Jump to content

artfull dodger

Why do you enjoy old trains vs new ones?

Recommended Posts

This has taken me back to my first train set when I was nobbut' a bairn.  Must have been 6 or 7 years old and my older cousins (3 brothers) 'donated' me (I don't know if they knew they had until it was to late!) a Hornby 0 gauge electric set with a GWR livery 0-4-0 tender loco and 3 pullman coaches, track including 3 'Y' style points, a transformer and 'point lever' style speed control.  It was generally plugged into a ceiling pendant room lamp with a 2-way adaptor so the bulb would still work.  I think it arrived one Christmas and I spent many a happy hour with it.  I fitted a bulb into the smokebox door socket and delighted in running in the dark.  The lever controller started the loco on full power and slow running was, shall we say, difficult.  One of my favourite 'tricks' was licking my finger and laying it across the rails whereupon a full 20v AC boosted my nervous system no end.  I can still remember (as said above) the distinctive 'tinny' aroma of the motor and the clatter of the coaches as they tore round improbably tight curves - until the loco lost the fight against centrifugal force and flew off the track!  The 0 gauge tinplate eventually lost the fight against Triang 00 and was put into mothballs until I (rather stupidly) donated to a model shop in Chester that had a display case full of vintage stuff.  This would have been around 1960'ish and I regret it to this day!

  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never had Dublo as a child and started off with a cheap budget priced Fleischmann train set before moving on to Tri-ang.  Two school friends of mine did have Dublo, although it was 2 rail rather than 3 - one of them had a West Country "Barnstaple" which left quite an impression on me.

 

As others have said, the best thing about Dublo 3 rail is the ease of wiring.  All my modelling, from the mid 1960s onwards has been with either 00 or H0 scales, always 2 rail, and I've never summoned up enough courage to construct anything more than either an oval with a few sidings or an end to end country terminus/fiddle yard.  Everything I built invariably had some sort of quirk wherein it didn't work quite as it should, and I ended up giving up on modelling railways for about 25 or 30 years as a result.  I am now putting the "finishing" touches (I used inverted commas as a layout is never really finished) on a Dublo 3 rail layout with twin running tracks, reversing loop, 4 platform terminus, 4 track engine shed with turntable and two crossovers - and it all works!


I started collecting Hornby Dublo 3 rail just over four years ago after the arrival of our first grandson and now we have two grandsons and one granddaughter (although she's only seven weeks old, so it's a bit too early to introduce her to trains).   The weight, quality and, as one other poster put it, solidity of the Dublo locomotives and also the relatively low value of them (yes, I know there are a handful of exceptions, but I'm unlikely to have any of them) makes them ideal for amusing small children (as well as fully grown adults).  The fact that I can send them racing round the track at speed amuses my grandsons no end - they run around the train table chasing them, while I vary the speed and sometimes stop or reverse them (the trains that is, not the grandchildren).
 

One great plus is that the locomotives generally still run very well, if need be with a bit of a clean and lubrication.  They are also very easy to work on and repair and spares are syill easy to find, after all the years that have gone by since production ceased.

 

I am having more fun with HD 3 rail than I ever had with scale models in the past.....

 

jim

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know Fleischmann did "cheap budget priced". I thought they (and Märklin) only did 'expensive'!   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Il Grifone said:

I didn't know Fleischmann did "cheap budget priced". I thought they (and Märklin) only did 'expensive'!   :)

 

I don't know how much it cost, and it could have been a discontinued line that was on special, but there were signs of cost-cutting.  The loco was an 0-6-0T, with a one piece metal body almost as heavy as Dublo but not, I think, to the same standards, as the gears wore out after about 5 or 6 years.  The wagons were tinplate, the track was made of a dull coloured flat steel formed into the shape of flatbottom rail and the sleepers were pressed out of a thick black cardboard.  It would have been bought probably in 1960.

