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Hornby's Railroad range includes items that were kid's trainset material from around 1970 onwards. It's no more fragile now than it was then, and trad trainsets remain available. The set track still on sale was what was in Triang-Hornby trainsets back then and is essentially unchanged over fifty years on

Now admittedly it is a limited selection, but I would assume that Hornby have a handle on what is saleable. But fundamentally other manufacturers would be falling over themselves to supply if there was strong demand: following the money being the name of the game.
 

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Interesting that Hornby seem like the only ones with an eye to future sales...
I would guess this has continued solely because of the brands serving the UK market, Hornby is the only one with a stash of long amortised tooling that can be used in this way: and there were retailers who knew there was demand still prepared to order. Now what with Hornby currently doing its best to disrupt retailer supply, it may well be that this activity is on its last legs.

Now, my opinion is that this is no problem. There will always be a fascination of the steel wheel on steel rail, but it will be an adult pursuit. Other similar hobbies (model boats and aircraft come to mind) are pretty much adult dominated now, whereas in the 1960s it was huge among teens. A current teenager wanting to do something with a practical element, will likely be more interested in building programmable items or operating a drone is my guess.
 

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Really? The 5 year old maniac in our family has a set track layout, Hornby J94 and N2, Bachmann class 25, Bachmann BR mk1 non gangwayed, Hornby wagons mostly, and I think all this kit is still currently available. The newest tooling would be the class 25 which must be near 20 years from introduction, the selection determined by what he has seen on preserved lines. These have crashes and all the rest, he loves it, nothing broken yet.

Well, that's if you except his arm, 'escaping from Loki' by jumping down the stairs in a single bound. See, he has other interests, and when he turns 6 in a couple of months, perhaps model railway will be old hat...

(By the time I was 10 my trainset controller probably got as much use generating hydrogen by electrolysis, as it did for running trains. When you are into war gaming involving shooting at the armoured train (H-D N2) with an air pistol, you need some way of producing 'safe' indoor explosions to contribute to the atmos.)
 

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Q.
... I just wish someone could start a budget line of simple models that can take a beating...
A.
... Hornby Railroad which is suitably provisioned with a big stash of long amortised models dating back to the 1960's and 1970's...
Those with opinions aligning with the question, please explain why this is not a solution.

..the cast-off second hand tat on Hattons' website that no-one will ever buy. Such a waste of good models...
Alternative conclusion, a useful supply of salvageable parts at low cost, from a wide range of outlets (that's from the perspective of living in the UK, not so applicable for those elsewhere.)
 

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One of the biggest issues I can see as has been highlighted by earlier posters is the starter trainsets which used to help get new people into the hobby have simply increased in price ludicrously...

I realise that I am a fair degree younger than many other posters, however remember clearly receiving a Hornby GWR Mixed-Traffic in 2004 as a birthday present. This was ~£50 then (now 18 years ago...!). This had in-box a couple of wagons/coach, circle of track and a siding. Some play-value for younger-me to get started.. Using the BoE's inflation calculator, this should be ~£73 in today's money...
Now that I can see. The BoE inflation calculator simply doesn't apply to imported consumer goods: effectively the UK and other Western economies were importing deflation on consumer products. This was pretty obvious to me at the time that Bachmann really got going on their Blue Riband product in the late 1990s, and I quickly 'filled my boots' with the items useful to me at that time, knowing this couldn't last. That's all history now, and the prices are what they have to be.
 

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... I think only Hornby are in a position to be able to address this because they are the only manufacturer who have been around sufficiently long to have accumulated a history of long-since amortised models which do provide Versatility. That places them in a unique cost position where they don't have to invest in the models other than for cost of production...
And even that easier starting position isn't currently the advantage it once was, due to restrictions in production capacity, increased production costs, and the competition for the production slots within the range. A lower cost production run for modest profit, or make the latest product which is sold out on release for a larger profit?

There's a simple and obvious answer for a business still climbing out of a lake of red ink. This may mean that in some people's opinion they are neglecting their longer term future potential customer base: but that's a problem for the future: right now it's about recovery to stable profitable trading, so that there can be a future for the business.

Good point, except they aren't usually low cost when one considers the level of damage that some have...
It's fair to say that larger traders with whole page ads in the mags are now rarely the s/h value proposition they once were. I am in the happy position of relatives dotted around the UK, most living in areas where expressions such as 'counting the pennies' , 'careful wi' me brass' and 'deep pockets, short arms' are still heard. This has a most useful effect on pricing in the local bricks and mortar outlets..:cool:.
 

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...Whatever happened to all the tooling from Wrenn, Lima and others? Surely it wasn't all shipped to China?
Wrenn tooling was sold on within the UK long before the move to China. Where it may be now who knows? History
The Lima group tooling - at least all of it from which there has been subsequent production - that'll be out of the UK, and most likely in China.
There was a redundant tooling clear out from Margate, not much left in the UK.
 

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... the repurposed hornby thomas loco would be a good enough e2 for a range like this. these models do exist yes, but you cannot call 67 a budget price. no parent will buy a child this, unless they're millionaires...
If the child wants it, that's easily affordable. Between mobile phones, games consoles, this year's replica sports kit and/or film character clothing, a bike, <insert trending item here> ; parents can be lashing out 10x that p.a. per child for what are toys. And this is people in regular jobs with mortgages on modest family homes: my sample of 'friends with kids' includes nurses, manufacturing operatives, motor mechanic, building labourer, social worker, LT driver, schoolteachers.

It's more about priorities: among the boys majoring on replica clothing and electronic games gear, with the girls the latest in mobile phones or they are apparently 'socially dead'; and it's a laptop or tablet as well, by the time they are in secondary education.
 
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