Model Train Express - Articles & advice for model train enthusiasts

model trains alexandria va | Model Train Express

The earliest toy trains were made from lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels that turned, but these had to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy rails were made of tinplate, like the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains alexandria va

Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys in which a constant revenue stream could be ensured by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and track, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery along with an operating train.

Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more prevalent from the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling sound, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were often made mainly of plastic.
Prior to the 1950s, there was little distinction between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards children, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to catch on.
Consumer interest in trains as toys waned in the late 1950s, but has experienced resurgence since the late 1990s due in large part to the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains even by their adherents and are often accessorized with semi-scale model buildings by Plasticville or even K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings produced by Marx in the 1950s into the 1970s). However, as a result of their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than an O scale set.

Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on one loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy train operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front part of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.

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