Hornby Live Steam was launched in 2003 and sales at first were tremendous but fell sharply as the brand got a reputation for being difficult to control. A4 production stopped in 2004 but they only finally sold out in 2011.
I bought my first A4 in 2009, loved it and started taking LS to model railway shows in 2010 in a crusade to get Hornby to promote them. I couldn't understand why Hornby were not demonstrating them - viewers loved them but I was finding lots of people who had had them, crashed them and given up. Dealers I spoke to were often venomous having had customers bring them back either under guarantee - "wouldn't work properly" or wanting to trade them in. Second hand prices were rock bottom.
A small group of us fans started the OO Live Steam Club for self support should Hornby ever cease support. Incidentally, that support has been exemplary. Locos long out of guarantee were repaired FOC or for a very low price.
But, why did I enjoy my purchases when others had nothing but problems? It was 2 or 3 years before I found out........
I NEVER GOT AN INSTRUCTION BOOK!
I first bought a loco only - they dont come with instructions - and a second hand controller with hand-typed xeroxed instructions. When I actually read the Hornby Operator's Manual a couple of years later I realised why owners had such problems.
IF YOU FOLLOW THE ADVICE AND INSTRUCTIONS IN THE HORNBY OPERATOR'S MANUAL YOU WILL CRASH YOUR LOCOMOTIVE.
The OO Live Steam Club Roadshow invites people to 'Have a go' and we have had 4 year olds finding them perfectly easy to control.
One of Hornby's directors recently said to us "We let a halo product go".
But all is not lost - there are over 10,000 models out there waiting for a new lease of life with owners who have the correct instructions courtesy of the OO Live Steam Club.
and check this link