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Marklin Trains

Updated on December 7, 2017

Electric Trains for Model Train Enthusiasts

Marklin Trains are high-quality electric trains that are made in Germany. Marklin trains come in HO scale, G scale and Z scale, and their Trix trains subsidiary also makes N scale trains.

While Marklin makes some trains for kids (like Thomas the Train and a Circus Train), most Marklin electric trains are highly detailed "model trains", and many have advanced motors, digital controls, and realistic sound effects and run characteristics. Really, these Marklin model trains are more like moving works of art -- you really have to see them to fully appreciate them!

Marklin produces trains based on both U.S. prototypes (Pennsylvania, New York Central, Union Pacific, and more) and on European prototypes (German, French, Swiss, Austrian and more), so they really have a wide variety of interesting trains -- and they cover trains from the late 1800's to the present day. In this hub I'll discuss the different scales of Marklin trains

Marklin HO Locomotive

Model of Peat Burning Steam Engine
Model of Peat Burning Steam Engine

Marklin HO Scale

HO scale trains are the most popular scale of model trains in the world. An electric train made in HO scale is 1/87th the size of the real-life train that it is modeled after. This scale is popular becase it is large enough to have a lot of detail and be easy to handle (put on the track, etc.), yet HO scale is small enough that you can have a decent layout about the size of a dining room table. Additionally, Marklin HO trains and track are generally capable of going around tighter curves than most U.S. HO trains, so you can make layouts in a tighter space.

Marklin HO trains use 3-rail track that is AC (alternating current) track. The nice thing about Marklin 3-rail track is that the 3rd rail is actually a series of small studs in the midde of the tracks, that is not as visually distracting as the 3rd rail on systems (such as Lionel) that use a solid 3rd rail that is the same size as the other two rails. In my opinio, 3-rail trains just seem to run a little bit nicer than 2-rail trains.

While 3-rail AC HO track is popular in Europe, and has many users in the U.S., 2-rail DC (direct current) track is more popular in the United States. To address this preference, Marklin produces many of the same detailed models in 2-rail DC format under its Trix trains subsidiary (please see my Trix hub).




Marklin Tuscan Red GG-1

HO Model of Pennsylvania Railroad Electric Engine
HO Model of Pennsylvania Railroad Electric Engine

Marklin Trains on Amazon

Marklin Z Scale Trains

Marklin originated Z-scale, in which the model trains are 1/220th the size of their real life counterparts. This is the smallest size of model train that are controllable (there are smaller sizes, that just run around a track without the user being able to control). The photo above gives you an idea of how small this scale is.

What's great about Marklin Z scale is that you can have a layout in a very small space. You could even have a small layout with 2 trains, a tunnel and a bridge on one corner of your office desk -- especially neat for Christmas layouts.

Speaking of Marklin Z-scale layouts, there are actually Z scale briefcase layouts where you can take your layout anywhere and run them on battery or solar power. Needless to say, in this small scale, you can have quite an elaborate, multi-train layout on something as large as a dining room table.

Marklin G Scale Trains

"Marklin 1" is the name that Marklin uses for its G scale trains. These are the larges scale of model trains that are commercially available, and (unlike Z and HO) are made to endure the rigors of outdoor operation. This makes them especially appealing for garden railroads, which are becoming more and more popular.

So, you can set up a Marklin garden railway (or garden railroad) using either electric locomotives or Marklin Live Steam -- where the locomotives actually burn oil to generate real steam, which powers the locomotive like the original real-life steam engine. Marklin Live Steam trains are only for outdoor use, as the oil, steam and smoke could mess up the inside of your house! However, Marklin 1 electric trains can be used either indoors or outdoors.

There is a Marklin 1 Christmas Train set would be perfect either under the tree or for an outdoor holiday train layout. You can also get working snowplows to couple with the Marklin 1 locomotives, which are a lot of fun to watch clearing snow from a garden railroad!

Marklin 1 Live Steam!

Marklin HO Starter Set

Affordable Marklin HO Circus Starter Set
Affordable Marklin HO Circus Starter Set

Marklin Starter Sets

Marklin Starter Sets are a great way to get started with Marklin Trains. All Marklin Trains starter sets come with a (1) a train: 1 locomotive and 1 or more cars, (2) at least an oval of track, and (3) a controller [to control the train]. Marklin HO scal starter sets and Marklin 1 starter sets all come with a plug in power supply also [be sure of your voltage: 120 volts for U.S.-type housing voltage, 230 volts for European-type housing voltage].

