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Encyclopedia > Toy train
A toy train.
A toy train.

A toy train is a toy that represents a train, distinguished from a model train by an emphasis on low cost and durability, rather than scale modeling. A toy train can be as simple as a pull toy that does not even run on track, or it might be operated by clockwork or a battery. Many toy trains blur the line between the two categories, running on electric power and approaching accurate scale. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 545 pixelsFull resolution (1607 × 1095 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 545 pixelsFull resolution (1607 × 1095 pixel, file size: 1. ... A teddy bear A toy is an object used in play. ... “Trains” redirects here. ... This article needs cleanup. ... A scale model of the Tower of London. ... Gear with escapment mechanism For other uses, see Clockwork (disambiguation). ... Symbols representing a single Cell (top) and Battery (bottom), used in circuit diagrams. ...

Contents

Standards

The first widely adopted standards for toy trains running on track were introduced in Leipzig, Germany in 1891 by Märklin. Map of Germany showing Leipzig Leipzig [ˈlaiptsɪç] (Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk) is the largest city in the federal state (Bundesland) of Saxony in Germany. ... Year 1891 (MDCCCXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... An O scale Mitropa sleeping car made by Märklin Märklin (or Maerklin) is a German toy company, founded in 1859. ...

Name Width (metric) Width (imperial) size Comments
Number 5 gauge 120 mm 4 5/8 in 1:8 Also known as V Gauge.
Number 4 gauge 75 mm 3 in 1:11 or 1:20 Also known as IV or 3 gauge. Measurement is sometimes also quoted at 2 15/16 in.
Number 3 gauge 67 mm 2 5/8 in 1:16 or 1:22 or 1:23 also known as III, II, IIa gauges.
Number 2 gauge 54 mm 2 1/8 in 1:22.5 or 1:27 or 1:28 also known as II gauge.
Number 1 gauge 45 mm 1 3/4 in 1:32 or 1:30 Also known as I gauge. Used by modern G scale.
Number 0 gauge 35 mm 1 3/8 in 1:48 or 1:43 or 1:45 or 1:64 Introduced later, around 1900. This is modern O gauge.

Märklin measured the gauge as the distance between the centers of the two outer rails, rather than the distance between the outer rails themselves. Lionel's Standard gauge is allegedly the result of Lionel's misreading these standards, as are the variances in O gauge between the United States and Europe. 1 gauge is a toy train and model railroading standard, popular in the early 20th century, particularly with European manufacturers. ... G scale is a scale for model railways, and the most popular scale for garden railways - indeed this explains the name. ... O scale (or O gauge) is a scale commonly used for toy trains and model railroading. ... Lionel, LLC is a designer and importer of toy trains and model railroads, based in Chesterfield Township, Michigan and currently in bankruptcy. ... As railways developed and expanded one of the key issues to be decided was that of the rail gauge (the distance between the two rails of the track) which should be used. ...


Most of these standards never really caught on, due to their large size, which made them impractical to use indoors, as well as the high price of manufacturing. Wide gauge trains, which are close in size to 2 gauge, are produced in limited quantities today, as are 1 gauge and O gauge trains. Of these, O gauge is the most popular. Wide Gauge was an early model railway and toy train standard, introduced in the United States in 1906 by Lionel Corporation. ...

An O gauge Marx toy train set made in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
An O gauge Marx toy train set made in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

The modern standards for toy trains also include S gauge, HO scale, N scale, and Z scale, in descending order of size. HO and N scale are the most popular model railway standards of today; inexpensive sets sold in toy stores and catalogs are less realistic than those sold to hobbyists. O gauge arguably remains the most popular toy train standard. Another size that is attracting interest among hobbyists is building and operating trains from LEGO, or L gauge, which is roughly 1/38 scale. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... S gauge is a scale in model railroading. ... HO scale (H0 scale in continental Europe) is the most popular scale of model railway in most of the world (outside the United Kingdom, where the slightly larger 00 gauge is most common). ... U.S. Prototype model of an N scale (1:160) Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 2-6-6-2 shown with a pencil for size N scale is a popular model railway size. ... Z scale (1:220) is the smallest commercially available model railway scale with its track gauge of only 6. ... This article needs cleanup. ... For other uses, see Lego (disambiguation). ... L gauge is the unofficial term for toy trains built from LEGO®. There are many different sizes within the nomenclature. ...


