Where did your trains come from?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by rhtastro, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    Where was the manufacturing point for your trains? What country did they come from? Are you satisfied with the quality or has it gone downhill somewhat. As a Marklin user, my trains came from many different places. All of the older stock, before 1995, came from Germany and was made of metal, and was very substantial and of very good quality. All the track and switches, etc also came from Germany. Now, however, I find that the freight cars are plastic with heavy metal frames but are made in China. The quality remains very good and the detail is excellent. My latest locos were still made in Germany and are also excellent and nicely detailed as before. Some track is now made in Hungary and that seems to be excellent still. I have purchased some local brands of rail cars, Atlas for HO, Micro Trains for Z and others that just don't have the quality I want. Stuff seems to fall off the locos and the cars are probably all made in China, but cheaply. Chinese toys can be of good quality if their foreign buyers demand it. A cheap price is not always what we want and the manufacturers need to understand that. What do you think? Cheap junk or quality. Bob
  2. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    My trains? Lets see...

    My F3 and RS-32 are from China and my B23-7 is from Hong Kong. I have no clue where my Hustler was made, but it was Athearn, so someone else should probably know.
  3. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Most of my Bachmann's were made in China, one of them was made in Germany, my Proto 2000's were made in China, my Athearn's were made in the US for the most part and my Kato was made in Japan
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Athearn products were all manufactured in Southern California until they came out with the mikado steam engine. It was manufactured in China. Since Horizon took over all r-t-r & Genesis models are made in China. I'm not sure about the kits, if they are made here or in China as well.

    The quality of the various manufacturer's products from China depend entirely on what standards the manufacturer requires. When the LifeLike Proto 2000 line first came out, they were built in the same factory as the Bachmann Spectrum series, but LL P2K paid for and demanded better quality than Bachmann. The price for P2K was also slightly higher than the Spectrum stuff. The Chinese company that does most of the manufacturing for the various model producers will build to the quality that the importing company is willing to pay. As far as I'm concerned, that is one of the reasons that I try to buy my models from a local hobby shop. They have a test track in the middle of the train dept, and I can see the model run before I buy it.
  5. Dayton

    Dayton New Member

    All mine came outta boxes. (sorry, just couldn't help myself!)
  6. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    I've just noticed that some of my train parts come from the Czech Republic and others from Hungary. I guess that Eastern Europe will be the next great industrial region after China self destructs. It's interesting that very little is made in the good ol US of A anymore. The world's industrial base is moving to territory where wages are lower and our consumers seem to want the cheap prices. However, with model trains, I don't necessarily want cheapness. I'd rather have something that works. It is very expensive if something just sits there because it doesn't work or work well or you don't use it. I'd rather pay more for something where the value is there. Just my opinion. What do you think? Enough ranting. Bob
  7. Justin

    Justin Member

    All in the worst year of scale models, the 70's. A car and 2 locos from the 60s. Those TYCO's are complete junk!
  8. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Amen to that! Them and Life-Like standard line.
  9. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    In my early years of modeling, nearly all kits - whether plastic, wood, or metal - were made in the USA. Any RTR (Ready-To-Run) cars I bought, I often provided additional detail and even repainted and decaled them to suit a specific prototype. The few locomotives I bought were highly detailed brass locomotives made in Japan or Korea. A bit of skill was needed to disassemble the loco, spray paint, decal, and weather it. The rewards were tremendous and I would admire my work for hours on end.

    It appears that locos and rail cars available today are highly detailed plastic with electronics that is far more sophisticated than ever before, and are all made in China. These trains need absolutely no further modification. There is nothing left for me to do and the hobby, as I knew it, no longer exists. Why is so much of what we consume made in China? Well it is obvious to me that it is because of the huge profit margin made by the middle man. I know what these trains are selling for and how little we are paying workers in China, and can only conclude that none of the labor cost savings is passed along to us. Who would buy these trains? Well they are probably purchased by those who have a need for instant gratification. By those whose patience and knowledge of modeling is limited to breaking the blister pack open.

    What say you?
  10. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    Ed, I couldn't have said it better. I too used to like to "build" things and it's sad that everything we have now is "ready made". But I have to admit that those plastic models are very nicely detailed. I couldn't do as well. Maybe that's why I like to do the landscapes for these sets so much. It give me that "hands on" feel again.
    I agree that the real price of what we buy from China is only a small fraction of what we pay. There are huge profits for whatever industry is involved. China is rapidly becoming the industral base for the entire world. The Russians, Western Europeans, South Americans, North Americans, Japanese, etc. all complain that most of their manufactured goods now come from China. But when fossil fuels run out sometime in the future, and they will, then it may be a rapid slide into a feudal system there again. I can envision a time when industries that have left their origin countries will come back home again. However, I may not see it in my lifetime. Cheers, Bob
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I've talked to a number of fellow model railroad club members who do like the r-t-r models. Most say that they are so busy with work that the only way they can have trains running is to buy r-t-r and put them on the layout. I have since come to the conclusion that for modular railroading, most of the nicely detailed r-t-r is just too delicate to pack up to take to shows the way we do.
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    About 2/3 of my trains are British (Hornby, Triang or Bachmann). These are 00 scale, which is similar to HO. The older ones from the '60s and '70s were actually made in England and their quality is quite good to excellent. The newer Hornby and Bachmann ones are -- of course -- now made in China and their quality is also good. Overall, the detailing is poorer on the old ones but the quality is better, more durable (that's why they're still great runners after 40 to 45 years!). And while the newer ones might be more delicate or fragile, their detailing is much better and they generally run better.

    The other 1/3 are HO North American locos -- IHC, Riverossi, Proto 1000, LifeLike, etc. Again, the older ones (from the '60s/70s) are tougher but with poorer detailing, and slightly inferior performance. The newer ones (made in China or Slovakia) again are more fragile but have excellent detailing and are very smooth runners.


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