top of page
Module 15D Other Train Sets.jpg - Prefer

Train Sets from Other Manufacturers        

Needless to say, you are by no means limited to the trains sets described in Modules 15A to 15C as many other manufacturers have been encourage to release pre-packed train sets in various guises over the years. In this module I will cover some of those lesser known suppliers who have followed this commercial path over the years. Some you might recognise but others may be less familiar and usually more difficult to source:

  •  USA Trains

  •  Hartland Locomotive Works - Only one set available at the current time.

  •  MTH (RailKing Gauge 1)  - No sets available at the current time.

  •  Kiss Modellbahnen -  No sets available at the current time.

  •  TrainLine - No sets available at the current time.

  •  KM1 Modellbau -  No sets available at the current time.

  •  Märklin -  Just a few sets available at present but numerous archived or retired sets.

  •  Primus (The Super Railway) -  Primus products were manufactured by EPL (Ernst Paul Lehmann) specifically for the Metro department store chain in Germany and are simplified versions of LGB products.

Train Sets from USA Trains  

Small Beginnings


The story of USA Trains involvement in large scale trains for the garden goes back a log way to the early 1970's when Charles Ro, then a successful hairdressing firm, decided to introduce his hobby to a wider public. In those days he retailed products for the Lionel company but when there wa a 9 month hiatus in production when the company relocated he took the plunge into making his own traisn based on USA standard gauge prototypes.

Whilst the range of Starter Train Sets in the larger scales are not necessarily quite as prolific as in the smaller scales there is still a large enough selection to fulfill most requirements even if occasional supply problems cause shortages. This is particularly acute before Christmas so don’t leave your purchase too late as you may find the shelves empty.

As we have already stated in a previous module one major advantage of purchasing a complete starter set is that the manufacturer will have put together carefully matched items and almost invariably at a price that is less than acquiring those same items individually. This is fine as long as the choice of locomotive and matching stock not to mention the railway livery is to your liking.

Regretably, in the case of USA Trains you would currently have to happy with a diesel locomotive freight train in a limited range of American Railroad liveries. At the moment the choice is between a Mighty Moe 20 Tonner Switcher  in Burlington, Atlantic Coast Line, Union Pacific or Conrail colours or a NW-2 Switcher  locomotive in Rio Grande, Santa Fe, New York Central or Union Pacific livery.

In fact, at the time of writing, USA Trains only list the NW-2 sets as being available and their authorised dealers also seem to be short on stock. On balance, if your preference is to source from USA Trains I would put your own set together in stead.






R72301 Freight Train Set NW-2 Santa Fe.P
R72300 Freight Train Set NW-2 Rio Grande
R72304 Freight Train Set NW-2 New York C

USA Trains Rio Grande NW-2 Freight Train R72300

USA Trains Santa Fe NW-2 Freight Train R72301

72302 Chica & Northern NW-2 Set

USA Trains Chicago & Northern NW-2 Freight Train R72302

USA Trains Southern Pacific NW-2 Freight Train R72303

72303 Southern Pacific NW-2 Train

USA Trains New York Central NW-2 Freight Train R72304

USA Trains Union Pacific NW-2 Freight Train R72305


All of the above "Ready-to-Run") sets included an NW-2 Diesel Locomotive with Real Puffing Smoke and Engineer, matching Box Car or Reefer and a 4-axle Caboose with metal wheels and working lights. Also a 14 section 5' x 4' oval of solid brass track and a 40 VA DC Power Supply.

The "Mighty Moe" Freight Sets were very similiar and included a 20 Tonner Diesel in lieu of the NW-2. Images of these sets are even scarcer than those for the NW-2 sets and rarely seem to make an appearance on listings sites.

According to the GBDB Database there were also a number of "specials" produced 
in this series so here is the complete list (to the best of my knowledge):


R72300 Rio Grande
R72301 Santa Fe yellow/blue
R72302 Chicago & North Western
R72303 Southern Pacific
R72304 New York Central
R72305 Pepsi Soda Train (Manufactured from 1996 - 1999 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Pepsi Co. (Click here to view details on GartenBahn DataBase 
R72306 Christmas Freight Train
R72307 Christmas Passenger Train

The following sets have been re-issued:

R72300 Rio Grande
R72301 Santa Fe (Yellow & Blue Version)
R72304 New York Central

A new set was also introduced (using a product code that has been used previously):

R72305 Union Pacific


One company I have not really had occasion to mentioned so far is the German firm of Marklin (Märklin or Maerklin – incidentally also the owners of LGB) MAXI range of G Gauge 1:32 Scale trains (i.e. G1 Gauge) which depict standard gauge steam locomotives and rolling stock based on European prototypes although some of the engines have been suitably modified to harmonise with the American railroad scene for overseas marketing.

