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MRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

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    • 5", 1, LGB, H0, TT, N, Z

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    • Real trains - scale 1:1
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"Märklin Tage" : 2019

Since the "Märklin Tage" is such a huge event they their own table of contents :

HOME - The "Märklin Tage"
IMA - Internationale Modellbahn Ausstellung
Programs - Flyers
Food - Toilets
"Märklintage" commemorative cars
Göppingen - Hotels
Geislinger Steige
Special trains - locomotives
Toy stores - Shopping
Stuttgart - Göppingen Region

My photos from the "Märklin Tage"

My thoughts on "Märklin Tage" 2019
"Fundgrube" at the "Märklineum"
GLS shipping service

The events at the "Märklin Tage" :
  • Göppingen train station
  • "Märklineum" ( previously "Erlebniswelt" and "Museum" )
  • "Stauferpark"
  • "Leonhard Weiss"
  • "EWS Arena" - LGB
  • "Werk 1"

    Google Earth POI's (Points Of Interest) kmz file.

  • Märklin did it again

    The 36' IMA and the 12' Märklin Tage took place from 13. - 15. september 2019 in Göppingen.

    Märklin was also celebrating their 160th anniversary ( 1859 - 2019 ), although the first Märklin model railroad item didn’t appear until 1891.

    So Märklin did it again and event manager Eric-Michael Peschel did a great job arranging everything.

    It was anyway no fault of Märklin that one of the 01-steam engines had to, with about 2 weeks notice, cancel the appearance, and that the BR 75 ( from UEF Amstetten ) had to be repaired on Saturday thous canceling several of the shuttle trips to Plochingen.

    But when I talked to some of the Märklin staff on Thursday, less than 24 hours before the opening, it was clear that many things were kinda just-in-time; i.e. the arrival of the special cars for sale during the event.

    However - the weather was better than fine - the shuttle buses drove round and round - all-in-all a great success.

    One thing I noticed was that during the mornings there was quite a line for buying the bracelet-tickets and the special cars, while later in the day several Märklin employees were standing around idlely. Perhaps a bit more insight in the planning as to when rush-hour usually would be expected wouldn't harm anyone; i.e. more staff available during rush-hours.

    For the first time - and this is southern Germany - where parents usually keep there children on a short leash - some Märklin staff commented that at the Märklineum it had been rather hectic at times. I presume that Märklin for the next time will have to limit the amount of people inside the Märklineum; at least the shop area, with its many narrow aisles - or perhaps re-design the aisles for the event.

    There were 6 event sites in 2019 ;

    • The train station
    • The Stauferpark - (IMA)
    • The EWS Arena - (LGB)
    • The Werk 1 - ( not sunday )
    • The Märklineum
    • Leonhard Weiss

    But first I have to digress a bit from the Märklin Tage theme :

    It was great to see that there were so many - relatively - smaller manufacturers present in Göppingen. 

    The model railroad community need to include EVERYONE - big and small - in these fairs in order to just survive - less grow.

    There are several customer fairs around all over Germany all year round with Intermodellbau in the spring in Dortmund being the largest, followed by the IMA in Köln - Friedrichshafen - Messe Sinsheim etc.

    All those fairs are very well attended by the general public.

    But the problem for small manufacturers are the costs of attending fairs. They have to allocate time. They have to pay transport. They have to pay a fair fee. They have to have some kind of presentation stall / table / chair. 

    Moving away from Nurnberg ?

    And it all starts with the Nurnberg Trade Fair that - ever since around 1950 - has been THE place where the model railroad community met and presented their items to their retailers and to the press. 

    With the prices at the Nurnberg Trade Fair being so high that smaller manufacterers simply cannot afford to be represented there, they are left to appear at the larger public fairs; Intermodellbau in Dortmund - IMA in Köln/Göppingen - Messe Sinsheim/Friedrichhafen. 

    It is no secret that more and more model railroad manufacturers are talking about creating their own Model railroad Trade Fair and simply not taking part in the Nurnberg Trade Fair. This makes sense. 

