Model Train Express - Articles & advice for model train enthusiasts

transmodeler user guide | Model Train Express

The first toy trains were made of lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which flipped, but these had to be pulled or pushed. Some of the early 19th-century push toy rails were made of tinplate, such as the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., that were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. transmodeler user guide

Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German company which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be guaranteed by selling add-on accessories for years after the initial purchase. Along with boxed sets comprising a train and track, Märklin offered extra 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 followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more common in the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload cargo. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were frequently made mainly 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 kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, particularly teenaged boys.

Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains 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 to the 1970s). However, due to their high cost, 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 electronic equipment which exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote control trains on a single loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy train operators may operate a train using a TV camera in the front of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.

Thanks for your interest in transmodeler user guide