Tag Archives: Märklin

Märklin Z steam locomotives

I have a Märklin Z model railroad layout and I have found Ebay a good place to buy locomotives. Märklin has a limited number of models available brand new, and the line changes every year. For different reasons you might want to buy a locomotive that is not available from Märklin this year. This is quite fine because the locomotives last very long (if not mistreated), old models are even available (on Ebay) brand new, and since they are small shipping is trivial and cheap.

However, when I was browsing available items on Ebay I got confused after a while! What was that model I liked? What item number did it have? Are there other item numbers that look the same? That made me put together a simple list and I used my Märklin catalogues from 1996-2016 (I have about half of them) as information source. I have limited myself to steam locomotives and Z scale.

Märklin manufacturing and tooling
When Märklin wants to offer a new model they invest in tooling for it. That obviously cost money. They then use that tooling to produce different versions of that locomotive for a shorter or longer period of time. Typically a standard (black BR/DR/DRG) version made available for several years. Then there are special versions (Insider members only, anniversary editions, or other company versions: Baden, Prussia, Bavaria and so on) available just a year or two. Finally, the tooling is retired, and the model is withdrawn unless new tooling is developed.

My List
My list is based on locomotive types. Look at the DRG 18.1: it has been available as different Märklin items for BR and Bavaria (as S3/6) for most of the time. During a few years, there was also a Wurtenburg edition (88180).

Model numbers prefixed with S are Start sets (coming with transformer, tracks and wagons).
Model numbers prefixed with T are Train sets (coming with matching wagons).

I am confused with this BR/DR/DRG thing! I understand the German national railway company has had different names over the 20th century, but Märklin is not using BR/DR/DRG consistently over the years for the same models, so my list is also a mess. I am thinking about just writing BR or “German Black” everywhere. Feel free to suggest how to deal with this!

I have not had access to every catalogue since 1996, so there are definitely items missing.

Some models have been coming and going over the years. If my list says 1998-2016 it does not mean the model was available every single year. It just means that during the period of time this locomotive model was available as different Märklin items (many of them just a single year). Märklin had some bad years when they went bancrupt, the Z scale was rumoured to be eliminiated, production was moved to China, and eventually it was moved back again. These years very few items were available.

The purpose of the list is not to follow individual item numbers (when they were introduced and discontinued) but rather to show what steam locomotives have been made available as a Märklin Z item, the time it was available, and relevant item numbers.

Model Wheels Arrangement Available Märklin Items
Passenger tender
BR 001 4-6-2+8 2012 88010
BR 003 4-6-2+8 1994-2012 8885 88851 88852 88854 88855
DR 03.10 4-6-2+8 1994-1998 8886 8890 88861
BR 10 4-6-2+8 1994-2006 8889 8888 88892 88893
DRG 18.1
S 3/6 Bav
4-6-2+8 1996-2016
88181 88183 88184 T:81426
8892 88921 88923 S:81781
DRG 18.4 4-6-2+8 1994-1998 2003 T:8833 T:8108 T:81331
BR 24 2-6-0+6 1994-2012 8803 88030 S:81560
BR 38
P8 Baden
4-6-0+6 1994-2002
2000 2010-2011
8899 88991
88999 T:81420
BR 39
P10 Prus
2-8-2+8 2005-2006 2012
2003 2007
88090 88092 T:81362
88091 88093
Freight tender
BR 41 2-8-2+8 1994-2012 8827 88271 88274 S:81780 T:81361
DB 042 4-6-2+8 2006 88272
BR 42.90 2-10-0+8 2003-2006 88040 88041
BR 44 2-10-0+8 2010-2012 88972 88973
BR 50 2-10-0+8 1994-2016 8884 8154 88841 88842 88843 S:81863 S:81864
BR 52 2-10-0+8 1998-2016 8883 88830 88831 88836
DGR 53.0 0-6-8-0+6-4 2007 88053
DB 55.25
G 8.1 Prus
0-8-0+6 1998-2000 2014
88980 88984
88981 88982
DB 58
G 12 Prus
G 12 Wurt
G 12 Baden
0-10-0+6 2005-2010
88121 88123
Passenger tank
BR 61 4-6-4 2010-2011 88610
DRG 64 2-6-2 2016 88740 88741
BR 74
T 9 Wurt
2-6-0 1994-2016
8895 88951 88593 S:8158 S:81562
BR 78 4-6-4 1994-2012 8806 88062 T:81191
T 18 Prus
T 18 Wurt
4-6-4 1994
Freight tank
BR 80 0-6-0 2016 81352
BR 85 2-10-2 2002-2006 88885 88886 88887
BR 86 2-8-2 1994-2012 8896 88961 T:81001
BR 89 0-6-0 1994-2016 8805 88051 S:8150 S:8180 S:81520 S:81521 S:81522 S:88569 T:8138
DRG 94
T 16.1 Prus
0-10-0 2010-2012
88942 88943
DRG 96 0-8-8-0 2005-2016 88290 88291 88294
Mogul 2-6-0+8 2005-2006 88035
Mikado 2-8-2+8 1994-2012 8807 S:81461 S:81466 S:81830 T:88812
Pacific 4-6-2+8 1994-2006 8810 T:8881 T:8882 T:88811 S:81530
81 (BR55) 0-8-0+6 2002 88983
96 (BR74) 2-6-0 2016 88964
SNCF 130 (BR74) 2-6-0 2016 88956
SNCF 150 2-10-0+8 1998 88833
SNCF 232 4-6-4 2003-2005 88063
A3/5 4-6-0+6 2005-2007 88992 T:81035

