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European vs. US Model Railroading - a Comparison

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Posted by rxanand on Friday, September 4, 2009 11:15 AM
Ulrich, My apologies, I did not express myself properly. The photos you have shown are indeed beautiful models with spectacular detailing - some of them looked like Micro Metakit? What I meant to say was that the American companies produce excellent models at very reasonable prices. In contrast, most European outline models are very expensive here in the US. For example, Micro Metakit models are well over $2000. I find it hard to see European models before buying them and dealer support is very limited. Buying directly from Germany has its own problems. I can recall shipments from ETS getting delayed for months in US customs. In terms of "value for money", I find the American manufacturers to be superior. I have a limited budget for my hobby and I like to stretch it out as much as possible. I just find I get more for my money here. However, I can well understand the situation may be inverted for you in Germany!

Slowly building a layout since 2007!

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 4, 2009 12:11 PM

--- mainly BRAWA!

There are a number of small makers of highly detailed, custom models, like Micro Metakit, Modellbahnmanufaktur Crottendorf, Weinert (for white metal kits, but way above the old Bowser kits) - fantastic models, but even in Germany, you need that "rich uncle in America" to be able to buy one of those $ 2000 + models.

I consider Roco, Brawa, Hag, Fleischmann  as "premium" brands with prices commonly in the range of $ 300 - $ 500.  Much more than your BLI $119 + decoder SD40-2 w/sound!Compared to German prices, US is the paradise! And your are right, in terms of value for money, the likes of Atlas, Athearn, Kato are superior, even with the still prevailing quality issues.

Buying directly in the US does not really give us an advantage - we have few, but very active importers who carry US outline mrr stuff at reasonable prices.

Looking at the price level of European mrr equipment in the US, it seems to me, that they do not only charge the manufacturer's  MSRP, but also generously add an allowance for the exchange rate... Sad

Paul - buy a Euro 800 Big Boy from Marklin and put the loco on code 100 track, push it gently over the track and you can feel each tie plate and nail!

Unless you put new fine scale wheels to your locos and cars, code 70 is out of question, code 83 is ok with NEM flanges.

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Posted by wibblybits on Friday, September 4, 2009 2:57 PM

 

Sir Madog

Paul - buy a Euro 800 Big Boy from Marklin and put the loco on code 100 track, push it gently over the track and you can feel each tie plate and nail!

Unless you put new fine scale wheels to your locos and cars, code 70 is out of question, code 83 is ok with NEM flanges.

Why use a Maerklin Big Boy, surely the correct model would be a Trix with optional RP25 wheels?  The introduction of the NEM 362 close coupling interface also means that coupling compatibility is no longer an issue as the coupling head can be swapped for any type, including Kadee.

Only Maerklinists have issues with compatibility as their system is unique to Maerklin* and Hag, real model railway modellers use 2-rail despite Maerklin's dominance of the German market.

 

TH

 

*It should be remembered that Maerklin is first and foremost a toy manufacturer and it caters predominately for that market.

 

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Posted by da_kraut on Friday, September 4, 2009 6:31 PM

 Hello,

 

this is a great discussion.  I too started with a Marklin set.  When the bug bit again it was time to go North American.  Yes some of our mainlines might as busy as a German branch line, but there is something great about North American Railroading.   Maybe it is the roar of two big AC's going along at a mere 15 mph pulling where each locomotive pulls more then the heaviest German double headed ore train? 

As for price, there is no comparison between the European and American model Manufacturers.  We have it good over here, but here is the catch.  BRAWA uses the same Chinese manufacturer for its locomotives as P2K!!!!!!!!   If you want to know what crazy prices BRAWA charges just look at the Walthers catalog.  Just make sure you sit down first.  Also I just purchased a latest production of a Roco six axle electric locomotive.  It runs as smooth as my Kato and Atlas and P2K locomotives but I would say not noticeable better.  The same in the running noise department.  As for detail, the Roco is not that much better then the North American counterparts.  As for the price, well it was twice the price and then some of anything six axle from Kato, Atlas or P2K.

