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Offline Twinrover1965  
#1 Posted : 11 June 2019 14:44:06(UTC)
Twinrover1965

United Kingdom   
Joined: 18/03/2018(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: England, London
I have purchased some 1950s VB track which I saw on ebay recently and is in good condition. I am well aware of its association with Marklin M Track. However, I have got the second version which has a brass third rail but was mounted on quite an attractive silver coloured metal bedding, and no, it isn't Primark. Another rail and it would make quite decent London Underground tube track but that is wishful thinking! The first type, released in 1950, was a sandy colour, and the third kind abandoned the third rail altogether and had studs [pukos] instead. Does anybody know the years in which this, second, silver grey version was available? From my own estimation, it could have only been a few years in the latter part of the 1950s that it was advertised. I think by the time Triang swallowed up VB in 1960 the stud system was already in use.

I would also like to know what electrical system should be deployed as ostensibly it seems AC loks and electrics should be used. However, I have seen reference to VB trains and track being 12volt DC, similar to Hornby Dublo. To avoid damage to my loks and possible summoning of the emergency services, could anyone clarify, please? Any recommendation for a controller? The feeder track, by the way, has three terminals.

I would also appreciate any technical tips/insights regarding using this track. I have frequently read that all the VB items were well made and respected for good quality in France and even in the UK until Triang came along and smashed it to pieces, spitting it out a year later. in 1961. It is worth noting that their modern day counterpart, Hornby is doing exactly the same thing to Electrotren, Jouef and Rivarossi. Let's hope they don't get hold of Marklin!
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Offline kimballthurlow  
#2 Posted : 12 June 2019 04:30:57(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 5,909
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Hi TwinRover,
I have quite a lot of the VB track, and I assume it is the same as yours with greyish base.
Firstly it matters not which type of electricity you use, AC or DC.
I use mine with Hornby Dublo 3 rail rolling models.
But I can also use it with ordinary modern 2 rail Hornby etc.

Here some facts which I have researched over time.
The VB three rails are isolated from one another.
So you can use it with 3 rail or 2 rail models, though not at the same time.
This is unlike Hornby Dublo (and Maerklin), where the two outside rails are connected, and the centre rail is isolated.
It is built to a very substantial specification, with pressed steel bed, individual Bakelite sleepers, and Bakelite insulation between rail holding clips and bed.
I would say that due to the high standard, and time in manufacture, it would have cost 3 times the HD equivalent at the time.
The outer rail on curves, is super-elevated by 1-1.5mm, by a clever pressing and folding of the metal track bed.

The earliest VB track was I understand on a cork base (not metal). That may explain the sandy colouring you mention.
I have seen the two-rail version of track, but have never seen any VB centre-stud track.

Kimball
HO Scale - Märklin (ep III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail (USA and Australia) - 3 rail (English Hornby Dublo) - a few old O gauge.
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Offline Michael4  
#3 Posted : 12 June 2019 09:20:48(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 450
Location: England, South Coast
I have a two rail 12v DC VB loco.

It has pick ups that would have been interchangeable so that it could run on 3 rail, Hornby style.
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Offline Gleis3601  
#4 Posted : 15 June 2019 08:01:36(UTC)
Gleis3601

Germany   
Joined: 28/10/2017(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Hessen
very nice
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Offline Michael4  
#5 Posted : 15 June 2019 12:19:05(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 450
Location: England, South Coast
Like this:

UserPostedImagevb435 by dralowid, on Flickr

Battered but good quality.

For those who remember London in the 50s/60s VB was available at the big toy shop, Hamleys, in Regent Street. I remember there was a track all the way round an upstairs balcony and the Mistral, with silver coaches could be seen running at high speed with pantographs sparking when the lights were turned down. Of course at the time it was a record breaker.

There is nothing quite like live catenary...
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Offline Twinrover1965  
#6 Posted : 12 July 2019 13:07:51(UTC)
Twinrover1965

United Kingdom   
Joined: 18/03/2018(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: England, London
Thank you all so much for your informative and helpful replies. I have discovered a superb book devoted to VB Trains [published by LR Presse at 49 Euros] with the full story, including a whole chapter devoted to the many varieties of track.

In fact, it was VB's engineer that had developed the "stud" - ["plots" in French] track and patented it in France in the mid 1940s. Marklin purchased the patent in 1949. However, VB iself didn't market this system until 1959, retaining third rail, which was more expensive than the two rail stud track, until 1960. I strongly recommend getting hold of this book.

While the text is in French, the colourful and engaging illustrations are enough to tell the story. VB Trains Book.jpg
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Offline VB3900  
#7 Posted : 21 October 2019 13:39:04(UTC)
VB3900

Netherlands   
Joined: 22/07/2017(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Rotterdam
IMG_20190727_162810.jpgIMG_20190727_162825.jpg

Thanks for suggesting the VB-book. Attached 2 pics just to illustrate VB's charm. Very good in combination with Marklins 3800/3900.

Kind regards,
Marc/VB3900
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Offline VB3900  
#8 Posted : 21 October 2019 14:01:20(UTC)
VB3900

Netherlands   
Joined: 22/07/2017(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Rotterdam
IMG_20190727_162848.jpgIMG_20191009_145931.jpg
Referring to & correcting my recent post VB is not only perfect in combination with 3900-tracks but also with 5100. Because VB nor Marklin produced switching double crossings, I modified 5207's and 5202's in the direction of the geometrical measures of 'VB3900'.

Also available are (the last) VB-Puko's. Once foreseen as inner circle in my horseshoe-curve (attachment). Connected with VB-middlerail whith VB special adapting-rail (half Puko/half middle rail) there is short circuit. Seems like + turns into -/-. Help please!

