Model Train Express - Articles & advice for model train enthusiasts

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

Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklina German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be guaranteed by selling add-on accessories for decades after the initial purchase. In addition to boxed sets containing a train and monitor, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery in addition to an operating train.

Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of electricity became more prevalent from the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload freight. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mostly 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 by children, while electrical trains were marketed towards teens, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading began to catch on.
Consumer interest in trains as toys waned in the late 1950s, but has undergone resurgence since the late 1990s due in large part to the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine.

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

Many modern electrical toy trains contain sophisticated electronic equipment that exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on one loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy train operators may operate a train with a TV camera at the front part of the motor and hooked up to a display, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, like that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.

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