Chapter A: The Store
Hello and Welcome:
* ToToTrains was established January 1, 2005
by Jan Bröcker.
The website was launched February 1, 2005, and the physical location
at 1031 Vermont Street in Lawrence,
Kansas, opened June 1, 2005.
* ToToTrains specializes in European
model trains and accessories.
* ToToTrains is an authorized dealer for European top train brands like
Märklin, Trix, LGB, Herpa and the list goes on (see brands listed
on the home page).
* ToToTrains is an authorized dealer for several other quality brands,
although I usually do not stock their items to keep overhead (and your
prices) low. Most items will be delivered within 5 business days.
* ToToTrains gives a discount of 20% on all Walthers Catalog and Website
items, and 10% on items that are on sale (from the Walthers monthly
sales flyer or from the Walthers Website).
* ToToTrains buys and sells used model train items of the above mentioned
train brands in good or better condition (subject to inspection and
approval of ToToTrains, LLC).
* ToToTrains accepts trains on consignment as long as they are one of
the brands that ToToTrains is an authorized dealer for (subject to inspection
and approval of ToToTrains, LLC).
* ToToTrains can service, repair or digitize your locomotives and other
rolling stock; ToToTrains is an Authorized Service Center for Märklin,
Trix and LGB.
* ToToTrains can build, maintain, and/or trouble shoot your train layout
or garden railroad.
* ToToTrains can assist you in appraising your collection.
* ToToTrains provides excellent customer service while charging the
lowest possible prices.
Store hours are:
Friday and Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00pm or by appointment.
In all reality, I am at the store almost every day except for Sunday,
but it is a good idea to call first if you want to stop by outside of
If you call during store hours and you are being directed to voice mail,
this usually means that I am with a customer or in the middle of a repair;
please leave me a message. Feel free to call me outside of store hours
and I will try to take your call. If I can't, again, please leave me
I check my email several times a day and not just during store hours,
so that's an excellent (if not the best) way to get a hold of me. Feel
free to contact me if you want to set up an appointment, have a question,
want to place an order, or just want to talk trains because that's what
I'm here for.
One thing to remember: I am the only "employee" at ToToTrains
and I always try to respond to phone calls and emails, but from time
to time it might take a little while; I hope you understand.
Types of Payment Accepted:
-Mastercard/Visa (an online convenience fee of $0.80 plus 2.3% is applied
to credit card payments).
Return and Cancellation Policy:
Items can only be returned if the manufacturer
accepts returned merchandise. The item must be in its original box,
and the item and box must be in the same condition as when they were
sold. A restocking fee might be deducted from the refund given, depending
on the manufacturer. Order(s) cancelled might be subject to a cancellation
fee depending on the manufacturer or distributor.
and LGB Warranty Policy and Authorized Service Center:
For information about the Märklin, Trix and LGB warranty policies
please click on this Warranty Link.
ToToTrains is one of the few Authorized Service Centers for Märklin,
Trix and LGB. When items are not under warranty anymore they can be
send to ToToTrains for analysis, service and repairs. Of course this
includes digital conversions using.
Chapter B: The Trains
The main H0 scale brands:
Marklin or Maerklin). Märklin is a German toy manufacturer that
has been in business for a very long time (150 years in 2009). Märklin
has produced toys varying from dolls to steam engines to spinning tops,
but it is best known for its toy trains. Märklin has produced many
different scales over the years (Z, H0, 00, 0, I, II, III, V), but H0
is probably the most popular worldwide. Märklin H0 trains are the
nicest, most durable and collectable trains one can find. Märklin
H0 runs on a 3-rail AC system; no problems with loops in a layout, easy
wiring, and endless hours of maintenance free enjoyment. Märklin
was one of the first model railroad companies to step into the digital
world (1985) and they have come a long way since.
Over the years other manufacturers have produced locomotives for the
Märklin 3-rail system (analog and digital) and sometimes it's even
possible to convert 2-rail DC locomotives to 3-rail AC. Most cars from
other brands can be retrofitted with AC wheels (although that's not
even always necessary) and will run great on Märklin track.
I have a small Märklin Digital layout at the store that I also
bring with me when I go to train shows as a vendor. Currently it is
controlled by Märklin's Mobile Station II (60653) and it shows
a lot of the possibilities you have using the Märklin Digital system.
Please ask me to demonstrate it for you the next time you are in the
store or when you see me at a train show. Later this year (2011) it
will be controlled by Märklin's Central Station (60215). Although
the Mobile Station II is absolutely perfect for my store layout, the
Central Station does not only do what the Mobile Station II does but,
amongst a lot of other features, it also gives you the option to program
"routes" using the color touch screen. You can also control
your trains through the Central Station by means of a computer. The
only reason I am currently using the Mobile Station II is because the
latest Central Station won't be available until late 2011.
