Trix (company)

Last updated

TRIX.svg
Trix Express, AC-model BR 20/54 (1939) on bakelite rails Trix Express Wechselstromlokomotive.jpg
Trix Express, AC-model BR 20/54 (1939) on bakelite rails

Trix is a German company that originally made Trix metal construction sets. One of its co-founders was Stephan Bing, the son of the pioneer toy-maker industrialist Ignaz Bing. In 1935 the company began producing the electrically powered model trains that it became famous for, under the Trix Express label. Prior to the outbreak of World War II the company produced a small range of AC (14 V) powered three rail loco models (e.g. 20/51, 20/52, 20/53, 20/54) running on bakelite rails.

Contents

After more than six decades of independence, the TRIX company got increasingly into economic difficulties in the 1990s and was completely taken over in 1997 by the Göppingen competitor Märklin, but continued as an independent brand. Since then there has been increasing overlap between the model ranges from TRIX and Märklin in size H0; New model developments differ only in the respective power systems (alternating current at Märklin, direct current at TRIX International).

The causes for the economic crisis of the model railway manufacturers can be seen in a serious change in the market. To date, the companies have not been able to develop any long-term sustainable concepts for this.

Trix Twin Railway

Trix Twin Railway, scale model Compound (AC), 1950 Trix Twin Railway, Compound,(AC).jpg
Trix Twin Railway, scale model Compound (AC), 1950
TTR Catalog 1939/40, title page TTR Katalog 1939.jpg
TTR Catalog 1939/40, title page

Under the name TTR (Trix Twin Railway), the TRIX Express model railway was also available in England from the end of 1935. First of all, locomotives made in Germany were repainted in England. Since 1936, the locomotive bogies that were still supplied from Germany were equipped with housings in the English style. A TRIX subsidiary in England had existed since the early 1930s and was initially responsible for sales of the metal construction kit. The English model range was further expanded after the German company founder Stephan Bing was driven out of Germany by the Nazis in 1938. In the beginning most of the models run with alternating current (AC).

After second world war the production resumed in 1948 but began to lag behind the technology used by rivals. Trix switched from AC to DC (with its simple reversing function) later than rivals like Tri-ang, particularly the British Trix company. In 1956 Trix switched to DC and in 1967 to two-rail as used by most competitors.

The production of plastic models began in the late 1950s; the three-wire system was able to last there until 1967, when the international two-wire system was converted. The company then changed hands several times and at times also operated as Trix Trains and British Trix. The legacy of TTR then went to the British subsidiary of Liliput in the 1970s. Production of British Trix OO gauge trains ceased in 1973. [1]

Minitrix

Minitrix ICE model Minitrix ICE.jpg
Minitrix ICE model

N gauge models under the Minitrix brand were made from the late 1960s mostly of European prototypes (German and British primarily). North American prototypes were also manufactured and marketed under the Aurora "Postage Stamp" brand; later these items were sold under the American Tortoise, Model Power and Con-Cor brands. Trix sometimes utilized North American consultants to aid in the design of this portion of the product line. The "Hornby Minitrix' brand was used in the 1980s for a short lived range of British outline models using the earlier product tooling.

Ownership

Trix's owner in the 1980s and 1990s was Mangold, which went bankrupt in the late 1990s and Märklin purchased the assets in January 1997. In part, this purchase was a reflection of Märklin's need for added production capacity; Trix had been manufacturing certain items for Märklin in previous years. The purchase was also in response to the earlier purchase of the Karl Arnold company by the Italian company Rivarossi; Märklin were very keen to take over Trix market share in 2-rail H0 and especially Minitrix, until then Märklin had not marketed N gauge models. In 2003, Märklin introduced its first N gauge models under the well established Minitrix brand. A number of Märklin H0 scale three-rail AC locomotives have also been introduced in two-rail DC versions under the Trix logo and many models are shared between the two brands.

Since around 2003 or 2004 Trix has made a two-rail version of the Märklin C-track, and the two are mostly identical except for the colour of the trackbed and the height of the rails (with Märklin being 2,3 mm high and Trix 2,1 mm). Also, some of Märklin's digital components (such as the Mobile Station) are made in Trix versions with different colours and another logo; but otherwise identical and fully compatible with Märklin's. For a number of years Trix has made two-rail versions of many Märklin models with only minor differences, such as axles (electrically insulated) and for powered models (being of lighting and/or a motor) power pickup.

