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Marklin Crocodiles: Genealogy of the Swiss CCS 800 Locomotive

The Swiss crocodile is perhaps one of the most beautiful and exotic-looking locomotives of the time.  Its articulated design makes it an engineering marvel.  Seeing it traverse the mountainous regions of Switzerland must have been an incredible sight!  Without question, the scale models produced by Marklin of this Swiss legend for almost a century paid close attention to detail and design.  Collectors around the world cherish Marklin crocodiles for their incredible design and aesthetic appearance.  Whether in green, brown, or white livery, each locomotive is an absolute treasure to behold!  Don’t yet have a Swiss beauty in your Marklin collection?  There are always many rare Swiss Marklin locos available for sale on eBay at any given time.  Click here to view a filtered query for Swiss locos on eBay.

Swiss crocodile prototype designs

The SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) first ordered a prototype locomotive, named SBB-CFF-FFS Ce 6/8 I number 14201, in early June 1917. These first production “Krokodil” locomotives were built between 1919 and 1927. The original full-production run produced 33 class Ce 6/8 II and 18 class Ce 6/8 III locomotives, making a total of 51 locomotives. These locomotives, with their articulated “noses” and many axles, had incredible pulling power and hauled heavy goods trains, commonly including coal cars, on the steep tracks of the Gotthardbahn originating in Lucerne.  This route also went through the famous Gotthard Tunnel in the middle of the Swiss Alps.


As early as 1923-1924 an Austrian firm began producing an Austrian crocodile from the Swiss designs

As early as 1923-1924 an Austrian firm began producing an Austrian crocodile from the Swiss designs

Early beginnings of the Marklin crocodile design

Some of the earliest models with semblance to the Marklin crocodiles were actually so-called “alligator” locomotives.  These locomotives were first produced in the early 1920s.  In HO scale this kind of design would be shown in the SE 800 or SET 800 locomotives.  The SE 800 or SET 800 locomotives are not meant to be a “mini” crocodile.  Instead, these are made after the German “E44”-class locomotive. They are also called “Eisenschwein” – “metal-pig”, or “rail-pig” depending on the translation.

In the 1934 catalog we can see the Gauge 1 crocodile numbered CCS 66 12921.  This locomotive is highly sought after and fetches incredible prices at auction.  Since such toys were relatively expensive and only within reach for wealthy families, some collectors surmise that less than a few hundred examples were original sold around the world.

CCS 66 12921 in D11 (1934) Catalog

CCS 66 12921 in D11 (1934) Catalog

What makes this locomotive easily recognizable from its smaller cousin the O Gauge CCS 66 12920 locomotive is the dual-motor design.  Each articulated leg of the locomotive has its own motor that powers the two main drive axles.  Since there are two motors in this locomotive, each opposite side of the locomotive has visible brush covers.  This makes servicing of the motor and brushes very easy as they are accessible without having to remove the articulated section bodies.

Marklin CCS 800 in HO Scale

Although Marklin survived the War, its plans for a CCS model in HO scale were significantly delayed.  Its pre-war plans for an HO crocodile were not realized until its release of the CCS 800 in 1947.  The first prototype of this model carried the number CCS 700 from the pre-war years.  Only one example is known which remains today in the Marklin museum in Goppingen.  Based on the black claw couplers this locomotive likely dates from 1936 or 1937.  Although the pantographs pose a slight discrepancy as they are not the version from the RS 700, but rather appear to be from the RS 800 model which was first conceived in 1938.

The first HO Scale CCS prototype which wasn't realized until post-WWII

The first HO Scale CCS 700 prototype later realized as the CCS 800 in 1947.

Marklin produced Version 1 of the CCS 800 in 1947.  This first version is distinct from later variants .2 and .3 because of its Schlitz Schrauben or slotted screws that secure the side linkages to the wheels.  Later versions .2 and .3 produced in the following years had hexagonal screws.  There is also a slight color difference between the first version and the next few subsequent versions.


