Category Archives: Diesel Locomotives

Marklin 88872 Railcar for DB: Repair Notes

Marklin’s 88872 railcar is part of a series of 5 with this design, the original prototype was nicknamed “Flying Hamburger”, but this railcar is called the “Montan Express”.

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If you own all five or any one in the series special consideration needs to be applied toward repair and maintenance. Routine replacement of the brushes is accomplished after removing the shell, but before the shell can be removed the specially designed buffer needs to be pulled off. Unlike the BR VT 11.5 Trans Europe Express’s buffers which look very similar the 88872’s buffers pull off, they are spring clipped on a post inside the loco. Note: shell can be removed only after pulling off the buffer.


Marklin designs each loco in the mini-club line-up from the ground up thus each carries certain unique design properties thus this railcar is unlike any other with numerous interesting design characteristics. The E211903 5 pole motor generates the propulsion to one powered truck thereby reducing the worm drive to one, other locos often have two driving front and rear trucks. Note: worm gear spins wheel gearing, motor gear engages with like gear.


LED’s light the unpowered coach and headlamps which feature trailing lights. The shell fits snugly so extra care should be taken when removing or reattaching. A few notes about removing shell include the use of very thin guitar picks to help in safely removing shell. When reattaching shell notice channels on both the chassis and shell ends that allow the two to slide together followed by pressing shell from end to front carefully and securely. Notice channels at end of shell and end of metal chassis.


This is another precision loco in mini-club thus all parts fit together perfectly.

Marklin train set 81411: BR V 31 loco and hoppers

The 81411 train set was released as a 1997 One Time Series by Marklin for their MHI Program thus finding itself on the cusp of the future transition to the 5 pole motor. No fear the 5 pole motor upgrade is easy with this locomotive type: part number is E211903. Locomotive comes with 4 hinged roof hoppers for the transport of limestone these cars are classified as Tds Seitenentladewagens with various road numbers. Here is a train set that features weathering, one of the few I might add, but this weathering is lightly applied around the hinged roof covers in the form of lime dust. The weathering appears to have been applied with an airbrush in a separate application over the printing: very good! Attractive train sets are abundant in Marklin Z, but one cannot have enough! I like this set very much, it worked great right out of the box with the original 3 pole motor, but I opted for upgrading to 5 pole which was very easy to do. Motor upgrades are pretty easy on locos without side rods with few exceptions including multi unit sets. Great detail and color plus the less common “Lollo” locomotive make this a great set to add to a collection. At least the color of the loco and its type make it different than everything else.


81411- HEG train set that includes loco and 4 hinged roof hoppers with light weathering, MHI One Time Series 1997.

Siding: Original 3 pole motor can be upgraded to 5 pole with part #E211903.

Marklin BR 218 in Z! What else?

The German BR 218 diesel locomotive includes numerous variants following the 1968 reclassification of the V 164. Six of those variations produced in Z by Marklin are included here. Many versions of a Marklin Z loco suggest to me many fans of this prototypical class otherwise Marklin would have produced some other loco instead. A relatively short rather boxy locomotive with trim ends describes this loco in short order, but what makes this loco so cool is all of that and more. A compact and I dare say elegant locomotive that was appealing to its engineers as a quiet alternative to steam engines, and a generally good locomotive to be assigned to if your career was as a coveted engineer, at least to me. 2500- 2800 horsepower isn’t bad coupled with multiple gear ratios thus giving this loco the stature of ‘multi-class’ locomotive. A long history is one way to mark success, of the nearly 400 built many are still in operation throughout Germany: 40+ years (*nearly 50 but who’s counting). And that’s 7 days a week most weeks for those 40+ years! Happy belated birthday old friend!


