And that is the complete Märklin Minex product line. In the 1970’s, Minex trains were ahead of their time. Several other European manufacturers also tried the same concept. Peco offered a series of locomotive superstructure kits scaled to 1:45 and meant to operate on H0 gauged track; this was their “0 16.5” product line. Likewise, Faller also tried this same approach, using 0-gauge track with locomotives and cars scale to approximately 1:32 proportion (meter-gauged trains in Gauge 1 proportion). Fleischmann also tried this with their “Magic Train” product line, which was discontinued in 2009. Ultimately, it would be Bachmann that would successfully connect, with their 0n30 product line, which is now a very active model railroad sector.
It is tempting to describe Minex trains as a “mistake”, but I don’t see it that way. Given production lead times, it is safe to say that both Minex and the not-yet-announced Z-Scale mini-club both began development at about the same time. I say this because Minex used existing H0 mechanisms, track and transformers, so the only manufacturing consisted of designing and building two new locomotive shells (which fit onto H0 mechanisms), a passenger car (to make No.’s 4400 and 4401) and three freight cars. These different cars could be painted in any number of railroad liveries. Thus, Minex could be quickly brought into the market. And if they were successful, new cars could be quickly added while new tooling for additional rolling stock was designed to expand the product line.
With Minex trains, Märklin showed its willingness to test new markets. Also, the announcement of a new train line such as Minex kept Märklin visible to the model train enthusiast. While Minex came out and eventually faded away, Göppingen was also working on a much larger project, mini-club.
For further information about Minex, please see this German language page, here.