United States

Outside Europe, the Minitrix brand is very popular in the United States of America.

Other Trix brands

Besides the AC Trix Express and Minitrix brands, the Trix company is also well known for its 1:87 scale DC brands, Trix International and Trix H0, dating back at least to the early 1970s and still being produced today.

Bavarian prototypes

A particular Trix speciality is the reproduction of Bavarian models from Epoch I and their equivalent Epoch II, DRG versions. Examples such as the B VI (BR 34), D XI (BR 984-5), D XII (BR 73), G 3/4 H (BR 54), Gt 2x4/4 (BR 96), P 3/5 H (BR 384), PtL 2/2 (BR 983) and S 3/6 (BR 184) have been produced in the steam locomotive line, along with numerous passenger and goods wagons.

Brass models

Trix also produced highly detailed brass models of steam locomotives in limited quantities under the "Fine Art" label, predominantly in the late 1990s.

Related Research Articles

Rail transport modelling Modeling trains hobby

Railway modelling or model railroading is a hobby in which rail transport systems are modelled at a reduced scale.

OO gauge

OO gauge or OO scale is the most popular standard-gauge model railway standard in the United Kingdom despite being virtually unknown in other countries. This track gauge is one of several 4 mm-scale standards used, but it is the only one to be served by the major manufacturers. Unfortunately, the OO track gauge of 16.5 mm is actually incorrect for 4 mm scale, giving a track gauge equivalent of 4 ft 1½ in instead of 4 ft 8½ in. However, since the 1960s, other gauges in the same scale have arisen to reflect the desire of some modellers for greater scale accuracy.

O scale

O scale is a scale commonly used for toy trains and rail transport modelling. Introduced by German toy manufacturer Märklin around 1900, by the 1930s three-rail alternating current O gauge was the most common model railroad scale in the United States and remained so until the early 1960s. In Europe, its popularity declined before World War II due to the introduction of smaller scales.

HO scale

HO or H0 is a rail transport modelling scale using a 1:87 scale. It is the most popular scale of model railway in the world. The rails are spaced 16.5 mm (0.650 in) apart for modelling 1,435 mm standard gauge tracks and trains in HO.

Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH or Märklin is a German toy company. The company was founded in 1859 and is based at Göppingen in Baden-Württemberg. Although it originally specialised in doll house accessories, today it is best known for model railways and technical toys. In some parts of Germany and in Sweden, the company's name is almost synonymous with model railways.

1 gauge

1 gauge, gauge 1 or gauge one is a model railway and toy train standard that was popular in the early 20th century, particularly with European manufacturers. Its track measures 1.75 in, making it larger than 0 gauge but slightly smaller than wide gauge, which came to be the dominant U.S. standard during the 1920s.

Z scale is one of the smallest commercially available model railway scales (1:220), with a track gauge of 6.5 mm / 0.256 in. Introduced by Märklin in 1972, Z scale trains operate on 0–10 volts DC and offer the same operating characteristics as all other two-rail, direct-current, analog model railways. Locomotives can be fitted with digital decoders for independent control. Model trains, track, structures, and human/animal figures are readily available in European, North American, and Japanese styles from a variety of manufacturers.

Hornby Railways is a British model railway brand. Its roots date back to 1901 in Liverpool, when founder Frank Hornby received a patent for his Meccano construction toy. The first clockwork train was produced in 1920. In 1938, Hornby launched its first 00 gauge train. In 1964, Hornby and Meccano were bought by their competitor, Tri-ang, and sold when Tri-ang went into receivership. Hornby Railways became independent again in the 1980s, and became listed on the London Stock Exchange, but due to financial troubles reported in June 2017, is presently majority owned by British turnaround specialist Phoenix Asset Management.

Bachmann Industries

Bachmann Industries is a Bermuda registered Chinese owned company, globally headquartered in Hong Kong; specialising in model railroading.

Bing (company) German toy manufacturer.

Bing or Gebrüder Bing was a German toy company founded in 1863 in Nuremberg, Germany by two brothers, Ignaz Bing and Adolf Bing, originally producing metal kitchen utensils, but best remembered for its extensive lines of model trains and live steam engines. Ignaz is also known for his discovery and development of the Bing Cave, a show cave in Germany.

