I started railway modelling (playing trains to be more precise) in 1972. I used HO Lima, Roco Fleischmann, Liliput, Trix, Kleinbahn,... For some years I tried Märklin.
But now I have my best working layout.I tried to standardize on one track system- Hornby and run Hornby rolling stock. Hornby tension lock couplers are not the most beautiful ones and the code 100 track is for from finescale. But all my steam (no diesel at the moment) locos run without derailments and without stalling I can shunt my trains over insulfrog points (OK-there is no pug on my layout). The couplings are to large but make hands free shunting possible as the Hornby uncoupler tracks and ramps work fine. I finished tracklaying on christmas eve and never cleaned track since - still no stalling as my Hornby locos have excellent power pick up. Unfortunately my layout is not really big and with only 5-6 coaches to tow it is difficult to get the wheels to slip when starting a heavy train (as did the prototype) so the locos are rather to string for my purpose. What could be improved? The back to back measurement of Hornby wagons is inconstant and could cause derailments before adjusted. This is done in matters of second but could be a problem for the novice without experience (first trainset....) More a problem are Bachmann wheelsets that seem not to run round and I cannot fix them, just replace at my expanse. While I have experienced quality issues with Hornby locos statistically they have been better then Roco and Märklin and after sales and repair service is where Hornby positively shines. I think Hornby customer care to be the best in the trade - important for me with no local trade supplying OO model trains. You can see I am a big Hornby fan now as I think I get best value for money from them. Last year I abandoned continental HO and wholeheartedly switched to modelling British 00 (being able to buy models of the worlds most beautiful steam locos of course helped...)
But now I have my best working layout.