Among the current model railway novelties, it is still apparent that the railway has a lot to offer for every generation thanks to modern technology. The spectrum ranges from the toy train for preschool children to fascinatingly realistic replicas of old and modern rail vehicles to sophisticated functional models for die-hard technology freaks with the right budget.
Railway fun from the age of two
The Kullerbü play train set “Train Station” from HABA is intended for pre-school children from the age of two. In addition to a colourful push train and a taxi, it contains many wooden and plastic building blocks for tracks, roads, buildings, bridges and more. Haba also offers, among other things, a bell tunnel and a three-car express train that complement the set wonderfully. (Haba)
"With its "my world" product family, Märklin also addresses children in the preschool age. The highlight here is an extensive premium starter set consisting of two H0 remote controlled trains with a battery, light, sound, and easy-to-use magnetic couplings. The set for 150 euros includes a train station, a railroad crossing, a tunnel and 66 tracks as well as 5 railroad switches made of plastic for a 274x176 cm play area. Märklin introduces this age group to the topic of superheroes with the "Batman" high-speed train, which is continued for older children in "Start Up" sets with real H0 system tracks. (Märklin)
Every once and a while, railway starter sets for the children's room are available from various manufacturers of clamping blocks - for example, in mid-January 2022 discounter store chain Lidl’s novelty based on its own brand "Playtive Clippys".
It is pleasing that the model railway manufacturer Piko from Sonneberg (Germany) is now building a bridge into the creative world of blocks for the children of die-hard hobbyists. On its four-axle chassis, the H0 clamping block wagon has a flat plate with 4 x 16 knobs, which is compatible with the standard bricks from Lego and other manufacturers. And for garden railroad fans there is a two-axle flat car with a plate with 14 x 38 knobs and a freight train starter set with a diesel shunting locomotive and two terminal block cars. (Piko)
Measuring wagon with WLAN transmission to the app
Of course, Piko presented many other innovations in four sizes. In H0, the spectrum for adults ranges from an old-style electric locomotive and a modern electric locomotive to a classic German class 93.0 steam engine along with variants from three other countries. In the two smaller scales 1:160 (N gauge) and 1:120 (TT), Piko is bringing out an electric locomotive as a new construction as well. The two new measuring cars for recording speed, track gradient, and distance travelled are perfect for layout builders of both the TT gauge and the large garden railway G gauge. As with the H0 measuring car, which has been available for a number of years, the measurement results are logged and transmitted in real time via WLAN to a free smartphone app. Garden railroad fans can also look forward to the 5-axle class 94 steam engine. (Piko)
There are also two interesting new designs with a track width of 45 millimetres under the Märklin brand LGB. The first one being a 64 cm long diesel railcar T3 of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways made of plastic. The filigree 47 cm long metal small series model of a class I M steam locomotive of the Royal Saxon State Railways with chimneys at both ends and two steam boilers in the middle of the locomotive is very unusual in terms of appearance (see photo on top). This locomotive costing 3,690 Euros also comes in a more modern version as it looked in 1962. Finally, USA fans can look forward to a 55 cm long San Francisco tram that will be reissued with a digital decoder and sound. (LGB)
Interesting news from small series manufacturers
The almost 90-year-old prototype of the 38 cm short diesel railcar T1, manufactured by Train Line Gartenbahnen in a small series, is still in use on the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways today. Dietz Elektronik provides the appropriate digital technology along with sound and interior lighting. (Train Line Gartenbahnen / Dietz Elektronik)
The small series manufacturer Fulgurex continues to surprise fans with intricate innovations. The Swiss vintage electric locomotive Be 4/4 and the long double diesel locomotive 262 AD1 from SLM come on a scale of 1:160 - and both are limited to 250 units each. The steam locomotive Ec 4/5 of the Solothurn-Münster-Bahn and the baggage railcar Fe 4/4 are to be delivered in 1:87 this year. And in 1:45 scale, Fulgurex announced the Swiss electric locomotive Re 4/4. Only 55 examples of this brass handwork model are being built, divided into six variants according to the conditions of the years 1969 to 1983. (Fulgurex)
The new variant of an H0 track cleaning car from the accessory supplier Herkat is practical for everyday layout use. Its wiping element in the middle is supplied with a wet cleaning agent directly from inside the car. The fill level of the tank can be checked through the side doors of the refrigerated truck model that can be opened. (Herkat)
For model railway fans in Austria, Roco is bringing the Rh 77 in 1:87, a newly designed H0 steam engine classic with digital sound. The prototype was introduced in 1913 and was in service until 1975. With the Ae 3/6 comes a vintage electric locomotive for Switzerland lovers. Another new design is the French electric locomotive BB 7200, which has been widely used in the Netherlands since 1981. The German ICE 1 high-speed train has received a comprehensive update with new engines, more intricate details and matching sound. It is reproduced according to the DB redesign operating condition of 2005. If required, it can be purchased as a two-part basic unit with a length of 47 cm and can be gradually extended with sets of 3 cars up to a 14-part parade train with a length of 3.85 meters. Some other Roco locomotives will also receive an optical update and/or a new sound with audio CD quality. (Roco)
In the 1:160 scale, Roco has announced some visual updates and improved sounds under the Fleischmann brand. The new designs here are a Swiss electric locomotive Re 6/6 from the 1970s and its modernised modern-day variant Re 620 as well as the French electric locomotive BB 26000, which was built according to a prototype from 1988. (Fleischmann)
The steam locomotive stoker now turns
As a visual nostalgic treat on the scale of 1:87, Märklin has presented a very limited pack with an elaborately detailed Bavarian express train steam locomotive from 1912 and five matching cars.
The smallest Märklin scale 1:220 is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For the occasion, a 105 mm long diesel locomotive of the V 320 series will be available for the very first time. The Swiss crocodile locomotive with real platinum coating could become a small rarity. The technical highlight from Märklin this year is a 66 cm long historic steam locomotive of the S 2/6 series made of die-cast zinc and brass on a scale of 1:32. In the driver's cab, the firebox flap is opened by a motor and the stoker figurine shovelling coal rotates. Another motor simulates the realistic operation of the steam locomotive by simulating the running out of coal in the tender. (Märklin)