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Model Railways Manufacturers

Module 15

Model Railway Manufacturers  

The history of large-scale model railways is peppered with new business start-ups, amalgamations, takeovers, acquisitions and liquidations. There are a wide variety of manufacturers worldwide many of whom carry a complete range of locomotives, rolling stock, track and accessories whereas others tend to specialise in a niche market sector or product. They are all competing for their share of the reinvigorated market and burgeoning model railway market since the 1960's (now estimated to be worth around £ 2,000,000 ?)  although some companies had been around long before that, from as early as the 19th century. Many were started by rail enthusiasts whilst others evolved from an existing interest in the toy market. Many are now big names in the industry such as Lionel, Marklin, Bachmann, Piko, and LGB whereas others have fallen by the way side such as Kalamazoo, Bing, Delton, and more recently Aristo-craft and MTH.

There was a trade report produced by Statista a year or so back, which published an estimate of world trade in model railway related products but it was so expensive that there is no way I could afford to purchase a copy so unable to verify the amounts involved. Since Covid manufacturers are naturally reticent about releasing performance results but "lock-downs" in many countries have apparently led to a big expansion (some observers would say an "extraordinary" expansion) in model railways as a hobby. The BBC also reported UK adults turning to model railways during the pandemic sales as refleted in the bost in sales at Hornby.


Märklin expect to slightly exceed their original forecast of Euros 112m for the financial year 2020/2021  

They also reported at the end of December 2020, that orders were 40% higher at Märklin than at the same time the previous year, which obviously gives them a good reason to feel very optimistic about 2021.

If the market really is showing signs of buoyant demand for model trains it is good news for the hobby at large including retailers and customers.

Alongside the "big players" their are a host of suppliers who cater for a particular segment of the marketplace whether it be track, scenic model kits, power equipment, decals, figures, wheels, signals, - the list is endless.


It would be virtually impossible to give everyone the attention they deserve but before we delve into sources of supply I will attempt to cover the key protagonists and avoid any bias in doing so as they all have a role to play.


So, who are the principle manufacturers and suppliers In the field of G scale? The following pages provide a fairly potted database which is always likely to be constantly changing as some players (such as Aristocraft) withdraw from the market and new suppliers make an appearance.

The underlined entries have a hyperlink to the company's webpage - just click the relevant entry to be re-directed to the relevant site.

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Accucraft (USA)

Accucraft specialise in making superb high-quality museum brass models of locomotives, rolling stock and track in several different scales since 1994.

Accucraft UK Ltd. was formed in 2004 and as well as producing their own quality steam locomotives are the sole UK importers and trade distributors for the complete range of products manufactured by Accucraft Trains of the USA. This includes the ranges of ACL (Accucraft Custom Line), AMS (American Model Supply), Accucraft Trains Limited and Classic ranges, and American Mainline.

AMS is a trademark of Accucraft, which specialises in models in scale 1:20.3.

Prior to the company's closure on 31st December 2013 Aristo-craft was a major supplier of G Gauge model railways in 1:24 (Narrow Gauge) and 1:29 (Mainline). Some elements of the business survive as Crest and Polks Generation Next (the latter only surviving for a short time before also closing down).

This well-known American manufacturer is reputed to be the largest in the world and offers a vast range of large scale  locomotives, rolling stock, tracks and accessories in both a low-cost brand "Big Haulers" (1:22.5 Scale) and the more technologically advanced "Spectrum" (1:20.3 scale) range with sophisticated locomotive models and rolling stock available. For the younger enthusiasts Bachmann offers the “Li’L Big Hauler” range and "Thomas and Friends" collection.  In Germany Bachmann also sells under the "Liliput" brand with European liveries.

This small business features digital control equipment with hand-held controllers developed by the owner in his spare time for use on his own garden railway in Switzerland.

Another German electronics expert offering to perform any kind of repairs, new construction, digital / sound installations and battery / radio tags.

Probably not a familiar name but this firm produces a wide range of distinctive kits for the 16mm community.

This specialist supplier manufactures miniature sandstone and baked "bricks" in various sizes. They are made from water resistant natural stone for many different garden railway applications. Firm also supplies complete kits of buidings, tunnel portals and bridges.applications. 

Blucher Electronics offers a variety of high quality digital control equipment and accessories including track occupancy detectors and reverse loop modules.

Catering especially for the 16mm market place.

BridgeMasters focus on constructing pre-assembled bridges, trestles, and other railway structures (such as culverts, trackside structures, and retaining walls) for large-scale mode railways.