Two years after I started building the store layout it now has a lot
of scenery, a lot of switches, signals and uncouplers and it shows the
latest line of Märklin catenary.
is also a German company, and has been in business
for years. Late last century Märklin bought Trix, and now you can
find a lot of Märklin 3-rail locomotives being produced for 2-rail
DC, and visa versa. These days you can pretty much look at Trix as the
2-rail DC line of Märklin. Again, the cars are easily converted
from AC to DC or the other way around. And if you are looking for longer
trains, a lot of times Trix has the same cars in its program as Märklin
does but with different road numbers.
Trix is also very well known for their N scale line called MiniTrix
The main G scale brands:
LGB is the manufacturer
of choice when it comes to outside trains! Like LGB states in their
literature: "LGB trains are not cheap. However, in view of its
sturdiness and life span, it is altogether quite inexpensive".
LGB has been manufacturing trains since 1968, but the LGB history goes
back to 1881 when Ernst Paul Lehmann founded a small company making
toys. LGB (Lehmann Gross Bahn) is made for young and old. It's easy
to put them on the track, they run for a long time even if it's in the
sun, rain or snow. The LGB track is made out of brass, and it holds
up even in the extreme Kansas climate. In 2006 LGB introduced a new
line of nickel plated track. I personally have not used it yet, but
it looks beautiful. Recently LGB has stepped into the digital world
which has added another dimension.
produces large scale trains. This scale would be the true 1 scale. They
are very nice pieces mainly reserved for the connoisseur. They are not
cheap, but the details are absolutely stunning.
During the nineties Märklin was also producing "Maxi"
trains. "Maxi" was made out of metal and almost indestructable.
Märklin has slowly integrating the "Maxi" line into the
true 1 scale line.
The main N scale brand:
Trix makes N
scale trains under the name MiniTrix. Please refer to the H0 section
for more information on Trix. At this time I do not actively stock N
scale, but I am able to order it at any time. I'd be happy to give you
advice on prototype, prices, and other general questions.
The main Z scale brand:
The only Z scale I carry is made by Märklin.
Z scale is not for people with bad eyes. Not only will you have difficulties
putting the trains on the track, you will miss all the very fine detailing
and lettering. Personally I need fairly strong reading glasses but I'm
still able to do repairs (but only 1 locomotive per day).
Z scale is the perfect match for people who do not have a lot of room
or if you just want something completely different.
Chapter C: My Story
I have been playing with (or should I say "operating")
Märklin H0 since I was 5 years old, and it's been a great hobby
ever since. I started with a small set (including the little steam engine
#3000) in 1966. I was still living in The Netherlands at that time,
so pretty soon I acquired some Dutch rolling stock and a Dutch electric
engine from the 1200 series.
Around 1977 I lost interest, and the trains were stored away (sounds
like a familiar story?). Well, after moving to the USA, I started to
wonder what ever happened to my beloved Märklin trains. One phone
call to mom and I learned that the trains were safe and sound. The next
time I visited The Netherlands in 1987, I brought all of them over.
Boy, was I shocked when I found out what had happened in those 10 years!
High propulsion motors, detailing, and Digital! So which way was I going
to go? Stay with the older stuff and be able to go further back in time,
or jump into the Digital world with both feet? I tried to make up my
mind for years and finally came to the conclusion that I loved both
worlds and that I didn't have to make up my mind. My solution was to
build two layouts: one old style with solid rail and one totally digitally
controlled in. Thankfully my girlfriend didn't mind and I was able to
dedicate a room to the trains. Actually, she has a nose for picking
out the most expensive model at a swap meet. Go figure!
Something was still missing though: a train store that would sell all
my favorite trains, and be a meeting place for train nuts. After tossing
the idea around for several years and talking to some of my model train
friends, I decided to open a store myself. I had been working with Märklin,
LGB, and all kinds of accessories for years, so why not do it in a professional
way? In 2004 I was able to purchase a commercial building in downtown
Lawrence. Most of the building is rented, but a small portion I saved
for my dream ... ToToTrains!
I have set up a "wanted"
page, with the hopes that you might have that one item that I've been
looking for, either for myself, or for a customer. If you have some
trains that you would like to find a new home for, please let me know.
I can usually make sure that they'll be well taken care of. These trains
are much too nice to let them sit in a box in a damp basement or a dusty
The retail store opened June 1, 2005, and I hope
to welcome you there; either in person or over the Internet. I am an
authorized dealer for Märklin, Trix and LGB, plus several other
brands. I hope I can also help you with knowledge, support and advice.
My goal is to be serving you with the best of the best.
I am an individual who is really enjoying his hobby, and Id like
to share my interest with others through the store but also by trying
to find trains for friends.
If you have any questions regarding the lines
that I carry, please send me an e-mail or give me a call. If I can help
you, I will. If I can't, I'll do my best to find a source that can.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for visiting!