Marklin CCS 800 from 1948/49 is either a Version .2 or .3 with hexagonal screws, square-framed lamps, and small journal boxes

In the year 1949 the model CCS 800 was reinvented in a new design with engineering elements more similar to the other “Super Model” introduced in the late 1940s.  In the first few years the only change to the new model was the addition of the sandboxes with grooves and a different lamp holder design. The earliest version of the 3015/CCS 800 even feature some of the same parts as the earlier CCS 800.  Such parts include the trailer trucks which were often badly affected by zincpest.  Variations on the design were often so subtle that some collectors revert to weighing the locomotive to determine the exact version!  The CCS 800 and later 3015 (re-numbered in 1957) locomotives underwent subtle changes over the years up to 1958.

“Snow White” crocodiles for New York Central Lines

Special versions of the Swiss crocodile were produced in a snow-white color scheme for the American market of the railway New York Central Lines.  Only one or two examples still exist of the CCS 66 12920 in white.  One is in a museum in Belgium of a famous collector who has the locomotive displayed in a private museum display.  American distributor Richard Marklin ordered this locomotive specially for the American market.  Several manufacturers including Emil Valker of Santhion in Hungary produce a replica of this locomotive in O Gauge.  There are no known Gauge 1 variants of this white-painted crocodile but manufacturers have produced this locomotive as a dream-creation as well.


Marklin 31860 150th Anniversary Swiss Crocodile of “New York Central Lines”

For its 50th anniversary of producing the legendary crocodile, Marklin made the models 30159 and 36159 in 1996.  These locomotives were in brown livery and the other in the same construction as the original 3015. Later in 2009, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Marklin firm, they produced two models faithful to the original one.  These locomotives came as part of the boxed set 31859.  One locomotive in this set was in white livery for the New York Central Lines.  This locomotive carries semblance to the special-order locomotive in O Gauge mentioned earlier.  Marklin formed its business in 1859 and as a tribute to this, they made the set in a limited edition of just 1859 units. In the summer of 2009, Marklin presented the same set with different numbers, under set number 31860.  Marklin limited the production of this set to just 500 units.

Crocodiles in the smallest Z scale

With the introduction of Z scale in the 1980s, Marklin of course had to produce a mini-sized crocodile.  Despite the challenges of building a difficult and intricate articulated design on such a small platform, Marklin achieved its goal.  The Swiss Era II 91mm number 88563 of prototype Ce 6/8 III became the pinnacle of Marklin’s engineering effort in Z scale.

Marklin 885663 locomotive in Z scale

Marklin 885663 locomotive in Z scale

Replica Marklin crocodiles

The Italian manufacturer Biaggi run by Francesco Biaggi produced a wonderful Gauge I crocodile with semblance to the original Marklin crocodile.   Its design and styling are exquisite, just like the original.  The best produced models from Biaggi have a wonderful shine from the hand-lacquering as did the Marklin locos from the time.  Jim Kelly-Evans from has done a wonderful video showing his Biaggi crocodile in operation on his layout:

Well-known producers Selzer and HEHR also produce Marklin crocodiles in O Gauge.  The manufacturers Thul, Twerenbold, Langefeld, and Santhion of Hungary are also known to produce high-quality reproduction crocodiles.  A controversial topic with regard to Marklin crocodile reproductions is the use of the Marklin bicycle insignia on hood of the articulated “legs” of the crocodiles.  Most manufacturers leave out this insignia to avoid any potential confusion or copyright infringement.  However, some manufacturers include the insignia or add the insignia after normal production.

Another such notable manufacturer with roots in Switzerland where these locomotives were original produced is Elektro Keiser (Alois Keiser).  The A3/5 Nr. 700-811 Crocodile was produced in O Gauge possibly in the 1940s or 1950s. The massive, highly-detailed engine measures approx. 18-inches in length.

Keiser crocodile. Source: AmbroseBauer Trains

While many collectors like their replicas exactly like the original, this presents potential problems with fakes and forgeries.  When collectors cannot easily differentiate a reproduction from an original there is potential for disappointment.

Top Marklin Lots for “Swiss” Locos

Catalog of Collectibles: hobbyDB adds Marklin Cars, Trains, and More

hobbyDB of Boulder, Colorado has the ambitious mission of cataloging all collectibles in their Wikipedia-style catalog and search engine.  Particularly interesting to Marklin collectors is the Marklin brand page which already has a nice overview of the company and the various categories where collectibles have been added.  hobbyDB knows that collectors often like to get very detailed about describing their prized collectibles and analyze all the different variations of a single model.  Marklin collectors know this very well:  a single cowcatcher added to a locomotive like the R 700 from 1937 could in some cases increase the value by a factory of ten!  Original boxes, paint schemes, production years, and more can all influence the value and rarity of a particular piece.

hobbyDB also has a marketplace with stores to sell collectibles and it’s as simple as finding the item in their catalog and clicking the “Sell” button.  Then it’s up to the seller to describe their specific item and promote the item to interested collectors.

