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Some had wheels which flipped, but these had to be pulled or pushed. Some of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made of tinplate, such as the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. trainz model railroad free download

Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were altered when Märklin, a German firm which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys in which a continuous revenue stream could be ensured by selling add-on accessories for decades after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery in addition to an operating train.

Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more prevalent in 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 sound, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload freight. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were often made mostly of plastic.
Prior to the 1950s, there was little differentiation between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by children, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, particularly teenaged boys.
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 by their own 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 from 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 at a toy store than a O scale collection.

Many modern electrical toy trains contain sophisticated electronics which exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on a single loop of track. In the last few years, many toy rail operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front part of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad)

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