  1. 81782- H.F. WIEBE, former class 218, privately owned and lettered for the firm H.F. WIEBE. Originally sold as part of a train set with rolling stock lettered for H.F. WIEBE. Sold through Conrad Electronics in an edition of 500.
  2. 88786- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 320-0, ocean blue and beige paint scheme
  3. 88787- DB AG, BR 218, operating number 218 260-8, current ‘traffic red’ paint scheme,        Era VI, One Time Series 2013


4. 8878- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 438-0, Era IV, Marklin Program: 1988-2008                   5. 8879- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 104-8, Era IV, Marklin Program: 1989-2004                   6. 8880- DB, BR 218, experimental paint scheme, operating number 218 217-8, Era IV, Marklin Program: 1990-1999

_DSF9738 _DSF9746

Quiz: Can you name the locos?

Marklin BR 216 locomotive diesel class

Marklin produced 4 BR 216’s in Z, this post includes two newer versions: one an ‘Insider’ Model and the other an ‘MHI-One Time Series Release’ from 2013.  The class 216 follows the reclassification of locos in Germany in 1968 thus the 216 is the former class V 160. Modifications to class V 160’s included bumped out ends thus making for an arguably more attractive loco along with internal improvements that included changing from steam heat to electrically generated heat for coaches, it followed that certain exterior changes were also made including roof equipment and sides; the elliptical window which was characteristic of the BR V 160 disappeared, I would deduce that it was appealing but impractical. But some BR V 160’s simply had a name change and others found their way to private industry.


  1. 88783- BR 216, Era IV, operating number 216 199-0, Insider Model 2011, One Time Series
  2. 88784- BR 216, Era IV, operating number 216 188-3, MHI Release 2013, One Time Series


Two locos that are easy on the eyes!

Introduction: Marklin’s BR V 160 + 216 + 218 in Z

One of favorite Z type locos are the diesels: BR V160, BR 216 and BR 218 and their variants. A technical consideration for railroaders operating a layout of German prototype, you won’t find a better and more satisfactory runner than these with the 3 pole or 5 pole motors, they are perfection and even feature LED lighting with trailing lights to boot. There are real bargains to be had with many of these models on the secondary market, and of course a 5 pole motor upgrade is another consideration that is very easy to perform with this loco type. Overall there are three types that fit this category with sides and paint schemes that boast the obvious variations, but let’s not overlook roof details with variously shaped vents and stacks as well as color changes which yield 4 general variations in this interesting Z group.


from left to right:

  1. BR V 160 with operating number V 160 003
  2. BR 216 with operating number 216 188-3
  3. BR 218 (without stacks) with operating number 218 320-0
  4. BR 218 (with stacks) with operating number 218 217-8

A close look into the grills and ends of lovely diesel locos starts with these locomotives classes due in part to paint schemes of mixed variety. And private industry offered bit parts in this illustrious history.


from left to right:

  1. 8866- DB, BR V 160 “Lollo,”operating number V 160 003
  2. 81411- HEG, former BR V 160, operating number BR V 31
  3. 88782- DB, BR 216 (following 1968 German loco reclassification),                                           operating number 216 005-9
  4. 88785- DB, BR V 160 “Lollo,” operating number V 160 005 *note the brighter grill than that of 8866


5. 88784- DB, BR 216, operating number 216 188-3                                                                                  6. 88783- DB, BR 216, operating number 216 199-0


7. 81782 (starter set)- H.F. WIEBE, former class 218, privately owned with no operating number    8. 8880- DB, BR 218, experimental paint scheme, operating number 218 217-8                                 9. 88786- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 320-0


10. 88787- DB AG, BR 218, operating number 218 260-8                                                                         11. 8879- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 104-8                                                                                  12. 8878- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 438-0


88731 Max Liebermann special repair notes that deserve consideration!!!

The Max Liebermann class 601 special one time series from 1997 is a two locomotive set that deserves a special highlight with regards to any under the hood repair. I just upgraded mine with new 5 pole motors, and it deserves some special considerations before you might consider doing the same. As with others in this series, Marklin continued to make changes and improvements including more durable couplers that allowed less gap between coaches and locos thereby making some parts non interchangeable between the 1st release of this loco type #8873 (DB) and the second release 88731 (DR). Those non interchangeable parts include the circuit boards and couplers all other parts are interchangeable through the series. The first coupler designed for the 8873 was a plastic clip with electrically conductive brass under spring tension, cars and powered end cars were simply pushed together gently until clip engaged with post located inside each car. The 88731 used a new design coupler that was flat with electrically conductive brass surrounding it and more surface area for electric transfer than the 8873. The new coupler necessitated the elimination of the center post in each car end which thereby led to a newly designed circuit board that would accept the newly designed couplers.

