This is a difficult question to answer, as there are so many variables to consider with the breadth of model railways available.
The cost of model trains can range from £45 second-hand electric-powered train to a few thousand pounds for a real steam-powered garden train.
It all depends on the model trains size, quality, and features.
The most important factors to consider when determining the cost of model trains are:
- Size. The larger the model train, the more expensive it will be.
- Detail. A higher-quality model train will cost more than a lower-detail model train.
- Features. A model train with more features will cost more than a train with fewer features.
- A train set may be the most cost effective option when starting from scratch.
Please keep reading as we explain the options and give you example prices correct in June 2022
For the full story please read Model Railway Scales and Gauges Explained
At a scale of 2 millimeters per foot, N gauge model trains represent standard gauge railways.
Narrow Gauge trains on 2 foot gauge track at a scale of 4mm per foot are shown by OO9 gauge model trains.
OO Gauge model trains represent British Standard gauge railways at a scale of 4mm per foot
The term "OO Gauge" refers to British Standard gauge railways that are represented at a scale of 7mm Scale per foot.
Model Train Detail Level
As the push for more and more detail in model trains has increased since the 1980's.
Manufacturers have responded by using new technology and production techniques to pack in this extra detail to their model trains.
It used to be the case that such detail was only possible building your own model train with DIY Kits.
High detail levels lead to increased production costs and to more fragile locomotives.
To address the need for more robust entry level models and to reduce the impact on your pocket Hornby produce their Railroad range of models.
This range has the same level of detail and robust construction methods used in the 1980's, with better wheels and modern motors with the added option of plug in dcc controls for each model train.
Model trains built since 2015 are often available with one or more of these features:
DCC Ready - the model train comes with an industry standard plug in connection to upgrade to dcc control
DCC Fitted - the train is designed to be run using DCC control straight out of the box.
Directional Lighting - Directional lighting is sometimes included with a Diesel engine model train, and it alters the illumination to match the prototype based on the chosen heading.
DCC Sound - This means that the model train is equipped with real sounds recorded from real life prototypes.
The running sound effects vary according to speed and sound of the model train.
Extra sounds such as Whistles, Bells, and other control noises are also common.
model train costs
These guide prices were correct as of June 2022
N Gauge train prices
- Engine prices start from £90
- 4 Wheel waggons start from £11
- Coaches start from £27
OO9 Gauge train prices
- Engine prices start from £135
- 4 Wheel waggons start from £21
- Coaches start from £27
OO Gauge train prices
- Hornby Railroad entry level engine prices start from £50
- Hornby Detailed engine prices start from £50
- Hornby Dublo Collectors engine prices start from £350
- Bachman locomotives range in price between £120 and £400
- 4 Wheel waggons start from £24
- Coaches start from £47
O Gauge train prices
O gauge trains require more space and are scale models of Standard Gauge trains.
- Locomotives range in price between £190 and £600
- 4 Wheel waggons start from £54
- Coaches start from £147
Model Train set pricing
A model train set includes the model train, model rolling stock, all the track you need to get started and the controller.
A model train set is a fantastic way to get started and usually offer great value.
A Hornby model train set will cost from £80 to £220 and are usually based on a Hornby Railroad specification.
Bachmann model train sets are priced around £300
How much does it cost to build a model railway?
How to start a model railway - all you need to know
All you need to know about a first electric train set