A model train is a toy that represents a train, distinguished from a model train by an emphasis on low cost and durability, rather than scale modeling. A model train can be as simple as a pull toy that does not even run on track, or it might be operated by clockwork or a battery. Many toy model trains blur the line between the two categories, running on electric power and approaching accurate scale.


The first widely adopted standards for toy trains running on track were introduced in Leipzig, Germany in 1891 by Märklin.

The earliest toy trains date from the 19th century and were often made of cast iron. Motorized units running on track soon followed, powered by a steam or clockwork engine. Some of these trains used clever methods to whistle and smoke.

Wooden trains

Wooden toy trains are a system of small toy trains that run on wooden track, the track featuring grooves which serve to guide the wheels of rolling stock.

Traditionally, parts are made of hardwoods which resemble anthropomorphical, fictional, and prototypical railroad equipment. Early wooden trains connected to each other using metal hooks, these have since been mostly replaced by small magnets.

Most manufacturers have supplemented the wood with plastics, such as the use of plastic wheels mounted on metal axles. The majority of the rolling stock, track, fixed plant, and scenery accessories are still made of wood.

Model railroad links

Train value and price guide

What's your 'Train' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):

Item Title Date sold Price
Ho Brass 13 Car 1955 City Of Los Angeles Mar 2019 $ 5 995,00
Ho Brass 16 Car Sp Crip 1948 Golden Mar 2019 $ 4 950,00
American Flyer Lionel Massive Collection Apr 2019 $ 3 000,00
Live Steam Ride On Model Engine May 2019 $ 3 000,00
Khs G Scale Usa S Item R20001s J1e Mar 2019 $ 2 500,00

Take a look at all sold Train items on eBay for a value indication. If you're not sure what you have, you can post your question below.


Do you want to dive into the fascinating world of collectibles, and want to learn about value and identification? Discover more with these price guides on Amazon.

Train forum (3 comments)

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Dennis - July 9, 2015

do u carry t guage?
►reply: I don't sell T Gauge but you can find trains and parts on my T gauge page.

Shannon - October 24, 2011

I have a wind up train made in US Zone Germany.This train has the key to wind it up and does work, the track is 14 straight pieces and 12 curved with 2 switch tracks and 3 buckets. The train has a house. The number on the train is 013. I want to sell this and would like to know where I can do this and if you are interested. Thank you,Shannon
►reply: Sounds great Shannon! Unfortunately I am not interested, but there are lots of collectors out there. Maybe you should consider selling it through eBay.

A - July 27, 2011

Can you advise me where I can purchase a back to back gauge for setting the correct wheel distance
►reply: Here are some: back to back gauge .