Going Back In Time - A Marklin HO Scale Tin Plate layout

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Going Back In Time - A Marklin HO Scale Tin Plate layout
Posted by Sir Madog on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 1:43 PM

My entry into the hobby was 53 years ago, when Santa brought me a Marklin HO scale starter set - the one with an oval of Marklin´s infamous tin plate track, a fantasy 0-6-0 steam loco and two tin plate coaches.

Over the years, the humble start turned into a humble empire in the basement, which I sold at the age of 16. Since then, I have dabbled in a number of different scales and built quite a number of layouts.

I must be coming of age, but for quite a while now, I have been dreaming of a small layout just like the one I had in my childhood days, built in the same manner as Marklin built their show layouts. Nothing fancy, nothing big, just pure fun.

So after some research, and considering the limitations I have in terms of space and funds, I finally came up with a layout just the way I´d like to have.

Sourcing the required materials will take a while. Just about everything I´ll need is readily available at reasonable prices, but I have only a limited budget, so I will have to stretch the purchases over quite a length of time.

I am looking forward to this project - makes me feel young again!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Rescuedtrains on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 4:45 PM

Nice track arrangement. What is the approximate size of the layout?

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 5:41 PM

Nice to hear from you Ulrich, you're missed on the "Trains" Forum, at least by me!

Welcome to the CTT Forum, if you haven't been here before, we have a lot of fun here and sure learn a lor from each other.

Nice layout, by the way, and didn't Maerklin do O gauge at one time?

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 6:32 PM

Maerklin originated all the number gauges, as well as HO and Z.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 6:52 PM

Firelock76
didn't Maerklin do O gauge at one time?

Yes.  They had a great line of O gauge trains.  In fact, I use a prewar Marklin right hand turnout on my bedroom layout.  It has a cast iron weight and although I'm not sure how it's supposed to work, there's a cast iron switch stand on a separate base to be placed farther down the track.  I assume they would have had an interlocking but little evidence remains to show me how they did.

And that's going to be a great little layout Ulrich!  Big Smile

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Posted by Sir Madog on Thursday, March 09, 2017 12:55 AM

Thanks for the big welcome to the CTT forum!

Although it will be some miles down the road before I will be actually able to start building the layout, I am enjoying this "pre-building" phase very much. I have a couple of old Marklin electric locos, which are lust like new, although both are well over 30 years old.  Their simple, sturdy, yet effective construction make them literally indestructible and their die-cast bodies give you a feel that today´s plastic locos will never have.

Here are my beauties:

Aside from collector´s items, like the famous Swiss "Crocodile" or the Swedish DA electric loco, most locos and cars can be had a reasonable prices, also track and accessories. Actually, I think Marklin should make that stuff again - as a budget line. While not up to today´s standard in terms of detail, they´d be a tremendous success if reasonably priced.

The layout follows an original Marklin show layout design, as they were built by marklin in  the 1960´s and sold to dealers as promotional items. I remember seeing them as a young boy as Christmas window displays.

The layout measures only 3 by 5 ft. and packs a lot of HO scale fun in such a small footprint.

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, March 09, 2017 5:36 PM

Those DB electrics are impressive, especially the second one.  I can't call it a "Crocodile," it's not Swiss and the snouts aren't long enough.  It's more like an "Alligator."

Simple, rugged, and no-nonsense, no-frills.  That's why they last.

And Becky, if you've got Maerklin questions Ulrich's the guy to ask, he grew up with 'em!

Hey, maybe Ulrich will favor us with some German steam videos, he showed some good ones on the "Trains" Forum a while back.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, March 09, 2017 6:24 PM

I've had this little loco since 1988.  I added the tender by modifying parts from a non-functioning model.  The town had some unusual giants roaming around that day!  Tongue Tied

I know I've posted this pic a few times, but I haven't had the train set up in quite awhile.  But aside from the aforementioned O gauge turnout, this is my entire Marklin collection.  A 6 wheel tank loco, 3 tinplate coaches, a postal van and a bit of the good old tin track.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, March 09, 2017 7:16 PM

Wow, sure gets dark in that neighborhood.  As in "Dark Lord."

More Vaders than you can shake a stick at!

Death Star parking must be a problem...