As for layout design, settings and operations.  It all has its pros and cons, it just depends on what you like to do.  In my case, that darn VIA is nothing but a hindrance to  to them slow heavy freights.Smile

Frank

"If you need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm."

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 5, 2009 12:08 AM

 Frank - I just checked the Walther´s web page for pricing - incredible! Now BRAWA is certainly a premium brand, although their locos are manufactured in China. They do spend a lot on quality control, which makes the product nearly as dear as if it were manufactured in Europe or the states. As for Roco, I never encountered a serious noise issue with their locos - does it come from the gears or the motor? If you are on DCC, maybe you can change the pulse frequency a little to get rid of that "gnarring" sound? In terms of detail, Roco is enjoying a good reputation, but with those sleek modern electrics, don´t look for detail where the prototype has none. If you tell me which one you mean, I can check on that... Smile

TH - don´t let any of the serious Marklinistas know what you think of their precious "toys". I know that there is a type of "religious" war between those 2-rail DC or DCC aficionados and the 3-rail AC or MM gang. But there a number of layouts I know of using Marklin, which are certainly in the ivy league of model railroading - like Miniatur Wunderland!

For those, who can read German, the following link may be interesting. It is from a friend of mine in Switzerland, who is currently building a new layout, based on the BLS railroad and some of the typical landmarks of this road, like Blausee-Mitholz Station, both Felsenburg tunnels, the famous Bietschtal viaduct (btw, a Faller product). Just click on "Bauberichte" and enjoy reading them!

http://users.quickline.com/marolf/

 For those of you who have been bearing with me so far on my little excursion into European style model railroading  - my next layout will be of US outline! As I am "specializing in arctic railroading", it´ll be based on the ARR - I just love Bowser´s F-7A in ARR guise!

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Posted by wibblybits on Saturday, September 5, 2009 1:14 AM

Sir Madog
But there a number of layouts I know of using Marklin, which are certainly in the ivy league of model railroading - like Miniatur Wunderland!

You consider Minatur Wunderland to be a anything but a toy albeit on a monstrous scale? Surely it is a commercial tourist attraction designed to make money for its owners, it is honest about its purpose and has no pretensions to be a serious representation. 

Those 'serious' modellers who use Maerklin use often the excuse that they started with the product and are too committed to change but nothing can disguise the obtrusive row of puckos which are not part of any prototype railway.

Roco is not enjoying any reputation at the moment, their quality control has been in decline since the takeover, it is certainly not the company that I first knew.

However this discussion seems to have taken the usual course of mistaking Germany for Europe and ignoring the influence of the British market and to a lesser extent the French on model railways. Both, unlike the German manufacturers, are enjoying strong sales, despite the recession, thanks to the enterprise of Hornby and Bachmann who offer products are prices at a level of quality that would be more recognisable to US modeller.

 


 

 


 

 

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Saturday, September 5, 2009 2:25 AM

Hi Ulrich from Belgium,

Nice to see a so involded discussion about ours home trains.

I did'nt have a lot to say about all this discussion.

But I think we have two main times modeling in  Europe, the Marklin time and now ,the after time Marklin.

What I mean by this conclusion is the fact that by the 60's nearly everybody who run a model train in Europe was running a Marklin train.

That means, they were confined to the Marklin system, which is reliable but a little bit toy like, especially whit the track and accesoiries.

So many of these people didn't join, what we call the modelist world, because they buy only ready to run models and easybuild models like Faller or the other big plastic European manufacturer.

That was I call the Marklin time, whit the spaghetti layouts and poor modelistics qualities.

This situation had, I beleive, killed for a long time  the flavor of fine modelism. Only a few good looking layouts could be seen in these times and especialy in UK.

Since 15 years, It seems that the things have changed; there is a lot of choice of equipment on the market, other manufacturer like Fleischmann, Brawa, Roco made very fine plastic models.

We see more fine layouts, more fine modules at train show; operations have appeared here and there and DCC is everywhere, even some wood kits are on the market. A few brass European factory are also on the market.

The magazines have more fine modeling articles, they don't show like in the past, so many Marklin layouts. So I beleive we are on the good way.

