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CIWL in Miniature: An Overview of manufacturers of models of CIWL cars

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I made an overview of manufacturers of models of CIWL (Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (et des Grands Express Européens)) cars for a Newsletter. It might also be of interest to some of you. This first post is is about the larger gauges, a following post will be about the smaller gauges.


The model railway hobby is practiced in many parts of the world and model railway companies are also located around the world. Since CIWL was for a large part present in continental European one can expect that continental European model train companies did make some CIWL items. Germany was and is the country were the largest and most model train companies are located, but knowing the history of the CIWL connection with Germany one can imagine that not many CIWL models came from that country. I cannot avoid to mention that the largest model train manufacturer Märklin not only made a small amount of, but what they made were in general incorrect, CIWL models. Happily, makers from other European countries, especially France, Switzerland and Italy, made a large quantity of CIWL models available.

In this overview I only include models that are made to a correct scale and are an attempt to represent a real CIWL type of car. So, toy-like, not-to-scale and tinplate-style models are not included here (but are included in my e-book on this subject http://sncf231e.nl/ciwl-carriages-by-fredsmall/). The overview, which lists model manufacturers by gauge from large to small, includes manufacturers of models made previously which might not be available in the market anymore and recent still available models. I do not pretend that this overview is complete. Further, any assessment of quality or scale accuracy is just my own opinion.


Gauge 1: 45 mm

Trains for this gauge are in general made to a scale of 1:32. Most of the CIWL models in this scale are made in small series and are generally costly to acquire.



This Italian manufacturer of kits, known for their kits of model ships, made a kit for an LX sleeping car. This product is notable for the realistic interior.



David Leech

This Canadian builder of “Gauge One Passenger Cars -Designed to be Used” made models of a Fleche d’Or WP and WPc and an LX sleeper. These cars are made of aluminum and plastic and not very detailed, but correctly scaled.



This Italian model maker made 0-gauge CIWL cars for Fulgurex but also a very small amount of gauge 1 teak cars including a sleeper and a dining car.


J&M Models

Fulgurex of Switzerland is known for their commission of high-end high-price models. In the eighties they had a range of CIWL cars made by J&M Models from England. Later J&M Models marketed these models under their own name. The models are made of metal with a plastic roof and have interior and interior lights. The range is quite large and includes an S-type and an LX sleeper, a restaurant car and Fleche d’Or, Etoile du Nord and Cote d’Azur Pullman cars including a Train Bleu Bar-Salon. Also 6-door fourgons and fourgon-trucks are made in several CIWL liveries.



The German maker Wunder Präzisionsmodelle GbR of very detailed metal models in gauge 1 and gauge 0 made a very costly set called Orient Express with type S sleeping cars, a WR and 6-door baggage cars. They are now also making models of the Fleche dÓr, Edelweiss & Gotthard-Pullman-Express.



Mentioned and shown here is also the correct model of a narrow-gauge Golden Mountain Pullman car made by LGB of Germany; this is running on a gauge of 45 mm and to a scale of 1:25. Note that LGB made a couple of other models with CIWL lettering and advertised as for instance Orient Express. These cannot be considered models and are just toys.



Gauge 0: 32 mm

Gauge 0 trains are made to a scale of 1:43.5 or 1:45. For this gauge quite a number of different manufacturers made CIWL cars, these cars are popular with collectors I assume. Of course, for this gauge many toy-like or tinplate style CIWL cars were made; since these cannot be recognized as model of a specific car type they are not included in this overview. Further there are or were modelmakers like for instance Pierre Griveaux that made fine-scale CIWL cars in single copies; these are in generally not available on the market.



This maker from Germany planned to make a series of brass and metal CIWL carriages which were supposed to be highly detailed. As far as I know the only car of the series actually made is the restaurant type.




Darstaed from Switzerland produced model and tinplate style trains. Their models of CIWL cars are highly acclaimed and fetch high prices whenever they are sold. Modelmakers like Jardel, Lottiaux and Rossi cooperated with Darstaed. I do not know what type of cars were made and in what quantities. In any case I have seen an LX and a Cote d’Azur WP.



