Prototype: Propeller driven Kruckenberg Rail Zeppelin. Unit as it looked in 1931 on the German State Railroad Company (DRG). Era II.
Model: Reproduction of the two-axle Märklin I Gauge model of 1930. In appearance it looks like the historic Märklin-model, but it is technically updated in construction. It can be run on current 1 Gauge two-rail track (cannot be run on three-rail track). Built-in digital decoder for operation with DC power, AC power, Märklin Digital, or Märklin Systems. One axle powered from a current 1 Gauge motor. Powered propeller on the rear of the unit. Built-in interior lighting as well as dual headlights and a red marker light, both with incandescent light bulbs. These lights are on all of the time. The body and frame of this Rail Zeppelin reproduction are prototypically made of metal with finer details imprinted on the metal. Minimum radius for operation 1,020 mm / 40-3/16". Rail Zeppelin length approximately 56 cm / 22-1/16".
Airplane Technology on Rails - In the 1920s, aeronautical engineer Franz Kruckenberg, born in Uetersen, Germany in 1882, had the vision of fast railroad passenger service with propeller-driven railroad cars. The plans developed by him were based on lightweight airplane technology and reached their peak on June 21, 1931 in a triumphant record run by his streamlined Rail Zeppelin. It reached 233 km/h / 146 mph, a speed record for powered rail car that stood for 23 years. The principle of propeller-driven railroad cars proved to be less than ideally suited in the course of test runs. Yet, Kruckenberg laid the foundation for modern, lightweight high speed rail cars with the Rail Zeppelin and axle-powered successor designs developed by him. The Rail Zeppelin was and still remains a legend and synonym for the rapid progress in railroad technology that has reached its peak in the present with the current high speed powered rail car train technology. It is very probable that the 1 Gauge model of the Rail Zeppelin introduced by Märklin shortly after the record run also contributed greatly to keeping the memory alive down to the present of this proponent of technology from the steam era, which was still in full swing at that time. The new Märklin metal model is an almost identical reproduction of the rare Rail Zeppelin collector"s model of 1931. A closer look at the new model will reveal that the third rail pickup shoe is missing, since the new model is designed for operation on current 1 Gauge two-rail track. In addition, it has a digital decoder and a current 1 Gauge motor.