TTRCA

TTRCA
A non-profit organisation devoted to the collecting and operating of TTR, Trix Express and Trix 00 gauge trains

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TTR: Trix Twin Railway
Trix began as a German company that manufactured metal construction kits (similar to Meccano). The holes in the metal pieces were in rows of three, in an 'X' pattern. Hence Tri-X ... Trix!  

1935 set

Trix electric trains were first made in Germany in 1935 under the Trix Express label.

Trix trains made their debut in the U.K. at Christmas of that same year,  where they were sold and distributed by Bassett Lowke Ltd. as the 'Bassett-Lowke Twin-Train Table Railway'. Bassett-Lowke were a well-established British model making company, particularly of '0' gauge railways.

On the left is one of the first 1935 imported sets. It includes a green 0-4-0 loco and tender with three coaches to represent Southern Railways colours. The tenders were originally made with the words 'Twin Express' printed on the side, but this was overpainted to become 'Trix Express'.

The first locos appeared with solid wheels - later more realistic spoked wheels were introduced. The loco motors ran on 14 volts alternating current, supplied by three-rail track. Trix had the clever idea of enabling two locos to be independently controlled on one track, each loco uses one outer rail and the centre rail to draw current. Hence 'Trix Twin' - two trains on one track.

Disc wheel loco

In 1937 new English-made body castings were manufactured in the style of British rather than German steam locos. These locos, along with British rolling stock, were on sale in LNER, LMS, and Southern liveries. In addition to tender locos, tank locos were also produced in passenger and goods liveries (below).
The 1939-1945 war interrupted production, which   resumed in 1948. Some unsold pre-war items were sold post-war. The railway companies LNER, LMS, GWR, and Southern were nationalised in 1948 to become British Railways. By 1950 locos and rolling stock were in British Railways livery: red and cream coaches, and green, blue, or black locos.

040 Southern

040 LMS

040 BR blue

Two American locos were available using the 4-wheel AC mechanism, a passenger model with cowcatcher, and a freight switcher. Primarily for export to the US and Australia, these locos were also sold in the UK with American style rolling stock. 

USA Twins

Post-war, Trix locos continued to operate on 14 volts alternating current, unlike rival manufacturers Hornby-Dublo and Triang that used 12 volts DC. Trix locos had a complex reversing mechanism, which made production expensive and operation less reliable. In Germany, Trix changed from AC motors to the more efficient and reliable permanent magnet DC type. Unfortunately, the British Trix company retained the old AC system for several years which contributed to their extremely chequered history. They were taken over several times, with the models renamed Trix Twin Railways, Trix Trains, British Trix and Liliput.

4-4-0 LNER Pytchley

Two AC 4-4-0 locos were produced pre- and post-war in various liveries: the Midland Compound (left, in LMS black), and the NE Hunt Class 'Pytchley' (right, in LNER black).

LNER 4 wheel coaches

The British range of pre-war coaches included 4-wheel suburban types, in LNER and LMS colours, and also bogie coaches. Pre-war rolling stock couplings are of the hook and wire type, post-war is a tinplate hook designed by the Peco company and very similar to that used by Hornby Dublo.

LOCO COAL ONLY

UD Tanker

Wagons available included tankers, covered vans, timber trucks, coal, and bogie types.

Portsmouth Electric

Meteor

Above is the pre-war Southern Railways Electric multiple unit that used the motor chassis from the Diesel Flyer two-car unit made by the Trix factory in Germany (below). A later version was the streamlined Meteor Diesel Express (above right), made in both AC and DC versions. 

Diesel Flier

Trix produced a range of stations, signal boxes, platforms, and other lineside accessories, in wood and metal. Illustrated below is the gantry signal box, and the remote control signal. A solenoid in the signal base operates a wire, concealed in the post, which moves the signal arm. A bulb illuminates the miniature yellow and green spectacle discs.  

Gantry Signal Box

Semaphore Signal

Manyways Terminal Station

Manyways Terminal Station

Above is the Manyways Terminal Station, comprising covered span, main building, clock tower, entrance steps, buffers, and platforms.

Britannia In 1956, Trix changed to 12 volt DC operation, but the models were still three-rail and more expensive than other popular 00 brands. In the late 1950's, Trix introduced a fine new range of realistic locos including Britannia (left), Class V, and EM1 Bo-Bo electric.

By the mid-sixties, Trix were manufacturing many items in plastic, rather than the earlier diecast or tinplate. In 1967 the 3-rail system was replaced by the more realistic 2 rail track - although the 3-rail range of items remained available to special order until 1972.

Later items bore the Liliput brand, then production ceased in the seventies. However the spirit of Trix could still be found in Dapol and Bachmann models in 1994/5 that used ex-British Trix/Liliput moulds and tooling. In 2003 the TTRCA acquired some of these moulds when Dapol ceased production.

Detailed information can be found in the definitive reference book "The History of Trix HO/OO Model Railways in Britain" by Tony Matthewman (New Cavendish Books, ISBN 0 904568 76 8, now out of print). In addition, "The Bassett-Lowke Story" by Roland Fuller (also published by New Cavendish Books) contains interesting information regarding the early years.

Photos from TTRCA member Garry Lefevre


42 Years of TTRCA
1975 - 2017

Bassett Lowke Wagon
Trix Bassett-Lowke wagon from 1938

Continental Electric Loco
German made electric loco 1939

London Transport
London Transport
electric loco 1939

Shell Tanker
Shell tanker

NE Tarpaulin
NE Tarpaulin

Nord box illustration
Box lid illustration from
set produced for sale in France

040 BR Goods l oco 1956
TTR 0-4-0 tender loco 1955

BR tank plastic body
Plastic body loco from 1956

Passenger Figures
Passenger Figures

Ruston Shunter
Ruston Shunter

TTRCA

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