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that the 0-6-0T was a design dating back to the first Fleischmann H0 range introduced in 1952 and to 1:80 scale.  There was an open wagon that was plastic, but the other three wagons were tinplate.  I can’t remember there being a brake van in the set.  My set is long since gone, but I found these images on the internet (my tank wagon was branded Shell, but was the same otherwise as the ARAL one:

 

2090767138_ScreenShot2020-05-21at2_46_26pm.png.c976296c98f8f33df7bc6b6070a82e0f.png

 

1944686441_ScreenShot2020-05-21at2_46_40pm.png.513ce9049993a73f4663faeba9fdc2d3.png

 

9842770_ScreenShot2020-05-21at2_46_57pm.png.a774c258ab24170ce5ec641b5f7270c5.png

 

1276262923_ScreenShot2020-05-21at2_47_34pm.png.d27aec53e996739ea1fb3d3bf8deaf16.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a vague recollection of a 'budget' continental train set being sold in a local shop in the late 50's.  The shop had nothing whatsoever to do with modelling (I think it was some kind of furniture/household shop, didn't last long) and it was in their window as I walked from school. They probably had a wholesaler's rep. call and persuade them that it would be a great seller!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dear! something else to collect! I already have a Trix Express Br 80 0-6-0T and a few wagons, but they could always do with a few friends. I've always tried to avoid beer vans (Carlsberg and Tuborg excluded*), but the fish van looks a 'must have'.

 

* These were my favourite beers (now the same I believe), until I tried Ichnusa in Sardinia - never tell a Sardinian it's not the best... (reminds me there's one in the fridge).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With pictures like those Fleischmann items, the question set in the thread title answers itself.

 

These old things appeal as objects in themselves, without needing to refer to whether or not they are hi-fi reproductions of the real thing.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20/05/2020 at 22:12, Il Grifone said:

I didn't know Fleischmann did "cheap budget priced". I thought they (and Märklin) only did 'expensive'!   :)

Crude and expensive?  Those spur gear drives were/ are pretty awful.   There is something about a good old vertical motor Hornby Dublo loco grappling with a heavy train which you don't get with modern RTR,  Give it full power and see if can actually start, If it doesn't then you have to slacken off the couplings and try again, if it does you have to back it off before it slips violently, just like the real thing!    My old stuff is all tarted up with modern bits, repaint, Romford wheels, different  magnets, five pole armatures, different chassis but from the same era, so maybe its a bit of the rose tinted syndrome, but if there was a flood its the old stuff I would rescue first.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it is because I like my old TT, the trains just keep running after 60 + years and with modern 3D printed bodies on their chassis's a wide variety of trains can be run.  They might not have been accurate scale models but you still knew what they were supposed to be just looking at them.  I know some modern locos have ceased running within hours and some within a couple of years so give me the old every time.

 

Garry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BEN_BUCKI_Welsotoys_01.JPG.590b8bf036ab7859dd84926b26e2306f.JPG

 

Whilst everyone else is enthusing over 0 gauge tinplate (of which I'm very jealous!  I've spent too long looking at the wonderful 'Deliberately Old Fashioned 0 Gauge' thread and wishing I had the budget, time and space for tinplate), here's one for the later, 00 gauge clockwork starter set crowd.  I'm sure it's not just me who loves these basic sets... one of my first exposures to train sets (it's definitely not a model railway), this Welsotoys tank loco of I believe 60's vintage, it must have been at least second or maybe third hand when it ended up in the toybox at my Grandparents house for me and my sisters in the late 80's.

 

BEN_BUCKI_Welsotoys_02.JPG.b4626ebcdf372e63013b1ab9786dc822.JPG

 

Ridiculously tight track (now missing a piece sadly, following a house move), bowed body and lightweight plastic mechanism which means it cannot pull stock.  That said, still in perfect working order despite how much it was played with (and how many high-speed derailments it had off the edge of a coffee table).