Although the words "scale" and "gauge" are often used interchangeably, toy train manufacturers have only recently concerned themselves with accurate scale. The terms "O scale" and "S scale" tend to imply serious scale modeling, while the terms "O gauge" and "S gauge" tend to imply toy trains manufactured by the likes of Lionel and American Flyer. While S gauge is fairly consistent at 1:64 scale, O gauge trains represent a variety of sizes. O gauge track happens to be 1/45 the size of real-world standard gauge track, so manufacturers in Continental Europe have traditionally used 1:45 for O gauge trains. British manufacturers rounded this up to 1:43, which is seven millimeters to the foot. U.S. manufacturers rounded it down to 1:48, which is a quarter-inch to the foot. However, most engaged in a practice of selective compression in order to make the trains fit in a smaller space, causing the actual scale to vary, and numerous manufacturers produced 1:64 scale trains—the proper size for S gauge—in O gauge, especially for cost-conscious lines. This American Flyer S gauge 4-4-2 steam locomotive and tender dates from 1960 American Flyer was a popular brand of toy train and model railroad in the United States in the middle part of the 20th century. ... As railways developed and expanded one of the key issues to be decided was that of the rail gauge (the distance between the two rails of the track) which should be used. ...


Some of the earliest O gauge trains made of tinplate weren't scale at all, made to unrealistic, whimsical proportions similar in length to modern HO scale, but anywhere from one and a half to two times as wide and tall.


Some adult fans of toy trains operate their trains, while others only collect. Some toy train layouts are accessorized with scale models in an attempt to be as realistic as possible, while others are accessorized with toy buildings, cars, and figures. Some hobbyists will only buy accessories that were manufactured by the same company who made their trains. This practice is most common among fans of Marx and Lionel. Louis Marx and Company was an American toy manufacturer from 1919 to 1978. ...


History

Toy trains can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

The earliest toy trains date from the 19th century and were often made of cast iron. Motorized units running on track soon followed, powered by a steam or clockwork engine. Some of these trains used clever methods to whistle and smoke. Celebrate the Century - 1920s - Toy Trains This image is a postage stamp produced by the United States Postal Service after 1978. ... Celebrate the Century - 1920s - Toy Trains This image is a postage stamp produced by the United States Postal Service after 1978. ... General Name, symbol, number iron, Fe, 26 Chemical series transition metals Group, period, block 8, 4, d Appearance lustrous metallic with a grayish tinge Standard atomic weight 55. ... // The term steam engine may also refer to an entire railroad steam locomotive. ...


Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be ensured by selling add-on accessories for years after the initial purchase. In addition to boxed sets containing a train and track, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings sold 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 by the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As electricity became more common in the early 20th century, electric 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 sound, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mostly of plastic. 1897 (MDCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Carlisle & Finch is a producer of nautical equipment and the inventor of the electric toy train, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. ... Lithography is a method for printing on a smooth surface, as well as a method of manufacturing semiconductor and MEMS devices. ... General Name, Symbol, Number tin, Sn, 50 Chemical series poor metals Group, Period, Block 14, 5, p Appearance silvery lustrous gray Standard atomic weight 118. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Prior to 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 towards children, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s that the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to catch on. “Young Men” redirects here. ...

CSX freight train emerging from a colorful truss bridge, one of many wooden toy trains offered by Whittle Shortline.
CSX freight train emerging from a colorful truss bridge, one of many wooden toy trains offered by Whittle Shortline.

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. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... CSX Transportation (AAR reporting marks CSXT) is a Class I railroad in the United States, owned by the CSX Corporation. ... A truss bridge is a bridge composed of connected elements (typically straight) which may be stressed from tension, compression, or sometimes both in response to dynamic loads. ... CSX freight train emerging from a colorful truss bridge, one of many wooden toy trains offered by Whittle Shortline. ... Thomas the Tank Engine This article is about the fictional tank engine. ...


Today, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains even by their 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). Ironically, however, due to their high cost, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than an O scale set. S gauge is a scale in model railroading. ... O scale (or O gauge) is a scale commonly used for toy trains and model railroading. ... Plasticville is a brand of plastic toy train building sold in the United States, made by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Bachmann Industries since 1947 (although they were first advertised in 1946). ... This article refers to a Japanese shipping company. ... HO scale (H0 scale in continental Europe) is the most popular scale of model railway in most of the world (outside the United Kingdom, where the slightly larger 00 gauge is most common). ... U.S. Prototype model of an N scale (1:160) Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 2-6-6-2 shown with a pencil for size N scale is a popular model railway size. ... O scale (or O gauge) is a scale commonly used for toy trains and model railroading. ...


Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to safely and easily run multiple trains on one loop of track.


Also see

Matheran Railway No. ... This article needs cleanup. ... CSX freight train emerging from a colorful truss bridge, one of many wooden toy trains offered by Whittle Shortline. ...

External links

  • A short history of toy trains, by the Train Collectors Society (UK)
  • BRIO Toy Trains
  • Photos of toy steam engines

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