    When reading the newspapers / TV-reports from Nurnberg the past many years, there is almost nothing regarding the Model Railroad community in the news, and the few reports have been about the model railroad struggling for its existence; hardly positive reports and nothing about the actual new items from the various manufacturers. 

    The model railroad simply drowns in the toy news-cycle where i.e. LEGO - Disney dominates and shrewdly controls the news. 

    If the Model Railroad community were to create their own Model Railroad Trade fair there at least would be a chance that the newspapers and the TV would report from that fair, and report about Model Railroads. 

    Such an independant Trade fair could also have reasonable prices so even the small manufacturers could attend. 

    Having the whole model railroad community be assembled at an yearly Trade fair would also create an important synergy effect. 

    The old days where any toy store would go to Nurnberg and see the new products and then place orders in various categories ranging from dolls to puzzles to model cars to skipping ropes to model railroad are definitely over. 

    Now we have hobby, not toy, stores that focus on model railroad, and there are fewer and fewer of those. Ok; - there are a few stores that still caters to almost all toys - in Germany i.e. Vedes - but they would also gain from a Model Railroad Trade Fair where the smaller manufacturers were represented. 

    And here I have to digress again :
    The physical shops are loosing to the internet shops. But the physical shops should be more like a show-room where customers can touch and feel and evaluate the quality. Then order at the physical shop. Many manufacturers would be delighted to have so many show-rooms with the only cost being providing, up front, one sample to each shop.

    To put it bluntly; there is no synergy effect left at the Nurnberg Trade Fair between the model railroad and all the other toys. The model railroad community has in fact nothing to lose by leaving the Nurnberg Trade Fair. 

    With the internet and the various “leaking news” during the whole year there is also no real need for a fair in January where new items are presented, only to appear at the very earliest in the shops in the fall the same year. 

    Choosing the right month would be crucial. 

    Should the new fair be trade only or public ? 

    If you ask me I would say - trade only. There is plenty of other fairs all through the year that caters to the public. 

    No need to compete with these fairs. 

    How long should a model railroad trade fair be ? Only 2 days - perhaps a weekend including the friday. 

    In Nurnberg the first day - a wednesday - is the popular day, but retailers from afar has to deal with high priced hotels and travel expenses. 

    Perhaps it would make sense to have the fair the weekend before the Nurnberg Trade fair giving especially overseas retailers the opportunity to visit both fairs - just a thought. 

    I would presume that the place should be Märklin-neutral, so what about Frankfurt or perhaps Mannheim ?? 

    Finally - what is the purpose of a trade fair ? 

    • to connect whole-sale buyers with the manufacturers
    • to present new items to the trade magazines / trade press and the whole-sale buyers
    • to have a place where you make deals 

    But mainly - the industry must stand together in these difficult times and I think that Märklin and the others understand this since they created the DVSI Fachgruppe Modellbahn ( which has evolved into "DVSI Gruppe Wir Modellbahner" ) with Florian Sieber as chairman. 

    They have two websites :

    I must admit that while I find the "Tag der Modelleisenbahn" a great idea with a great website, I simply do not get the "Wir Modellbahner" website. Sorry.

    Back to the Märklin Tage and the IMA

    At the IMA in Köln there would be a certain amount of sellers present - model train shops or second hand sellers. At the IMA in Göppingen there were very few stands where you could buy second hand items. 

    Since there are no second hand train shops in Göppingen and with the many foreign visitors that, at least within Europe, could have the items shipped with GLS directly to their home address at a very reasonable price, there is no reason at all why second hand dealers were not queuing up to be in Göppingen. 

    But now to the individual events during the Märklin Tage :

    Märklin strategy - or lack off :

    Märklin does it again - again !

    Märklin had the "werbe-lok" - the DB BR 101 064-4 - appear at the Train Station in Göppingen during the Märklin Tage; - well at least from Saturday morning till Sunday evening. 

    Märklin produces this lok in H0 as # 39378 and the spectators that took the tour of the "Werk 1" on Friday or Saturday could see this locomotive be assembled. 

    However - it was not possible to buy this locomotive during the Märklin Tage. Apparently it does not appear in the shops till the end of September. 