Here are some highlights we found from the hobbyDB catalog in the Marklin category:

Marklin Clockwork Fire Patrol Wagon

Following the turn of the Century, Marklin produced a series of series of toys that had an incredible attention to detail and sense of realism.  Marklin boats and ocean liners were often powered by real live-steam engines and had detailed rigging apparatuses and life boats.  Their vehicles had an equal quality.  Among the most sought after vehicles are the fire patrol wagons, and if you’re very lucky the fire station which housed these vehicles.  Only a few examples of this fire station house are still in existence.  Such fire wagons were outfitted with rubber tires, front lamps, ladders, fire crews, and rubber fire hoses that could actually spray water with the help of a hand-crank pump mechanism!

Marklin Clockwork Fire Patrol Wagon sold by Mint & Boxed

Marklin Clockwork Fire Patrol Wagon sold by Mint & Boxed (view in catalog)

Marklin Commodore Vanderbilt

A striking example of American locomotives produced by Marklin was the Commodore Vanderbilt train of the New York Central Lines railway.  This locomotive marks the peak of Marklin’s O Gauge production for the 20-Volt “Super Models” which can be easily identified by the orange lighting bolt insignia toward the front of the locomotive flanking the smoke stack on both sides.  Such a locomotive like this would be commonly followed by a string of green 60cm Pullman coaches.  At the very end of the consist might be the highly sought after observation car which has a small balcony and veranda at the end of the car.  The Pullman coaches of the time carried names like “ALTOONA” and “GEORGE WASHINGTON.”

Marklin Commodore Vanderbilt Locomotive AK 66 12920

Marklin Commodore Vanderbilt Locomotive AK 70 12920 (view in catalog)

Marklin “Providence” Paddle Ship

The early paddle steam ships certainly rank among the most charming of Marklin’s line of boats following the turn of the Century.  Such boats are also among the most detailed with chains holding the large smoke stack in place, life boats hung at the rear on large hooks, detailed railings and stair cases and incredible hand-painting throughout.


Marklin “Providence” Paddle Steam Ship (view in catalog)

October Update: Hello Marklin Collectors!

Hello Marklin Collectors!
It’s been a while since our last update so we wanted to catch you up on the Marklin world. Recently we featured some Marklin highlights from auctions presented by Bertoia Auctions and NETTE Auctions. We also presented some wonderful photos of the Hans-Peter Porsche Traumwerk antique toy collection and expansive layout. This update we are also sharing with you some interesting Marklin lots that are up for sale. If you haven’t seen them yet, check them out and let us know what you think.

Until next time!


PS. You can always visit our Facebook page for more frequent updates.


Recent Posts

Vibrant Colors in Bertoia Fall Start Sale

Bertoia Auctions’ Fall Start Sale brings in the fall season with yet another offering of fantastic Marklin treasures. Marklin steam-powered “Amerika” ocean liner ( link to lot ) Marklin Clockwork Gauge 1 “Congressional Limited” Set ( link to lot ) Marklin Gauge 1 Central Station ( link to lot ) Marklin Gauge O Electric Hudson AHR 66 12920 ( link to lot ) View the full online catalog on LiveAuctio

NETTE Auctions :: October Toy and Train Auction

NETTE Auctions (New England Toy Train Exchange) of Danbury, Connecticut is well known among collectors for their professional service and wonderful toy and train auctions. Their next auction, October Toy & Train Event , boasts over 500 lots of quality toys and trains. NETTE Auctions also quite frequently offers Marklin items in their auctions. Here’s our two favorite Marklin lots in the auction:

Hans-Peter Porsche TraumWerk: A Dream World for Railway and Toy Fans

Since its opening in June 2015, the Hans-Peter Porsche TraumWerk has delighted its guests with a model railway of around 400 square meters in size, legendary vintage cars and a huge collection of rare toys. The TraumWerk resides in the upper Bavarian municipalities Anger/Aufham in the region Berchtesgadener Land. Here Hans-Peter Porsche, grandson of the legendary company founder

