to have a very organised bachelor uncle who always provides battery packs with his presents.

For the full article, see November’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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