 

BEN_BUCKI_Welsotoys_03.JPG.86b1add3bdd47c37ef3b3d3c0a89ad41.JPG

 

I dug it all out earlier in the lockdown whilst hunting for bits for another project, and set it going on some spare 00 track... an exercise which has now escalated into a mini layout for clockwork starter locomotives; dangerous thing, nostalgia.  Just listening to the rattling of that mech as it races around took me back to sitting on the carpet in my grandparents house making cardboard-box scenery for temporary layouts.  The noise, so evocative, in much the same way as an 80's Scalextric or Hornby mech is with the smell and roar of the motors :) 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She seems to have a resemblance to the Hornby Dublo 'starter' locomotive. I have the body of one stashed away somewhere and also the Dinky toy version. Starter clockwork locomotives I have consist of a Hornby 'Thomas' 0-4-0T and a couple of the Jouef/Playcraft SNCF 0-4-0Ts. I don't know if the Trackmaster N2* and Tri-ang 0-6-0ST count as starters, but I have one of each though the saddle tank is electric.

https://www.vectis.co.uk/lot/Hornby-dublo-2-rail-starter-set_688438

 

*My first proper train was a Hornby 101 LMS tank*, but a Trackmaster set followed soon afterwards. The originals have long since gone, but they have been replaced. The LMS 0-4-0T replacement is twenty years older than my original but what what is another twenty years in seventy odd? (I do have a GWR 101 to restore - well the body anyway! looking for a chassis).

* Plus a load of track and rolling stock - pampered No. 1 son!   :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve lately come to 3-Rail O Gauge, which I never had as a child (I did have a large tea-chest of Hornby from my older cousins, but I was a Tri-Ang fan in those days and it was eventually lost amid the domestic upheavals of the mid-1960s). It’s rather fun... I seem also, to have become de-facto custodian of a collection of Hornby Dublo which I’m working my way through, I always liked the Hornby models but the 3-Rail Track seemed quite passé..

 

3 Rail O Gauge is just good fun. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm convinced that Hornby Dublo's enduring love of 3 rail led to their eventual demise. By the time they swopped it was too late. Sheer reliability was not enough.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Il Grifone said:

I'm convinced that Hornby Dublo's enduring love of 3 rail led to their eventual demise. By the time they swopped it was too late. Sheer reliability was not enough.

 

Sadly, I must agree, within limits. The Hornby 3-Rail locos I’ve been sorting out is far superior in appearance and detail, to the Tri-Ang product of the times, the tinplate rolling stock, much less so.. but 3-Rail had had its day, at that point, and of course Tri-Ang was significantly cheaper. 

Edited by rockershovel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The HD SD6 rolling stock, and the composite plastic/tin coaches are, however, superb ........ when they eventually, too late and at too great a cost, got to plastic, they did it really well.

 

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the business decisions, the things we have left are the toy trains and I for one really like HD two-rail toy trains; their only fault in my eyes is that they are too blooming small, which is why my 1963 layout project has gone into stasis.

 

  • Agree 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The three main train manufacturers worldwide were Hornby, Lionel and Märklin. Lionel and Märklin stayed with 3-rail and are still alive and kicking. So I assume the problem with HD was not 3-rail.

Regards

Fred

  • Agree 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was one of multiple problems, which all added up to a product that was too expensive for all but a segment of the market, that segment being too small to support the business.

 

My knowledge of the German toy market in the 1960s is very limited, but it does seem to have been very different from that in the UK, more able to support high-quality niche brands - LGB could never have arisen in the UK, for instance; too good and therefore too expensive. According to Wikipedia in Germany ".......the purchasing power of wages increasing by 73% from 1950 to 1960."; I can't find a really clear comparison for Britain, but it seems to be c25% over the same period. We didn't quite have it so good.

 

So, my take is that Maerklin was able to persist with three rails because of Wirtschaftswunder, whereas Hornby perished because Britain "lost the peace".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

It was one of multiple problems, which all added up to a product that was too expensive for all but a segment of the market, that segment being too small to support the business.

 

My knowledge of the German toy market in the 1960s is very limited, but it does seem to have been very different from that in the UK, more able to support high-quality niche brands - LGB could never have arisen in the UK, for instance; too good and therefore too expensive. According to Wikipedia in Germany ".......the purchasing power of wages increasing by 73% from 1950 to 1960."; I can't find a really clear comparison for Britain, but it seems to be c25% over the same period. We didn't quite have it so good.