Marklin had lost is place of major furnisher of model train in Europe, but if you are speaking in a conversation " I am modeling trains" they often ask you "Marklin trains?" because the impact of Marklin was so great.

It's only my point of view, but because Marklin was so powerful on the market and some other manufacturer have follow them (Fleischmann and Trix AC models) , they have imposed a type of track, set trains, and spaghetti layout.

The change from ready to run track train to model train was ,by this major position of Marklin and the few other manufacturer, braked for a long time.

A reason why I switched in the 70's to American model trains. 

Here a link of a very fine layout made by a Belgian modeler which had published numerous articles in the magazines about fine modelism even in US magazines.

http://users.skynet.be/pro-rail/

Marc

 

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Posted by wibblybits on Saturday, September 5, 2009 3:00 AM

As Ulrich has suggested that Minatur Wunderland is amongst the ‘Ivy League’ of modelling, where does that leave other public pay-to-see layouts?

 

http://www.pendonmuseum.com/index.jsp

 

https://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/onlineshop/

 

Therefore a simple question, which one is the commercial enterprise and which one is the model railway layout? I think that the answer is both have the same need for public funding but their ethos radically differs.  

 

And finally, another German layout that breaks the mould.

 

 http://www.mobablog.info/blog.php?id=217

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 5, 2009 3:22 AM

 Hi Marc,

I looked at the pictures in this link - chapeau! What a beautiful work of art!!! You´ll never make that with the stuff sold by the big "M" - Smile,Wink, & Grin

Marklin still seems to be the market leader, mainly for reasons of nostalgia, as our fathers and a lot of us have started out with that brand. I remember looking down at my classmates who had a Fleischmann, or even worse, a Trix train set! They certainly dominated the scene and despite all recent troubles, I guess they still do.

Their new generation of steam locos are certainly a step-up improvement in terms of detail when compared to what Marklin used to be:

 



At the prices Marklin is asking for them -  they´d better be! Evil

But as we are discussing not only German mrr practice here, let us also take a look at other European countries. Big M started very early to make locos of European prototype - the early 1950´s saw already locos of Dutch, Belgium, Danish, Swiss, French, Swedish  prototype and I don´t mean just those steam locos of German origin renumbered or the famous Swiss "crocodile".  Marklin certainly spread the hobby, at least on the Continent, thus giving the few local manufacturers a hard time - remember Jouef, Lima, Liliput, Rivarossi, Kleinbahn all struggling along?  A couple of times Big "M" ventured into the US market - but I am not sure about their success with US outline equipment.  The 1960´s saw some F-type loco, which looked bad to me, having seen "real" F´s in MR ! It was what I saw in MR that made me pack up my Marklin stuff and sell it!

There is no reason to condemn Marklin, though, as some do. IMHO, the hobby owes Marklin quite a lot! If they would make a more realistic track system, heck, I could get weak and start a layout with Marklin, again... Smile,Wink, & Grin - for pure nostalgia!

Marklin has strongly coined the mrr practice, not only in Germany, and I guess, we continental Europeans are still in the process of getting rid of some of the bad habits they introduced, like tight radii curves, those sharp turnouts, colored saw dust for scenicking our layouts (Laugh).

Marklin´s financial woes have not yet ended - maybe because we have outgrown Marklin in the meantime!

 

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Posted by wibblybits on Saturday, September 5, 2009 6:18 AM

 OK, now we can see where Ulrich's thread is heading.

Just a couple of points to consider:

1. Germany is not actually Europe, although it would like to be regarded as the greatest influence, it is merely one state albeit one who has issues. By the same token Maerklin does not represent European railway modelling any more than  Athearn is the only US manufacturer.

2. If we are taking the lead from Ulrich, it should be noted that German model railways are in trouble. Not just the bankruptcy of Maerklin but Faller, Kibri, Klein Modell Bahn, Fleischmann and Roco are all having problem, more worrying is the decline in numbers of model railway stores. In my own region, we have lost almost every retail store and even some cities have none.

