Great anniversary

50 Years Mini-Club Z Gauge

When the world's smallest series-produced model railway was introduced in 1972, no one could have guessed what a huge fan base the 1:220 scale track would one day have. And what fascinating models can be realised in great detail.

Discover the novelties in the video


The year 1972 was a year of new beginnings. Everything seemed possible. Model railways, and above all Märklin, of course, wanted to show what was technically feasible. The challenge here was not to go "higher and further", but to reduce. The new gauge was to be smaller and, at its time, top the already widespread N gauge in terms of compactness. At the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1972, visitors were able to see the groundbreaking invention from Göppingen for the first time: a model railway in the unbelievably small scale of 1:220. From then on, the triumphant advance of Z gauge was paved and has continued to this day. If you also want to get started, we have interesting starter packs for you here:

Anniversary products

We have come up with some exciting products for our anniversary year.

Chronicle of the Mini Club

1972Introduction of Z gauge with the first locomotive models (Class 003/Class 89/Class 216/Class 260), wagons and extensive track material.
1973Model of the first rail bus and the Class 24
1974Model highlight Class 103 (first electric locomotive in Z gauge)
1977Class 003 sets a long-distance world record: it runs for 1,219 hours (720 kilometres) at a stretch
1979The first "crocodile" arrives - the Be6/8 II in green
1982For the tenth anniversary, a silver-plated version of the rail zeppelin with movable tail propeller is released
1983The "Golden Crocodile" enchants the Z-gauge community
202250th birthday

Mehr erfahren über die Chronicle in the mini-club book

Why Z-gauge?

Half a century of Z-gauge - in view of the 2022 anniversary, product manager Jürgen Faulhaber makes it transparent how the proud tradition of the Mini-Club is reflected in the 2021 Z-range.

Jürgen Faulhaber:
"Detailing, fine printing and play value - these are typical
qualities of our Z-gauge range."

"What came onto the market in 1972 with plastic wheels and a lifestyle image has grown into a fully-fledged model railway - the smallest production model railway in the world. Detailing, cast metal quality and functional reliability are in harmony with the permanently increasing Märklin product quality through innovations."

"In the orientation of the assortment, we maintain a
balance of eras, tractions and long-term development of the mould stock through new designs."

"In operation, there are uncompromisingly prototypical long Z trains and where once box sets or roundabouts on the hat brim caused a sensation, today we are amazed at the wonderful layouts, dioramas and modules that are designed by the Z community. Unchanged is the tradition that Märklin Z stands for the special - that is, not only the precision mechanics striving for perfection, but also the collector's item."

Produktmanager Jürgen Faulhaber in (s)einem kleinen Reich

Review of layouts: Geislinger Steige & more

Anniversary competition

From the smallest diorama to the full-grown model layout: the scale 1:220 is perfectly suited as a model railway hobby. To mark our anniversary, we are looking for the most beautiful Mini-Club layouts currently available. The layout should have been created in the last ten years or completed in this period. A jury will then select the most interesting and most beautiful layouts from all the entries, which we will then present in the Märklin Magazine.

And this is how you proceed:

  • Describe your installation (size, theme, special features) on a maximum of one DIN A4 page.
  • In addition to the plant description, send us a maximum of five photos that document the character of the plant.

Send the documents by post to:
Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH
Keyword: Mini-Club layout selection
Stuttgarter Strasse 55-57
73033 Göppingen (Germany)

or by mail to:

Important: The deadline for entries is 31 July 2022. Valuable prizes await the first three winners. Cash payment of the prizes is not possible. The legal process is excluded.

Celebrated its premiere at the 1981 Toy Fair: the "Geislinger Steige" layout on a scale of 1:220 by Bernhard Stein. The 5.6 square metre layout still sets standards in terms of prototype fidelity today.
Still impressive today: the faithfulness to the prototype of Stein's Mini-Club layout from 1981. With a flight over the Steige, the legendary model builder had secured the last details by taking photos and then implemented them on his layout.
The Modellbahnfreunde Westerstetten e.V. have taken Bernhard Stein's layout into their care and exhibit it on certain occasions.
Paradise tracks, four-track staging yard: Dietmar Lindner successfully entered the competition in 2012 - third place
Second place went to Werner Vollmer with his US layout. Everything that makes up a western town was to be found on 64 x 32 cm.
Perfection 2012: Götz Guddas won the layout competition for the 40th anniversary of the "Z" with his layout "Güglingen".
An eye-catcher: the "Kniephaven" layout by Dirk Kuhlmann. The North Frisian island world can hardly be realised in a more detailed and impressive way. At the invitation of OntraxS, it was also the first Z-gauge layout to be shown at this large model railway meeting.
Start 1972: one of the first Mini-Club showpieces. The factory layout with the Göppingen station is listed internally as number 0865.
Interesting current realisation of a prototype line: the Höllentalbahn by Jürgen Walther on a scale of 1:220.