This family business concentrates on the production of heavy duty power controllers for the large-scale model railway community.

Busch offers numerous materials and accessories for landscaping in smaller scales which may have application for indoor large-scale model railways.

Not a manufacturer as such but a well-known garden railway specialist dealer supplying a large range of Gauge II (LGB) models together with its own accessories. Best know for its database repository of LGB products manufactured over the years.

Power Control supplier previously associated with Aristo-craft but now the custodian of legacy products for a number of USA firms.

A specialist supplier of 1;20.3 Fine Scale Standard Gauge Model Railway products including track, wheelsets, trucks, and freight car kits. Also custom casting and machining for the modeller.

CVP Products have been in business since 1974 and have developed a popular AirWire wireless control system to NMRA-DCC standards for garden railways.

All manner of heavy duty handmade steel structures for the indoor and outdoor railway including bridges, building and overhead track systems.

Electronic Systems Ulm are an electronics specialist in digital components including central, locomotive and sound decoders, etc.

Fine quality historically accurate precision models in brass - a few of which are in Gauge 1. Collectors items certainly but limited application on most railway layouts.

The somewhat grandly named Gargraves Trackage Corporation has been around since the 1940's and as their name suggests manufacture tan extensive range of large-scale track.

One of the world's largest suppliers of 1:22.5 scale plastic hand-painted model figures.

Company founded by Bob Hartford but now part of Ozark Miniatures which produced G Gauge Fright Cars & Parts.

Long established USA company based in Indiana specialising in high-quality G Scale locomotives and freight cars.  

Supplier of weather resistant 45mm gauge stainless steel track. 

A lesser know company who manufacture extensions for large scale model railways in small batches including engine sheds, railway and coal cranes, turntables, traversers plus a complete track system in gauge IIm and even an unusual  train storage lift. 

A low-volume producer based in Germany who manufacture a limited range of superb-quality scale Gauge 1 and IIm locomotives and wagons.

Modellbau-Kotsch (now apparently trading as Grosse-Modelle) produce excellent hand-made replicas of RhB (Rhatische-bahn) stations in Switzerland to 1:22.5 scale from modules just like the originals. 

Kadee have an enviable  reputation for producing the largest range of accurate working model railway couplers suitable for all large scale trains including magnetic versions.

KM-1 are a lesser well-known manufacturer of G Gauge track as well as high-end gauge 1 locomotives, passenger cars, wagons and starter sets. Definitely worth a look.

One of the best known G Scale manufacturers since they rejuvenated the G-Gauge hobby back in 1968. Over the intervening years they have introduced an amazing range of 1:22.5 scale products from steam, electric and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and tankers, an extensive track system; accessories and power and control equipment to meet every need.

LGB of America

Originally a subsidiary of LGB in the USA established in 1984 to better serve customers in North America. Became a wholly independent company for a while but since 2008 LGB products are now exclusively distributed through Walthers.



A trading name of Bachmann Europe plc in Germany occasionally supplying a limited range of large-scale wagons and trams in European liveries.

Lone Star Bridge (USA)

Builder of fine scale museum quality vintage truss bridges in basswood and mahogany in 1:20 scale. (May still be available via Ozark Miniatures.

MTH Electric Trains


Around for almost 40 years MTH (originally Mike's Trains) have a stable or model railway products but their large 1:32 scale standard gauge model offerings are channelled through Rail King 1 gauge Trains.
Unfortunately Mike is retiring so unless a buyer is found MTH could become another fallen "flag".

Magnus Handworks

Magnus Bahn

You may often see the name MAGNUS associated with examples of large-scale trains. This invariably refers to the work of Christian Höhne who set up the company in 1976 just outside Munich which became the pre-eminent builder of high-quality hand-made metal locomotives and wagons in the larger scales.


The work of him and his team was recognised by many other companies and LGB commissioned many of their narrow-gauge pre-production models from Magnus as well as a line of hand-built brass locomotives featuring an eclectic mix of designs. These models were produced at yearly intervals from 1977 – 1983 in limited runs of 100 each. They needed a minimum wide radius curve of 235cm and matching switches / points. All had a reversing light. There is a list of the models built at the end of the Locomotive Module 16.

Later in 1983, at the request of their American Distributor, Magnus began to produce locomotives and rolling stock for the U.S. Market in addition to the German and Swiss prototypes that were the staples of their catalogue. This production included switcher locomotives, boxcars and cabooses for the Union Pacific® and the Southern Pacific® Railroads (built to run on 64mm track) and a K-27 and a K-37 locomotive for the Rio Grande® (built to run on 45mm track).

