Which model railway train set should I buy?
With such a wide choice of train sets, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you, or perhaps you are buying as a gift and don't know where to start. This handy Train Set Buyer's Guide will help you to find the perfect set!
ANALOGUE OR DIGITAL?
Model railway train sets can be split into two basic types - analogue and digital.
ANALOGUE TRAIN SETS
An analogue train set is the simplest type of set, making it a perfect choice for children or those just starting out with the hobby. The power supply directly controls a single engine on the track - you can vary the speed and direction of one engine at a time on one circuit of track.
Each model train set includes everything that you need to get up and running - an engine, coaches or goods wagons, track, transformer and train controller - the layout can easily be expanded as your train set evolves over time by adding track extension packs, scenery and accessories.
Most analogue sets, engines and components can be upgraded to run under digital control, should you wish to upgrade to digital in the future. Look for the DCC Ready tag on products.
DIGITAL (DCC) TRAIN SETS
A digital or DCC (Digital Command Control) train set is a more sophisticated system - essentially, a digital chip in each engine is independently controlled by a central control centre (a Digital controller).
Digital train sets use a constant voltage across the rails and send additional electronic instructions to vary the speed and direction of individual locomotives and even control lighting and sound (if the locomotive has it). Run several locomotives at different speeds, in different directions on the same track!
You can also control track accessories such as points and signals from your controller, in addition to running locomotives with sound (look out for TTS locomotives).
It’s even possible to control DCC layouts with your PC via the eLink and RailMaster programme. For more information on this cutting edge system, take a look at our specialist RailMaster pages.
BEST FOR KIDS (OR BIG KIDS)
You're never too old for any of our train sets, however some will definitely appeal more to younger modellers. Many childrens' first love of trains is triggered by the iconic Thomas & Friends™ TV series and books, and we have a range of Thomas & Friends™ train sets that beautifully bring the characters to life.
To create extra interest, add additional characters (either an engine or rolling stock), points and/or a siding with a Track Extension Pack, extending the options for creative play.