The 5 Most Popular Model Train Manufacturers

Dec. 2nd 2016

There have been a lot of different model train manufacturers throughout the years! People all over the world are familiar with Lionel, but you might be wondering which other companies are most popular among hobbyists. We've got just the list for you! Here are the 5 most popular manufacturers on the DASH Marketplace. 


Lionel trains drew admiration from model railroaders around the world for the solidity of their construction and the authenticity of their detail. During its peak years in the 1950s, the company sold $25 million worth of trains per year. In 2006, Lionel's electric train, along with the Easy-Bake Oven, became the first electric toy inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Lionel remains the most enduring brand name associated with model trains in the United States, its products prized by collectors. 


MTH Electric Trains, a privately held company based in Columbia, Maryland that is formerly known as Mike's Train House, is an American toy train and model railroad designer, importer, and manufacturer. M.T.H. offers full product lines in HO scale, two-rail and three-rail O Gauge, One Gauge, and Lionel Corporation Tinplate.


LGB stands for Lehmann Gross Bahn - the "Lehmann Big Railway" in German. Made by Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk in Nuremberg, Germany, since 1968 and by Märklin since 2007, it is the most popular garden railway model in Europe, although there are also many models of U.S. and Canadian prototypes. LGB caused a revival of garden model railroading in the United States when it was introduced. LGB trains are responsible for introducing "G" scale to model railroading.


Bachmann's brand is the largest seller, in terms of volume, of model trains in the world. Bachmann primarily specializes in entry level train sets, and premium offerings in many scales. The Spectrum line is the high quality, model railroad product line, offered in N, HO, Large Scale, On30, and Williams O gauge all aimed for the hobbyist market. Bachmann is the producer of the famous railroad village product line known as "Plasticville."


K-Line Electric Trains is a brand name of O gauge and S gauge model railway locomotives, rolling stock, and buildings. Formerly the brand name under which Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based MDK Inc. sold its products, K-Line was then acquired by Sanda Kan, a Chinese toy manufacturer that formerly acted as K-Line's subcontractor. Sanda Kan had licensed the use of the K-Line brand and intellectual property to Lionel. More recently, the Lionel license expired, and Sandra Kan sold the dies to several other companies, with some going to each of Atlas, Bachmann, and RMT. Many collectors consider K-Line's 1:48 scale offerings to be not only the best value, but also the very best mass-produced O gauge trains. 


Please keep in mind these trains are the most popular on the DASH Marketplace, but that doesn't mean they're the most popular in the larger model train community. Let us know your favorite manufacturer in the comments below!

All above company descriptions are taken from and the manufacturer's websites. 

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  • 1 year, 11 months ago

    I have an extensive collection of 1/32 scale MTH trains and 1/32, 1/29th & a few 1/35th scale products by other manufacturers, as my layout includes slot cars, trucks, buses, a St. Louis street car, operating accessories from Lionel that are size appropriate to G scale as opposed to "O": scale. Lionel often built accessories that were oversize for their "O" and earlier "027" scale railroads. I also use smaller scale railroad components deliberately...such as 027 size gondola cars as mine ore cars...which dump into a slightly oversize coaling station, which then loads a G scale hopper car on the other side. The switcher that pulls the 027 mine cars has a G scale driver, and there are G scale miner it just looks like a short string of narrow gauge, small, mine cars....that goes into a mine entrance, makes a loop inside, is "automatically" refilled, and comes back out of the mine. The track outside is a small loop as well....with one "automatic" ore dump station. I use selected size blue mineral rock as opposed to black coal. The blue mineral rock is speckled with quartz and darker spots, so it looks like an "ore" bearing load of small "boulders"...(relative to the size of G scale figures, they would require two hands to lift). I also have a Lionel barrel loading station, which will be next to my "Yulesteiner" animated Beer Brewery by Lemax. There is more 1/32 scale stuff available than any other Garden scale. 1/29th is not too much bigger, so it works with 1/32. I have a 1/35th scale "Captured NAZI Wonder Weapons" Armored Train with an armored engine and 8 other armored cars, plus two Rail Guns..just for FUN!! The German Rail Guns were used all over Europe and Russia! Today you can go to see "Anzio Annie" (rail gun that shelled the WWII invasion at Anzio beach)...on display at Ft. Lee in New Jersey. As a 1/35 scale model that rail gun is over 39 inches long!! I also have a tracked Mortar Siege Gun, hauled under an articulated overhead rail car...also over 29 inches long. I am populating the Armored Train with 1/32 scale people. Also, these were just static display plastic models, it is my challenge to make them operable!! Plus other stuff too numerous to mention in a "kinda short" comment. Thanks for reading.

    See deyermann's collection

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