Please note before you make the motor upgrade to this set there are two distinguishing  remarks I would like to make that might be helpful: 1. one loco coupler is semi-permanent, it needs to be carefully released from the clip that holds it in place. Use gently pressure to wriggle up the opening in the loco shell and with little pressure slide out coupler. *Other coupler will simply slide out at the normal 90 degree angle that is used to couple cars and locos together in this set.  2. Marklin did not have their heads on straight when they assembled my set, they soldered the circuit board whiskers directly to the motor wires. I am not sure if this was widely done with this set, but this is the first I have seen it. In order to change the motor or do a strip down cleaning and re-oiling 4 solder points need to be removed (2 each powered end car). *Do not attempt to remove circuit board without removing the solder points first, motor is held in place under circuit board mounting plates held in place with 7 screws, it is impossible to remove motor and circuit board at the same time. In order to remove solder points heat them up with iron and pull wires away, remove any roughness of solder left on wires by gently heating residual solder with iron, bend wires back in place to make contact with new motor wires. *The down side to this repair are several opportunities to break parts or melt plastic parts with soldering iron. Not all three pole motors need to be replaced and maybe this is one.

Speaking from experience with a couple of 8873 sets, couplers used in this train work great, I have never had one break or malfunction.

“Good night, and good luck.”  -Edward R. Murrow

“Lollo” that’s the name! or BR V 160 for sure!

“Lollo” is the cutest nickname for a hardworking diesel locomotive, but what’s in the name? The loco was nicknamed “Lollo” as an apparent allusion to the actress Gina Lollobrigida and because of the apparent shapely front end of the loco (?). After a quick google search, I told my Wife about the nickname given to this loco, my Wife rolled her eyes when hearing that a loco would be named after an Italian sex symbol; one wonders what else is named ‘Lollo”?

Thus far to the best of my knowledge Marklin has produced 4 variations of the V 160: 3 individual releases and 1 with a train set. Note: two of these locos were renamed in 1968 following Germany’s new classification thus they are technically BR 216’s.


from top:

  1. 8866- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR V 160 pre-production general purpose diesel locomotive. Operating number V 160 003. Era III (1962). Originally sold with 3 pole motor. Build date: 1990-1994.
  2. 88785- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR V 160 pre-production general purpose diesel locomotive. Operating number V 160 005. Era III (1962). Current catalog.
  3. 88782- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR 216 005-9 former BR V 160 reclassified in 1968 as BR 216. Operating number 216 005-9. Build date: 2005-2008.
  4. 81411- HEG – Hersfelder Eisenbahn GmbH privately owned former BR 216, operating number BR V 31. Sold as part of train set 81411 which included loco and 4 hinged roof hoppers. Originally sold with 3 pole motor. Build date: 1997. One Time Series for MHI (Marklin Handlers Initiative).


Photo: the new “Lollo” with bright new grill is second from right!!!

*Note: LED’s on all these locos with warm white and red lamps that change over with direction of travel. Great feature found on all versions of this loco type even with the early ones!!!!! And they are superb runners!

Siding 1: 8866 and 81411 can be upgraded with E211903 5 pole motor.

Siding 2: check out the cool elliptical window that disappeared following modifications to the V 160.

Siding 3: In 1968 the V 160 was reclassified as BR 216, V 162 became BR 217 and V 164 was reclassified BR 218. A very informative Wikipedia page is dedicated to the V 160 that fans should check out.

