Hornby currently have a range of very mixed origin and we need to discriminate quite carefully before generalising.
Firstly, I do think the haulage qualities of Triang are being viewed with rose tinted spectacles .
I've just looked up Pat Hammond's books , which reproduce the original Rly Modeller reviews for many of the items.
Cyril Freezer's review of the Lord of the Isles (RM Sept 61 - Hammond, Triang p153) notes "the locomotive , once it was run in, could handle 4 coaches on the level and 2 up a 1 in 20 test grade" This was on nickel silver rail. The motor fitted was in fact the XT60. This model has never, with any chassis, been able to haul much
CJF's review of the EM2 (RM Dec 61 - Hammond , Triang p 155) says "on nickel silver rails it will comfortably haul 4 coaches without extra adhesive weight". This confirms my recollection of the Triang Hornby 6 wheel motor bogie as totally gutless. A Co-Co that can only manage 4 coaches is dire - new generation Hornby Co-Cos like the 50 , 31, and 60 will haul many times that
Of the original Britannia , RM had this to say ""the load haulage , however being limited by the adhesive weight. It will of course , haul the shorter trains that are normally found on proprietary layouts" (RM Aug 60 - Hammond, Triang p151)
In contrast , Doug's review of the new Hornby Britannia shows it hauling 15 coaches [Sticky , above]
Of the L1 "On test we found the usual trouble with 4-4-0s in model form was present to some extent and the adhesion was insufficent to enable the motor's full power to be usedHowever the locomotive could haul 5 coaches on the level and 3 up a grade of 1 in 25". (RM Sept 60 - Hammond p149)
No comments on the haulage of the B12 are given , but I do struggle to credit thetriangman's claim elsewhere of 25 coaches using a vintage mechanism
As far as the modern models are concerned, the Limby rereleases are open to a degree of criticism but it can easily be overdone. The new 4 wheel motor bogie runs very smoothly and is capable of far better slow speed running than the old Lima pancake. It's certainly better engineered . The DMUs (and I believe the 73) have all wheel pick up and running across pointwork and less clean track benefits accordingly. The rereleased models come DCC Ready
The seems to be an emerging view that power is not really the problem with this little motor bogie - the issue is adhesion , and that it needs more weight than it gets out of the box
(See Sol's thread on the 73:
I don't think it's especially suitable for locos such as the 73, though 50g is a pretty small amount of extra weight to add. As a DMU bogie its perfectly reasonable and I'm happy enough with my 156
But it is the same price as a Bachmann 108, the mechanism isn't as refined and it doesn't have lights
On the other hand the Limby 66 clearly won't pull the skin off a rice pudden , and actually costs more than the excellent Bachmann 66 which will pull anything you hang on the back of it . This is a model Hornby really should not have released
Then there's the Pendolino. Hornby don't have their own centre drive Bo-Bo mechanism so they've reused the old Eurostar motor bogie. It runs well enough , has 6 wheel pick up but there must be a question mark about the ability to shift 9 coaches. On the other hand , without this model the WCML post 2002 could not be modelled. There seem to be no real complaints about the mouldings or accuracy. It's the same price as a Bachmann Voyager , the mechanism is inferior , but if you want to model our most important group of main lines , you need a Pendolino and this is the only game in town
However the question is whether we should benchmark Hornby by their new stuff (eg the 60, the Gresley Pacifics , Britannia and the M7; or this year's Scot and 56) or by the Lima rereleases , which were more or less thrown in for good measure - they bought the Rivarossi tooling for the Continental stuff. Or by models developed a decade or more ago (like the 91, 86, 29, VDA) . Or by vintage stuff like the B12, Dean Single and 37 - all 4 decades old.
A bit of a curates egg, Hornby. But I would not accept that the newly developed Chinese stuff is worse than what they were producing a decade or two ago.
Their prices are a little bit higher than Bachmann, across the board - except for big new steam [ And how many times has it been said on here that British models are too cheap and that locos should be more expensive?]
As far as coaching stock is concerned the Maunsells will be priced at £20, and the Bachmann Mk1s are excellent value
Ref BritHO's comments - I believe the issue with the cheap can motor is that it is a sealed unit so there is no access to replace the brushes when they wear out. This is certainly fitted to the cheap 0-4-0Ts , and evidently to the Terrier. What they have fitted to the old chassis under the Single and B12 I don't know. But the prestige new steam engines use something completely different as do the diesels - all of them , whether pancake or centre drive or Limby. It's misleading to suggest that the disposable can is Hornby's standard motor