The Italian Ravasini family is in their third generation and still manufactures CIWL cars. Starting with tinplate style they made model types thereafter. They make a large range of sleeping (type LX, S, ST, Y, Z), restaurant, Pullman (SdEx, EdN, FdO, CdA) and baggage cars (6 and 8 door and fourgon truck) which can all be seen on their website http://www.elettren.it/. The cars are correct to scale made of metal with plastic roofs, nicely detailed interior and interior lights. They have been marketed previously under the Fulgurex and later Lemaco brands but were always recognizable as Elettren products.



Fulgurex had products made by various builders; Fulgurex products are generally brass or other metal. Sometimes they used only the brand Fulgurex and at other times the brand of the maker was also given. The 0-gauge Fulgurex CIWL range (of which the builder was FM from Korea) consisted of a WR, WPc FdO in 2 liveries and WL LX. Further a type P sleeper was made by the Asian company SHS for Fulgurex. These are cars with very good detailing, also in the interior and having lighted interior and even lighted table lamps for the WP and WR.

The German manufacturer Hübner made some 40 years ago for Fulgurex a type P and a type MU sleeping car, apparently also in a shortened version.

Further Dottori made for Fulgurex a range of teak CIWL cars which were nicely detailed and of which the outer walls were made of wood, giving a good impression of teak. This range included a WR, WS, WL and Fourgon, also available in blue and available with German ISG lettering. The WR with CIWL number 2419 has the correct interior for the Armistice car.

The picture shows a Fleche d’Or couplage with an Elettren WP at the left and a Fulgurex WPc at the right.




The American toy and model manufacturer MTH expanded his range to European trains and made a number of CIWL cars (and more or less matching locomotives) to a correct scale of 1:43.5 for 2-rail and 3-rail running. These cars have plastic bodies and have the looks of blown up Jouef H0 cars. They have interiors and interior lights. These cars are only available in sets of 5 cars, all wrongly named Orient Express. The car types in the sets, with bleu, bleu/crème and brown/crème liveries, are: WL LX, WR, WP FdO, WPc CdA, 6-doors fourgon and fourgon-truck.



Munier, a small French company, made an 0-gauge model of a more modern WR from 1950. These models could be had in kits to be painted and lettered and, as far as I know, also ready-made. This is an example of one of the 0-gauge products from more than 50 years ago, like trains from Fournereau, Biaggi, BLZ, GMP etc. that were advertised as scale models. The Munier model is indeed a model to scale even if not very detailed.



The English kit manufacturer Westdale made only one CIWL car model, but a prominent one. It is the only gauge 0 model of a type F sleeping car.



Many more pictures on my website http://sncf231e.nl/ and in my ebook on CIWL http://sncf231e.nl/ciwl-carriages-by-fredsmall/







Edited by sncf231e
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This next post is is about the smaller gauges.


Gauge H0: 16.5 mm

The largest number of manufacturers making CIWL cars did this for H0 gauge to a scale of 1:87. Also in H0 there are makers of toy-like trains, which are not included here. Some manufacturers only made a small number or even one CIWL item. Some made a large range. ACME, LS Models and HobbyTrain are considered nowadays as makers of the best detailed and state of the art (plastic) carriages models. An internet list of many if not all CIWL H0 models issued can be found here: http://traintamarre.tassignon.be/inventaire_H0/inventaire_H0_new1.php?type=CIWL



ACME (or A.C.M.E.) is a fairly recent Italian maker of H0 model trains of in general Italian prototypes. They make correctly scaled and nicely detailed plastic models of more modern CIWL sleeping cars like the MU and U Hansa sleeping cars in various correctly liveried versions.



Altaya is a publishing company that issues collectible items and associated booklets. They issued two Orient Express sets (modeltrains and booklets), one from 1910 and one from 1929, which were made in China. The 1910 train had cars that were copies of the Trix teak style cars while the 1929 train was a carbon copy of RivaRossi products.



Bemo is known for their narrow-gauge railway items. They made models of the 4 cars with number 103-106 of the MOB Golden Mountain Pullman to a scale of 1:87 but running on a gauge of 12 mm. This are accurate and well detailed plastic models.