What was once is here again: 8866 + 88785

The ‘pre-production’ 1962 BR V 160 “Lollo” was released as Marklin 8866 in 1990-1994, here it is again as 88785 with the recent release. Class 160 was an important locomotive development in Germany thereby creating a successor to steam unmatched by other locos at the time. Germany’s new classification of 1968 renamed it BR 216, by then it had also undergone a transformation which will be presented in other posts.


from top:

8866- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR V 160 pre-production general use diesel locomotive. Operating number V 160 003. Build date: 1990-1994.

88785- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR V 160 pre-production general use diesel locomotive. Operating number V 160 005. Build date: current catalog.

Variations in the Marklin models are subtle:  Paint maybe a little brighter (?) on 88785, door numbering is smaller on 88785, frame no longer says ‘Made in West Germany’, electrical equipment insignia has been removed from side panels on 88785, door latches painted on 88785, bright silver grills on 88785, different operating numbers, wheels darkened on 88785, and 5 pole motor is standard with 88785.


Siding 1: 8866 can be easily upgraded with 5 pole motor #E211903.

Siding 2: All variations of V160, BR 216 and BR 218 have always used LED’s thus warm white and red lamps that change over with direction.

Next generation of mini-club box?


I just received the latest BR 212 diesel locomotive, it arrived with a brand new box design. Is this the start of a new box for mini-club? Going from the previous black to predominately white box with new graphics is a nice departure from the former. This will be the fourth generation of mini-club box since 1972 with the ‘wood grain’ design fold-out display box followed in due course by the brown photo illustrated box that was out for many years. The third of course is the black box roughly corresponding to the transition to 5 pole motors, roughly corresponding because the first loco with a 5 pole was the newly tooled DB class 143 released in the characteristic brown box,  it would be a year or two before the black box arrived but close enough to signal the new direction for mini-club. Now a new box coming at a time with the advent of new motors, enhanced retooling of locos including increased detail and action of steam loco side rods, and of course the many newly designed locos and rolling stock ! An infusion of excitement is unfolding and the new box maybe signalling a new future for mini-club!

Featured: Marklin Z 88216


Marklin 8873: Tales of HOS!?!?!?

I just received the original Marklin TEE VT 11.5 train set 8873 and matching coach set 8793 from a dealer’s old inventory. For a train set that has been stored for almost 20 years and probably on its side I expected HOS (hardened oil syndrome), I wasn’t disappointed! Not only did the trucks not move freely, but the loco shells were cemented onto the chassis. With gentle nudging on each side of the shell I was able to eventually work them free, but the window glazings came too! Typically HOS is evidenced by an opaque tan clay like substance from the oil drying out, but this time it was an all over clear residue that even leaked onto the outer chassis thereby gluing the window glazing tight to it. The motors were even glued to the chassis frame thus began the repair and restoration work that started with soaking all unpainted surfaces in a mild solvent otherwise known to this blog as ‘Original’ Windex (blue) followed by the pain staking process of using no scratch toothpicks to gently loosen the rough crust of old dried up oil. Usually bringing back an old Marklin Z loco is straight forward and easy, but this time was very unusual due in part to too much of the wrong oil used and then long term storage on its side. Patience is expressly stated for the best results and lots of toothpicks. After moving points are cleaned up use new Labelle oil (viscosity for Z only) sparingly and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Window glazing was reattached using 5 minute epoxy. *Use only 5 minute epoxy when reattaching plastic parts, it is the only glue for tough durable repairs that don’t damage plastic. ****Avoid plastic cements like Faller ‘Expert’, they will melt your loco and coaches.*****************

Siding 1: The shells of both end units on all VT 11.5’s and versions should easily slide off using gently pressure with a small screwdriver placed in the car end located in the coupling hole (*remember to remove coupler before attempting to remove shell) if it is sluggish work both sides with very gentle pressure to avoid cracking or marking shell housing.

Siding 2: 8873 greatly benefits from upgrading the original 3 pole motor to the new E211903 5 pole motor. Because each end unit is powered this train set will require 2 motors with an approximate cost of $100 total, but you can sell the old motors on Ebay for $20 each.

Siding 3: Store your Marklin Z locos on their wheels otherwise the oil will pool inside the loco and not out the bottom. This is an important rule for long term storage.