Monday, January 4, 2021

LGB 2017 Series - Part 5

nnWith the new numbering system still in testing LGB offered the set below with 2 numbers: # 72412 for the USA, advertised in the 1995 USA News brochure and  # 70412 for the German/European market. The latter wasn't offered until 1996, in the official LGB main catalog 1996/97 pg.20

LGB 70412 - Courtesy of

LGB 70412 - Courtesy of

LGB 70412 - Courtesy of

Edition volume must have been pretty high since the set is still readily available today. Prices today range between US$ 350.00 and $525.00 depending on condition and completeness of set.

The year 1995 saw an USA exclusive again with the LGB # 25171- or so it was sold...:
LGB 25171 - Courtesy of Only Trains

Alas, it didn't last, the exclusiveness. LGB decided the same year (1996) to sell the "exclusive USA Christmas Train" worldwide. And they even put it in the main catalog LGB 1996/97.
Throughout the years prices stayed on a high level for this loco & motorized tender set: You might see the occasional US$ 390.00 or less but overall prices in the mid $500.00's are common.

Another US special during the time frame 1995/96 was the LGB 72555.
LGB 72555- Courtesy of

LGB 72555 - Courtesy of

 A very pretty Christmas train set with the 25171 loco, the LGB # 45110 Christmas hinge-hatch gondola and the Christmas caboose LGB #44650. This Christmas train set remained an USA exclusive and prices are varying from US$ 200.00 to US$ 400.00 but have reached US$ 750.00 lately.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Merry Christmas

To all our followers, readers, fans and friends a very Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Christmas Card Design by YT - photos courtesy of and pinterest

Our regular blog will continue in January 2021...

Thursday, December 3, 2020

LGB 2017 Series - Part 4

Since 1987  LGB had utilized the #2017 loco as their mule for starter sets. Also, the 2017 sets were almost solely sold to the American market with very few exceptions. One such exception was the LGB 2217 (22171 after 1993) that made its appearance in the 1993/4 catalog. Not many were made and it is more than hard to find one today. This engine w/motorized tender was sold worldwide.

LGB 22171 - Courtesy of  B-Ware Guenstig

The engine was probably sold for about $ 400.00. But - big but - about a year later the very same loco w/tender was utilized in the LGB set # 725858, the LGB Rocky Mountain Freight Super Set:
LGB 72858 - Courtesy of

It contained the # 2217, # 4080-Y05, 40900, 44720 and 4065-L01. 
LGB 4080 Y05-
C by for all cars/set

LGB 4065 L01

It was an LGBoA exclusive and the cars (green tank car, red and pink boxcar and yellow caboose) were also utilized in similar train sets with different locos up front. Those sets were also LGBoA exclusives that year (1995/6). 
LGB 40900

LGB 44720

Not many of these # 72858 set survived and they still sell for about $ 400.00.

When the (Starter) sets didn't include the actually required motorized tender (to make it a true 2017 loco type) LGB issued motorized tenders by itself.  Two tenders were offered already (1988 and 1991) so LGB was about to issue another motorized tender in 1992, the LGB 2217/6 . This motorized tender appears also under the LGB numbers 22176 and 69276:

LGB 22176/69276 - Courtesy of Only Trains
This one sold for US$ 250.00, originally but was no American exclusive. 

The excessive though often somewhat mixed LGB stock offered to the American customer in the early 1990's - perfectly mirrored within this 2017 series - is a good example of misunderstanding your market. LGB Germany was thriving. The late 1980's had brought them unheard-of growth. And the early 1990's was a business high-time for and in Germany at large. The exact opposite was true for the USA. The early 1990's brought a recession, homemade due to high interest rates and very low consumer confidence. President George H.W. Bush was in office and was a hapless President when it came to Economics. The top LGB management didn't have a clue about that. There was no understanding of the American mentality, their needs, fears, or current feelings. Thus marketing decisions were made that could not and did not match the needs of the US customer. And LGBoA couldn't help either. Their goal had always been their own pockets.