This Spanish brand is now owned by Hornby International and as such issues CIWL cars in Spanish liveries. Further, on request of author Javier Aranguren of the Spanish book on luxury trains ““Coches camas, restaurantes y salones en los ferrocarriles de la península” Electrotren made a model of the 4-wheel Spanish Fourgon with number 1259, a wooden Spanish baggage car from 1926 used for CIWL supplies. This model was made for the introduction of the mentioned book and as far as I know not available for sale or presented in the Electrotren catalogue, definitely a collectors’ item.


France Trains

A large range of plastic CIWL cars in H0 was made by France Trains, a company that existed between 1969 and 1981. These cars are, for the period they were made, nicely detailed and had correct scale proportions and correct lettering. The range included sleeping, restaurant and Pullman cars of various types and some specials like correct models of Transatlantique cars in CIWL livery.



The German model train company Heris has announced a number of CIWL items. As far as I know the only product delivered was a Type P sleeping car in various liveries. This plastic model is nicely detailed and good to scale, but has questionable colors, the Type P issued later by LS Models has better looks.



Recently HobbyTrain/Lemke issued highly detailed CIWL teak cars in sets with a sleeping car, restaurant car and 3-axle fourgon. These plastic cars are very detailed with nicely detailed multi-color interior and correctly scaled down and with a correct livery.



Hornby International

Hornby International is the owner of a number of brands of formerly independent H0 trains firms like Electrotren, Jouef, Lima and RivaRossi. A number of former RivaRossi and Jouef CIWL cars are now distributed by them via these various brands.



Jouef, now a brand of Hornby International, made during its lifetime CIWL cars from toys to models. From 1983 they made a WR, WL type Y and WP EdN that were correct in scale and lettering. Later they made some cars using ex-France Trains tooling and 10 years later some even more detailed models like a WP and WPc EdN which are good enough to be mixed and matched with contemporary LS Models cars.



The Austrian company Liliput made, like other makers with a long lifetime, various generations of CIWL cars. Their last made and now some 20 years old Orient Express teak car set consists of nicely detailed and correctly scaled and lettered cars with interior and interior lights; their previous products, including a model of the Armistice WR 2419 are a bit coarse for the modern taste.


LS Models

LS Models CIWL cars are considered the best there is in H0 gauge. LS Models has a large, but not yet complete, range of cars. They were first to make a correct Type F sleeper model in H0 gauge but still missing from the range is an LX sleeper. The research on models they make proves to be very good. The models not only look good but are correct to scale with correct details and livery, they are however not cheap, prices are at the top of the market for plastic cars. LS Models issues various versions of the same cars with correct liveries for the different periods. The distributor Models World sells some special issues of LS Models products, some of these in sets.



A long living company as Märklin has of course made some CIWL cars in their history. The current reasonably correct models they market are based on already 30 years old tooling made by Trix. These models of teak sleeping, restaurant and baggage cars are re-issued often but are certainly not up to the current standard in their looks. Technically they are however not outdated with LED interior lights. One would expect something better from the market leader.



PMP started making H0 trains in 1945. They introduced a large range of nice tinplate scale-length passenger cars between 1951-1960 amongst others in CIWL livery. Although not a recent product they deserve a place in this overview since they are correctly scaled models with correct livery and certainly not toy-like. For those not interested in plastic H0 models the PMP models are a good choice.



The Italian company Pocher is known for making realistic plastic H0 models already in the fifties. They made a couple of CIWL models, some better to scale than others; their type P sleeping car has been for many years the only reasonably model of this car type. Their most interesting model is the Armistice restaurant car 2419.



Rateau made tinplate passenger cars also in CIWL colors in a shortened and in a full-length version. The full-length version was, with JEP couplers, sold by JEP and is not unlike the PMP CIWL cars.

Revell made a plastic kit in H0 for a WR and a WP. These kits include interior and CIWL decals; it is an all plastic kit so I do not know about the running possibilities. This kit and the Jouef WR and WP seem to be based on the same tooling.



The Austrian company Roco makes models based on prototypes from many countries, but made only one CIWL item. Their U Hansa sleeping car is a nicely detailed scale model which is only available in a set of four cars.