Owner of LGB and thus one of the largest suppliers of large-scale model trains in the world. Unfortunately, possibly as a result of the LGB acquisition, Marklin itself appears to have withdrawn, somewhat, from the major involvement it used to have in the European G Gauge market. Whilst the company has retained its presence in the standard gauge 1 (1:32 scale) arena this seems to be at the expense of the popular Maxi range of cheaper "tinplate" trains which were an attractive beginners entry point.

The German firm of Massoth are one of the foremost electronics supplier in the field of large-scale model railways and have developed an extensive range of locomotive and sound decoders, power supplies, controllers, lighting units, track connectors  and all manner of useful accessories.

Peco supply a variety of scales including some narrow gauge track for SM32 users (16mm) and 45mm Guage.

The German firm of Piko have become a leading major supplier since their early beginnings and offer an impressive range of locomotives, freight cars, Code 332 track, digital control systems and numerous plastic construction kits for building scenic models. These are predominantly based on European or North American prototypes. 

Now part of the Faller Group of companies the Pola brand now covers all their extensive range of G Scale plastic construction kits. 

Prehm produce a variety of detailed, non-toxic metal alloy and plastic figures in 1;22 - 1;24 scale suitable for G Scale model railway layouts. They are durable and weatherproof.

Preiser are another company specialising in the production of a wide range of accurate and detailed hand-painted plastic figures for G Gauge and Gauge 1. Probably the largest such firm in the world.

Regner are a small family run firm producing beautifully engineered locomotives, marine and stationary engines, wagons, decorative parts and accessories in small batches.

Roundhouse Engineering Co. Limited are a well-respected UkK manufacturer of live-steam locomotives for 32mm and 45 gauge.

This electronics company based in the USA are one of the pre-eminent suppliers of  solutions for adding new dimensions to your railroad with sound, lighting, and other DCC technologies. Well known for railroad sound systems s include Tsunami and Econami sound decoders.

Manufacturer of quality resin and brass 16mm models.

This electronics company based in the USA are one of the pre-eminent suppliers of  solutions for adding new dimensions to your railroad with sound, lighting, and other DCC technologies. Well known for railroad sound systems s include Tsunami and Econami sound decoders.

This company manufactures its own range of track systems suitable for mainline, narrow gauge and dual track applications. Also matching switches, control equipment and accessories.

Another UK based manufacturer of its own range of large-scale track in Gauge 1, 45mm and 16mm gauges including switches and control equipment. Also locomotives, passenger coaches and wagons for Gauge 1.


THIEL-GLEIS has been manufacturing tracks for more than 30 years. The German company manufacture 26 different points and switches to match up to their fixed track and kits for making your own flexible track up to 3m in length. 

Train-Li manufacture their own range of stainless steel large scale tracks in switzerland together with numerous  

This German company, not to be confused with the preceding entry, have been producing an attractive range of 45mm gauge track since 2007 and have subsequently enhanced their product line with a growing range of passenger cars, wagons and more recently locomotives in 1:22.5 scale. 

USA Trains are a major supplier of American prototype trains in large-scale and claim to have the largest variety of G gauge equipment in the world. They offer two ranges in 1:29 scale (Mainline) and a work train series in 1:24 scale together with a large range of Codee 332 brass track in 45mm gauge.

Vollmer, based in Stuttgart, Germany, are one of the oldest manufacturers of model building kits but have recently rationalised their range resulting in fewer G Gauge products.

Zimo are based in Vienna and specialise in the design and manufacture of electronic digital DCC decoders for model railways. They now offer a range of products for larger scales.

I should emphasise that this is by no means an exhaustive list of large-scale model railway manufacturers. If you reside in the UK there are a number of published sources providing more comprehensive information 


Just click on the relevant buttons above or search "G Gauge Manufacturers" in your search engine.

If you live across the pond you can find a list of model railway manufacturers on the NMRA Website. These used to be arranged in alphabetical order but not necessarily broken down by gauge or scale which made it a bit laborious to find what you are looking for. Recently the organisation appears to have abandoned this approach altogether and now only display the id codes assigned to each manufacturer. Who knows how they come to these decisions?


If I have any complaint about both the US and European Model Railway Standards Associations it is that they focus too much on what is convenient to their members rather than act as informative trustees or guardians for the hobby in general. In my view they should make their sites much easier for the hobbyist to access and obtain clear unbiased information.

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