Kleinbahn (model railway)

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KLEINBAHN mechanical workshop toy production Ing. Erich Klein eU

legal form one-man business
founding 1947
Seat Vienna
management Matthias Pfneisl
Branch Toy industry
Website www.kleinbahn.com

The company Kleinbahn , mechanical workshops - toy production Ing.Erich Klein is an Austrian full-range manufacturer of model trains of nominal size H0 . For a long time, Kleinbahn products have been available exclusively through their own production facilities and their own mail order business.

Originally founded in 1947, in 1984 it was split into the Kleinbahn and Klein Modellbahn companies .

Even after the division, Kleinbahn continued its philosophy with the production of simpler and slightly shorter vehicles for the H0 gauge to this day. After the division, Klein Modellbahn failed with the attempt to produce more scaled and detailed vehicles for the H0 gauge and had to be disbanded as a result.


Company headquarters in Vienna-Atzgersdorf
Twin-engine FS E 424, manufactured between 1957 and 1972

The company was founded in 1947 on the Währinger Gürtel in Vienna by Erich Klein. At first ships and planes were made of wood; from 1947 model railways also enriched the range. Since 1952 the company was called Gebrüder Klein OHG , and from 1955 onwards it was produced in Vienna- Atzgersdorf . The product range was mainly geared towards the Austrian market, as ÖBB models were hardly available from the dominant German model railway manufacturers.

Another goal of the company philosophy was to make model railways affordable for everyone through inexpensive production. In fact, the products were so widely used that the name “Kleinbahn” became a generic name for model railways in size H0 in Austria .

A special feature of the company policy from 1955 was and is the lack of a sales network. Small train models were only offered in their own small train branches and via mail, which saves the margin for the intermediate trade. During the heyday there were ten branches in almost all of the provincial capitals and Lienz , but they all had to be closed.

The last branch in Vienna, Schottenring, was closed in September 2018. The models are now only available at the production site in Vienna 23rd Gatterederstraße or via the Kleinbahn website.

In 1979 Gebrüder Klein OHG was dissolved and split up, and from 1984 to 2008 two model railway manufacturers were based at the old location:

  • Erich Klein continued the company Kleinbahn, mechanical workshop - toy production Ing.Erich Klein with the previous market orientation of low-cost products. The company has now been taken over by his daughter and continued to run. So was z. B. the long-distance coach in the current design of the ÖBB has already been reissued.
  • Oskar Klein (senior) now called his company Klein Modellbahn GesmbH. After the senior's death, his son Oskar Klein had been running the company since 1987, with a focus on high-quality, prototypical products, but also sold the old range. The company stopped production at the end of July 2008 after financial difficulties and attempted restructuring. Remaining stocks were sold until the end of 2010.

In 2007 the company was handed over to daughter Angelika Pfneisl, and in 2015 to son Matthias Pfneisl.

In February 2010 the Austrian Post issued a 55 cents special “Kleinbahn” stamp, which shows a picture from the main catalog 1958/59.

Since the Vienna model making fair in 2010, Kleinbahn has also been offering several locomotives with digital pre-equipment or built-in digital decoders. The decoders are bought from Uhlenbrock Electronics .

Product range

ÖBB 5045 blue lightning

The product range includes locomotives and rolling stock in the nominal size H0 in a two-wire system , mainly from the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) , as well as the usual accessories. There are a few German wagons, as far as there is a similar form with Austrian ones. In terms of length, small railroad models are traditionally greatly shortened. So z. B. in the case of passenger coaches with an original length of 26.4 m, the length scale 1: 113 instead of the standard length scale of 1: 100 (slightly shortened) or 1:87 (correct).

The model rails have a hollow profile with a height of 2.6 mm, which is mounted on plastic sleepers and are put together using wire pins. Although this type of connection is invisible, it also creates contact problems. The Kleinbahn range therefore includes a special contact oil that prevents the rails and connecting wires from oxidizing. The range and the material have essentially not changed to this day. There are also only two medium curve radii (385 and 436 mm), but also a meter track in "flexible" and "less flexible" versions. Signals, overhead lines , switches and a turntable from our own production are also offered. The masts of the overhead line, however, are lattice masts and do not correspond to today's concrete masts of the ÖBB. However, similar masts are on lines that were electrified early on, such as the Arlbergbahn or Salzkammergutbahn . The daylight signals have now been adapted to the current version of the ÖBB and equipped with LEDs. In 2012, dwarf shunting signals came out, a rarity in comparison.

Two types of model cars and some simple model buildings, mainly railroad constructions, are also available. Worth mentioning here is the large train station, which is modeled on Graz Central Station . However, unlike usual, the houses are already fully assembled, which is why an ambitious model maker has no possibility of interior design.

The models are made in a simpler but robust design; a buyer segment are u. a. the hobby newcomers and cost-conscious model railroaders. A complete set of Era I to V can be put together for 100 euros (as of 2015).

The simple structure of the locomotives leaves enough space inside for a locomotive decoder , so that they are well suited for subsequent digitization. An increasing number of locomotives are now being offered in three versions: analog, digitally prepared (socket for connecting the decoder with short-circuit plug) and digital, with decoders from Uhlenbrock Elektronik being used, other digital products from Uhlenbrock are also available. E-locomotives can optionally also be operated via the overhead contact line (switch on the underside), which has already enabled independent two-train operation on one track with analog operation.

The blue lightning , an Austrian diesel multiple unit from the 1950s, a model of the express train steam locomotive ÖBB 12 manufactured in the 1960s and the E499.0 locomotive of the Czechoslovak State Railways ČSD are sought-after collector's items from earlier years of production .

To this day, Kleinbahn gets by with three-digit order numbers for their products, locomotives are only identified with their original series number. Locomotives of the same shape and wagons with different paintwork are listed under the same number, so that the full name of the product must always be given when ordering. The products have always been packaged in simple boxes without plastic.

Picture gallery

Traction vehicles

Freight wagons


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Svenskt MJ-Forum, Kleinbahn, contribution from 71 of February 24, 2008. Accessed on July 13, 2015
  2. http://www.kleinbahn.com/
  3. Klein Modellbahn closes at the end of July [1]
  4. > About us: MADE IN AUSTRIA ( Memento of the original from November 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. kleinbahn.com, website of KLEINBAHN - Mechanische Werkstätte Spielwarenproduktion Ing. Erich Klein eU, accessed February 13, 2017. - Company history in tabular form. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.kleinbahn.com
  5. Entry on Kleinbahn (model railroad) in the Austria Forum  (as a stamp illustration), accessed on October 28, 2012

Web links

Commons : Kleinbahn (Modellisenbahn)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files