Top Marklin Lots

Marklin SK 851/4 Train Set from 1945
A wonderful PX set complete with SK 800 locomotive, 4x 350 series cars, track, a transformer, and instruction sheets.
View Lot
Marklin Tin Clockwork Graf Zeppelin D-LZ 127 Airship with Box
Rare and interesting blimp produced by Marklin in the 1920s with original box!View Lot

Notice: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Vibrant Colors in Bertoia Fall Start Sale

Bertoia Auctions’ Fall Start Sale brings in the fall season with yet another offering of fantastic Marklin treasures.  We start off with a beautiful ocean liner with the sailing name “Amerika.”  This wonderful vessel is propelled by a real live-steam power plant fueled by an alcohol burner.  The ship is said to be from the original family that purchased the boat nearly a century ago.  The vessel is a fine example of the Marklin boats produced in the later years until production of such large ships finally stopped in the late 1920s.

Marklin steam-powered "Amerika" ocean liner

Marklin steam-powered “Amerika” ocean liner (link to lot)

The “CONGRESSIONAL LIMITED” is a favorite American steam outline train and came in several different variations and gauges.  The example here includes a passenger car, combine car, and a wind-up locomotive with classic American trains like the front cattle catcher and bell.  The combine car has a sliding door perhaps for loading larger freight and is  partially filled with seats for passengers.


Marklin Clockwork Gauge 1 “Congressional Limited” Set (link to lot)

With a side patio, cafe chairs, an ornate awning, ticket booth, and signal bell, this wonderful “Central Station” in Gauge 1 is perhaps the most simple variant of the ultra-rare class of stations that are larger and more ornate stations, such as the “Cafe Station.”  This example is believed to be Nr. 2651/1 as found in the 1904 main product catalog from Marklin.  The catalog describes two variations of this station, one in Gauge 1 and one for Gauge II with two side halls.  Other similar stations such as Nr. 2650 uses the same building form and structure but do not have a side hall.  Station Nr. 2650/1 is the same but comes with an attached overhead awning high enough that a train can pass through on an included piece of track.  Our example here appears to be in excellent condition.  It has English writing for “Passage” and “Refreshments Room” so must have been for the American market or other large English-speaking markets.  There are many different variations of this station, some with Dutch, German, Spanish, or French inscription.  The French version is also special because it is sometimes painted in a predominantly bright red and white color scheme.


Marklin Gauge 1 Central Station (link to lot)

The Hudson locomotive is a favorite for any collector interested in American-style trains especially with the front cowcatcher.  This O Gauge example is probably the “newest” of the lots we have selected here as it was produced in the 1930s for the American market.  The auction description states that only 50 were produced.  Marklin rarely released production quantities and even when they did collectors still debate how many were actually produced in all series including prototypes, pre-series, special variations, etc.  Whatever the quantity, this locomotive was probably imported by Richard Marklin who was the American importer for Marklin by the name of “Richard Marklin Toys.”  The collector that buys this locomotive will have to search long and hard for an accompanying tender or settle for a well-made replica.  And then the hunt begins for a string of cars for this steam locomotive to haul around the tracks.  The green New York Central Pullman cars measuring over 50cm long would go very well with this loco or its brother the Commodore Vanderbilt.

Marklin Gauge O Electric Hudson AHR 66 12920

Marklin Gauge O Electric Hudson AHR 66 12920 (link to lot)

View the full online catalog on LiveAuctioneers. 

NETTE Auctions :: October Toy and Train Auction

NETTE Auctions (New England Toy Train Exchange) of Danbury, Connecticut is well known among collectors for their wonderful toy and train auctions.  Their next auction, October Toy & Train Event, boasts over 500 lots of quality toys and trains.  NETTE Auctions also quite frequently offers Marklin items in their auctions.  Here’s our two favorite Marklin lots in the auction:

Marklin CER 65/12021 Gauge 1 electric locomotive

Marklin CER 65/12021 Gauge 1 electric locomotive (link to lot)


Two Marklin Steeple-cab locos

Two Marklin Steeple-cab locos (link to lot)


More information about NETTE Auctions can be found on their website.

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