Wednesday, July 10, 2013

LGB History -1968 and 1969 -- Part III

The following is a translation of an article/internet posting by IIm-online Nachrichten(News).  H.-J├╝rgen Neumann, the publisher of these News, gave Yours Truly permission for translation of these series of postings. In case you like to check the original German version please go to This article (series) is about the first ever LGB catalog published in 1968 and the LGB activities until 1969.

Regarding starter sets there was one passenger train starter set and one freight train starter set . The passenger train set (LGB # 20301) consisted of a Stainz loco # 2020, one passenger car # 3000, one passenger car # 3010, 12 curved aluminum tracks, 1 connector cable # 5016, 4 figurines and track clamps # 1150. (Original sales price was DEM 198.00 in 1968 or roughly US$ 340.00 in today's money)
The slightly lower prices freight train package (LGB # 20401) consisted of a LGB loco # 4 (LGB 2040) one   boxcar  in brown (LGB #4030) and one 'gondola' in green (LGB# 4020), 12 curved aluminum tracks, 1 connector cable # 5016, 4 figurines and track clamps  (Original price was DEM 176.00 in 1968 or roughly US$ 300.00 in today's money).
LGB 20401 Starter set,
 first edition from 1968.
In 1970 LGB already switched
 to a more colorful packaging
Now, of course, you'd need power to operate the trains. Since LGB (trains) were always meant to be operated outside as well the transformer and the control unit had to be separated by (German) law. So, while the transformer (LGB # 5000) was operated 'under the roof' the controller displaying max 14 Volts could be operated outdoors. It came in the shape of (small) switch tower first in brown, later in green. And the connecting cable between transformer and controller came as a 5-yard-long cable (# 5015). There also  was a 1-yard long connector cable (# 5016), connecting controller and track and a lighting (set) for the two coaches (LGB# 3030). The first brochure, by the way, was still marketing that the controller could be hooked up to the car battery. Though we couldn't find this hint in later publishings. Maybe too many cars broke down......somewhere outside the cities where the clubs met.........with dead batteries galore.....

The figurines were sold as a set as well (LGB# 5040). Spare parts offered were a loco motor (LGB# 2100) and 4 spare carbon brushes (LGB 2110).

At last the second most important thing: the Tracks! To keep costs low in the beginning LGB also offered aluminum tracks. The LGB brochure elaborates: "LGB track # 1000, 1060 and 1100 are made of specialty-hardened-aluminum-alloy and come chrome plated. The track connectors are made out of stainless chrome-nickel steel (V2a) and track beds are made out of VESTOLEN (a patented plastic with very high thermal qualities, very high UV resistance, and extremely durable), They (the aluminum tracks) are meant for indoor layouts and should not be operated outdoors on a regular base. Outdoor use should be limited to temps above 41 degree F. For permanent outdoor operation use track material 1000W-1210W brass solid profile tracks.
Outdoor Layouts: track material 1000W-1210W in brass solid profile is completely weather proof (also in freezing conditions) and best suited for all outdoor and indoor layouts."
By the way, the 60cm (=2 ft long) track piece # 1060 was not available in aluminum. There are some 1500'er tracks which came nickel-plated and were made later on as a test series but never went into full production; therefore they were never sold through stores or dealers. But they made it into the 2006 catalog as a new item.
The very first LGB boxes: left is the first ever  box type, greyish with handwritten item no. Then the yellow boxes were used for some years until they were replaced by the red boxes (around 1978/79)
So, for a short time they offered both track types for # 1000 straight 30cm (1 ft) and # 1100 curved 30 degree. A manually operated switch for right (#1200W) and for left (1210W) turn was announced but not delivered until 1969. The same goes for the uncoupling track (# 1050W) W always means 'weather proof'. And lastly, there was a buffer stop (LGB # 1030) and the track clamps (1150).