At the end of the seventies the Italian modeltrain company RivaRossi introduced a new series of CIWL cars; they had previously issued an MU and P type sleeper that were not exactly to 1:87 scale. These new cars were at that time highly praised and for good reason. The cars look very good with nice detailing, very good livery and interior with interior light. During the following years new CIWL models were added to the range which expanded to a very large range also including different versions of the same car type. Until LS Models came along RivaRossi CIWL cars were the top and they still are more than acceptable.



RMA started as a large layout, then a shop and distributor and finally a manufacturer; the history ran from 1951 - 1992. They made a large range of passenger cars, both in kit as well as ready to run, including CIWL cars like FdO and SudExpress Pullman cars in many versions and a WL type T2. The cars are correct to scale and do resemble the France Trains models; the ranges of the CIWL cars of these two companies are almost complementary. Their fourgon truck is one of the most sought-after RMA models.



Cast bronze was the material for which SMCF passenger cars are famous. These cars are very heavy and were made between 1950 and 1960. The range included a CIWL WL type Y and WR which are correct in scale and acceptable in livery.



Some of the France Trains cars were, after the demise of France Trains, marketed for a short period with the brand-name TRAM.



Trix made a couple of teak cars in the eighties including a baggage car, WL and WR. These cars were nicely detailed and correctly scaled and had interior and interior lights; they were then greeted with enthusiasm. The tooling of these cars was endlessly re-used by Trix and later Märklin in various liveries.



The Fleche d’Or fourgon truck has been overlooked by most of the H0 manufacturers. This might have to do with the special tooling needed to produce this car. The small Swiss company Wabu made a model of the fourgon truck in small series of which the frame is plastic and the body is brass.



Gauge N: 9 mm

Models to this gauge are to a scale of 1:160. Some manufacturers that make H0 as well as N gauge trains issued (part of) their range of H0 CIWL cars also for gauge N. RivaRossi, HobbyTrain, LS Models and Trix (under the name Minitrix) have such a gauge N CIWL range. These cars are of course smaller and a bit less detailed but in general have the qualities of their H0 gauge counterparts.



Arnold, known for their N gauge models, is now a brand owned by Hornby International and under that brand gauge N CIWL cars based on the former RivaRossi gauge N tooling are sold.



Kato Precision Railroad Models is, since 1957, a Japanese manufacturer of model railway equipment in N and HO gauges. In H0 they do not make any CIWL cars, but in N gauge they make a series of cars which are mostly sold in sets like a Train Bleu or Orient Express. Their models (including various sleeping, restaurant, Pullman and baggage cars) are very good to scale and have correct livery.


Gauge Z: 6.5 mm

In this gauge, which uses a scale of 1:220, only one or two CIWL items are made, as far as I know.



Märklin made a Z gauge train set being a model of the “Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express” consisting of an LX sleeper and a WP, WR (or WPc) and an F. To complete this train a set of 3 additional WL LX cars with different running numbers were made. In contrast to their H0 CIWL items, these small cars are correctly scaled and detailed with regard to their small size.


Many more pictures on my website http://sncf231e.nl/  and in my ebook on CIWL http://sncf231e.nl/ciwl-carriages-by-fredsmall/








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Thank you, Fred!

That is a fascinating resource, well done.

I studied the Hobbytrain/Lemke coaches earlier this year, they are seriously stunning, waay better than their Trix equivalents but waay more expensive. Sadly, I couldn't afford them!



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On 16/12/2019 at 06:47, sncf231e said:


Kato Precision Railroad Models is, since 1957, a Japanese manufacturer of model railway equipment in N and HO gauges. In H0 they do not make any CIWL cars, but in N gauge they make a series of cars which are mostly sold in sets like a Train Bleu or Orient Express. Their models (including various sleeping, restaurant, Pullman and baggage cars) are very good to scale and have correct livery.

Quick question — are the Kato CIWL cars 1:160 N scale or 1:150 Japanese N scale since they are sold in sets that represent the 1988 train that ran in Japan?

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The Kato are 1:160; picture shows RivaRossi top and Kato bottom; exactly the same size. Not all Kato CIWL represent the train that ran in Japan. I have a Kato set of the Train Bleu (Paris - Cote d'Azur). I do not have the Japanese set so I do not know how the CIWL cars match sizewise with the Japanese locomotive.




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