Category Archives: Uncategorized

DB BR 44 Steam Locomotive: 044 665-8

After WW II the DB acquired 1242 class 44 steam locomotives of a total 1989 locomotives produced from 1926-1949. The attached photographs document the original DRG Class 44’s, a variant was produced for this class during the war, the class 44UK construction was limited and simplified and included but was not limited to the eliminating the smoke deflectors and cab side windows of the original class 44 as a matter of cutting costs. Latter in the 1950’s OBB gave the DB 9 locomotives and the DB gave SNCF 291 for war reparations. According to my calculations a total of 316 were scrapped or destroyed at war’s end. Originally designed for goods trains of 1200 long tons for the hilly Mittelgebirge region. In the late 50’s the DB converted 32 44’s to oil firing, these variants were reclassified as BR 043 for the DB. The class 44 3 cylinder steam locomotive proved its worth and continued in service with the DB until 1977. On October 26, 1977 the last steam locomotive for the DB made its last run: BR 043 903-4.

The operating number proceeded by ‘0’ indicates this photograph was made “on or after” Germany’s reclassification of locomotives in 1968. According to the documentation that came with these photographs this BR 044 665-8 was working on this day in Crailsheim, Baden-Wurttemberg.

Marklin 88973 with operating number 44 1374 (released 2012 – 2014):

Note: buffers painted with warning stripes!

Siding: Marklin has thus far released three Era III BR 44’s: 88971 (operating number 44 494), 88972 (MHI Release with operating number 44 100), and 88973 (operating number 44 1374).

Siding: many excellent Era III freight loads are available for this locomotive including the GI 11 boxcars depicted in these photographs. Marklin’s recent release of weathered GI 11’s can be found in the 10 car set (available individually from Walthers): 82559_1-10. These cars feature beautiful weathering!

Marklin 82559


Marklin 89792 + 89793: Bahnhof Hamburg Dammtor Station Kit

Bahnhof Hamburg Dammtor: opened July 7, 1903

If you are up for an ambitious project in ‘Z’ this is it: 89792 and 89793 building kits for the Hamburg Dammtor Train Station. Two kits sold separately to comprise the station building and approach including arcades and bridges.

The cost for the kits is very reasonable considering the scope of these kits and the accurate translation of the prototypical building: discounted retail for 89792 is $249, and 89793 is $149. Both kits are made of laser cut card stock which has been a growing trend in building kits partly due to the material itself, laser cut buildings look great and their matte and pre-colored surfaces contrast nicely on a layout. In ‘Z’ or any other scale these are big kits measuring nearly 55 inches long, and in ‘Z’ there are lots of small parts to assemble.

Finished dimensions: 20 7/8 x 8 1/4 x 4 5/16 inches (89792) and 33 1/2 x 6 x 1 3/16 inches (89793). Both kits are card stock with one small exception, the station includes 4 caps and spires on the entry towers that are cast resin and painted to match the rest of the kit.

Marklin commissioned MKB Modelle for these build kits. As of writing this post I have not started assembling these kits, I am hesitant to build them until I design a layout for them first. A layout to include these kits can be historical based on the 1903 opening of the station or contemporary with the arcades and bridges,  it can also be prototypical rendering or an interpretation. Current urban planning for the Hamburg Dammtor Station includes numerous intersecting roads with few adjacent buildings, modeling some or all of these roads will be a challenging undertaking for the most ambitious.

Four lines run through this station so the track planning is another consideration. Nearly 5 feet from end to end for both assembled kits, and if it is incorporated into a loop the dimensions will balloon to 7-8 feet, this is after all probably the most ambitious project to date in ‘Z’ with an estimated build time of 50 hours for 89792 alone.  Reviewing the part sheets and instructions these kits look well organized, and the instructions are clear. Heavy card stock, medium weight card stock and lightweight card stock are all used in these kits. The kits start from a rigid foundation and build up and out, in some cases with as many as 5 layers to build the exterior walls. No covering for the platform or track concourse is included, you will need to come up with your own solution, I highly recommend Faller material here available in the United States from (updates will follow for my own solutions here). Accessorizing and laying track in the station will be much easier or only possible before installing the trusses. Partial exposure of the interior might be interesting by reducing the roof sheathing and maybe consider leaving the roof un-cemented in case you need to access the interior in the future.  I have recommended a UHU Glue for attaching window glazing in the past, for this kit I would recommend the standard assembly glue: all-purpose, wood, or polyvinyl acetate, but each will require the added step of roughing up the acetate in the area to be glued. Another consideration is a very level work surface, even though the parts snap together assembling the building on a very level surface will insure there will be no warp or curve to the base, I recommend a piece of masonite for a smooth level surface and freezer paper to allow building to easily slide/rotate for assembly plus glue residue is easy to clean off this surface. Toothpicks are correctly recommended in the instructions along with drops of glue versus lines of glue. Lastly have fun and don’t rush, it can’t be assembled in a day!

