Sunday, 11 October 2015

Facsinating Pics of Railways by Trix (2)

UK Terminal Decline : European Advance
Lots of things happened to Trix in (relatively) quick succession. Firstly the system changed to conventional 12 volt DC from 16 volt AC. Next the old lumpy bakelite track ...
... was replaced by 3 rail track with fibre sleepers. 
A new range of locomotives was announced ...
The address of British Trix was given as Stimpson Avenue, Northampton. The model of the Manchester to Sheffield electric loco (top) allowed the company to promote THREE trains on one track with the loco taking power from overhead catenary.
But at a price. Big locos were just over £6, equivalent to £120 today and way above the price of even the bestest Hornby Dublo engine.

It its last dying breath, Trix UK finally changed to 2-rail. But it was too late. The British lines were discontinued from about 1965. In Europe, however, Trix was more successful. But much of its success owed something to a failed business in the UK.
In 1960, Lone Star (famously makers of toy cap guns) ...
... introduced the "treble-0-lectric range" of 2mm to the foot model trains.
Lone Star trains sort of fizzled after about 5 years. Over the water, "German" Trix followed with "Minitrix". Very quickly this developed into a vast range of popular "N" gauge trains and accessories.
In the early 70s Hornby (actually a renamed Triang) did a deal with Minitrix to have them build a range of UK models, also to "N" gauge. British outline locos and coaches appeared with Mintrix branding and later labelled Hormby Minitrix.
(click on the above pictures to explore). Somehow the UK market was not ready for "N" gauge and production ceased in the 90s.

Continental 2-rail HO** Trix also grew into a substantial range.

In 1994, German competitor Märklin bought Trix adding 2-rail to its HO gauge stud contact range (and that's another bloggable story!) and the Trix "N" range for those who desired something smaller.

Roll forward to recently. When fbb was being harangued about DCC control systems at Bufferes Model shop (see "He is Sceptical about Electrical" - read again) he was given a goody bag which included the current Trix catalogue.
It has 224 pages (plus covers) of which 146 are for "N" gauge stuff, the remainder for "HO".

So, maybe you wish to take up Continental HO modelling and like the look of the highly detailed HO Trix Schnellzug-Dampflokomotive mit Schlepptender ...
... the price in Germany is €500 (£370). It makes UK models at over £100 look cheap. Or something simpler; an HO diesel railbus.
That will be £245, sir!

N gauge is half the size of HO (roughly) but please don't expect half the price. here is a small tank engine ...
Vorbild: Dampflok R 4/4, Bauart D n2t der Königlich Bayerischen Staatsbahnen (K.Bay.Sts.B.). Einsatz: Güterzüge.
Modell: 5-poliger Motor mit Schwungmasse. 4 Achsen angetrieben. Fahrtrichtungsabhängig wechselndes Spitzensignal. Länge über Puffer 69 mm.

This little beauty is just over 2½inches long. It will set you back £120 approx.

But the detail and quality is truly amazing. British models are only now beginning to come up to this standard. This YouTube extract shows N gauge coaches and locos with detailed interiors and LED lighting.

And those gloriously illuminated coaches are just about six inches long!

**HO and OO? In the UK OO trains were modelled to 4mm to the foot scale on a track gauge of 16.5 millimetres, too narrow to accurately represent the correct full-size gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches. This was to allow extra width to model the rather crude connecting rods and valve gear on steam locos. In Europe that gauge of the track (16.5mm) was the same but models were built to a scale of 3.5 millimetres to the foot, exactly half of "O" gauge's 7mm. Half O = HO. Seemples.

Because dull-sized continental trains are usually taller and wider than in dear old Blightly, the smaller scale is not noticeable in an overall view. fbb's model "fun train" has "HO" passengers sitting on "HO" benches. No-one has yet remarked about stunted growth in fbb's model village and surroundings!

 Next tram (?) blog : Monday 12th October 


  1. Actually, British Trix's improved range was neither OO or HO, but built to a scale of 3.8mm to the foot. On its own it wasn't noticeable, but does stand out alongside Hornby models.
    Production continued rather later than 1965, admittedly in penny numbers, but Mark 1 coaches and the Trans Pennine DMU were issued in blue and grey, for example. I obtained one of the latter new in 1980, from the model shop in Tywyn, which by that time appeared to be one of the last outlets for the marque.

  2. Thanks MofK. I think I probably knew about the odd scale once but nothing materialised on-line to unearth the vestiges of memory.

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