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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently bought this Marklin HO 4-wheel coach at a train show. I reckon it qualifies as tinplate because it's all metal construction. I'm thinking this is from the 1950's, or maybe earlier?

It needs minor work to clean up rusty couplers and straighten bent steps. Otherwise it's in pretty good shape for its probable 60+ years.

The seller said European train items were difficult to sell, and he had a batch of Euro items that had been donated to their club. He just wanted to unload them and offered me this for a dollar! A price I couldn't refuse, although I didn't previously have other German train items. Wonder if it's contagious ...

Stamped into the metal bottom is "Marklin / Made in Germany". Not "West Germany" or GDR. Could it possibly be ... prewar ???

It just occurred to me that the wheels are maybe not insulated for 2-rail operation. I'll have to check that closer.

If someone can provide additional information on when this was made etc, I'm interested to hear it.
 

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Hi. I recently bought a set with three of these coaches which date from the 50's as they were a childhood item from a person born in Austria and have "Marklin Germany" stamped on the base.
These were made for many years and only a Marklin expert ( which I am not) could give you an exact date.
The axles will be un-insulated because Marklin is a 3-rail ( more correctly Stud contact) and the un-insulated wheels are used for tripping accessories like signals etc.
Regards, Colin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thank you Colin. Yes, I discovered the wheels are not insulated but that should be easy to modify. If it doesn't look too out-of-place I may run this coach with my vintage English OO trains. I can modify the couplers if necessary.

These European items are an interesting diversion from my North American trains. I have found some unique bargain items at train shows!

Some early research on prototypes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_rail_transport_in_Germany

Deutsche Reichsbahn (1920–1945)
Main article: Deutsche Reichsbahn
In 1920, following World War I, the Länderbahnen were united to form the Deutsche Reichsbahn ...

The grave lack of passenger coaches resulting from World War I reparations led to the design and production of all-steel, standard passenger coaches in the 1920s and early 1930s. These four-wheeled, branch line coaches, nicknamed Donnerbüchsen, lasted into the 1970s and can still be seen today on museum lines.

Donnerbüchse (thunderbox)


Apparently there were thousands of various 4-wheel passenger carriages built through the years and remaining in service for decades. "Thunderbox" does not sound like a favorable nickname for a railway passenger car ...

Ironically ... my all-metal car represents a wooden-body prototype. The lithography indicates vertical wooden boards. A closer look at my photo also reveals prototype-style lettering and ID which I'll have to study further.
 

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Hi. "Thunderbox" is often used for this type of coach, also "Bugbox" and probably other names. "Thunderbox" is also a term used for a primitive toilet I think originally from soldiers in India where the curry can have devastating effects !
Interestingly "Goppingen" on the side boards is the town where the Marklin Factory is and Boll is south of Goppingen so this train probably carried the Marklin workers to work.
Regards, Colin.
 
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