Thus, it is no wonder that a pretty engine like the LGB #22176 in her beautiful dark red coloring never made a big splash nor can be found  nearly anywhere today. And the same holds true for the set # 72858.

Unfazed by any American ongoing in 1993 LGB issued the # 70311 which was also sold by LGB at the same time as # 25301
LGB 70311 aka LGB 25301- Courtesy of

LGB 70311 in box - C of

This set is currently (12/2/20) offered on eBay for US$ 555.00. Talk about retaining value...

This set also came with a sister set, the LGB 70411 aka # 25401 (both images courtesy of

Dearest reader, by now you may think LGB had gone 'two locos short of a train ' by issuing 2 item numbers for the same product again and again...Well, in 1993 LGB had come to the end of the (rail)line with their 4-digit defining numbering system. They were in need of another digit and some redefining of what numbering to use on what item group. The result was a fine zoo - as seen above. But it would get better the next year.

+++++++++++++++++++++to be continued...

Saturday, November 21, 2020

LGB 2017 Series - Part 3

 After offering the two sets LGB #20087 and #20287 somehow LGB remembered that the #2017 was actually a loco-with-motorized-tender engine and offered the motorized tender for the two sets a year later.

LGB 2117/6 - courtesy of

The tender wasn't labeled but came with a labeling sheet. Some customers labeled them "L.G.& B."
This tender was again sold only in the USA as were the two sets. This tender was followed by another twin set the LGB #22301 and #22401, both in 1989:

LGB 22301 - Courtesy of Only Trains

LGB 22401 - Courtesy of

Yes, dear reader, you are right, 22401 looks exactly like LGB 20087, the set from about 2 years ago. The difference? This time it was labeled with "Lake George & Boulder". I kid you not.

It is hard to fathom why LGB decided to turn so much against their best market with the biggest growth chances. While the German market had been complaining a while about high prices, the American customer couldn't care less. Here, LGB trains were more of a status symbol. A way to show: "I did it! I have the money - I can afford this!". Neither the LGB home front in Germany nor LGBoA did anything to bolster that market. Was the goal quite the opposite? Did LGB plainly NOT understand the market? However, in hindsight this was a clear miss of a fantastic opportunity and would mark the slow beginning of an end nobody on the customer side ever really grasped. 

As if to prove this theory right, 1991 saw another motorized tender, LGB #2317/6:

LGB 2317/6 - Courtesy of

It had a red chassis with a white top structure. If you see a completely black tender or one with a red chassis and a black top-structure, on the used-item market these are often 'labeled' 2317/6 but are NOT. The complete black one was issued in 1993 and the red chassis/black top structure about 1999. Beware when buying from the internet or from a dealer with poor knowledge.
LGB 21988-Courtesy of
This motorized tender was actually thought to complete the newly issued 'Circus Train-Set',  LGB #21988, issued in 1988 but probably not delivered until a year or so later. This set had an edition volume of 12,500 but was NOT exclusive for the USA customer. It was sold 'worldwide'.

The next twin set of train sets, often called starter sets in the belief that this would sell to children and thus get their fathers hooked to the hobby (a thought so converse to marketing rules it's almost ridiculous) came in 1991.

The LGB # 25301 and the #25401:
LGB 25301 - Courtesy of

LGB 25401 incomplete (tracks and figurines missing, see box cover above)
Courtesy of

Both sets are not easy to find in today's market. They appear either incomplete or mixed up with other items. Edition volume was probably around 10.000. Prices ranged about under US$ 350.00 which was still a stiff price for a 'toy'/hobby.
Both sets were USA-ONLY products but only until 1993 when both sets were offered worldwide and thus made their way into the German market as well. The German customer had become aware of USA-Only models and didn't take it gently. After all it was made in their country and they were not able to get it? Didn't sit well with them. And at the same time LGB took the USA-Only value away from their most willing market and highly devoted customers.