The MAXI brand was first introduced in 1994 and appeared in the 1994/1995 catalogue. Most intensively sold in the years 1996 to 2000, after that more and more models were deleted from the catalog. The end came with the 2005 catalog (page 11): the difference between MAXI and Profi 1 disappeared. The MAXI wave then lasted ten years.

But also in the "Yearbook 2005" there were 2 sets, 10 locomotives and 11 wagons with a clear MAXI stamp.
A locomotive from the former MAXI series was in the 2007/2008 catalog (in set 55037: the V 60 414 old red).
The 2008/2009 catalog only contained MAXI rail cleaning trolley 54841.
After all, from 2011 to 2013 a "pimped" V60 with a clear MAXI embossing was represented in the catalog under number 54325.


Unfortunately many of the designs no longer seem to be manufactured and the remaining inventory appears to have been sold off but examples may still be around on the ‘preloved’ market.


There have been a number of Starter Sets produced from the Marklin stable under the MAXI brand in previous years but the company’s own website currently only features one current example.




















The locomotive has a metal frame and comes factory fitted with an MFX digital decoder with controlled high-efficiency propulsion and extensive sound functions. The locomotive can be operated with AC power, DC power, Märklin Digital, and DCC. All axles powered and wheels have traction tires. The headlights will work in conventional operation and can be controlled digitally. Many sound functions can be controlled digitally such as coupler sounds, air pump, horn, and much more.The doors can be opened.


Length over the buffers 38.4 cm / 15-1/8".


The 2-axle box car has a standard frame with truss rods. Length over the buffers 31.5 cm / 12-3/8".


The 2-axle high side gondola has a standard frame with truss rods. Length over the buffers 31.5 cm / 12-3/8".


The minimum radius for operation of the train is 1,020 mm / 40-1/8".


Additional Contents: An oval of track consisting of 16 no. 59035 curved track, radius 1,020 mm / 40-1/8", 2 no. 59059 straight track, 600 mm / 23- 5/8". 230 volt / 36 VA switched mode power pack. No. 60657 Mobile Station digital controller. No. 60114 digital connector box and connecting hardware.


Space required for the track layout is approximately 264 x 204 cm / 104" x 81".

As one might expect from such well designed and engineered model representations, almost all of metal construction, this set is not cheap coming in at Euros 999.99. 



MARKLIN BR 89.70-75, DB"Freight Train" Digital Starter Set  Era III                                        55028 


Model: The locomotive has a body and frame constructed mostly of metal. It has an MFX digital decoder  with controlled high-efficiency propulsion, a smoke generator, and extensive sound functions. The locomotive can be run with AC power, DC power, or Märklin Digital. 3 axles powered. Traction tires. The headlights and the smoke generator will work in conventional operation and can be controlled digitally.


Locomotive length over the buffers 26.8 cm / 10-9/16".


The boxcar has sliding doors that can be opened. There is also a Flat Car and a Gondola to complete the set.


Total length of the cars 90.0 cm / 35-7/16".


Additional Contents: 7 no. 5903 straight track, 1 no. 5916 and 1 no. 5917 straight track. 17 no. 5935 curved track, one no. 5977 right turnout (without the additional adjustment section) as well as 1 track bumper. 230 volt / 36 VA switched mode power pack. 60653 Mobile Station digital controller.60112 digital connector box. Hardware for electrical connections and track clips.


Required space for the track layout is about 310 x 240 cm / 123" x 95".

This set was originally produced from 2012 - 2014 and is no longer made but second-hand ones may still be available. 



This is a summary of Marklin Gauge 1 Train Sets (including the discontinued MAXI series) which are no longer made although could still be available from authorised dealers and online. It is by no means exhaustive so if you can add any others please let me know.

5440 230v Maxi Starter

Märklin 230V MAXI Starter Set     5440

Era:  Steam I-V

Availability: 2001 - 2003


Märklin MAXI Starter Set                5441

Era:  Steam I-V

Availability: 2001 - 2003  ?

Marklin 5442 Safari Train.jpg

Märklin MAXI Safari Set               5442 

Era:  Steam I-V

Availability: 2001 - 2003 ?

Starter Set -Emma- 54403.jpg

Marklin "Emma"          Starter Set        5440  

Era: Steam I - V


Availability: 2000-2001

Freight Train 54406.jpg

Märklin Freight Train    Starter Set       54406 


Era: Steam I- V


Availability:  2000 - 2001 ?

