Collecting toy trains is referred to as the world’s greatest hobby; and for some, it isn’t just a hobby. It’s a passion and a way of life, perhaps beginning in childhood. Several toy train collectors started their hobby as children, when they were given a toy train as a gift. Toy trains, at one time, were a very popular and much desired toy among children. Over time, that concept faded and was replaced by razor scooters, iPods, and webkinz. Most children of today aren’t familiar with the classic toy trains from back in the day, so the legacy is left to be carried on by adults who choose to start a collection of their own. One such popular toy train that is desired by many collectors is the HO toy train, developed by Marklin in 1935. So what makes these miniature locomotives so much different than the others?
The construction of the HO toy trains is one aspect that makes them stand apart from other toy trains. HO toy trains are jagged and are scaled at 1:87, making them the perfect starter electric train. Appearance is also a major factor in collecting HO toy trains. The flawless detailing gives them a realistic appeal, making them an attractive addition to any toy train system. The Marklin HO toy trains resemble the Z gauge in that they are built from diecast metal. Most of the frames and wheels are constructed from 100% metal. The engineering of HO toy trains is also quite brilliant. The wheels of the freight and passenger cars have a low center of gravity to avoid derailment, making them a reliable addition to electric systems.
The third-rail track systems of HO toy trains make them a hassle-free operation. The electrical current is carried by miniature stud contacts found in the middle of the ties. If you don’t look closely, chances are you’ll miss these clever additions. This helps prevent wiring problems and electrical pickup issues. Given the careful engineering and construction of HO toy trains, most collectors consider HO toy trains part of a scale hobby. At the debut of HO toy trains, they were sold as a toy train rather than a scale model as they are often sold today.
Scale model railroading didn’t become a popular hobby among collectors until after the 1950’s. Until that time, HO toy trains were thought of as just another size of train. Therefore, the Lionel Corporation began to make HO toy trains as smaller versions of the classic freight and passenger cars. It wasn’t long before the Louis Marx Company began constructing their own version of HO toy trains, and they even started to sell them with complete scenery and in slot car sets.
Although finding HO toy trains on the shelf at your local toy store may be a challenge, they aren’t all that difficult to come by. A simple search of the internet will provide you with a detailed listing of available HO toy trains for sale as well as places to locate these classic toy trains.