When Alessandro Rossi started his company in 1945, he knew that he wanted to make model trains. His fascination with trains began as a small child when he was given a Hornby Meccano train. This old clockwork train inspired Rossi to create Rivarossi model trains years later. He learned everything he could about the trains by reading subscriptions that his father bought him, written in both English and French.
At the time that Rivarossi was the only model train manufacturer in Italy. Rossi setup shop in a part of a factory the created electric commutators. This is where Rossi met his soon to be partner, Riva. Riva unfortunately wasn’t with the new company long, once he realized the direction things were headed.
Rivarossi started out producing solely the OO scale trains. In the early 1950s, the interest from America caused the company to start going in a slightly different direction with the production of HO scale trains. By the 1970s, Rivarossi sold mostly to the United States. Under pressure from their clients the company moved in the direction of creating the N scale trains.
Due to some financial difficulties, however, the name Rivarossi is not produced by its own company anymore. Today the intellectual rights and casts are owned and still produced by the Hornby company. While the Hornby line of Rivarossi is still a popular line, true collectors often search for the original trains that were once sold by Rivarossi. Their N scale line, however, is the property of Atlas motel trains so you can find many of their N scale designs here.
If you are in the market for one of these little gems you just need to take a stroll on the internet. Since these trains are exceedingly popular don’t be surprised if you find some of these pieces can be a little pricey. A great place to start your search is on EBay. You can often find good deals on these types of models. If you are looking for one in good condition, be sure to look very closely at the pictures.
Vintage pieces can date all the way back from the middle 1940’s which ran on AC power, unlike most of today’s trains. Rivarossi didn’t start developing and producing DC powered trains until the mid 1950s. The AC powered trains are probably the most difficult to find. Since they were not manufactured for as long as the remaining models produced by Rivarossi, these will be on the upper end of the range when it comes to prices.
With such a limited amount of trains made this way it’s little wonder why they are considered to be among the more popular pieces collected by enthusiasts.
Finding original 1940’s pieces might be a little difficult or pricey for many collectors. There are still extraordinary pieces available. Even if you aren’t interested in spending that much, there are other, newer models for you to choose from. Another popular version is their Big Boy. While this was one of the more popular pieces in the later years of the company, the original Big Boys are still sought after by most collectors. These HO scale models replicate the 1940’s engines that were so massive that it required eight axles per engine. The actual engines were used to help run supplies during World War II. Because of the historical significance of the actual engines, the replica trains have become popular.
If you still want one of these wonderful pieces and are willing to do a little restoration work, there are several vendors out there that have just that. You can get some for real cheap if you are willing to do some of the work. You might have to put in a new motor, or replace some other parts that are prone to wear but it is worth it to have a fully restored Rivarossi model trains. Be careful, however, when you purchase one of these second hand trains. You want to make sure that you inspect the engine as closely as possible. You want to ensure that the engine you are purchasing is not rusted in any way. There is some damage that may not be repairable and you need to look for that kind of damage. You also need to know your limits when it comes to restorations. You don’t need a train that needs more work than you can perform so it will be restored properly.
Rivarossi trains, even though they can still be found new, their vintage pieces are the prize for many. As the first Italian manufacturers, they are a true gems.