Photo gallery

In our photo gallery you will find a few nostalgic retrospectives.

Adults as a target group: In the 1970s, the aim was to increase awareness of Z-gauge with unusual advertising motifs.
Märklin proudly presents the world's smallest electric series railway: advertising campaign for the launch of Z-gauge in 1972
The Mini-Club assortment of the first hour: Class 89, Class 003, Class 260, Class 216, 21 cars and an almost complete track programme. In 2012 Märklin reissued an anniversary set with three of the four premiere locomotives for the 40th birthday.
88491: A real eye-catcher - the multi-purpose locomotive GG-1 from 2005 in the fictitious colour scheme "Stars and Stripes".
88100: High-speed train VT10.5 "Senator" from 2008 - next to the ICE versions one of the longest single models in Z.
Still in great demand as a collector's item today: the Class 89 placemat in the light bulb holder with biros from 2002.

World records

In 1977, the Mini Club secured a top place in the Guinness Book of Records. A model locomotive of the 03 series - harnessed in front of six express train wagons - travelled 720 kilometres in 1,219 hours without oiling, without changing brushes and without a break. That corresponds to the distance between the cities Stuttgart and Hamburg (Germany). A record that is still valid today.


Märklin Magazine - All-round information

The most important information on new models, inspiring layout reports, digital features, building and tuning tips as well as prototype stories - the Märklin Magazine, which has been published since 1965, offers all this. The "Märklin Friend" section is also popular, with a portrait of the achievements that model railways inspire in life and how much pleasure they give.

Erhalten Sie das Märklin Magazin 6x im Jahr und sichern Sie sich nach Bestellabschluss eine tolle Wunschprämie.

Abonnieren Sie jetzt das Märklin Magazin

Erhalten Sie das Märklin Magazin 6x im Jahr und sichern Sie sich nach Bestellabschluss eine tolle Wunschprämie. 

  • Alle Neuigkeiten und Infos rund um Märklin
  • Detaillierte Modellvorstellungen
  • Tolle Geschichten aus der Community
  • Tipps und Tricks rund um Technik, Anlagenbau und vieles mehr
  • Ganz individuell: Probe-Abo, Geschenk-Abo oder Jahres-Abo

Club News / Club Membership

Clubnews has been published for over 25 years - first as an unstapled eight-pager, now as a colourful and informative magazine. It is produced especially for club members - with background reports, exciting features and that certain extra bit of information. The Clubnews is a hinge between members and Märklin and promotes the worldwide community as an information platform - it is published in four languages.
As the leading medium for Märklin's premium customers, Clubnews provides information about club activities of all kinds. The involvement of management, product managers and specialist departments of the manufacturer deepen the reporting on the company and rolling stock and finally the "professionals" of the model railway scene are kept up to date by an attractive range of topics - ranging from models and prototypes to production and club activities and event dates.
Regular reports on the Märklin mini-club - our Z gauge - including interviews round off the Clubnews picture. In the anniversary year even with a whole special on the mini-club. Not yet a member of the club? Here's your chance to join:

Receive the Märklin Magazine 6 times a year and secure a great bonus of your choice after completing your order.

The Märklin Magazine is part of the club membership

Receive the Märklin Magazine six times a year as a club member and secure many other advantages.

  • Exclusive club models
  • Free Club Annual Car
  • 6x Insider Club News
  • Annual chronicle as video
  • Personalised club card
  • Discounted seminars
  • Exciting Club trips
  • Free shipping in the Online Shop