    To me, and to many others that have more insight than me in business strategies, it makes no sense at all to NOT sell the locomotive at the fair. Märklin could have sold the H0 locomotive from one of the cabins of the real locomotive - the other cabin you could visit and see the inside of the locomotive ( which was of course not any different from any other BR 101 ). 

    Märklin could have sold so many of the 39378 even though it was 350 euro a piece, if it had been for sale right at the Train Station. 

    I was very undecided about whether to buy the 39378 or not before going to Göppingen - believing that I in fact could buy it in Göppingen. 

    Although the 39378 only serves as a funny memento of the Märklin Tage ( and a 160 year jubilee is not THAT special as i.e. 150 years ) and the model is NOT special in any way - BR 101 wise or other-wise (mfx+ digital decoder and extensive sound functions) - I must admit that I could have been tempted to buy the 39378 - IF it had been for sale at the platform next to the real locomotive. But it was not, so I did not and I will not buy it later in the year. ( But I might buy it in 5 or 10 years from now as a second hand item ). 

    In fact Märklin goofed the same way with the freight car - 48058 - at the Märklin Tage in 2011. 

    The original freight car was standing on the tracks in Göppingen Station all through the weekend but the model - 48058 - could not be bought. Only 3-4 weeks later did the 48058 appear in the shops but by then - who cared ? 

    Märklin could have sold loads and loads of that freight car at the Märklin Tage and in all honesty it would have been more fun to buy such a freight car than the more or less use-less special cars from the Märklin Tage. 

    The original of the 39372 was not even present at the 2013 Märklin Tage even though Märklin was selling the model - or rather pushing the order forms for later delivery. It was actually running on the Stuttgart-Ulm line, but none at Märklin thought it necessary to find out via DB when the locomotive would drive through Göppingen Station. 

    Some people within the model railroad industry I talked with ventured the idea that it is out of consideration to the dealers that Märklin did not sell the freight car or the locomotive at the Märklin Tage. 

    Somehow I find this hard to believe. If it is correct it is in fact a really narrow-minded mind-set. 

    Both the freight car and the locomotive are - sales-wise - rather worth-less when they appear in the shops several weeks after the Märklin Tage. Yes - there will be some sale afterwards, but compared to what it could have been at the Märklin Tage, it is peanuts. 

    If Märklin wanted to "protect" the dealers they could have had taken orders at the Station for delivery the next week at your local friendly Märklin dealer - this way more people would have visited their local dealer. 

    The EWS Arena :

    Märklin had the Schmalspurlok 99 1594-3 transported to Göppingen and placed in front of the EWS arena where the LGB items were. 

    And yes; - LGB also had the 99 1594-3 for sale - but just not at the fair; again you had to buy it through a dealer but at 899,99 UVP it hardly was an item that sold just because the original was standing in front of the EWS arena. 

    The EWS arena seemed smaller than previous years but looking through the participation list it was a nice mix of LGB clubs and shops. 

    The "Spur 1" was only represented with 2 privately owned layouts at Stauferpark, and funny enough at the fundgrube where there were - relatively - many Spur 1 items for sale. 

    WERK 1 :

    Friday and Saturday - but not Sunday ( perhaps it is too expensive for Märklin to pay employees to work Sundays ?? ) - you could visit the WERK 1. You were free to roam but had to stay within the marked tour. At the end of the tour there was the assembly line where the 39378 was currently assembled - but not sold. 

    Instead you could buy a special factory tour car - 46629 - for actually quite reasonable - 30 euro. 

    But funny enough there was not much German "ordnung muss sein" about the standing in line for buying the car. 

    The line for the car was parallel to the assembly-line line, so people were overtaking waiting-in-liners to the left and to the right. 

    But the tour of the WERK 1 is still impressive and definitely a must. 

    However - and I have heard this from many visitors; if you do the math, it seems impossible for Märklin to produce the number of items needed within the WERK 1 alone. It is no secret that Märklin claims that while plastic items are mainly produced in Gyor the H0 locomotives - the items with the heritage - are still produced at the WERK 1. 