3. Much of the blame has been put on the race to exploit the 'complexity' goal of ever more complicated and expensive models (a valid point raised by several on this thread) whilst losing touch with the core markets. At the moment Piko are attempting to reverse this trend with realistic models manufactured to an affordable price and they are succeeding. 

Where does that leave Maerklin?

As mentioned before Maerklin's roots lie in the toy sector, their embrace of the model market has been an expensive mistake as they produced models that were in many cases unrealistic and massively over-priced. Consequently, they were not purchased by their core toy market neither did they appeal to the modeller whose interest was realism.

I sincerely hope that Maerklin will survive if it can re-discover its roots rather than trying to complete for the shrinking hobby-Euro. 

Ulrich,

From your most recent contribution, I think that you might have been happier if you had started this thread with the words Germany vs. US Model Railroading? My views are certainly not negative but they do represent a wider and tolerant approach to the subject by recognising that there are other systems, other nations and certainly other manufacturers within Europe.

Smile 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 5, 2009 7:09 AM

 I started this thread with the innocent intention to give some views on European model railroading practice, which has certainly be coined, at least on the Continent, by German practice, as the bulk of products available in the European markets comes from this country. You cannot discuss the issue without mentioning Marklin, who was the first to market HO equipment in the world and may be rightfully called the "mother of all HO activities". Most of the forum members know Marklin as well. Marklin´s roots are in the toy sector, but did not all brands start there?

Each country in Europe  has a very active model railroading scene and there is many a fine maker of excellent models - much more than I see through my Teutonic glasses which I have been accused of wearing. Have you heard of Jeco AB before? They make HO scale locos of Swedish prototype in DC or AC, R-T-R and kits. They also make a catenary system following Swedish prototype. There is a guy in Sweden who makes the finest Swiss prototype HO catenary system I have ever seen - unfortunately out of reach in terms of price, but most likely worth every cent. Numerous young businesses in Poland, Czech Republic are marketing  craftsman products with a level of detail we all had been dreaming about some years ago. Publishing a list of the European who is who in the model railroading business would probably make the server burst - so I will refrain from it.

One of the really nice aspects of our mutual hobby is, that there is so much room for different ways and interests. Through a forum like this one we can now gain inside views from all over the world and we can share our experience on the basis of mutual respect.

As I see a danger that this thread ends up in a discussion of Marklin vs. the rest of the world or Germany wanting to dominate the worldwide mrr activities, I see it fit to pull the plug.

I still hope to have contributed  a little to a model railroading oriented cross-cultural discussion.  Thanks for bearing with me.

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Posted by verheyen on Saturday, September 5, 2009 8:26 AM

No, I don't think we need to close this thread just yet. First though, full disclosure, I run using the Märklin analog system but run many brands of stock and power. Learned some time ago that brand loyalty isn't important and wish I had learned that when I restarted in the hobby with only my handful of childhood stock. Would have gone DC back then had I known how much more flexible it would be in terms of freedom from proprietary systems.

Those tight radii are common to all European makes and a result of space constraints. As has been pointed out Europeans don't have as much space available as we do here. Doesn't mean one has to stick with them though.The flanges, studs, track profiles have already been mentioned but I'd like to get back to the couplers. Since Frank Forsten's magnificent layout was mentioned, did anyone notice he uses Kadee couplers? Many of the more "hard core" are using them.It's true European (German) kits are much more ready to build than kits made (sometimes in Europe) for the US market, but Europeans can scratchbuild/kitbash with the best of them. Ditto on weathering... In general I think European modelers and US modelers have influenced each other far more than we admit/know.

Look at MR and all the articles by Pelle Søeborg, Josef Brandle, and others. Tools like the Noch Grassmaster... I could go on. North Americans can argueably be credited with bringing an operations based approach to Europe and are held in very high regard like John Allen. 

At the end of the day, if we leave out the brand fixation and troublesome details like flanges... Wink we will find that we have much more in common than sets us apart and that we all learn from and inform each other.

Here a few of my favorite European layouts in H0 and N, personal and show. Ignore the fact that most of these links are not in English and just look at the pictures.