+++++++++++++++++++to be continued...

Courtesy Getty Images

Saturday, November 14, 2020

LGB 2017 series - Part 2

 In 1977 the American LGB market saw their first USA-model with the LGB 2017

Giant LGB Catalogue - Page 4: LGB 2017

She featured 2 motors, one in the engine and one in the tender; a principle that would see their own products in the future. With the 1977 catalog LGB offered 20 locomotives, all of them either modeling German, Austrian or Swiss prototypes except the 2017. 

These 20 locomotives were creating a massive wave of LGB fans in the USA. The East Coast was turning out LGB Hobby stores galore. Not that Americans didn't know model trains. Lionel was the biggest toy maker in USA by 1950 and there wasn't a boy child in America who didn't have or wanted a Lionel train. But Lionel was "O" or "HO" gauge. LGB brought another dimension - G-scale, ready for indoor AND outdoors! People flocked to it. All the more as the trains where of excellent quality and of immense accuracy down to the last detail. Though a bit pricey they just as well delivered the perfect excuse for fathers to get into the hobby either again or anew. That led to the demand for coming together and sharing the hobby, thus the LGB Clubs started sprouting. Pennsylvania, NY State,

LGB Telegram issue No 1 and 2-Courtesy of

English LGB catalog of 1977, pg 18 -

Chicago, New England States - they were the 'founding' clubs of what would become a club organization with thousands of members, their own club magazine (LGB Telegram) and a Wolfgang Richter who had to travel to America on a yearly bases ...period! Most clubs were established around 1977/78. Just 10 years (!) after LGB had launched their first ever model train, the LGB 2010 "STAINZ" in Nuremberg/Germany. In a world without internet, prompt information, iPhone or anything else in nano-second speed.

LGB reacted fast - - or so you would think...Well, 1983 saw the birth of the LGB Mogul but it wasn't until 1987 that LGB offered the # 20087

LGB 20087 - Courtesy of

A starter set and this time ONLY for the US market. No distribution in Germany or Europe at all. Take a good look at the loco which is of course the 2017 (without the tender) in a different color scheme ("Rio Grande") but also laid the foundation for the bigger part all other starter sets or train sets that would be made for the US customer only. LGB # 20087 had an edition of 10.000 and had a sister set the LGB # 20287

LGB 20287 - Courtesy of

Each set sold for about US$ 200.00 which was quite a bit of money back then, in today's money(-value) that would be more than US$ 500.00. The color of the high side European-type gondola made the difference in the two sets, one was red (20087) one was blue (20287). The market today has quite a big problem naming them right. So watch out if you want to get one or the other.

++++++++++++++++++++++++ to be continued...

Saturday, November 7, 2020

LGB 2017 Series - Only In America

 The LGB 2010 was the first ever LGB engine that in 1968 started a business and hobby that would conquer the world, literally. 

An early LGB 2010

By 1975 some 2010 LGB engines had found their way into the USA and created demand in a way even the Richter brothers Wolfgang and Eberhard couldn't foresee. Eagerly they tried to built an engine that was modeled on the small 0-4-0 Western engines like this one by Henschel  that today is on display in Akron/OH

A Henschel 0-4-0T in Akron/OH-
copyright Bob McGilvray Jr.

First LGB offered the #2016 which was listed in the 1975 Fall catalog but not shown. The text said "2016 Tank Locomotive US Railways (no picture)". And again in 1976 the LGB catalog (again just a 4-page brochure!) listed the product #2016 but no image. (YT: our extensive search on the internet did not deliver any photo of a really existing LGB 2016 which usually means none were produced) Finally - in 1977 and with a catalog of 20(!) pages the 2016 had miraculously turned into the LGB 2017 and was presented:

page 4 of the 1977 LGB 'catalog' - #2017 in upper right corner

LGB 2017 first presented in 1977 LGB catalog

It was year 6 of printing an English version of the LGB catalog and it was the first year that LGB had so much rolling stock to offer that the catalog grew to 20 pages , thus the headline "Giant LGB Catalogue". The 2017 came as a tank version with a motorized tender and was the beginning of an unprecedented success on the American market. So much so that almost all 2017 editions including those in sets were exclusively made for the US market. Very few editions made their way back to Germany or Europe. One may even say that the LGB 2017 built the backbone of the American LGB business.