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Posted by Sir Madog on Thursday, March 09, 2017 11:57 PM

Firelock76
I can't call it a "Crocodile," it's not Swiss and the snouts aren't long enough. It's more like an "Alligator."

There are only 4 locos which "officially" are named "crocodiles", starting with the "real" Swiss Federal Railway Be 6/8 or Ce 6/8, or somewhat shorter version for the Seebachtal Railway in Switzerland, the Austrian Federal Railway class 1189 and the Rhaetian Railway narrow gauge class Ge 6/6.

The German Railway class E 94 was incorrectly dubbed "German Crocodile" - a nickname unknown to railway folks, who referred to this type of loco as the "iron pig".

My wife gave me my DB class  E 94 on the occasion of our 1st wedding anniversary over 30 years ago. I had told her I always wanted to have a Swiss Crocodile in my childhood days, but never got it. It was the most expensive loco Marklin marketed, and there was just not enough money around to buy one. Well, the hobby shop owner sold her the DB loco as a "crocodile". Despite being not what I wanted to have, you´ll have to tear my heart out of my body before I´d be willing to give up on it!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, March 11, 2017 3:02 AM

SCARM - the program I employed to draw the plan - has a free train simulator feature, which I finally got running. The free version is limited to 1 loco, 1 type of passenger car and 1 type of freight car, the paid version offers more. The freebie is certainly sufficient to "test" your layout.

I just did that and it is a lot of fun!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:48 AM

Firelock76
Nice layout, by the way, and didn't Maerklin do O gauge at one time?

Marklin indeed had quite an extensive line of O gauge trains in the 1930´s until manufacturing toys was stopped in 1939. After the war, Marklin resumed making O gauge trains, but stopped it in 1952 in favor of HO trains. O gauge trains were only for the affluent - the class 01 Pacific sold for the equivalent of 2 average employee´s monthly wages in 1933.

O gauge locos, cars and accessories fetch outrageous prices these days, as they are really rare. Most pre-war stuff was lost during the bombing, the few survivors are worth their weigt in gold.

I found a nice video showing a pre-war O gauge layout:

Enjoy!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, March 11, 2017 11:28 AM

That video was absolutely fascinating Ulrich, thanks for posting it! 

A question, those large incandescant lamps at the beginning of the video, were they part of the voltage regulation system?  The don't seem to be there for lighting purposes.

Anyway, a great look at German tinplate!

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Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, March 11, 2017 11:49 AM

Firelock76
A question, those large incandescant lamps at the beginning of the video, were they part of the voltage regulation system? The don't seem to be there for lighting purposes.

I think you are right, but I checked the 1930 Marklin catalog and could not find anything like. It might have come from the days, when they had 110 Volts on the track, but that was outlawed in 1926.

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:14 PM

Great stuff!  Makes me want to get my little Beckh running!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 5:07 PM

Well, aren't those things cool!

Becky, just where do you come up with this stuff?  Do you find them, or are you like me and they find you?

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:01 PM

The loco and tender were complete rust buckets I bought off Ebay.  And "bucket" is a good term because they looked like they'd been stored on the Titanic.  Tongue Tied  Conversely the coaches are exactly as I got them and didn't need anything more than a general cleaning.  Side by side you'd be hard pressed to believe they came from the same set.  Some parts of the tender are now so thin if it wasn't for the 3 coats of paint I applied you could put your finger through the shell.

But the bigger problem is the spring.  It too was so badly corroded that it can't stand winding anymore.  It can run, but the loco barely has enough power to move itself.  I completely disassembled the motor and polished away the rust.  However during the post restoration  testing I had to remove and shorten the spring again and again.  It's just too brittle.  One of these days I'll go out and get some new spring steel.  Maybe when I take my grandparent's cuckoo clock to get fixed?  Wink

Edit:  Forgot to mention that I doubt I paid more than twenty bucks for the Beckh set including shipping.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:12 PM

Well, you did a hell of a restoration job, that's for certain!

For a spring maybe something out of an old alarm clock will do?

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Posted by Sir Madog on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:06 PM

A nice little loco!

I have problems identifying the maker. The smoke deflector design suggests, that the loco was manufactured somewhere between 1947 and 1954, the year that the key O gauge manufacturers in Germany gave up this gauge. It looks like a Fleischmann loco, but it isnt.