    I actually do not recall seeing any SPUR 1 items being produced at the WERK 1, but OTOH you do not get to see all of the WERK 1. 

    At the WERK 1 they also seem to spend a lot of space on hammering / cutting / bending small metal pieces that might be part of a coupler - a wheel - a small whistle etc. and the treating of that metal. So it is a quaint mix of old-style machinery that appears to have been used since before 1950 and ultra-modern computer-controlled machines that either cut or painted - and then just next to that there was an employee spraying the roof of a plastic passenger coach with a hand-held air-spray. 

    In other words you kinda get the feeling that the WERK 1 is a front and that most of the actual production takes place in other places and GYOR cannot do all the rest anyway. And btw - I have the feeling that Märklin will move some of the production in GYOR back to the Göppingen area. The other companies around Stuttgart are firing employees while Märklin in Gyor has a hard time finding qualified workers. 

    In the court yard of WERK 1 you could see the newly placed BR 44 1315 ( there all year ) and a tent named the "Fundgrube" that it paid to visit early Friday morning. Good offers were quickly picked up. When I say "good" offers it is of course an individual taste, but at least there was a general 10 % discount during the 3 days. 

    Unfortunately this year there did not seem to be the odd surplus item; i.e. extra lorries that used to belong to a Museumswagen set. 

    The best idea that Märklin has had for a long time, and luckily has stuck with, is the GLS service that in 2019 was at the Stauferpark and in the courtyard at WERK 1 / Märklineum. GLS will ship all you buy to you home address for 3 euro within Germany and 6 euro within the EU ( sorry Norway and Switzerland ) no matter the weight or the size and GLS even provides the cardboard boxes as part of the price. 

    GLS also used to have a stand at EWS Arena - where the LGB is - which made perfect sense since the LGB boxes are large, but not in 2019. 

    Märklineum :

    The newly built Märklineum is in fact several things; one of which is a "normal" model train shop, and that is rather peculiar given that it is not only Märklin/TRIX/LGB items you can buy there but also items from i.e. NOCH and other manufacturers of model railroad accessories. 

    The other part of the Märklineum - the museum and building the new layout - is adequately reported elsewhere so I will not go into it that here. 

    Of course the Märklineum model train shop is competing with any other model train shop in the area; however Märklin sells at UVP - only at the fundgrube the prices are lower ( a bit ) than the UVP. 

    But one model train shop has already closed in Göppingen - Elser - of course not only because of the Märklineum Shop - but still, and the remaining shop - Korb/Rau - that is part of the VEDES chain - in 2019 had a significantly smaller selection of model trains than in previous years - and funny enough barely any second hand items, so there are in fact no second hand model train shops in Göppingen. 

    Märklin boss Florian Sieber has previously critized the second-hand market simply because he wanted people to buy new items ( from Märklin ) in stead of buying second-hand, and you can only use money once ! Perhaps that is why there are no second-hand shops in Göppingen ?

    Train Station :

    The station is of course the main attraction for most people. Especially on Saturday there was a lotta action with special trains arriving ( completely off schedule ) in the morning and leaving in the afternoon with visitors from all around middle and southern Germany. 

    The SBB Historic 14305 was one of the most photographed items in the station, but unfortunately it was placed rather awkward to get good pictures; only during the two times that the steam trains were taking a tour up the Geislinger Steige you got the possibility of a good picture of both crocs - the Swiss Ce 6/8 III and the German E94. 

    The BR 101 Märklin locomotive was also very popular, but again - it was placed so you in fact only could take a photo of one whole side; the other side was partly covered by - wait for it - bicycle sheds. 

    As the two sides have different pictures that was a shame, so it is up to anyone to decide whether the better side was displayed best in Göppingen. 

    Then of course the great goodbye to the lok-zug from BEM Bayerische Eisenbahn Museum - die Nördlinger - on Sunday afternoon is not to be missed; whistles from all steam, diesel and e-loks sounding at the same time is quite impressive and at the same time melancholly and sad. 3 days are over and boy did they go past very quickly. 

    The station also seemed to be the place where you met your friends. 