My Start with marklin Det 230v 55425.jpg

My Start with Märklin Starter Set        54425

Era: Diesel III - V


Availability:  2006

5501 AnniversaryTrain of T3 KPEV 1991.PN

Märklin Anniversary    Train T 3 of the KEPV    5501  

Era:  Steam 


Availability: 1991?




Märklin Tank Loco + 3 Coaches Set        5502

Era: Steam


Availability:  ?

5503 Steam Passenger Set.jpg

Märklin Nostalgic        Steam Passenger Set                         5503  

Era: Steam 


Availability:  1991?

5504 Track Laying set.jpg

Märklin Track Laying    Set                                               5504  

Era: Steam 


Availability:  Pre 2000?


Märklin Diesel Freight Train Set                                       5506  

Era: Diesel


Availability:  Pre 2000?


Märklin Steam            Passenger                  "Wurtemberg" Set                               5513 

Era: Steam 


Availability:  Pre 2000?


Märklin Electric "Zug"  Passenger Set                                 54102 

Era: Electric


Availability:  Pre 2000?


Märklin Steam            "Safari" Set                                    60612 

Era: Steam 


Availability:  Pre 2000?

Marklin Gauge 1 DB German Railway Berlin

Märklin Steam Berlin   Surburban  Commuter  Passenge TrainSet                             55024 

Era: Steam 


Availability:  Pre 2000?

55026 Branch Line Good.jpg

Märklin Electric Branch Line Set                                         55183 

Era: Steam III


Availability:  2005-2006

Marklin Maxi 1 Gauge 54415 Santa Express

Märklin Maxi Steam      Santa Claus               

Christmas Set                                  54415

Era: Steam  IV


Availability:  Pre 2000?


Märklin Diesel Freight  Set                                               55443 

Era: Diesel 


Availability:  Pre 2000?

Digital Mega Starter Set, 230 Volts 5503

Heading 4

Märklin Mega V100 /    BR78 DB Digital Starter Set                          


Era / Epoch: III

Availability:  2004 - 2006

Digital Starter Set, 230

Heading 4

Märklin BR80 DB Digital Freight Train Set                             55034  

Era / Epoch: III

Availability:  2004 - 2006

This video gives you some idea of the train in action but unfortunately the sound quality is none to good and has been drowned out by background noise.


Steam Freight Set                                5506 

Era / Epoche: Diesel  


Availability:  Pre 2000?


Digital Steam Freight    Set                  53306 

Heading 4

55036 III.jpg

Digital Steam Freight    Set                  53306 

Epoch/Era: III                                              

55031 III.jpg

Digital Steam Freight    & Passenger Set                                 53301

Epoch/Era: III

I believe that there are far more examples of Marklin train sets which have been retired but there does not appear to be any centralised list available online. (if you know of one please let me know).

Primus Train Sets   

This little known range of starter train sets were produced specifically for the Metro AG department Store chain in Germany by LGB. In essence they were simplified cost-reduced versions of LGB narrow gauge products. the locomotives were robust and the sets included LGB's high quality track.

In 1977 and 1978, LGB established a separate production line that was put on the market under the Primus name. They were simpler versions of existing LGB models and were mainly sold in department stores belonging to the Metro AG chain and supermarkets. 


The models can be recognized by the yellow packaging and there is an 8 in the middle of the serial number. For example, loc LGB-Lok 2072 was released as PRIMUS-Lok 20872. In 1989, once again beginners sets were equipped with a Stainz locomotive and two wagons, released under the name PRIMUS - GROSSBAHN ". These sets also had a yellow package.

According to Greenberg's Guide to LGB Trains Primus 8000 set was released in 1977/78 and comprised a dark green 20875 0-4-0T locomotive, a 2-axle pinkish-red 30800 passenger coach, (light) blue high-sided gondola 40821, 12 pieces of LGB 1100 curved track, 50800 220-Volt Transformer, 5016 Connector Cables, 5040 Figures,etc. all packaged in a compartmentalised, Styrofoam box with a windowless, yellow lid and the "8000" set number printed on it.


Customers were also encouraged to invest in track extension packs:

Primus 298901 Track Extension pack (Sidi
Primus 298902 Track Extension pack (Oval

208901 Siding Extension Pack

208902 Passing Loop Extension Pack

If you happen to come across one of these rare sets in mint condition I suspect that they may be worth quite a large sum as even in 1989 they were estimated to be worth US$ 1400 each.

bottom of page