Roco, based in Bergheim/Salzburg, Austria, is a manufacturer of model railway
equipment. The company was founded in 1960 by Ing. Heinz Rössler and started out making plastic sand buckets and miniature
military vehicles. The first model train consisted of a plastic 'minitank'
series. Only a few years later, the 'minitanks' were followed by Roco wagon models of American prototypes,
first H0 and 'O' scale. In 1963 Roco began manufacturing model railroad cars for Trix.
In 1965/66 the first N gauge models were produced. In 1967 Roco manufactured N scale
Freight cars for Atlas Tool Co. The first locomotives were produced in 1976.
Roco made HO gauge Diesel locomotives for Atlas that included a GP9, GP30, EMD GP-38 Low Nose, EMD GP-38 High Nose,
EMD GP-40 Low Nose, EMD SD-24 High Nose,
EMD SD-35 Low Nose, EMD FP-7A, Alco S-2/S-4, and F9A. Alco FA1 and EMD E7A locomotives made by Roco for Atlas were
introduced in the late 1970's. To spot Roco's production from those days. look for "Made in Austria"
on the bottom of the cars.
Roco also made FM H-10-44 engines in HO gauge for Walthers,
Alco C424 diesels in HO for AHM, and Baldwin Shark Nose A+B Units, Alco FA-1+FB-1's, EMD E7A and
EMD E9A's in HO for Model Power.
TT scale was also subsequently
added to the product line. Roco began a line of their own European prototype railroad equipment under its own
name in 1967 with the first HO models. It started with an assortment of nicely detailed 4 wheel
freight cars, plus some more elaborately detailed equipment built with dies obtained from Röwa in 1975. The model rail
product line covers many European countries,
including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as the USA. The German market proved
to be a great success, surprising the competition both with the first class quality and the economical price.
Over the years, as its range of products expanded, Roco became known in
Europe for extremely accurate and detailed scale models, which have won a number of awards. Roco established
factories in Austria (in Salzburg and Vienna) and across the border in Slovakia. Mr. Rossler died in 1978.
His widow Elfriede Rossler continued the business until she sold the company in 2002.
On July 15, 2005 Roco Modellspielwaren GmbH was declared bankrupt. From July 25 the
company continued as Modelleisenbahn GmbH, which also announced its purchase of
Fleischmann in early 2008. After the reorganization of Roco in 2005, Roman
and Company became their exclusive importer for the USA.
Roco, which was started as a family company, by Mr. and Mrs. Rössler, continued to grown
into a multinational company with close to 600 employees. In 2006, the sales figures crossed 30 million Euro.
On October 1, 2007, distribution of the 'Minitank' product series was assigned to the German model car
Today Roco, is manufacturing 2-rail DC powered HO gauge trains, TT scale trains,
and HOe narrow gauge trains, offered separately or in ready to run sets. They also offer a full
line of track, parts and accessories. Roco created the Z21 model railway control system that facilitates game play and
running trains via an application running on a smartphone or Tablet PC. The software provides the user with a photorealistic driver’s cab
perspective of the original locomotive. A camera mounted in the locomotive feeds the view of the ride through the train layout live onto the Tablet PC
driver’s virtual cab screen. All digital locomotive and layout components such as speed, sound, signal functions of the locos as well as turnout routes,
motion and sound on the layout are controllable via the touch-screen.
Link to Roco web site.