Siding: Marklin’s 81481 “Metronom” train set is a good prototypical train to use with this station, along with the other “Metronom” offerings: 88370 (loco) + 87299 (bi-level coach set).




Insider Locomotive 2012: 88010 – BR 001 DB

Marklin’s Insider Model for 2012 was one of the first of the new generation of steam locomotives featuring completely new tooling with impressive detailing of side rods and LED’s.

Based on the prototype, BR 001 161-9 is an Era IV locomotive following the German Reclassification of 1968 which added an ‘0’ to the operating number.

Built in the mid 1930’s this locomotive class was the first to be “standardized” thus parts were universally available throughout Germany. More than 200 class 01’s were manufactured from 1926-1938 with some continuing in service for the DR until 1982 and the DB until 1973.

Marklin’s 88010 represents the prototype from 1968, the appropriate coach set for this locomotive is Marklin 87401 comprising 5 cars in ‘pop’ colors with destination boards “Braunschweig – Aachen.” Pairing 88010 and 87401 will create a prototypical trainset with associated destination boards for Braunschweig – Aachen from Era IV.

German BR 01 Express Locomotive: DB’s BR 01 154

The inscription on the verso side of this photograph gives the place and date as “In Nuremberg 1966.” Seven years later this class of locomotive would be retired from service for the DB, this one in 1968. As a side note: Class 01’s continued service until 1982 for the DR. Built starting in 1926 the BR 01 express steam locomotive was in service for many years, this one being BR 01 154 built during the time-frame 1930-31. In 1950-51 this locomotive along with 4 others were rebuilt with Witte smoke deflectors as can be seen in the photograph along with several improvements including Heinl mixer preheater, turbo pump and combustion chambers in the boilers. The rather clear representation of the tender was one of three types T 30, T 32 or T 34 varying by length to fit a particular turntable being used. The class 01 steam locomotive was the first to be considered “standardized” meaning parts with exact specifications could be used to repair this locomotive throughout Germany.

Inside the cab:

Specs for this rebuilt locomotive:

Service Weight: 109.3 long tons/ 122.5 short tons

Adhesive Weight: 59.1 long tons/ 66.1 short tons

Axle Load: 19.7 long tons/ 22 short tons

Power: 2417 hp

Grate Area: 46.4 square feet

Superheater Area: 1022.6 square feet

Resource: DRG Class 01 Wikipedia Page

The uniformed train driver poses next to his locomotive as his fireman peers through a cab window, his briefcase presumably contains his log and maintenance checklist. Standing along the rails of a gantry crane the train driver waits to board the locomotive which is in line to receive coal and water. A few chunks of coal outside the coal bunker suggests it was just loaded along with water as evidenced in the run off near the fill hatch. The train driver was more than the operator of the locomotive, he was responsible for the well being of the passengers and locomotive, following safety and maintenance protocols he was operating a locomotive of such power it could reach speeds upwards of 80 miles an hour. Interpreting signals on the right of way was assured by this well trained individual who could operate a steam train and deliver its passengers in accordance with printed schedules: safe and timely. Physical demands of the job cannot be overstated, this was not an easy way to make a living. When this photograph was made the locomotive and train driver were of similar age, two years later the locomotive would be retired, and the trainman with his specialized skills may have continued operating steam locos in this class for the DB until 1973.

Marklin has produced two BR 01’s in ‘Z’ since 2012: 88010 and 88011. Released in 2012, Marklin 88010 was the Insider Model for that year as BR 001 of the DB with operating number 001 161-9 based on the Era IV prototype. Two years later the 88011 was released based on an Era III prototype with operating number 01 147. Both locomotives represent the new generation of steam locos by Marklin with superb detailing of the operating equipment and side rods.



Both locomotives look virtually alike, the distinguishing feature is the operating numbers.

Siding: a short ton is 2000 pounds and commonly called a ‘ton’ in the United States whereas a long ton is 12% larger, it is referred to also as ‘Imperial Ton.”

Siding: In 1968 Germany reclassified their locomotives, steam locomotives at this time were given an extra ‘0’ thus the Marklin 88010 is a BR 001.