All Insider Club models in Z gauge

All Insider Club models in Z gauge at a glance: 1994 to 2022

Representation period 1994 - 2003
| Year 1994 | 8834: Express locomotive Class 110 (DB) with three-light headlights.
| Year 1995 | 8835: Multi-purpose locomotive 120002-1 (DB) with single-arm pantographs.
| Year 1996 | 88183: Express locomotive Class 18.1 "Olympia" (DRG) with tender.
| Year 1997 | 88832: Freight locomotive Class 52 with tub tender (DRG).
| Year 1998 | 88981: Freight locomotive G8.1 with tender (KPEV).
| Year 1999 | 88835: Freight locomotive Class 52 with condensation tender (DB).
| Year 2000 | 88065: V3201 diesel pneumatic locomotive (DRG).
| Year 2001 | 81360: Train set "Steam Snow Blower": Freight steam locomotive Class 50 with cab tender (DB) and steam snow blower type Henschel
| Year 2002 | 88870: Class SVT04 diesel express railcar (DB). The two-part unit is permanently coupled together. First time with Jakobs bogie.
| Year 2003 | 88040: Freight locomotive "Franco-Crosti" Class 42.90 (DB) with tub tender
Representation period 2003 - 2013
| Year 2003 | 88091: Passenger locomotive P10 with tender (KPEV). Version in the photographic livery as locomotive 2811 Elberfeld.
| Year 2004 | 88290: Heavy freight locomotive class Gt2x4/4 (DRG). All 8 axles powered. Once the most powerful tender locomotive in Europe.
| Year 2005 | 81436: "Henschel-Wegmann" train set (DRG) consisting of a class 61 express tender locomotive with streamline panelling and four streamlined express train cars. Total length over buffers: 493 millimetres
| Year 2006 | 88720: VT08.5 diesel powered rail car train (DB). Three car unit consisting of powered rail car, centre car, and driving trailer. Four axles powered with a 5-pole motor.
| Year 2007 | 88053: Heavy freight locomotive BR 53.0 (DRG) with condenser tender
| Year 2008 | 88100: VT10.5 "Senator" express multiple unit (DB). Lightweight construction with two diesel power cars and five intermediate cars, connected by single-axle bogies. Used in daytime traffic on the Frankfurt-Hamburg line from 1954 onwards.
| Year 2009 | 88530: Electric locomotive BR120.1 (DB AG) for the anniversary "150 Years of Märklin".
| Year 2010 | 81175: Train set "Express train" with multi-purpose locomotive BR V200.0 (DB)
| Year 2011 | 88480: Fast multi-purpose locomotive BR 120.1 for the anniversary "175 Years of Railways in Germany".
| Year 2011 | 88783: Class 216 diesel locomotive (DB) in old red paint scheme. Both bogies are powered
| Year 2012 | 88010: BR001 (DB) express train tender locomotive. Unit locomotive with welded tender and Witte smoke deflectors.
| Year 2013 | 81176: Long-distance express train "Blauer Enzian" with heavy diesel-hydraulic multi-purpose locomotive V200.0 (DB) and five express train wagons
Presentation period 2014 - 2022
| Jahr 2014 | 88740: Tender-Dampflokomotive BR64 (DB) mit PersonenwagenSet 87509. Fein detaillierte, komplette Neukonstruktion.
| Jahr 2014 | 88507: Stromlinien-Dampflokomotive 05003 (DRG) mit vorn angesetztem Führerhaus (Cab Forward).
| Jahr 2015 | 88770: Doppel-Diesellokomotive BR236 (DB). Beide Loks werden motorisch angetrieben. Durch Kupplungsdeichsel verbunden.
| Jahr 2016 | 81352: Güterzug Kohletransport mit Tenderdampflokomotive BR80 (DB) und fünf offenen Güterwagen.
| Jahr 2017 | 88803: Diesellok BRV80 (DB) mit Nahverkehrswagen 87530. Lokausführung mit Einzellampe oben und Doppellampen unten.
| Jahr 2018 | 88353: Elektrolokomotive E41(DB) in stahlblauer Farbgebung der Epoche III. Mit Glockenankermotor ausgerüstet.
| Jahr 2019 | 88850: Dampflokomotive BR03.10 (DB) mit Hochleistungs-Neubaukessel.
| Jahr 2020 | 88275: Güterzug-Dampflokomotive BR41 (DB) mit Öl-Tender 2’2’T34.
| Jahr 2021 | 88150: Purpurrote Doppel-Diesellokomotive V188001 (DB)
| Jahr 2022 | 88320: Diesellokomotive V320001 (DB). Komplette Neukonstruktion.



You can also find a lot more information about Z-gauge on the pages of the Z-gauge community.


Here you will find the dates on which we will pay special tribute to the birthday child for the anniversary year. We look forward to seeing you there. As always, please check shortly before your visit if there are any changes to the event.

07.04.22-10.04.22Dortmund Trade Fair
14.05.22-15.05.228th International Z-gauge Weekend Altenbeken 2022
01.05.22-31.01.23Märklineum permanent exhibition
16.09.22-17.09.22Märklin Open House Day
04.11.22-06.11.2238th Int. Model Railways Exhibiton, Friedrichshafen

Event reports

Here you can find the dates.