Yes the stock is funny looking to North American eyes but in terms of techniques, much has crossed the pond in both directions.

So, forget about brands, prices, ... and focus on the implementation. Lots of weathering, modeling, operations, ... in all places.

So, time to walk the dog, do some housework, play or watch trains (hopefully). 

p.

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Posted by wibblybits on Saturday, September 5, 2009 9:14 AM

 Thank you Peter, for your balanced response, I see absolutely no reason to close the thread, there is nothing wrong with a little discussion. As you rightly stated, the two cultures have learnt from each other and that a suggestion of pros/cons for one or t'other is grotesque, each have their followers, just as long as it is modelling does anything else matter.

BTW, a small correction to the claim that Maerklin was ' the first to market HO equipment in the world' I believe that Henry Greenly* was the 'father' of HO, he offered the metric/imperial mixture some five years before and his claim has been substantiated elsewhere. 

 Another layout worth mentioning is Gordon and Maggie Gravett's Pempoul:

http://www.uckfieldmrc.co.uk/exhib08/pempoul.html

TH

*HG was the driving force behind the Model Railway Club, the oldest in the world. He also was the consultant for the R&HDR and persuaded Frank Hornby to use 4mm/12" bodies on 16.5mm gauge mechanisms thus ensuring that British model railways have been out of step with the world. Sorry about the history lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Posted by verheyen on Saturday, September 5, 2009 10:15 AM

Here a few (mostly) German links to folks/clubs there modeling North America

If you look closely several of the featured layouts in MR have been built by Europeans...

p.

 

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Posted by RedLeader on Saturday, September 5, 2009 10:16 AM

 Very interesting topic, one of the few I've read every thread!  Not being American nor European, I think I may give a very imparcial opinion.  As Wibbly said, one must not confuse german MRing with Europena MRing, since I've found profund differences between German, English, French and even Australian (mostly English) and Eastern Euro models (Russian and ex soviet block countries).  Jap modeling have their ways too.

Down here (South America), the most popular modeling is the Euro way (specially the German).  Here in Colombia hobby shops are exclusivly Maerklin, miniTrix, Roco, Brawa, etc... very few Lima and Bachmann and if you look very well, you may find some Atlas.  The main reason for this is that my country have a tradition of more friendly commercial exchange between the Euros than with the US (recent events are changing this).  The next reason is an historical one, many of the "serious" hobbyist used to be German and Italian emigrants.  The reasons I chose American modeling are: 1. More afinity with the "American Culture" due to family and friend relationships (I visit the US very regulary). 2. More quality for the price. 3. I find freight operations more interesting than passenger. 4. Heavy industries  5. HO!  6. Standarization (long live NMRA!).  7. Diversity of products.

 

I'm not telling one is better than the other, but just stating what's more inetersting for my taste.  I hope that the Free Commercial Agreement will be signed soon between the US and my country.

 

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Posted by andrechapelon on Saturday, September 5, 2009 11:56 AM

verheyen

Here a few (mostly) German links to folks/clubs there modeling North America

If you look closely several of the featured layouts in MR have been built by Europeans...

p.

 

The flip side is European modeling in the US, most notably the European Train Enthusiasts:

http://www.ete.org/

For those on the East Coast, the ETE will be having a 2 day show in Syracuse, NY November 7&8 (check under EuroShows on the home page).

The Brits bridle at being referred to as Europeans (even if they were connected to the Continent during the last Ice Age), so be careful about lumping Her Majesty's loyal subjects with those living on the other side of the English Channel.

There is also a British Railway Modelers of North America, headquartered in Canada. http://home.ca.inter.net/~brmna/

As for elsewhere in the world, Blair Koistra of Walla Walla Valley  Railway fame ( http://www.wwvrailway.com/ )has gone Down Under for his latest inspiration. http://northofnarrabri.blogspot.com/

Then there's our own inimitable tomikawatt (SP?)