Be aware that some of the less expensive Marklin Z scale starter sets come with a battery controller -- which take a standard 9 volt battery. Especially nice if you want to take a little set with you somewhere, but most do not have speed controls -- so your going full speed in forward or reverse (making it about impossible to couple cars without using your hands). The Z starter sets that cost a little more come with a normal plug-in power supply (as discussed above).

I got started with Marklin Trains when a good friend gave us a Marklin New York Central starter set in HO scale on Christmas. The whole family enjoyed it, and we started buying additional train cars to go with the set. The next Christmas, our friend gave us a Marklin Thomas the Train starter set in HO scale -- and, of course we all love Thomas the Train! After that, we were hooked!

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  • peanutroaster profile image

    peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

    I like that peat burner. Very interesting. I had a Fleismann train when my Dad was stationed in Heidelburg, Germany back in the mid-seventies.

  • frankie1363 profile image

    frankie1363 7 years ago

    Very nice! My father and law has some Lionel Trains in his own collection that date back to about 50 years ago.

  • MyTrainBrain profile image

    MyTrainBrain 7 years ago from Kansas

    I second your review of the Marklin set you have in this hub. It is easily hours of fun each time you get it out or have it setup.


  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

    nice train model. I like it. It looks cute.

  • funwithtrains profile image

    funwithtrains 9 years ago from USA

    Thanks William! Wow, your friend's still buying and selling trains 55 years later -- model trains can definitely be a lifelong hobby!

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    Really enjoyed this hub, funwithtrains. The first model trains I saw were at my friend's house in 1953, and I was fascinated by them. He still buys and sells them. I love all kinds of trains, and trolleys (I grew up in Yonkers where trolley cars were ubiquitous.) Loved the videos, too.

  • funwithtrains profile image

    funwithtrains 9 years ago from USA

    Glassvisage: thanks so much for the kind words!

    Childcen: Yes, it does become a passion. Our family got hooked because it was fun for the whole family, especially during cold winter days. Started with a set, and then buying a few more things, then suddenly -- addicted!

  • childcen profile image

    childcen 9 years ago from New Zealand

    Looks very appealing to me. I know someone who spent a lifetime building and improving model trains & tracks. He was trying to build one in for the city garden but unfortunately, he died before accomphishing his masterpiece. There has to be a lot of passion to really get into this thing.

  • glassvisage profile image

    glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

    Wow, no wonder your Hubscore is so great... you really know your stuff! I didn't know there were different kinds of models based on proportions and such. They look wonderful :)

  • funwithtrains profile image

    funwithtrains 9 years ago from USA

    Thanks for the tip, guidebabba!

  • guidebaba profile image

    guidebaba 9 years ago from India

    Very Nice. If you can shift the eBay and Amazon Capsules and the Videos to the RIGHT, it will look even better. At present it is looking little Lengthy because the eBay, Amazon and Video Capsules are occupying too much space. You just have to click on to the RIGHT Arrow on the capsules to move it to the right. In the same way you can move the text capsules upwards so that they are at the left of the eBay or Amazon or Video Capsules.Good Luck !

  • funwithtrains profile image

    funwithtrains 9 years ago from USA

    Thanks so much for all of the nice comments!

  • guidebaba profile image

    guidebaba 9 years ago from India

    Now thats..COOOLLLL

  • profiler profile image

    profiler 9 years ago from Currently in this universe

    Very nice hub!

    Welcome o Hubpages!

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 9 years ago from America

    Enjoyed your hub.

  • AEvans profile image

    Julianna 9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

    My father loved trains this would have been something I could have shared with him. Interesting.

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    Very interesting. I am sure my husband would like this. He is a train aficionado.

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I do not know much about model trains, but this will give me some good ideas for presents for my nephew, who continually requests that he wants a better model train than last year.

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

    Hi funwithtrain, welcome to hubpages! What can I say about Marklin - I just love them. My father has build this town surrounded by train lines and train stations in one of his house`s rooms. His trains already have at least 45 years and they still work pretty nice.

    Have fun!

  • pjdscott profile image

    pjdscott 9 years ago from Durham, UK

    Great piece! I'm thinking aboutna garden railway and the Marklin G system looks very appealing.

  • bestdanggames profile image

    bestdanggames 9 years ago from Orlando, FL

    I don't know ifyou are aware of the game, but the game Ticket to Ride comes in a Marklin version. The map is Germany and all the cards are based on Marklin's trains. So, instead of drawings, I believe they are photos.

    By the way, I like the camera on the train to give you a low perspective on the trains.

    Somewhere along the line, I saw an article about a grandfather that had an ongoing project with the grandkids, where he built an outside trainset through his garden. It was pretty cool.