Märklin I - Early 1970's


As with its other product introductions, Märklin was cautious with the new Märklin I. In 1971, there were two modest new items.  One, the 5702, was the 5700 Class 80 in a new livery:

The 5702 is an attractive locomotive, with the number “12” on its cab side, along with the letters “GMEB” (supposedly standing for “Groß Märklin Eisenbahn”, “Large Märklin Railroad”). This lettering was a side look at competitor LGB.  The other new item in the Gauge 1 product line were 5962 and 5963, remotely controlled versions of the track switches (turnouts).

At this stage in the product line’s development, Märklin was proceeding cautiously, unsure about Märklin I’s acceptance in the market.


Märklin I merited only four pages in the 1972 catalog. On the other hand, there was new tooling, a DB GLs box car in three liveries:

Using the same basic tooling, this box was offered as:

  • 5860 - The GLs box car with “Bananen” (Bananas) marking on the doorway.  This was an exception to the typical Märklin banana car, which usually is yellow in color.
  • 5861 - The GLs in white, lettered for Dörtmunder Union beer.
  • 5862 - The GLs in green lettered for Staufenbräu beer.

Also, quietly along the way, Märklin had expanded their Gauge 1 gondola offerings to four different cars:

  • 5850 - Gondola in brown, lettered for DB.
  • 5851 - Gondola in green, lettered for SNCB (Belgium).
  • 5855 - Gondola in orange.
  • 5856, gondola in green.


There were only two pages devoted to Märklin Gauge 1 in the 1973 catalo, with no new items. It should be noted that Märklin had recently introduced mini-club (Z-Scale), along with Märklin Plus, a children’s toy product line that looked remarkably similar to Lego blocks.  German courts would soon agree and Plus would quietly disappear three years later but in 1973, Märklin Gauge 1 was only one of Märklin’s seven product lines:


As in 1973, there were only two Märklin 1 pages in the 1974 catalog, with one “new” item, a new paint job on the GLs box car, the 5863:


It was more of the same in 1975, with only two catalog pages and yet another paint job on the box car, this time the 5864, Külmbacher:

The first half of the 1970’s decade was ending with a whimper for Märklin 1, and there surely must have been discussion in the model railroad business about Märklin’s commitment to Gauge 1. Surely, Märklin could do better, but the Company was no doubt distracted by the stunning success of mini-club and distracted by the legal issues arising from the Märklin Plus product line. Time would eventually prove the critics wrong about Märklin Gauge 1.