Friday, March 15, 2013

The History of Model Trains

by Stewart Ames

Collectible model trains can be traced back to the nineteenth century when the first model locomotives became available in the 1840s. These early collectible trains ranged widely in price from the extremely expensive real working steam locomotives, to the least expensive "penny toys" crafted from lead or tin. Today, with the advancements in modern technology, model trains have become much more sophisticated and the hobby of collecting model trains and building model railway systems is extremely popular with many devoted enthusiasts and avid collectors. Collectible model trains are widely available today in price ranges to fit any budget allowing anyone the opportunity to enjoy this great hobby.

Early Model Railway Sets
While collectible model trains were available in the mid nineteenth century, they were designed to run only on the floor and were not available with a train track. One of the first collectible train sets became available in the late nineteenth century and was produced by a company named "Marklin Bros". These collectible trains were wind-up or "clockwork trains" designed to run along a track. Additional pieces could be purchased and integrated into the set one at a time allowing customers the ability to create and customize an entire railway system. Eventually, other manufacturers began to produce model train sets and while these train sets were initially geared toward the entertainment of children, the manufacturers soon began to realize that collectible model trains were also becoming popular among adult who collected them.

Manufacturers began creating more complex and sophisticated versions of model train sets during the early twentieth century and the hobby of building model railway systems was becoming more and more popular. Battery powered and electrically operated model trains were also introduced in the early twentieth century and are the main sources of power utilized in collectible train sets today. The hobby of collecting model trains and building customized railway systems became extremely popular during the middle of the twentieth century as collectible trains became more affordable to the average individual.

Collectible Model Trains Today
Today, collectible model trains are available in all price ranges from highly complex models geared toward the adult consumer to less expensive model train sets designed for children. Collecting model trains is an exciting hobby that is enjoyed all across the globe and by people of all ages. Part of the appeal in collecting model trains is the numerous options available when it comes to creating the scenic landscapes that surround the tracks. While many prefer the traditional layout of the rural landscape with mountain tunnels and surrounding greenery, others prefer the more urban landscapes that include city streets and skyscrapers. Elaborate collectible train sets are also available for both indoor and outdoor settings including those that are designed specifically for outdoor gardens.

There are several different sizes to choose from in model trains that range from what is called the "N-scale" to the "G-scale" size. The N-scale models are the smallest and are typically utilized by collectors who are limited on space as it still allows for the room necessary when setting up various scenic landscapes. The G-scale trains are the largest and are typically designed to withstand the elements, therefore, these trains are the ones most utilized by hobbyists who enjoy setting up there train set outdoors. There is an endless variety of styles, sizes, and designs available in collectible model trains today that will provide years of entertainment and make a great hobby for both children and adults.

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