Let me start by saying that I love to collect things and in the beginning, I would buy just about anything I could get for a song; but o
ver the years, I have come to know what I want. Collecting takes discipline and research. I find it fascinating how product lines were developed and adapted to changes in technology. Miniaturisation of electric motors in particular allowed trains to be made that were ever more true to scale.

This is the one that started me collecting Märklin again after a long hiatus. It’s a CE800 from the mid 1950s.

This evolution continues today and the market demands digital control and scale accuracy to the nth degree. I, however, do not count rivets. I am also not fussed about scratches, dents or even the odd missing part. What is important to me, is that my vintage trains work, that they make as much noise as possible and that they retain their unique charm. A collection of  beautiful toys hidden away in their boxes with the original factory air still inside is really not my cup of tea.


Some of the roughly 70 Märklin locomotives in my collection with diesel power gracing this shelf.

Having said that, you should also understand my approach to restoration. I only do as much as is absolutely necessary to restore an item, retrieved from the scrap heap, to being a useful toy once more.  Re-painting, for instance, is a definite no-no, provided there is some original substance left to save. Even items that have been over-painted can sometimes be restored by careful removal of the offending layers. Of course there are times, when an item has been defaced to such an extent, that stripping and starting again is the only option.

An example of a restored Märklin 3062 New Haven F7 diesel engine.

When it comes to  vintage trains, 
there is no such thing as ‘too far gone’; missing or broken parts are replaced with original spares and whatever original substance is still there must be preserved. In some cases, it is necessary to manufacture substitute parts, which must first of all be functional as well as having aesthetic appeal.


Copyright © 2021 Rudolf Ramseyer