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by Graffen on Saturday, September 5, 2009 12:00 PM

If I may cut in, Ulrich mentioned Swedish model RR´s, and I just have to show you what is probably the most famous Swedish MR´s of them all: The WNJ. It was created by Krister Brandt in the 70´s and was constantly evolved. KB died last year, but his society and wife is keeping it much alive. They have a meeting once a year wich is THE place to be if you want to see the latest in craftsmans kits and brass kits (and a lot of other niceties).

WNJ´s Homepage.

Swedish Custom painter and model maker. My Website:

My Railroad

My Youtube:

Graff´s channel

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Posted by verheyen on Saturday, September 5, 2009 12:01 PM

Yup, know ETE and will be at the Syracuse show exhibiting my family's modular layout. See http://papphausen.blogspot.com/2009/09/come-vist-at-great-new-york-state-model.html on that, but you're familiar with it from other posts here and elsewhere. Wink

 

andrechapelon
The flip side is European modeling in the US, most notably the European Train Enthusiasts: http://www.ete.org/

For those on the East Coast, the ETE will be having a 2 day show in Syracuse, NY November 7&8 (check under EuroShows on the home page).

Andre
 
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Posted by andrechapelon on Saturday, September 5, 2009 12:22 PM

Yup, know ETE and will be at the Syracuse show exhibiting my family's modular layout. See http://papphausen.blogspot.com/2009/09/come-vist-at-great-new-york-state-model.html on that, but you're familiar with it from other posts here and elsewhere. Wink

Sorry I'm going to miss the show. We're heading back to California from Maine in mid-October. I have to be back in Monterey County in time for jury duty starting 9 November. However, I expect the ETE will have something in Roseville, CA, especially since the ETE is one of the sponsors.

http://www.internationalrailfair.com/

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Pan-European and US Model Railroading - Continued
Posted by wibblybits on Saturday, September 5, 2009 3:24 PM

http://www.wnj.se/index.htm

Thank you for posting this link, it is a rather good layout and certainly provides another fascinating facet of European MRing. 

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Posted by Painkiller on Thursday, May 22, 2014 2:54 AM

First a correction, those epocs are:

Epoch I - Providencial railway modelling untill formation of Deutche Reichbahn.

Epoch II - The Reichbahn era. 1920-1945

Epoch III - Post war era untill computerized numbers introduced in 1968

Epoch IV - Modern era untill new paint schemes introduced in mid 1980s.

Epoch V - Recent modern era with new paint schemes.

This have become standard though do not aply on all countries as they shifted their paint schemes invidually when ever they felt it was neccersary.

I live in Sweden and done lot's of modelling in US prototypes and with European prototypes. In my future layout I try to coporate best of both. From the american the focus on freights and switching. Mostly as we here in europe tends to compress things a little too much. Most of the fancy IC-trians are having very long consists and are space eaters so I am focussing on secondary lines where the trains are shorter and you have a chanche to go with shorter trains. Alos I have had a cunning plan of a industrial shelf layout in line what Lance Mindheim has done but with European (swedish) prototype. I have since years added on Kadees on all equipment with NEM coupler shaft and by laborating with the different size of them I have pretty close coupling between all the eguipment. Industrial buildings allaround the world in modern era are pretty much the same so I can use Pikestuff, Walthers  and any other modern US kits though redecaled to fit the scenes. Track will feature larger radius turnouts aswell and I guess the sidings be a little less than found on switching layouts in general. Mostly as the foot print of industries served today tend today dominates the railroad and you need to have decent space for trucks to enter the industries and generous parking space for emplyees and customers. Perhaps it all ends up with a port kind of layout with a small three or four track yard where the cars are shifted in order ot serve the industries and ware houses and a staging yard on the deck below with a helix. This will provide me a relaxed operation as the crew will most likely be just me. One downside of European version of a switching layout is the markings on freight cars tend to be unreadable compared to what is found on US-modles so I have to skip that part. and make up sort of own less detailed version. like having There are three alldoor cars to the dock side for unoading paper rolls for waiting freight ship and two more full of refrigators to a ware house and those tank cars to a tankfarm.

