Trix (company)

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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Trix is a German company that originally made Trix metal construction sets.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.


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 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.


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.

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