Roco, based in Salzburg, Austria, is a manufacturer of model railway equipment.

Electro-diesel locomotive Railway locomotive capable of running either under electrical or diesel power

An electro-diesel locomotive is a type of locomotive that can be powered either from an electricity supply or by using the onboard diesel engine. For the most part, these locomotives are built to serve regional, niche markets with a very specific purpose.

Crocodile (locomotive)

Crocodile electric locomotives are so called because they have long "noses" at each end, reminiscent of the snout of a crocodile. These contain the motors and drive axles, and are connected by an articulated center section. The center section usually contains the crew compartments, pantographs and transformer.

British Rail Class 42 Diesel-hydraulic railway locomotive used in Great Britain

British Railways' (BR) Class 42 Warship diesel-hydraulic locomotives were introduced in 1958. It was apparent at that time that the largest centre of expertise on diesel-hydraulic locomotives was in West Germany. The Western Region of British Railways negotiated a licence with German manufacturers to scale down the German Federal Railway's "V200" design to suit the smaller loading gauge of the British network, and to allow British manufacturers to construct the new locomotives. The resultant design bears a close resemblance, both cosmetically and in the engineering employed, to the original V200 design. Warship locomotives were divided into two batches: those built at BR's Swindon works were numbered in the series D800-D832 and D866-D870, had a maximum tractive effort of 52,400 pounds-force (233,000 N) and eventually became British Rail Class 42. 33 others, D833–D865, were constructed by the North British Locomotive Company and became British Rail Class 43. They were allocated to Bristol Bath Road, Plymouth Laira, Newton Abbot and Old Oak Common.

Lima S.p.A. was a brand of railway models made in Vicenza, Italy for almost 50 years, from the early 1950s until the company ceased trading in 2004. Lima was a popular, affordable brand of 00 gauge and N gauge model railway material in the UK, more detailed H0 and N gauge models in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States as well as South Africa, Scandinavia and Australia. Lima also produced a small range of 0 gauge models. Lima partnered with various distributors and manufacturers, selling under brands such as A.H.M., Model Power, and Minitrain. Market pressures from superior Far Eastern produce in the mid-1990s led to Lima merging with Rivarossi, Arnold, and Jouef. Ultimately, these consolidations failed and operations ceased in 2004.

SNCF Class BB 7200 Class of 240 French electric locomotives

The SNCF Class BB 7200 is a 1.5 kV DC electric locomotive operated by the SNCF in France. It is the DC version of the 'Nez Cassé' family of locomotives built between 1976 and 1985 by Alstom. They are rated for 4,040 kW (5,420 hp) of continuous power. SNCF Class BB 15000 is the AC version while the Class BB 22200 is a dual-voltage version. Another relative is the NS Class 1600 operated in the Netherlands, a DC locomotive based on the BB 7200. Intended primarily for passenger service, increasing numbers are being allocated for freight service with lower-geared bogies as passenger services are taken from locomotive-hauled coaches by TGV services. BB 7200 operations are limited to the French 1.5 kV DC electrified network in southeastern France, from Paris southwards. In 2016 48 were allocated to freight, 58 to intercity passenger service, 50 to regional passenger service, and two to auto-train service.

Fleischmann (model railroads)

Fleischmann is a German manufacturer of model railway products. Fleischmann was founded in Nuremberg in 1887 by Jean Fleischmann, as a toy company. Their first model train, in O scale, was produced in 1938. Their first H0 scale products were introduced in 1952 and their N scale "Piccolo" product line in 1969.

Trix Express

Trix Express was the main model train product range of the Trix of Nuremberg Germany, currently owned by the Märklin company of Göppingen Germany.

Digital model railway control systems are an alternative to control a layout and simplify the wiring and add more flexibility in operations. A number of control systems are available to operate locomotives on model railways. Analog systems where the speed and the direction of a train is controlled by adjusting the voltage on the track are still popular while they have recently given way to control systems based on computer technology.

ÖBB Class 2070 Austrian locomotive class

The ÖBB 2070 is a class of 90 shunting and light multipurpose four axle B'B' Diesel-hydraulic locomotive built for the Austrian Federal Railways by Vossloh at the MaK locomotive plant in Kiel, Germany.

References

  1. Ramsay's British Model Trains catalogue, 6th edition 2008 page 414.

Literature