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Building a Model Railway

Buying a Hornby train set is the ideal way to start your model railway collection, but what other Hornby products are available to help you take that first step from train set to model railway?  Whether building your first TrakMat layout, or extending your train set to a larger model railway layout, the basics are the same - you need to know how to lay down track, add electrical connections and scenic your layout.


The Hornby Book of Model Railways

Knowledge Base Base Build a Model Railway BooksThe Hornby Book of Model Railways 2nd edition aims to encourage anyone who is interested in model railways.  Starting with the basics, it is a book for beginners, more experienced modellers and especially for those who just want to know what railway modelling is all about.  The book has been compiled with the close co-operation of Hornby and looks at the Hornby range in depth.  The book is packed with hints and tips for easy layout building, scenic and structure modelling, track laying, wiring and all the other aspects of the model railway hobby.  The book features a foreword by James May.

The Hornby book of Scenic Railway Modelling is a companion book to the Hornby book of Model Railways and goes into much more detail of how to make your layout work for you. One of the most rewarding aspects of railway modelling is creating a world in miniature for your trains to run in. This book details a range of simple but effective techniques and useful tips and tricks for making scenic landscapes from the Age of Steam through to the modern day.

Both books are available to buy online from Posthouse Publishing


Hornby TrakMats

All Hornby train sets come with a TrakMat - a scenic underlay sheet which you can use as a base for your layout at any stage in its development . A TrakMat also tells you where to put the track, buildings and other accessories to complete the full TrakMat layout.

Knowledge Base Base Build a Model Railway TrakMat



Knowledge Base Base Build a Model Railway Baseboard

Wherever you use your TrakMat, it must have a firm base to be put on.  The easiest way of doing this is to construct a baseboard.  There are many ways of building a baseboard, but the most popular and standard construction is to use a top surface of insulation board such as Sundeala, with a supporting frame of softwood battens (minimum 50mm x 25mm) running along and across the underside of the board at intervals of 600mm or less.

This type of baseboard can be constructed to almost any size and shape, although for a TrakMat layout, the baseboard will have to be a minimum of 1800mm x 1200mm (6ft x 4ft) in size.


Track Extension Packs

Extend your set in easy steps by adding Hornby Track Extension Packs all the way to the full layout pictured on your TrakMat scenic underlay sheet.

R8221 Extension Pack A

Add Extension Pack A to the Starter Oval supplied with the smaller Hornby train sets to make this layout.

Build A Model Railway Extension Pack A

R8222 Extension Pack B

Add Pack B to the Starter Oval + A to make this layout.

Build A Model Railway Extension Pack B

R8223 Extension Pack C

Add Pack C to the Starter Oval + A + B to make this layout.

Build A Model Railway Extension Pack C

R8224 Extension Pack D

Add Pack D to the Starter Oval + A + B + C to make this layout.

Build A Model Railway Extension Pack D

R8225 Extension Pack E

Add Pack E to the Starter Oval + A + B + C + D to make this layout.

Build A Model Railway Extension Pack E

R8226 Extension Pack F

Add Pack F to the Starter Oval + A + B + C + D + E to achieve the full TrakMat layout.

Build A Model Railway Extension Pack F

Download the full Track Geometry.


TrakMat Accessory Packs

The TrakMat layout also gives you space to add a variety of buildings, which are available in these TrakMat accessory packs.

Build A Model Railway Accessory Pack 1Build A Model Railway Accessory Pack 2Build A Model Railway Accessory Pack 3Build A Model Railway Accessory Pack 4Build A Model Railway Accessory Pack 5

  • Pack 1 contains a platform, station building and signal.
  • Pack 2 contains a water tower, railway cottage, and various trackside accessories.
  • Pack 3 contains a larger curved platform and platform shelter with luggage and accessories.
  • Pack 4 contains a loading shed, railway cottage and trackside fencing.
  • Pack 5 contains a goods shed, signal box and signal.


Scenic Materials

Adding grass, hedges, vegetation and gravel is easy with the SkaleScenic range from Hornby.  The SkaleScenic range features a broad selection of scatters, grasses and gravels to build up the natural trackside environment.  Highly detailed trees are available in various shapes and sizes, as well as an Eco range of trees designed to fill a large area at an affordable cost.

Build a Model Railway SkaleScenics



Light up the homes, shops, stations and pubs with ease using SkaleLighting products.  Using the bulbs, wires and mini extension blocks it is easy to light up virtually any building from the Skaledale range of buildings.  For best results we recommend painting the inside of the builds black.

Build a Model Railway SkaleLighting


Power and Control

Once you have your baseboard built, TrakMat fixed down and track in place, it is a simple task to plug in Hornby's standard power supply system - the transformer plugs into the controller, the controller plugs into the power clip and the power clip plugs into the track - all these items come with your train set.

Build a Model Railway Power and Control

However, to control the full TrakMat layout, you will need at least one more controller, so you can control two trains or more at the same time on different circuits. The Hornby HM2000 controller is a complete transformer and speed control unit in one, with built-in control for two separate trains and bi-directional running.

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