Kind regards,
Marc/VB3900

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Offline VB3900  
#9 Posted : 21 October 2019 14:21:24(UTC)
VB3900

Netherlands   
Joined: 22/07/2017(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Rotterdam
IMG_20190727_162732.jpgIMG_20190727_162752.jpgsorry fot that.

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Offline JohnjeanB  
#10 Posted : 21 October 2019 18:55:00(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,198
Location: Paris, France
Hi Marc

The VB trains and track were the top when I was a kid in 1955. They made me dream. Long trains (suspended axles), gentle curves, prototypical track spacing, full block system capability, super elevation in curves, etc... They were a model train for professionals. The drawbacks; they were expensive, restricted loco choice, the third rail not replaced with studs and the missing double slip switch (which Märklin designed until the prototype phase and then decided to phase out the "Modellgleis". Too bad because of the fantastic charm of this modelling approach.

I like your pictures
Cheers

Jean
My layout videos
latest vid
hump yard
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Offline kimballthurlow  
#11 Posted : 22 October 2019 00:39:44(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 5,909
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Originally Posted by: VB3900 Go to Quoted Post

... with VB-middlerail whith VB special adapting-rail (half Puko/half middle rail) there is short circuit. Seems like + turns into -/-. Help please!

Kind regards,
Marc/VB3900



Hi Marc,

It depends on whether running 2 rail or 3 rail.
Outside rails in your layout must be electrically either ALL isolated (for two rail) or ALL connected (for 3 rail)!
If you have ONE rail somewhere different it may cause a problem.

Adapting rail:
Can you check with a multi-meter that outside rails are isolated from the middle rail/puko?
And then check that the outside rails are isolated from each other.
VB may have made the adapting-rail on the assumption that the outside rails are connected (which is OK for 3 rail).

Kimball
HO Scale - Märklin (ep III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail (USA and Australia) - 3 rail (English Hornby Dublo) - a few old O gauge.
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Offline VB3900  
#12 Posted : 22 October 2019 13:38:37(UTC)
VB3900

Netherlands   
Joined: 22/07/2017(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Rotterdam
IMG_20191022_124144.jpgIMG_20191022_124134.jpgIMG_20191022_124126.jpgIMG_20191022_124202.jpgIMG_20191022_131356.jpg

Thanks Kimball,

Probably a little misunderstanding caused by my wrong expression (everything here runs 3-rail AC so using M-trackpieces doesn't bother). Short-circuit only occures using VB's adapter-rails. However I didn't check with a multi-meter this shouldn't happen with this special adapters.

Thanks to your contribution I tried again (after years). This time a bit more secure: surprisingly no problem anymore. Exept when the adapter-railbody touches a M-railbody (i.c. 3900) beneath. Avoiding this, the problem seemed to be solved. As technically quite under-educated I blindly depend on experienIMG_20191022_133749.jpgce. How this adapter-rails works I don't know. There seemes to be a change between middelrail- and Pukopart. I hope bygoing pics are helpfull by giving answers to this 'miracle'.

Cheers,
Marc
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Offline Twinrover1965  
#13 Posted : 20 June 2020 10:10:08(UTC)
Twinrover1965

United Kingdom   
Joined: 18/03/2018(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: England, London
Hi VB 3900: Where did you source your VB track and catenary? It's a risky business on eBay although I have been lucky. Have you got any tips on how and best places to buy? Thanks. Twinrover.
Offline Tom Jessop  
#14 Posted : 22 June 2020 01:44:50(UTC)
Tom Jessop

Australia   
Joined: 14/12/2002(UTC)
Posts: 844
Location: Newcastle NSW Australia




Big , heavy with a very industrial look , I like it . Shame quality, like these tracks ,is not made anymore , instead we have accepted models which break due to being to flimsy just to make a extra Euro from the customer, cut back on specification size with thinner bodies made from plastic instead of the older tinplate ones we used to have available . Models with so much extraneous fittings on the body that will break off on the first run on the layout or even sooner when removing from the flimsy carton . where is there a workable time machine where I can go back to a useable modelwhich will not break within the first week of being used ?



Cheers Tom in Oz [ must have a bad case of lock down fever ] .
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Offline Michael4  
#15 Posted : 22 June 2020 14:30:19(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 450
Location: England, South Coast
The vendors on Ebay.fr have been OK for me so far. Many of them say they will not post abroad in their ads. However, if you ask nicely...
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Offline kimballthurlow  
#16 Posted : 23 June 2020 00:00:39(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 5,909
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Originally Posted by: Tom Jessop Go to Quoted Post


Big , heavy with a very industrial look , I like it . Shame quality, like these tracks ,is not made anymore ,...
Tom


Hi Tom,
I have a few circuits worth of this VB track. Yes it is very well made, like it was made in the steel works at Waratah. :-)
My assessment is that it would in its day have been priced at 2 to 3 times the cost of Hornby Dublo 3 rail tin-plate track if that gives you some idea.
VB even managed superelevation on the curves with a higher bend on the outer ballasting form.

regards
Kimball
HO Scale - Märklin (ep III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail (USA and Australia) - 3 rail (English Hornby Dublo) - a few old O gauge.
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Offline JohnjeanB  
#17 Posted : 23 June 2020 00:12:31(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,198
Location: Paris, France
Hi Kimball
An illustration of what you say is the price comparision between the standard Puko track, the standard trach and the 3900 (Modellgleis and copy to the VB track):
- the modellgleis was approx 1.9 times more expensive than the new standard puko gleis in Märklin catalogue in 1956
- the switches were almost the double price of the new switches (Puko points)
It sadly explains why the expensive marvels had little future back then (with VB and Märklin)
Cheers
Jean
My layout videos
latest vid
hump yard
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