The gap between USA models and european models is shrinking. In old days USA models tend to be crude but ran like a dream and were cheap to buy. The fun part was tracking down details from Walther Cathalogue and wait for months to get them, while Europe all the equipment were well detailed but poorer performers. With Atlas and Genesis engines you get allmost perfects models to day and the result is the the prices has gone up. Europeans have refined their performance too so they are about the same quality and with Kadees some of the problems with couplings are solved. Europeans run well down to code 75 Peco track so I will most likely use it. It is dependable, allways availble and reasonably priced.   

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Posted by JDberlin on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:02 PM

Someone mentioned COUPLERS? Our club models the 1938-9 years and our layout is decades OLD.  However, the engines have all been retrofited with DCC electronically controlled couplers using F2 on the decoder.  This is real switching in the yards.  I wish the US modelers would force the issue so as to dump the Kadees for these beauties which are not bulky or clunky as stated, they are not US knuckles either, but magnetic.  I model US as well as European and would hope some retired engineer would use the system to manufacture this in a knuckle-like coupler.

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Posted by Burlington Northern #24 on Thursday, May 29, 2014 1:08 AM

JDberlin

Someone mentioned COUPLERS? Our club models the 1938-9 years and our layout is decades OLD.  However, the engines have all been retrofited with DCC electronically controlled couplers using F2 on the decoder.  This is real switching in the yards.  I wish the US modelers would force the issue so as to dump the Kadees for these beauties which are not bulky or clunky as stated, they are not US knuckles either, but magnetic.  I model US as well as European and would hope some retired engineer would use the system to manufacture this in a knuckle-like coupler.

 

US couplers are neither bulky nor clunky, Just like Euro modelers we prefer our models as close to proto as possible. The KD and MTL couplers are quite efficient and for the most part replicate the operations of proto US couplers. THey are also a standard in US practices, magnetic Euro style couplings will never phase them out. 

SP&S modeler, 1960's give or take a decade or two for some equipment.

 http://www.youtube.com/user/SGTDUPREY?feature=guide 

Gary DuPrey

N scale model railroader 

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 29, 2014 3:44 AM

The coupler situation in Europe is still a formidable mess. Each manufacturer has his own design, some of them match, some don´t. At least, most of them now use the NEM coupler pocket for installation, so changing couplers can be done easily. Somehow this reflects the prototype situation - European railroads could not agree upon an common automatic coupling system for over a hundred years. N scale is in a little better position - they all use the Rapido style coupler.

The worst part of it, that, whatever coupler you use, they all look wrong - way to bulky and far off from the prototype, which is still screw link coupling. As European model railroad operation emphasizes more on running trains than switching (the exemption being the UK), quite a lot of folks put an imitation of the screw link coupler to the front of the loco, add the airhoses and thus get a more prototypical look of the train, which is seldom taken apart.

I think, that US model railroaders are far better off with the Kadees and Kadee look alikes. If you de-install the trip pin and add those magnetic air hoses, you are closer to the prototype Europe will ever get.

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:19 AM

da_kraut

Yes some of our mainlines might as busy as a German branch line, but there is something great about North American Railroading.  

Depends on how you look at it.  If you count trains the European roads are busier.  If you count cars the US is very comparable, if you count tons the US is way ahead.

A "busy" US main route might have 50-60 trains a day.  A US route that runs 50 trains a day with 100 cars per train moves 5000 cars.  A European terminal that runs 500 10 car trains a day moves 5000 cars.  On a really heavy route like the UP's east-west route they might run 125-150 trains aday with an average of over 100 cars a train, that can easily hit 15,000 cars per day and over 25,000 cars a day on peak days.

On tonnage its not even close, the US roads run bigger and heavier cars and waaaaaaaay more of them.

Two different animals.

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:34 AM

Sir Madog

 MRR practice in Europe differs very much from US practice.