 

So, my take is that Maerklin was able to persist with three rails because of Wirtschaftswunder, whereas Hornby perished because Britain "lost the peace".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... but note that Tri-Ang, who DID survive that era, and would ultimately take over the Hornby name, offered new technology. 2-Rail HO was already established, not least in the USA and Canada, and Tri-Ang made efforts to succeed in that market - and you HAD to export to succeed in those days. 

 

Post-War Germany had no delusions of Empire to support, and few (if any) friends on the international stage. The outcome was a national view that they must succeed by their own efforts, combined with an abiding belief in their ability to do this, and this persists to the present day. 

 

Germany has always believed in a manufacturing philosophy of “affordable quality”. Rolls Royce, in the 1950s might have been “the best car in the world” but the BMW motorcycle was expensive, but not out of reach for a much wider market. It might have been a 1930s design, but it was a GOOD 1930s design and made to a high standard. 

 

Marklin survived using stud contact and AC, because they offered a good product to a market prepared to pay for quality. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Triang survived that era because they were clever and cheap; Hornby failed because they were plodding and expensive.

 

Its easy to pin the Hornby failure on three rail, and Triang success on 2-rail, but there was a great deal more to both than that.

 

Might make a good case-study of competition between a large, established business and an up-start, to be compared with case where the up-start got swallowed by the oldie.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Triang survived that era because they were clever and cheap; Hornby failed because they were plodding and expensive.

 

Its easy to pin the Hornby failure on three rail, and Triang success on 2-rail, but there was a great deal more to both than that.

 

Might make a good case-study of competition between a large, established business and an up-start, to be compared with case where the up-start got swallowed by the oldie.

 

 

 

Tri-Ang were a toy manufacturer who made trains, and a lot more besides. They were cheap, but offered perceived value and innovation, and there was a market for innovation. Hornby were part of Meccano, and Meccano had had its day, by then. 

 

Tri-Ang’s owners would also fail, eventually, but much of their range survives under the Hornby name. 

 

There was huge loss of confidence in the country as a whole; consider the huge emigration of skilled and talented people, around that time. The nationalised industries, particularly coal, knew this and applied themselves to improvement, but to no ultimate end. 

 

 

 

Edited by rockershovel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, rockershovel said:

Hornby were part of Meccano, and Meccano had had its day, by then.

 

Meccano Ltd may be dead and gone, but Meccano is still with us.....

  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

West Germany in the fifties was rather different from the UK. The United States poured money in to block the 'Communist threat' (it never worried me even at a young age!), whereas Britain had to recover from the war on its own with an empire that was falling apart. The Korean War and 'Suez' in the fifties didn't help either. The "You've never had it so good" was Tory election propaganda. Many people probably disagreed. It was suggested at the time that they had forgotten the comma after 'it'.

But enough politics!

The problem wasn't only 3 rail. They could possibly have gone to stud contact like Märklin or offered a half price exchange like they had done in the past. but their constructional toys 'Dinky Builder', 'Bayko'* and 'Meccano' all suffered from competition from 'Lego' (and its cheap Airfix copy). The final nail was the slot racing craze of the late 50s/60s. With Scalextric' Tri-ang were well placed but Meccano passed it off as 'just a phase' (in the long run correctly, but too long for them).

 

* The first two were based on metal rods, 'Meccano to a lesser extent'. H & S would have a fit today! I survived both!

Edited by Il Grifone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I don’t know about that. The chronic, mass unemployment of the 1930s was gone, and Britain had a conscript Army in peace time, for the first and only time in its history. Social housing construction proceeded, at a pace never seen before or since. Skilled trades and the professional lower middle classes emigrated in numbers never seen before, and few returned. Medical treatment was free, as was education. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, the answer to the question set by the OP might be: because now, at long last, several decades down the road, we can afford to enter the shop and actually buy these things, instead of simply leaving nose-prints on the windows.

  • Like 3
  • Agree 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.