Though by 1977 your Famous Klaus was flying into the USA for Lufthansa he had no LGB connections, yet. So knowledge about USA-only models are sparse, on his side. That may explain why the list below - of all engine types and sets of the 2017- might be incomplete. We are actively asking our dear readers and followers/friends to provide further and better information where available. Thank you!

As far as we know these #2017 and 2017 tender models and sets have been made by LGB. The 2017 has also been the role model for a number of ToyTrains by LGB which might get their own chapter one day.

LGB#      Year
2017 1977
20087 1987
20287 1987
2117/6 1988
22301 1989
22401 1989
2317/6 1991
25301 1991
25401 1991
2217/6 1992
2217 1993
70311 1993
70312 1993
70411 1993
70412 1994
25171 1995
72555 1995
72858 1995
70314 1996
72997 1997
72997 1997
72534 2000
72554 2000

+++++++++++++++++++++++ to be continued..............

Monday, November 2, 2020

Featuring Klaus' super-boost ESU sound

As you all know by now Klaus is a master craftsman with a knack for LGB engines. Today we are coming back to the F 7 Santa Fe A and B units belonging to Jared Crapo in Utah. In the above video Klaus installed not just a mere ESU sound, programmed and edited, he also modified the sound output  immensely. Just watch and listen to the video clip - maybe after you've been reading the following:

Here is his work-scope in his own words:
F 7 A-Unit
the ESU XL version 5 sound decoder features 2 amplifiers with 6.5 Watts output each. Regularly only one channel is being used. In this F 7 project it was my goal to utilize both channels. I installed a larger loudspeaker in the regular loudspeaker location and in addition in front and behind it two additional loudspeakers which are operated by the second channel. Giving you a total of 13 Watts HiFi output. This not only improves the output volume but it improves the display of the low Diesel frequencies perfectly.
F 7 B unit
The F 7 B unit was motorized and received the same loudspeaker arrangement with a separate ESU XL sound decoder. This sound decoder is programmed with a slightly different Diesel sound. Both sounds are original recordings and give an excellent sound reproduction of the real thing. You can distinctly recognize the two separate Diesel engine (A and B). Only the A unit can be triggered for horn and bell but both units display their own random sounds.

My customer wanted to run both units on the same address because he didn't want to go into the hassle of consists operation. The ESU XL version 5 decoder features a function which is called drive-hold. I used this function to keep the F 7 B unit in place while the F 7 A unit can be moved on the same address separately. So you may proceed with the A unit to the B unit and after coupling and the start of the second Diesel you may disengage the drive-hold function and move both units together.

Mark Rosenthal's MSR Layout
MSR layout - by Mark Rosenthal
please click on link below
Another fine example of a fantastic layout featuring Klaus installation craftsmanship is the layout of Mark Rosenthal in Tampa. A lifelong LGB enthusiast he has a most beautiful indoor layout which has been featured in a many magazines in the Tampa area, in Maerklin and LGB magazines and even on local televison. Over the years Klaus installed sound and driving decoders in Mark's locos; first Massoth, then for the last 9 years ESU decoders. The crispness of the sound combined with the possibility to record your own choice of voices/sound on the ESU decoders as well as their technological superiority make them the perfect choice and tool for the ultimate enhancement of your LGB loco. Klaus installed the ESU XL 5.0 and composed-assembled and edited the sound himself for this OBB Diesel.
Mark's complete layout is automated by Stellwerk-software. His LGB 2096 features the ESU XL 5.0 and operates a wonderful run to and from the historic LGB turntable. Please click on the video link below. The video will open in YouTube: