When was the earliest model railway

New to model railways, this new series is just for you. Every Monday, will bring a new factoid, tip or fun fact to help you get up to speed with your new hobby.

As this is the my first Monday Morning Factoid, let’s start with a quick fact about the first model railway.

Although model railways as we know them in the UK today started in the early 1900’s with W J Bassett-Lowke’s trains, and really took off in the 1950s, the original model trains can be dated back further back.

It may be hard to believe but the first model train was emerged just a few years after the real steam trains were seen, with the wonderfully named Birmingham Dribbler’s going on sale in the UK in 1840.

These were trains with working steam engines but scaled down and designed to run across floors – they didn’t have tracks back then. Their name – Birmingham Dribblers – stems from their place of manufacturer and the habit of leaking water, dribbling a trail behind them.

Made chiefly from Brass, these working engines were very popular Victorian toys and no doubt helped spark what has gone on to be a hugely popular hobby loved by children and adults alike and which, if Hornby’s growth in sales are anything to go by, is experiencing a resurgence.

Picture: Wikipedia


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