Model Train Express - Articles & advice for model train enthusiasts

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Some had wheels that flipped, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. Some of the early 19th-century push toy trains were made of tinplate, such as the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., that were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. transmodeler tutorial

Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklin, a German firm which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the initial purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising 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 along with a working train.

Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, made from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more common from the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, the ability to change direction, 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 often made of lithographed tin; later trains were frequently made mainly of plastic.
Before 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 kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s that 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 are still 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 produced by Marx from the 1950s to 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 collection.

Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and permit the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on a single loop of course. In recent years, many toy train operators may operate a train using a TV camera at the front 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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