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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
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
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
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!
Links for Marklin Trains
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