Hornby Railroad Class D 0-4-0T Locomotive Review

Hornby produce a number of locomotives that share the 0-4-0 chassis – the Caledonian Pug, class 06 diesel shunter, and three side-tank models, the GWR Holden Tank; a fictional ex-Thomas the Tank engine and finally the Class D which we are reviewing today.  The “class D” (above) is based on a real class of five locomotive’s built at Dowlais Ironworks in South Wales.  These locomotives are not considered as attractive by many – click here to see the real thing.

Class: Industrial class D 0-4-0 side Tank

Use: Shunting

Region: Industrial

Era: Built in 1907

Preserved examples:


Manufacturer: Hornby

Motor: HP motor

Power: Unclassified

DCC options: None (although some shops sell DCC fitted versions)

Locoyard Review



Very few details are present on this model.  It lacks a cab floor or interior, has lumps of plastic for cosmetic coupling hooks, a plastic rim for handrails and no whistles.  Unlike Bachmann’s Junior Tank model it lacks any redeeming features such as lamp irons.  Overall it has very poor detailing!



The body has been stretched to fit the chassis, so it does not look quite like the prototype.

The class D 0-4-0 Tank model is not a particularly convincing model locomotive.  It does have light showing under the boiler and a safety valve above a Belpaire firebox.  However, also present under the boiler is the cogs of the mechanism!   Light can also be seen through the non-existent cab floor.



The finish of this model is good although it is completely fictional (this was not a Southern locomotive).  The finish of other class D models vary, but a range of colourful liveries have been produced.

Running Qualities:


It has no problems with 1st radius curves and stays on the track most of the time, though having a short wheel base makes stalling frequent over points.  It has three speeds – still, very fast backwards and very fast forwards making shunting almost impossible!  Having a Scaletrix motor was never going to create an easy to control model.  Hardwiring a DCC chip does help get some control back.  As a toy, it is very exciting for younger children, but as a model it is difficult to handle.

Relative Power:


Without having any knowledge of the prototype it is hard to guess the model’s relative power, but it is fair to assume the prototype was relatively stronger than this model, as it hauled steel and iron for a living.  Unfortunately the model would need a lot more power to make general shunting duties more of a possibility.  The model’s high geared motor doesn’t help with traction. It is comfortable pulling a few 4-wheel carriages or trucks, so it is adequate as a train-set model for children.



Few details, not even a cab floor or boiler backhead, no DCC options and has an uncontrollable high geared motor.  It can go round 1st radius curves and the good livery and lining of this version give it half a point.



These models are cheap to buy.  They are fairly robust, if not as tough as Hornby’s metal bodied Caledonian Pug.  They have been around since the 1990’s so there are numerous versions to be found second-hand for £10-£15.  Do not ever pay more than this!  Although the class D is not a generic model, the Class D is not a widely known prototype and unlike the Caledonian Pug, most versions (including this one) are fictional.  This may well mean that if younger enthusiasts will grow-out of this model as they will no longer have a use for this as they move on to more realistic models.

Overall Locoyardometer Score: 2.4

This is (to-date) the lowest rated model reviewed on Locoyard.com.  This model doesn’t look great and has no real features or detail to speak of.  In common with other models that use Hornby’s generic 0-4-0 chassis; it will beat most other 00 scale models in a drag-race; which is both very unrealistic and fun!  It is good for children, and the reviewed model has a very nicely applied livery and lining.  It could be improved substantially by investing time and money, but it’s unlikely that an enthusiast will want to; given that it is a model of a very small class of locomotive.  For those looking for a non-Thomas the Tank engine starter model for a younger enthusiast, I’d advise they purchase a Hornby Caledonian Pug or even better; Bachmann’s Junior Tank model.

Detailometer 1, Outlineometer 1.5, Finishometer 4, Motorometer 2, Powerometer 2, Specometer 1.5, Valueometer 4.5, Locoyardometer 2.4

One thought on “Hornby Railroad Class D 0-4-0T Locomotive Review

  1. I admit I have a soft spot for this type of engine; my first ever model train was a small green 0-4-0. They have a sort of simplistic charm and can be used for a simple display case for some fantasy-setting (like a fairground maybe).


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