    Märklin had arranged for toilets - porta-potti - or toi-toi - at the station - only about 5 and since the McDonalds - with proper toilets - at the station had closed in november 2018 there was an obvious need for the porta-pottis. 

    The square in front of the station also had a new look - now it is a big open space, with an underground parking where previously buses and taxi and private parking were crammed together. In fact there has been and still is a lot of construction work in the center of Göppingen. 

    Rumours have it that McDonalds was getting tired of having the square in front of the restaurant dug up and getting fewer customers - since McDonald is a franchise this does not sound unreasonable. 

    Elser toy store actually gave the same reason for closing; there was continuous construction going on, so customers could not park and or get to the shop. 

    Stauferpark :

    The IMA at Stauferpark was quite impressive and it was great to see that so many smaller manufacturers were present. 

    You could get food and drink on the place between the werft-halle and the tents. Noone can predict the weather, and of course germans cannot go for many hours without having a bratwurst, but there was only one very small place where you could buy ice-cream. And because it was a very nice and warm weekend with temps up to 26 celcius ice-cream was popular. 

    Again the werft-halle was used for the bigger manufacturers ( although there had been rumors that Märklin couldn’t use the werft-halle in 2019 ) while the two very large tents were for the smaller manufacturers and the layout displays. 

    However it did seem that some of the manufacturers had a better grasp of what is good marketing and what is not.

    I.e. Auhagen had a very cheap small, but very usable, kit for sale. Great for the children and a great way to spread the Auhagen name. 

    As a technical treat you could have your picture taken and then printed onto a white Märklin freight car showing how far printing has gone in the last few years making smaller series more feasible. 3d printing was not really shown even though it is how Märklin produces their very first prototypes. When you hear that there even is a working 3d metal printer you really begin to realize how important it is to get the smaller and newer companies to appear at fairs and show what they are working at. 

    Again this time you could assemble your own locomotive; well - put the body unto the chassis and then do the test run; 36197 (BR 170) and 36631 (BR 187) for 150 euro each - 36641 ( LINT 27 ) for 130 euro 

    36197 has UVP 239,99 euro - 36631 UVP 249,99 euro, so not a bad deal given that - according to the german price-finder - - the price can be as low as 175 euro. 

    Hagen von Ortloff of Eisenbahn-Romantik fame was again present with his friends and their several different old-style model railroads. While talking to him, he coined a very telling word. He sees himself as "eisenbahn-spieler" : A player with model railroads. 

    This brings you back to your child-hood where you just enjoyed watching trains going round and round and round. No particular realism. Just pure relaxing fun. 

    Leonhard Weiss :

    The Leonhard Weiss area was smaller this time, and there did not seem to be any demonstrations i.e. of the welding techniques that are used to weld i.e. two pieces of track together. 

    OTOH there was a modular layout - Karwendelbahn - that was worth a long look. 

    There also was the quaintest most surreal model train tower. Unfortunately is is not listed in the official list of participating clubs. 

    The good thing with visiting Leonhard Weiss is that you get to take a tour in the old-timer railcar. Barely 5 minute ride - 1 euro each way - but very nostalgic. 

    You can take the shuttle bus to Leonhard Weiss and the railcar back if you do not want to continue to Stauferpark by bus. 

    At Leonhard Weiss; again only bratwurst - no ice-cream. 

    Final thoughts :

    So all in all a very enjoyable 3 days that left you worn out and filled with nice impressions that will last a very long time. 

    A few ideas for next time - and Märklin has already set the dates for the Märklin Tage in 2021 : 17. - 19. september 2021 in Göppingen. 

    There are a significant number of visitors from countries where German is not spoken.
    However all brochures and pamphlets are only in German.
    PDF-versions, not even paper-printed, in English would satisfy a lot of visitors from the USA and Australia and New Zeeland and Japan etc. 

    Copyright © Christian Vinaa
    2014 -
    "Mrklin" and other brand names and product names and logo's
    are ©, TM or registered trademarks of their respective owners,
    and are used on this website for purely informational purposes.

    "Let's Lok'n Roll"