Please comment below if you want this list to be corrected!

Photographing a model backdrop

I decided my model train layout (Märklin Z) needed proper background image (a backdrop). If you google for it, you find many nice backdrops for sale. Those are probably fantastic, but I did not find one that works for me.

I will start with the result.


This is a panorama that is 180×15 cm, and most standard backdrops I found were not so extreme panoramas as I wanted. Also, when making it myself I could get the landscape I wanted.

This is what you need:

  1. A location with unobstructed view over the horizon
  2. Good weather conditions, preferably the sun in your back
  3. A tripod

And of course, you need a camera. I made use of the following features of my Nikon P7000 when photographing my panorama.

  1. RAW mode (to ensure white balance etc are identical for all pictures)
  2. Delayed shutter or remote shutter (to keep camera absolutely still)
  3. Manual mode (you want the same shutter speed and aperture for each picture
  4. Grid 3×3 (to help with proper overlap
  5. Horizontal indicator (to help getting the horizon straight
  6. 200 mm equivalent zoom (to be able to take several pictures at a limited horizon stretch)

I only rotated the camera using the tripod between each picture, keeping the horizon exactly in the middle of the pictures, and I let the pictures overlap 1/3.

Essentially, the math goes like this. I wanted at least about 150-200 dpi for my final print of 180 cm. This requires a picture that is about 15000 pixels wide. Ideally I would use a camera with 15000×10000 pixel sensor (that is 150MPixels) and just crop the picture. I have no such camera, but my Nikon P7000 is about 3600 pixels wide. With an overlap of 1/3, it means each picture contributes with only 2400 pixels, so I need a series of about 6 pictures to get a 15000 pixels wide result. Now this is where telezoom comes into play. At 200mm, each picture is about 10 degrees. The more telezoom you can get, the shorter horizon you can work with.

Dont overexpose! You want the sky blue – not white. If you have UV filters and stuff – great. But I suggest you underexpose a bit.

Panorama stiching
I used Ubuntu and tools that come with it to create my panorama.

First I imported all my series into Shotwell. That means, I let Shotwell do the RAW developing, which turned out ok (all pictures had the same white balance, etc) – perhaps I was just lucky. I picked my best series, and exported all pictures from that series at highest quality.

Second, I used Hugin Panorama Creator to create the actual panorama. I choose Lens Type = Panoramic (Cylindrical). This is a lie (and at 200mm it is a small lie), but it created the completely straight horizon I wanted.

Finally, I did some cropping and color adjustments in Gimp.

How to print something that is 180×15 cm? My first idea was to print several standard 15×10 cm photos and just display them next to each other. Problem is, you never know if the crop your pictures a little bit, and in this case it would destroy the result completely.

I ended up (in Gimp), cutting my 15000 pixel panorama into 3 pieces (each 60x15cm), and pasting the 3 pieces to a 5600×4000 image. I left white margins around each piece.

I then sent my single big picture to print on standard photo paper in 70x50cm. I cut out the 3 pieces with a razor and mounted them next to each other.

I did not have so high expectations. My plan was to learn from my first attempt and do everything over again a few times. But my first result was really above expectations – and very much good enough for my purpose.

You do not need higher DPI than I had (15000 pixels for 180 cm). You can probably do with less.

I am very happy with my sky (~RGB=135,166,186) and the sea colors (~RGB=32,63,97).

Printing on normal photo paper was good – the result is nice. The edges between them are not perfect though.

Pulling your Märklin Z 86501

Isn’t it annoying? You just set up your new Märklin Z-layout, but the tracks are a little bit dirty, rusty or whatever, and the the trains stop all the time.

You bring out your item 86501 Gleisreinigungswagen, but it is too heavy to pull up your long 3% slopes. And it is not so practical to just go downhill.

This is what I did:

How to pull your 86501

Several advantages:

  • Double pulling power
  • If one engine loses electrical contact, the other one takes over
  • Looks good!

Hope you found this helpful!