Derailed | Seeing Double: the RhB Ge 4/6 in 1:22,5 Scale

LGB’s announcement of their 2024 New Items (external link – Large Scale Gazette) contained a few surprises, one of which being a completely new construction of the Swiss narrow gauge type Ge 4/6 in the RhB brown paint scheme with road number #353. Wait, where have we seen this before?

Ah, Train Line 45 has recently delivered (external link – Large Scale Gazette) the RhB Ge 4/6… in brown… with number 353. So, how did this happen? A bit of history…

Train Line 45 RhB Ge 4/6
Image Source: Large Scale Gazette – Train Line 45 RhB Ge 4/6

The well known small series manufacturer Kiss Modellbahnen has produced the RhB Ge 4/6 already in the early 2000’s as a limited series, in a completely handmade brass construction. This means: high level of detail for a high price (around 3000 euros). These limited runs sell out pretty quickly, so if you’re too late, you can wait for a long time for maybe a second production run a decade later.

So, for many years, fans of the RhB Ge 4/6 were out of luck. Kiss sold out, and there was no one else. And then, it was the year 2014… two times a Ge 4/6!

In 2014, Train Line 45 announced a number of RhB models including the Ge 4/6. Great, this would mean the customer could expect a quite accurately scaled model for a reasonable price (just under 1000 euro, if I recall correctly). However, it didn’t come. Train Line released other stuff (mainly Harz narrow gauge), but there was a deafening silence surrounding the Ge 4/6 (as well as other RhB locomotives).

In the same year, Ed’s Garten Bahn announced a Ge 4/6 as well. For those who don’t know Ed’s Garten Bahn, it’s a small series manufacturer focusing on bringing models to the market that no on else does. To do this, they are leveraging 3D printing capabilities, combining it with traditional materials like CNC cut plastics. The end result however, is similar to a lot of 3D printed models/parts on the market: a sub par surface finish, and a limited amount of quite crude detailing. Yet, as it’s handmade, the price is still high at over 2000 euros. Anyway, credit where credit is due: Ed’s Garten Bahn did what Train Line did not: deliver.

Fast forward to today, we suddenly have another double offering of Ge 4/6. LGB’s announcement just came in 2024, and Train Line started shipping just a few weeks ago. So, why did LGB do this? The G scale market is small enough already, why do we need two Ge 4/6 with a similar construction for a similar price? Well, you can’t blame LGB, I guess. Train Line announced the model in 2014, and LGB probably followed closely and didn’t see it happen year after year. And suddenly, Train Line (re)announced the Ge 4/6 for 2023 as “it’s coming, for real this time!”. At this point, Märklin management probably already decided to go ahead with their plans for the Ge 4/6.

So, a bit of an awkward situation, but wow, the consumer now experiences something very rare in large scale: the option to choose between two models! I would love to get my hands on both of them for a comparison for Large Scale Gazette, let’s see if we can make that reality…