1. Space
2.  Operation (passenger)
3. Track
4. Equipment/Accessories (A vast number of bigger and smaller brands offer a tremendous variety)
5. Kitbashing/Scratchbuilding
6. Cost of Hobby (Way too high - much higher, than in the US!)
7. Scales
8. Social Acceptance (Model railroading is considered a serious hobby for adults. "Playing" with trains does not get bickered at.)
9. Future (The hobby is here to stay)

I have traveled to Europe on 5 occasions.  On several of my trips (which included Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, England and Holland) I was in Europe for a couple months, or many weeks and stayed with locals and got to really interact rather than only see Europe as a camera toting tourist.   Most of your list of differences became apparent pretty quickly and it definitely opens ones eyes to the differences between the U.S. and most of the rest of the world.

Since many Americans never experience the world, often many don't appreciate the blessings we have with the relative low cost of housing, land, gasoline, products in general.  Because of our relative ease of access, we have become quite materialistic relative to the rest of the world.  One of the visible evidences of this are the proliferations of storage business which have popped up all over the place where people can go store "stuff" which they don't have room for.  I have seen many a garage which is crammed with boxes of stuff so that the home owners can't even park a car in their two car garage.  Probably since the 1950's, the U.S. has really prospered and had an explosion of the middle class, which has afforded many the ability to have model trains on a scale which very few Europeans can manage, Japan even less. (getting back to the original topic).

One familiy I stayed with in Bonn Germany had a rather large house by German standards, and certainly even quite decent by U.S. standards, but the bread winner was a well established professor with many years experience.  As a rule, most Germans I visited lived in more modest apartments or small houses where a model train layout would be fairly small.  Certainly N-scale is a necessity for the majority.

1) Space - yep.
2) Operation - when I visited, I rode passenger trains a lot, so it's clear that what people see, they model and passenger trains are much more prevelant.  Population density is the reason.  The north-east corridor of the US has a lot more passenger service still, so I'd wager that modelers in that region would model passenger service alot more than the rest of the US, where wide open spaces make passenger service un-economical and uncommon.
3) Variety - when I purchased my first Walthers catelog, it got my first glimpse of the variety offered in the European market and was amazed, especially because the cost of the hobby is so much higher there and space is limted - it made no sense that companies could offer that kind of variety and make a profit.  Here in the US, where people seem to have much more disposable income on average, hobby companies struggle to offer variety, although Walthers has really stepped up to the plate.

The rest of the items listed are logical out growths of the space limitations lesser relative prosparity of Europe vs. the US consumers - it just goes to show how good we have had it over the past 50-60 years.  Certainly the flattening of the global economy and a couple of recessions have changed things in the US, and the prosperous middle class is waning now.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:44 AM

dehusman
A European terminal that runs 500 10 car trains

... that I have yet to see! In the good old days of the 1960´s, a branch line local might have had only 10 cars. Regular freight trains can be a little over half a mile long, that equates to over 50 cars. The average maybe 40 cars, moving at speeds up to 75 mph. In the not so far away future, mile-long trains will becoming a regular sight.

 

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Posted by AlexV on Friday, November 10, 2023 9:38 AM

First post! I figured I'd ask a European...What would be needed to operate a North American HO set in Poland? I wanted to send a Canadian engine and rolling stock to a little boy there and then thought through some of the issues. Input 120V 50/60 HZ, Poland is at 230V (I don't even know what I'm talking about)

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Posted by Vintagesteamer on Monday, November 20, 2023 11:07 AM

The Germans, especially the older model train companies do tend to march to their own beat. Along with Marklin in HO, I also have some live stream models from Regner that run on G scale track.  They, still to this very day, use their own gas filling valve for the fuel tank vs the industry wide common Ronson type that is self venting.  For myself, I enjoy Marklins ablity to fit into small spaces, deep flanges keep trains on the track better and they run beautifully.  Now I run older Marklin, pre digital for the most part. With all drivers geared to the AC motor.  Newer models have can motors and rely on the side rods to do the rest of the motion work.  But thats the great part of the hobby, there is something for every one, at every price point. And despite the high prices, even the newest stuff from Marklin is a sellout in the USA,  try to find the new Flying Scotsman for example.  

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Posted by Lukas ATSF on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 7:33 AM

As a European modelling the US I can say there is one huge difference I've actually never quite understood:

 

In Europe we write H0 (the number zero)

Americans use HO (the letter O as in orange)


Can anybody explain this?

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