Category Archives: American Prototypes

Blast from the Past: Marklin 88035 “Bumble Bee”

If you are an American railroader the “Bumble Bee” loco may already be in your collection, it has been released in many versions and many scales by numerous manufacturers. In 2004 Marklin released their “Bumble Bee” loco and tender for the mini-club line-up, it was cast in brass with metal tender. This “One Time Series” featured fine detailing and add-on parts with non working headlamp.

Founded in 1870 the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) was originally a narrow gauge railway who’s motto was “Through the mountains, not around them.” The history of this railroad spans more than a hundred years from its founding as a coal and mineral narrow gauge mountain railway, in 1988 it merged with the Southern Pacific.

The Louisiana & Nashville Railroad built the first 2-6-0 locomotive of this type in 1864, it was a record setter due to it being the largest locomotive in America at that time. The Marklin 88035 could be said to be modeled on a later version with independent front bogie. Service span for this locomotive type was 1860-1910. Operating number for the Marklin “Bumble Bee” is 136. Baldwin Locomotive Works built the narrow gauge 2-6-0 locomotive for D&RGW 1881-1902.

Note to collectors: Marklin’s 88035 is sought after by Z gaugers but also N scalers due to its slightly larger size. 88035 is the first and only mini-club locomotive modeled slightly bigger than scale. Produced as a One Time Series in 2004 it quickly sold out, today it is high on the list of sought after secondary market locomotives. Pricing for this loco range from $500-$1000 (new/mint), but before you buy consider condition as a big part of the price, average used ones in working condition and 80% cosmetic condition should be in the $250-$350 range. Very careful buying trains online without seeing them in person unless you are dealing with a reliable seller or store. Reynauld’s in IL,  ZTrackResale and Z Scale Hobo are recommended sources for secondary market.

Note: to go with this fine loco is the 4 car coach set lettered for D&RGW: Marklin 87910.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA owns a Baldwin 2-6-0 locomotive for their collection. One of the finest collections of American railroad equipment can be found in this museum: http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/

Trains are Trains – Marklin Models of Trains are something different and greatly so!

Marklin 88855: BR 03 Express Locomotive of the DB

A subtle thought occurred to me the other day, I was thinking about my last post on Scandinavian snowplow locos of the SJ in Sweden while having a brief moment of reflection during work as a photographer of architecture and interior design. My Wife and I work together so moments of repose sometimes happen during brief interludes moving equipment from the shot just taken to the next.

Marklin 88063: Serie 232 TC of the SNCF

I am very impressed with the offerings of Marklin and their z gauge line in the last five years, the following is a brief post and interlude in the normal technical and historical postings thus far presented at ZTrainsWeekly. This post is dedicated to the type of collector I have met on many occasions hanging out in train stores across the country, train meets and clubs, those that have taken on collecting expensive tiny trains because holding them in their hands and marveling at their striking detail and charm make them happy.

Marklin 88833: Serie 150 Y of the SNCF

So what does a Z gauge railroad loco or rolling stock have in common with the prototype railroad equipment of a particular railroad. First they are in a scale of 1:220 so every 1 inch translates to 220 inches in prototypical scale thus accurately reduced by Marklin in length, height and width dimensions. Graphics and lettering are correctly rendered by Marklin fitting accurately in historic timeframe. Detailing of trucks and equipment appear to show few differences with the prototype. Working headlamps and running lights are sometimes designed into the model and for some vary little with the prototype. But if we start with the prototype and compare it to the Z railroad model of Marklin few similarities can exist including actual equipment operation those being sanders, air brakes, working engines and the like. I hope I haven’t lost the interest of my readers, I am close to making this posting worth while if you have been queried by those that have yet to be bitten by the railroading hobby.

Marklin 88134: BR 132 of the DR

The model can only be a version of the prototype, but an impression of the prototype is far better than real diesel model locos running on diesel fuel throughout your house killing your houseplants and annoying your wife or steam and arcing electric ones. The comparison between the prototype and the model resides in the idea that the prototype surfaces on the rails in front of us and embodies history, design and awe whereas the model railroad elicits its connection to the prototype but also triggers our imagination thus connecting us to the models in serious and creative ways. All model railroad collectors are connected in this way, we can study the history of the prototype and marvel at its representation as a model as something else thus collecting the miniature is our railroading connection not limited but expansive.

Marklin 88106: BR 05 of the DRG and Marklin 88075: Class J-2 of NYC

Models of trains and their prototypes were built side by side since railroads began in the 19th century, Marklin was the first to successfully manufacturer commercially available miniature trains. Cheers to Marklin and another 158 years of outstanding trains!

An Introduction to Marklin Z American prototypes and rare small batch imprints

Marklin has brought to life American railroading prototypes in small measure if one compares the total entries of European ones: lot’s of F7’s, Mikado’s and GG1’s along with respective rolling stock. The eras portrayed are mid century primarily with a few earlier exceptions. Micro Trains is stronger in the field of American prototypes with their exhaustive survey of various rolling stock each boxed with a well researched and charted description. American prototypes are not a strong category for Marklin Z, but when they release something new like the GG1 it is a superlative example. And the F7 sets or individual ‘A’ units are widely collected in their infinite variety. But one type of a rolling stock example in each category makes life a bit challenging if you collect exclusively Marklin, and you are serious about railroading. Some collectors have opted for trading out couplers so MicroTrains rolling stock and locos can be used with Marklin and vice versa. It is a good trade off, but those of us lucky enough to own the Commodore Vanderbilt are still stuck without a coach set. Other manufacturers are on the scene producing high quality models including but not limited to AZL, and their current collaboration with Marklin  in the production of three variations of the E8 maybe the first of more collaborations, who knows?

If you are a tried and true collector of Marklin Z American models like me you may already know about the small batch special imprint rolling stock. In coming months I will be including examples of these rare offerings that little information has thus far been known. Hopefully with the help of others in this field of collecting I can shed more light on this topic until then stay tuned and happy railroading!