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Liliput Trains

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History

Liliput was an Austrian manufacturer of model railroad equipment founded shortly after World War II in Vienna. Jouef of France resold Liliput electric train products in the 1950's.

Liliput HOe narrow gauge Tank locomotive, Type U, Class 298, ÖBB Austrian Railway Livery Liliput was always considered the exotic producer of European Model Trains, that specialized in manufacturing unique and unusual models of European prototypes. For over five decades they got collectors' attention with their unique and extraordinary models. Liliput offered a larger selection of OO/HO and narrow gauge HOe items (both 2 rail DC & and 3 rail AC powered), but also made N and G gauge trains.

Liliput OO 1063 SD Class A2 4-6-2 60525 'A.H Peppercorn' in BR GreenIn the 1960's and 70's, Liliput produced a series of HO freight cars for the American importer AHM in Vienna. Part of the production was a joint contract with Roco and Liliput. For this reason, there are some very similar car models in existence from both mentioned companies. The Liliput models had somewhat coarse simulated Bettendorf type bogies with couplings that featured the typical ring spring and the ascent ladders were a part of the housing form. These goods wagons are often mistaken to be Roco company products by American collectors. Liliput specialized in era II German DRG and DR locomotives and rolling stock including unique military models.

Liliput OO 1012 SD Class 52 Co-Co Diesel 'Western Enterprise' D1000in BR Maroon In 1973 Liliput of Austria purchased the British model tools owned by Trix of Germany. Trix of Germany had acquired the British Trix OO gauge tooling and assets in 1967. They had later acquired the British MiniTrix (N gauge) tooling in 1971. In 1974 Ernst Rozsa formed Liliput Model Railways (UK) and continued to assemble former British Trix models from parts supplied by Liliput. This continued until 1992 when the supply of parts finally dried up. Some parts and tools were acquired by Dapol and others were retained by Liliput.

Liliput HO 4-6-0 Steam Loco and tender Liliput HO trains originally operated on 12 volt DC current and were compatible with 2-rail HO trains and track made by Trix and Hornby as they were 3.8mm to the foot rather than 4mm to the foot. Over time Liliput began to make their locomotives available in 3-rail AC for compatibility with the Märklin system where AC power is fed through little pins in the center of each track sleeper and picked up by a shoe on the bottom of the loco. A unique item that Liliput produced was the HO scale 136505/13506 4-part armoured army train 'Panzerspähzug' Period II. This was modeled after the tank trains that Germany built during World War II in 1944 to protect their rail supply lines.

Liliput Panzerspahzug Armored train in HO The firm failed in 1988 and was purchased by Herpa. In 1992 Bachmann Industries purchased Liliput and opened a German sales office. Kader Industrial Company Limited was the parent company of Bachmann. Kader acquired Bachmann Industries in 1984. Kader was based in China. After the Liliput acquisition, Kader transferred the tooling and dies to China. Initally, production efforts centered on adapting chassis to fit new motors, and on finding new sources of parts like axles and gears, which Liliput had previously purchased in Austria from non-model-railroad manufacturers. As a result, most new models were based on original superstructure dies with all new paint schemes.

Liliput HO gauge 112700 Akku-Triebwag Bauart Wittfeld KPEV Ep.I In November 2008, Kader also took over Sanda Kan, its nearest competitor for precision model railway items in the Hong-Kong based ODM contract manufacturing business. Sanda Kan's biggest client had been Bachmann's dominant rival in the UK market Hornby Railways, which had concentrated production there from 1997-2001. The company also manufactured for Lionel, Atlas, Life-Like, Brawa, Märklin, and approximately 50 other model train companies. Liliput became the German brand name of Bachmann Europe Plc operating out of Altdorf near Nuremburg. They continued to manufacture trains in HO, HOe, N and G (1:22.5) scales of German and other European models.

Link to Liliput German web site.

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