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Brand Fetishism - Only Märklin Locos On An AC Layout?
by Florian Schmidt

Still today, there are quite a number of model railroaders don't like certain manufacturers and don't get tired by speaking about those firms in a very disparaging way. In one case, a DC railroader shows his antipathy agains Märklin, in another case a die-hard markliner is "gladding" the readers with anti-Roco diatribes.

Good Choice Also For AC Now

During the last years many HO manufacturers have started with an own AC programe. In former times there were only a few firms offering AC versions of some of their locos, but now the supply for AC railroaders has been widely expanded! There aren't many locomotive types left which are not offered series-produced for this system, and have to be converted more or less difficult therefore.

The fact, that there are so many firms active now on the AC market, should be a reason to be glad for every markliner! So, AC ist no longer one of those model railway systems which are offered by only one firm.

"External Products" - A Term Which Shouldn't Be Used Any Longer!

Many markliners are speaking, when they buy a non-Märklin model (for example Fleischmann) of an "external product" - on German "Fremdfabrikat". But should we still today use this term - in the year 2002! - is there really something "external" or "strange" on a non-Märklin model? Why should a series-produced AC loco be an "external product" on Märklin - or better: on an AC layout? Because it wasn't produced by Märklin? Certainly not!

Luckily, nearly all manufacturers have reached a quality on a very high level. But instead of being happy to be able to choose from such a wide range of locos now which are standartly produced also in an AC version, they don't get tired by mocking about these products, the stupid and ridicoulous term "cheap plastic" as a "description" for the high-quality Roco models goes the rounds much too often among certain people - people who wish trains which (for example) Roco already offers in an excellent version, as a Märklin model! However many of those guys forget that also Märklin produces - and produced - many locos with plastic shells. None of those guys has ever criticied that, but when a Roco loco has a plastic shell, this would be a negative aspect for them....Don't forget that metal shells are no longer an argument for buying Märklin locos, other manufacturers have also started to equipe new locos with metal shells!

For a real AC railroader it should simply be an outrage, to call a series-produced AC loco, a loco standartly equiped with a pickup shoe and a reversing unit, an "external product".

First of all, I'm a model railway friend, not a special Märklin friend, a Fleischmann friend, a Roco friend, a Lima friend or something else. So, I'm interested in all model railway manufacturers and their products, and so something like an "external product" (on German: "Fremdfabrikat") does not exist on my layout.


There are even some "model railway friends" who are going so far that they are really hating certain producers! Some of them, those die-hard markliners who don't get tired by describing Roco products with such condescending comments like "cheap plastic", but there are also many DC railroaders hating Märklin - in there eyes, Märklin products are not more than cheap sheet metal.... Such guys are not able to regard or describe a model in a serious way, they already formed their judgement when they read the producer's name on the box.

Nobody should judge about certain products if hasn't any experiences with them. To say nothing about all those mentioned above, who have even never seen these products - if they enter a model train store, they are running at once to the display case lettered with the name of their "favourite producer". They don't look at the other display cases of the concurrents at all. However, judging about concurrents' products in that case simply is not more than arrogance and pretension. These people are not much better like all these theoreticians who collect "knowledge" by reading technical literature and then take part in online discussion groups without ever having owned a model railway!

Whereas I pose the following question: can a person, who hates a producer of model railways, really be a "model railway enthusiast"? Certainly not! On principle, model railways are one of the most beautyful, interesting and exciting hobbys, with an immense variety of possibilties - so, is it really so important what firm produced your models?

Train Of Different Manufacturers Together On A Layout - A Just Normal Case

to be hones, I don't know any markliner who is only running Märklin trains on his layout. Moreover, I know many who have their tracks and transformers from Märklin - but, however, the largest part of their trains comes from other mnanufacturers. Everbody who wants to copy the real railway operation at least a little bit realisticaly, has no other choice than buying trains of different manufacturers! So, it`s something quite normal, if there is a train consisting of a Märklin loco and Fleischmann cars, while the train on the next track is consisting completely of Roco products. And it can all combinated without any real problems, there's nothing which can be called "external" or "strange".

Die-hard markliners who complain about some DC railroaders' intolerance should consider about their own intolerance against all those AC railroaders who are running not only Märklin trains on their layout!

"Markliner" - today, this isn't any longer a question of one certain producer, but a question of a model railway system! However don't forget a number of model railroaders running DC on Märklin tracks. This system, also known as "Three Rail AC" combines both the advantages of two-rail DC and three-rail AC - reversing units for the locos are no longer required, but nonetheless the safe contact and the easier system of the point contact tracks (reversing loops!) remain.

(click here to get more information about that system - by Martin Silz, on Juhan Palm's - page)

Florian Schmidt (Florian's Railway Page)

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