Anyway, a neat loco and an excellent restauration job!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, March 20, 2017 6:44 PM

A knowledgeable collector directed me to this site: http://www.binnsroad.co.uk/railways/beckh/index.html which finally told me who the maker was.  If you look at the top right corner of the photo of the box lid, you can see the Beckh logo which is also on the sides of the cab.  I have the rods around here somewhere...

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Posted by Sir Madog on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 2:26 AM

Penny.

I had never heard of them before. From what I have found out now is, that the produced tinplate toys to be marketed in department stores. Among those toys were O gauge trains designed in the 1930´s by a predecessor company, which were modernized and slightly improved after peace time production had been restarted in 1949.

Beckh never became a real brand like Fleischmann, Trix or Marklin. Beckh trains are quite rare now.

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:18 PM

Here's another site well worth exploring: https://www.historytoy.com/toys-Railway-Trains-Beckh-Gauge-0_1  One of the things that attracted me to this little set was the fact that the coaches were labeled "Made in Western Germany" rather than "West Germany" which only became the official country name later.  "Little" is a good term too.  Here's the loco between an American Flyer prewar loco and a Marx clockwork:

It's considerably shorter than either of those which themselves are very small compared to 1:48 scale locos and cars.  Compare the Flyer cast iron loco with one of AF's better prewar cabooses:

In the right background you can see the Beckh parked beside my only Hornby loco.

I love clockwork trains and this little layout I built on an old cardtable is a great place to run them.

It's small enough that I can reach all sides in a hurry in case of runaways!  Laugh

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Posted by Sir Madog on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 1:07 AM

Wonderful layout!

Makes me want one like it!

Just on a side note, the term West Germany had only a geographical meaning. In the early years, manufacturers kept on using the term "Made in Germany", which was later changed into "Made in the US Zone", resp. "Made in the British Zone". With the incorporation of the three western zones as one economical unit, it changed into "Made in West Germany", which stayed on until 1990.

The official country name was and still is Federal Republic of Germany or "Bundesrepublik Deutschland".

If you are lucky to find a Marklin O gauge Crocodile with "Made in the US zone" on it, you´ve won the jackpot!

The few that found their way into an auction sold for $30,000 upward!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 6:47 PM

Sir Madog
Wonderful layout! Makes me want one like it!

Thanks!  Mostly cardstock!  Big Smile  That croc is gorgeous!

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Posted by Sir Madog on Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:56 AM

I must habe been stark raving mad, but in the past days, I looked into the idea of building a tinplate O gauge layout, using trains and track manufactured in the Czech Republic. Both Merkur and ETS make some nice models, which are much cheaper than any antique Marklin O gauge stuff, but still not really a bargain.

My favourite loco is the "Seetal Crocodile", a shortened version of the original Swiss Croc.

After indulging into the idea of a layout for this beauty, I had to look at the grim reality, that neither the space nor the funds are available to go down this route.

A big sigh!

So I reworked my original Marklin HO idea to add mor interest to it and came up withz the follwing idea, based on a track plan found in a 1960´s Marklin track plan book.

I am having a hard time to bring my heart back to it, though - the O gauge idea is still roaming in my head!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:35 PM

I've seen some of those ETS products at some train shows here in the US, and you're right Ulrich, they're gorgeous!  I'd like to do a First World War layout using some of their early 20th Century models, but oh yeah, they ain't cheap!

But from what I've seen, you do get what you pay for.

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Posted by Sir Madog on Friday, March 24, 2017 1:00 AM

I am in an age in which building a layout on the floor is absolutely out of question, aside from the fact that I´d need to get a prior divorce before occupying the living room floor with a "train set".

But I just can´t get that O gauge tinplate stuff out of my head. At at over Euro 800 for the 3-rail AC w/sound version, that croc is something for my next life, but most certain not for this one!

I could just go back to my initial plans of an Marklin HO layout in the style of the 1960´s, but at the moment, I seem to have lost the drive to do so.

Bah!

   Ulrich     

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, March 24, 2017 7:43 PM

Sir Madog
but at the moment, I seem to have lost the drive to do so

Peruse some of these sites and you'll get it back!  http://www.philobiblon.com/eisenbahn/links.shtml

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