How to program a locomotive in Hornby Railmaster

How to program a locomotive in Hornby Railmaster

In this post we’re going to look into the Hornby Railmaster software and, more specifically, how to set up your locomotive.

Right, the first thing you’re going to need to do is launch Railmaster. Once that’s all loaded up, click on the single train button that you’ll find in the top left of the screen. This should open the locomotive list, which will look like this:

Decoder 1

In the image you can see a locomotive that has already been set up in the top left. Ignore that for now, as we want to focus on setting up a brand new locomotive from scratch.

The first step in creating a new locomotive is is selecting the number that you’d like it to be. To do this, simply click the drop down menu next to ‘Locomotive DCC ID:’ and select the number you’d like. It’s important to be aware that the train won’t move unless the Loco DCC ID on Railmaster matches the number that the internal decoder is set to. By default, all new digital trains and decoders are set to 0003. Once you’ve selected the number, click on the drop down menu next to ‘Name:’ and use the find section at the bottom of the list to locate your train model. If you have a non-Hornby train then it won’t be on this list, so just type in the details. We’d suggest reading the full user manual if this is the case though, which you can find here.

Once your train has been selected, click on the green tick in the bottom right to save it. You’re now free to close the locomotive list, and your new train should appear on the right hand side of the main Railmaster screen. Sometimes, the list may not update itself straight away. If so, all you have to do is open the locomotive list (the train icon) and close it again, which should do the trick. You’re now free to start controlling your locomotive and conducting it around your digital layout.

How to reprogram a decoder

If you’d like to change the number on your locomotive (they can’t all be 0003 after all), then first set it up as per the above instructions. Once this is done, open up the Locomotive list again, where you should see a list of all the trains that you have already added in the top left. Select the train you wish to reprogram and it’s details will appear underneath it, like so:

Decoder 2

Again, it’s worth pointing out that you must remember that when you change the DCC ID on Railmaster you must change it on the decoder as well, or vice versa. The train won’t work if the numbers don’t match. If you want to change the number of the train that you have selected, then click on the train icon found in the bottom row of the locomotive list. Once this is done, the following screen will appear, allowing you to select your preferred number:

Decoder 3

Once done, click on the green tick to save your selection and then close the locomotive list.

Right, now it’s time to change the number of your decoder. Open the locomotive list as before, select your locomotive and click the blue “i” icon along the bottom row. This will open the CV list screen, which should look like this:

Decoder 4

At this point, make sure that your train is on a piece of track that is connected to the programming ports on either the elink or elite. PROG A & B. It won’t change anything if not!

To read the CVs simply click the green tick in the bottom right. If you only wish to read certain CVs you can change the CVs range to read at the top right of the screen. In the example above we’ve only elected 1 to 1, so only CV1 will be read. Please note if you click the green tick with the range showing 1 to 255 it could take up to an hour to read all the CVs!

If you wish to change a CV, simply type a new value in the value column against the CV you wish to change, then click the blue pencil icon in the bottom left of the screen.

So if you wish to give the train a new number, enter that number in the value column against CV1 Locomotive address, and click on the bottom left icon. In the example above we are changing it to number 004.

Once you have clicked on the write CVs icon, it will show writing in the status/string column and then a series of numbers when it has finished. When you change CV1 it will also automatically alter CVs 17 and 18.

Once you have finished reading or programming your decoder/loco click on the red cross to close the CV settings screen.

Remember once you have programmed a loco, you will have to put it back onto the main layout connected to the track ports on the elink or elite. It will not move/work on the programming track. 

That’s it! You should now be able to reprogram decoders and change locmotive numbers in Railmaster to your heart’s content. If there are any problems, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and we’ll do everything we can to help. If you’d like to see the rest of our fantastic Hornby range, simply click here. Happy conducting!



  • Hi, do you have any information on installing an accessory decoder for my e-link programme. I am having problems with the wiring O it. Any help appreciated

  • Fantastic help and info, I spent hours, and I do mean hours trying to get my flying Scotsman to make some noise,any noise……but had to give up before I launched it across the room in front of my grandchildren…… Nothing I tried on my laptop with sooo many installs, removals,re-installs etc etc.
    So this morning I found my select controller to try but STILL no noise

  • Hi Everyone, I need some help please I have been trying to get my e-link to program a loco just like Mr James Lock, it keep saying I may need update firmware to 1.07 but cannot find on Hornby website, I feel like throwing my e-link into the bin, so if anyone can help I would love to hear from you. Regards Bill

    • Hi Bill, we can’t say its an area of expertise, but from all the research we’ve done online, the e-Link should update itself to the latest firmware available via RailMaster. Have you tried contacting the Hornby forums or tried to get in touch with the RailMaster team via Hornby’s contact form ( That’s probably the best place to get answers. Hope that helps!

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