Hornby R8206 vs R8241 power straight – What’s the difference?

Hornby R8241 power straight piece

We are quite frequently asked what’s the difference between a Hornby R8206 and R8241 power straight.  In a nutshell, the first is for analogue, the latter is for digital layouts.  But why?


Hornby R8206 power straight

The Hornby R8206 standard power straight is designed for analogue layouts and replaced the old power clip (R602) and wire system.  While providing a better and more reliable connection, it also features a component to reduce interference.  With older layouts you could generate interference and that is reduced using this power straight.

In a similar way, the original R602 power connecting clip and digital power clip from Hornby have the same type of components…


Hornby R8241 power straight

Now the R8241 digital power straight does not feature these interference reducing components.  This is because the digital DCC system can be impacted by them.

While we have had customers use the analogue power straight when the digital is unavailable, it isn’t recommended for DCC layouts.  All Hornby digital train sets come with the digital track piece as standard, and replacements are usually always available.

As we said earlier, you can use the Hornby R8242 digital power clip, particularly if you are looking to fit your power connection on curved track.  It is also common that people prefer the appearance of just the clip as they can hide the cable on permanent model railway layouts.


Model railway track design

We offer a track design service, and at your request can produce versions with or without the power straight track piece or clip.  This can be done to your taste, and can almost prove the theory of the layout you are trying to build without wasting track parts.

If you need any further help or advice, please get in touch with us by phone on 01305 820048 or email us at sales@islandrailways.co.uk…

Last Christmas posting dates for 2018

Hornby Santa's Express Christmas Train Set

With Christmas fast approaching, we’ve been given the recommended last posting dates for orders to arrive on time!  As we sell all over the world, we’ve put dates to help all of our customers…

We have a daily same-day process cut-off time of 1pm, however this is subject to stock.  Order early to avoid disappointment, particularly on popular model railway products.



UK customer last posting dates

We have two postage options for our UK customers.  You may find as we get closer to Christmas that your order may be shipped using a different courier, subject to their demands and workloads, to keep orders arriving on time.


Royal Mail Standard

If you select Royal Mail Standard as your shipping option, the recommended order date is Tuesday 18 December.


Royal Mail Tracked

When ordering using the Tracked option, you can extend this until Friday 21 December.



International last posting dates

Please ensure you know the recommended last posting dates before placing your order.  They cannot be guaranteed and are only provided as a guide, but we will do everything we can to get your order to you on time.

Region Date
Africa & the Middle East Tuesday 4 December
Asia, Cyprus, Far East, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic,
Poland and Slovakia), Malta
Friday 7 December
Caribbean, Central and South America Saturday 8 December
Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Turkey Monday 10 December
Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, USA Friday 14 December
Finland, Sweden Saturday 15 December
Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Portugal, Netherlands, Norway,
Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
Monday 17 December
Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg Tuesday 18 December



Where can I get more help?

If you have any questions or concerns about your existing order, please contact us.  Remember that you can track your existing order by logging into your account.

Explaining the Hornby Era system…

The Hornby Model Railway Era system

The operation of the railway network in the United Kingdom has evolved greatly since the 1826 Liverpool & Manchester Railway Act, which engendered the ‘railway mania’ of the pioneering local regional companies in the Victorian era and their eventual consolidation that occurred towards the end of the19th century.  Then came the emergence of the ‘Big Four’, followed by Nationalisation, Sectorisation, Privatisation and finally, the modern day Franchising arrangements.

In an effort to clarify these changes for model railway enthusiasts, the model railway industry adopted an ‘Era’, or ‘Epoch’ system; the idea being to group models into a defined time bracket, so that locomotives, coaching and wagon stock could be reasonably grouped together.


Modern era issues

The trouble with such a system is that as model ranges expand and evolve, boundaries between eras become blurred, a situation not helped by the national railway network changing greatly since the system was adopted during the 1990s.  Since 1995, motive power and rolling stock investment has increased, leading to new locomotives, coaches and wagons, while new Train Operating Companies have filled the void left by British Rail.

Traditional mineral freight has declined in some areas, while in others it has been resurrected, being joined by new types of freight movement.  Passenger numbers have increased to their highest ever numbers, leading to new coaching stock being developed, along with new multiple units that have been designed to operate on both diesel and electric power.

As a result, Hornby, in conjunction with other partners and competitors in the publishing and retail trades decided to adjust the era system they use.  The idea being that it clearly reflects the time periods covered, especially when taking into account the ‘grey’ areas that have arisen as one period blurs into the next.


The Hornby Model Railway Era system
The Hornby Model Railway Era system



The table below provides the full details of the Era system timeline:


Era  Description Date range Example locomotive
1 Pioneering 1804-1869 Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’
2 Pre-Grouping 1870-1922 Peckett W4
3 Grouping 1923-1947 Wainwright H Class
4 Early British Railways 1948-1956 Gresley B17
5 Late British Railways 1956-1968 Standard 4MT
6 British Rail Pre-TOPS 1957-1971 Class 71
7 British Rail TOPS 1971-1986 Class 87
8 BR Sectorisation 1982-1997 Class 50
9 Privatisation 1996-2008 Class 67
10 Network Franchising 2006-2017 Class 60
11 Present Day 2014 on Hitachi IEP

Buildings & Accessories re-pricing from Hornby

We have been made aware that due to successive price increases, which over time have resulted in many popular Hornby lines becoming disproportionately expensive – they have temporarily halted sales of a variety of items.

While we understand that it will be frustrating for customers looking to purchase these items, we have been assured they will be less expensive that before.  The new prices are expected to be announced on 3rd September 2018.  We will try and update them as soon as possible after this.

This is good news for buyers looking to grab a Christmas bargain but beware as they have become sold out at many stockists they are sure to be in short supply!

The affected part codes are as follows;


Item code Description
R394 Hornby Hydraulic Buffer Stop
R406 Hornby Electric Coloured Light Signal View
R460 Hornby Straight Platform View
R462 Hornby Large Radius Curved Platform View
R463 Hornby Small Radius Curved Platform View
R464 Hornby Platform Ramps View
R495 Hornby Platform Subway View
R510 Hornby Platform Shelter
R530 Hornby Pylons
R574 Hornby Trackside Accessory Pack View
R590 Hornby Platform Halt Kit
R658 Hornby Inclined Piers
R659 Hornby High Level Track Piers
R8000 Hornby Country Station Kit
R8001 Hornby Waiting Room Kit
R8002 Hornby Goods Shed Kit
R8003 Hornby Water Tower Kit
R8004 Hornby Engine Shed Kit
R8005 Hornby Signal Box Kit
R8006 Hornby Diesel Maintenance Depot Kit
R8007 Hornby Booking Hall
R8009 Hornby Station Terminus Kit
R8227 Hornby Buildings & Accessory Pack 1 View
R8228 Hornby Buildings & Accessory Pack 2 View
R8229 Hornby Buildings & Accessory Pack 3 View
R8230 Hornby Buildings & Accessory Pack 4 View
R8231 Hornby Buildings & Accessory Pack 5 View

Hornby announces Thomas & Friends™ production to end immediately

Thomas & Friends logo (Hornby)

Hornby’s association with Thomas and his Friends has been a long and happy one but with changing trends, plus toy safety age restrictions, they took the difficult decision not to continue with the Thomas license.

This decision means that production of all Hornby Thomas sets and accessories has ceased with the range inevitably being completely removed from Hornby’s portfolio by the end of this year.

Like you, we’re disappointed about this and we still have stock of a number of items from them but we have already been warned by Hornby that they are selling out already (May 2018).  It is likely that by Christmas 2018, they will be gone…