Hornby Intercity 125 Train Set Review


Welcome to my review of the Hornby Intercity 125 train set. This train set incorporates the iconic class 43 in the fantastic green GWR livery. In real life, these trains still operate in the South East of England, and normally consists of two class 43 power cars and 4 mk3 coaches in between. It is amazing that these trains still run ever since they were first introduced in 1976.

I still own the original blue & yellow livery from the 80s and this is a great model, which still works to this day.

Quick Summary

This is the Hornby GWR High Speed Train Set (R1230M) which you can purchase directly from the Hornby website.

What’s inside the box

Hornby Intercity 125 Train Set


The train set is packed inside a pulp tray, which I believe offers better protection than polystyrene.

Inside the box we have:-

  • One Class 43 power car (contains the motor & DCC decoder socket)
  • One Class 43 Dummy Car (does not contain the motor or DCC decoder socket)
  • One Mk3 coach
  • Track & track mat (including a single point and buffer stop)
  • DC Controller & Power pack
  • Re-railer

The power car and dummy power cars look great in the GWR green livery and combined with the distinctive iconic yellow front this makes for an attractive looking model and completes the set. This model was made using the old ‘Lima’ tooling from the 80s. However, this does not reflect the quality of this model, as I think for the price it is still certainly very high quality, however, there are a few issues I have found with this set that puzzles me, see below:

Issue 1 – The picture on the box of the model is different

The picture on the box clearly shows the old Hornby tooling rather than the Lima tooling that is present on the model itself. I don’t understand why Hornby have done this, however I do think the Lima tooling looks a lot better anyway.

Hornby Intercity 125 Train Set


Issue 2 – Only the front lights on the power car work

The original Hornby model had lights in either end which is understandable as the Intercity 125 can go in either direction, however, in this GWR version the lights are only connected and work in the main power car and NOT in the dummy power car. If Hornby had both the lights working in the Power & Dummy power car in the 80s then why on earth couldn’t they do the same in the GWR model….I think this is a big step back.

Issue 3 – The DCC sound Decoder socket is not present in the Dummy car

As with the issue with the lights only being present in the power car, there is no DCC sound decoder socket in the Dummy car. The DCC sound decoder socket exists only in the power car which means only the sound will work only in the power car. Not great because as this is a great looking model it feels like it is not complete when only the sound effects can be played via the main power car.

Supplied MK3 Coach

There is one MK3 coach included with this set, and again this looks like it has been built using the old Lima tooling as mentioned earlier.

Hornby Intercity 125 Train Set

* Mk3 Coach included with the train set

This Mk3 coach is painted in GWR green livery, the GWR logo and the First Group Company branding is clearly shown. In terms of detail, the hand rails are painted & visible and the doors are the old style ‘slam’ doors as found on most of the coaches from the 60s – 80s era. The windows are slightly tinted and there is some detail that you can see inside which is good. This coach also includes the standard Hornby coupling.

Issue 4 – This model of Mk3 coaches are NOT available to buy separately

As there is only one Mk3 coach included in this set, if you have bought this model and wish to add further coaches, maybe extend the set to 6 coaches for example, well, you can’t. This is because Hornby do not product this particular model coach separately.

However, Hornby do still produce a more detailed version of the GWR Mk3 coach in a glossy finish that looks very different to the supplied version that is included with this train set. You will see from the photo below just how much more detailed this version is. This version has some nice details around the wheel bogies, sliding doors rather than slam shut doors, coach letters, door opening stickers etc.

Hornby Intercity 125 Train Set

* More detailed Mk3 Coach not included with the train set

Track Pack ‘A’ Included

Included with the Train Set is track pack ‘A’. This is all well and good but this is the final issue I have with this particular train set. Track Pack ‘A’ comes with a point and siding, but the siding no where long enough to fit the entire train in these sidings…which means part of the train is sticking out onto the main track. Again, this is another major oversight from Hornby and to be honest, they should have included Track Pack ‘B’ which would have provided more track therefore a longer siding to fit the entire train.


Supplied Controller

The controller that is included with this train set I have never seen before. It has a standard 19v DC connector and also an additional 14v output for controlling accessories too, which is very handy indeed. There is also a Hi-Lo switch where you can toggle slow and normal speed of the train, the lower speed switch can come in handy if you are shunting for example.

Please note, if you decide to fit a DCC decoder socket then a DC controller such as the one supplied with this train set will NOT work. You will need to purchase a dedicated DCC controller.

hornby intercity 125 train sethornby intercity 125 train set



  • Great value at around £100 – £130
  • DCC Ready
  • Detailed Model
  • Powerful motor


  • Only the front lights on the main power car work
  • No DCC Decoder socket in the Dummy car
  • Supplied Mk3 coaches not available to buy separately

Also consider the Hornby Azuma reviewed here



Overall, I like this train set from Hornby. At around £100 it represents great value for money, and will be an ideal starter set for someone who is new to model railways. Of course there are more detailed models, like the limited edition GWR Class 43 HST packs, but these packs can be more expensive to buy. However, this train set will compliment any layout and provide many hours of fun !


6 thoughts on “Hornby Intercity 125 Train Set Review”

  1. I believe that having a train set is pretty amazing, if I remember correctly I had a train set when I was a child. Putting the set together is really a lot of fun not to mention watching your train as it come down the runway that you design. Thank you so much for sharing information on this train type.

    • Thanks for your comments Norman.  Yes, it’s so exciting running a train set, setting it up.  There is so much you can do and they say a train set is never truly complete, there are always new things to add.

  2. Nice article Tim. I actually learned something about this train, except what GWR stands for. I was disappointed about the 3 ‘cons’ you mentioned though. Especially that you can’t purchase extra coaches if you wanted to. Nicely written Tim, thanks for the info 🙂

  3. Hi Tim, I’m pleased to meet you.

    I’m thrilled to come across the review of the Hornby Intercity 125 train set you shared. This is very well presented and organized.

     Well, having a train set is surely splendid, and I have noted the issues you outlined for Hornby Intercity 125 train set though. With a detailed model and a powerful motor, I think this is the great train set.

    Best wishes!

    • Thanks for your comments Kokontala, it is indeed a great train set, excellent for new layouts and will also compliment more advanced layouts.


Leave a Comment