BR 52: Marklin’s 8 versions in Z

German steam locomotive BR 52 for Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) is the “Kriegslok” or war time locomotive. Germany intended to build 15,000 of these locos during wartime, but only 7000 were actually produced in car shops across Occupied Europe. The 2-10-0 wheel arrangement comprising small wheels allowed for heavy freight haulage on lightweight tracks. After the war the class 52 which was never intended as a long lasting locomotive design thrived in service in many countries after World War II, it is still claimed to be in service today (74 years as of 2016). The design of the locomotive included several operational as well as economic build characteristics including the fully enclosed cab which allowed a level of comfort in cold weather climates most notably for Germany’s incursion into Russia during the war, tenders that recycled exhaust steam back into water, and water tanks built frame-less to cut costs. The original BR 52 included smoke deflectors, but versions also existed without the deflectors as can be seen in Marklin’s mini-club versions.

BR 52 specs: wheel arrangement- 2-10-0, designer and builder- Hauptausschuss Schienenfahrzeuge, 1942 (1st one of approximately 7000 built), 2 cylinders/232 psi (boiler pressure)/ 55 inch wheel diameter, maximum speed 50 mph.

Marklin translated the BR 52 locomotive into 8 versions for Z including examples from Germany, France and Austria with examples from Era II-IV.

Marklin’s 8 versions include: 8883 (1996-1998) BR 052 DB, 88830 (2015) BR 52 DB, 88831 (1997-2003) BR 52 DB, 88832 (Insider-1997) BR 52 DRG, 88833 (1998) Serie 150 Y SNCF, 88834 (1999) BR 52 OBB Epoch III, 88835 (Insider-1999) BR 52 DB Epoch III, and 88836 (2001-2008) BR 52 DRG Epoch III.

88833: Serie 150 Y SNCF 88833_2

88834: BR 52 OBB  88834_2

88836: BR 52 DRG 88836_2

Siding: under repair notes see 5 pole motor upgrade for 88833 + 88834

Marklin BR 10 Steam Locomotive: 5 Pole Motor Upgrade


Marklin’s BR 10 steam locomotives 8888 + 8889 were released with 3 pole motors, today the 5 pole motor upgrade is possible and relatively easy. Side by side comparison of the 3 pole (262700-clear casing) and 5 pole (E211911-black casing) motors:

fullsizerender-1 fullsizerender-2

This loco design features a fairly heavy cast metal shell that performs well putting weight on the wheels and giving excellent tractive effort. Does this loco benefit from the motor upgrade? This is one of those locos that runs great with 3 pole, but the 5 pole will be a little bit better slow throttle and a bit more quiet. The repair is quick for those with a little experience and patience.

The shell is removed by first gently prying off cap that conceals screw followed by removing screw.


The motor capacitor wires are always soldered to the chassis pick-ups, with soldering iron apply heat and remove original solder points.


Remove top and bottom screws that hold motor in place. Slide off old motor. If floating gear on pin  is pulled out carefully turn until gearing engages with wheel gears. Slide opposite end of pin into brass bushing of new motor and carefully engage gears with the motor gear.


Secure top and bottom screws and resolder capacitor wires and chassis electrical pick-ups. Notice side rods are held in place after securing shell, it maybe a little tricky at first to place side rods correctly before attaching shell. Note: one side rod on each side is always stationary and held in place by sliding onto post in frame (red plastic), the other side rod on each side is held in a channel below the other side rod.


Carefully holding both pairs of side rods in place while attaching shell is the only method for achieving success, you may need to try this several times to achieve the awkward coordination needed. Note: front of shell always goes on first.

Swiss Locomotive Numbering System

Some complexity exists with the classification and numbering of Swiss Railway locomotives which is not limited to separate systems in place to classify railcars and locos thus duplicated classifications exist for the two types of motive power. A discussion of Swiss railway classification is in order as a basis to further discuss their numbering system.

Swiss classification includes the use of letters to denote type of loco and motive power. Marklin’s 8850 is one example of a class Ae 6/6 loco with destination signs for “Zurich”. According to the Swiss classification system the capital ‘A’ is given for locos that reach maximum speed of 85 to 110 km/hr. Small case letter ‘e’ is given for electric locos. And 6/6 is Co-Co wheel arrangement. A Swiss railcar has not been produced in ‘Z’ by Marklin, but one such example would be the EMU Bhe 4/6 11 from depot Monte Generoso. ‘B’ stands for 2nd class accomodations, ‘h’ stands for rack fitted, ‘e’ stands for electric powered, with wheel arrangement 4/6 (1B-B1).

Classification prefix letters for locos is as follows: R– max. speed in excess of 110 km/hr A– max. speed 85-110 km/hr B– max speed 70-80 km/hr C– max speed 60-65 km/hr D– max speed 45-55 km/hr E– shunting G– narrow gauge, H– rack fitted, O– open wagon, T– tractor, and X– departmental vehicle

Classification prefix letters for railcars and multi-units: A– 1st class accommodations, B– 2nd class accommodations, D– baggage compartment, S– saloon, Z– postal compartment

Classification suffix letters applied to all motive power: a– battery powered, e– electric powered, em– electro-diesel, h– rack fitted, m– diesel or gas powered, r– restaurant, rot– rotary snowplow, t– self-propelled department vehicle such as crane or snowplow

Note: to differentiate between classes with similar classifications numeals are used for example Re 4/4′, Re 4/4”

Also note: newly classified locos incorporate a three digit number thereby replacing the fractional numbers, but the classification letters are maintained in the new method.

Since 1989 all locos on the SBB Railways produced in that year and subsequent years follow the current numbering system, all locos before 1989 were not renumbered unless a major overhaul occurred with a specific loco. Museum locos maintain their original number. Three sets of numbers are indicated on 1989 to the present locomotives in Switzerland, this system follows this numbering scheme: First digit: 0– steam loco or historic railcar, 1– meter gauge loco, 2– tractor, 3– electric loco with 3 powered axles, 4– electric loco with 4 powered axles, 5– electric railcar, 6– electric loco with 6 powered axles, 7– departmental self-propelled vehicle excluding locos, 8– diesel loco, 9– electric shunting loco. Second digit: 0– express railcars, 1-6– sub class index (bogie electric locos), type of electric loco, number of powered axles of a diesel loco, 7-8– not used, 9– not used generally except for rigid frame electric locos. Third digit: 2-4– two, three, four voltage loco or railcar, 5-8– owned by private railway. Fourth thru Sixth digits are the running numbers followed by the final number which is the ‘computer check digit’.

The computer check digit is used to verify the correct digits were used for classification and numbering. For the Swiss locomotive the last digit is the computer check digit which corresponds to the result of a simple calculation of class and running numbers: multiply each digit of the class and running numbers alternately by 1 and 2, add up the result and subtract from the next larger whole ’10’ number. For example: Swiss class 460 033-4 is verified in the following manner- 4×1, 6×2, 0x1, 0x2, 3×1, 3×2= 4+1+2+0+0+3+6=16. Thus 20-16=4!

Reference material: Swiss Railways, published by Platform 5, written by David Haydock, Peter Fox and Brain Garvin.


4th Quarter 2016 release of the new “Krokodil” – 88563

The Swiss ‘Krokodil’ in scale model railroading is identified more than any other as a ‘Marklin’ model, Marklin produces it in all scales, it appears in their marketing as much as the German equivalent class E94, and its continuous appearance in the Marklin Z catalog since 1979 further reinforces Marklin’s dedication to this prototype.

The articulated Swiss loco type is a fascination for all railroaders: train spotting or model collecting. As a model in ‘Z’ it faithfully reproduces the action of the dual set of side rod wheel sets found in the prototype.

As for its history in ‘Z’ we begin in 1979 with the 8856: green paint scheme presented in the original mini-club wood-grain box. Four versions of the 8856 were produced ending in 2010 with a 5 pole motor version.

The 8852 version in brown paint scheme was produced 1983 – 1990. One other individual release was the totally lovely 2013 Nuremberg Toy Fair 88561 in black paint scheme.

In various intervening years the Krokodil was sold in train sets starting with 8115 “125 Jahre Rotes Kreuz” set that commemorated the 125 year anniversary of the Red Cross in Switzerland. Other sets included the 81423 “Schweizer Guterverkehr” Swiss goods transport set and 81433 “KNIE” circus train set. Along came the unique set 88888 “150 Jahre Marklin”: deluxe illustrated carton with two Krokodil’s including one New York Central ‘fantasy’ loco in white with copper patinated color scheme on roof.

For the first time Marklin is offering some new features in this newly updated version with item number 88563. Updated features include LED’s, hidden catenary screw, new road number, and correct Swiss headlamp/marker light changeover. This Era II class Ce 6/8 III electric locomotive is scheduled for release at the end of 2016, it will be one of the big highlights in mini-club history for this loco type in 37 years.

Marklin has this listed as a “limited run.”

Siding: early ‘Krokodil’s” with 3 pole motors can be upgraded with 5 pole motor part #211904.

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.

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