Who Invented Electric Trains?

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Active Member
I was thanking God for the guy who Invented Electric Trains and I thought "who did invent Electric Trains? I bet one or more of the members will know!"

I would love to hear about the history of Electric Trains, if anyone has the knowledge and the time to share it I would appreciate it.


Active Member
Thank you Mark, that was very interesting and I learned something as well. I had believed O gauge was the letter O but now I see that is it Zero.

I guess it is up for debate who actually made the first electric train.

If anyone has any further information I would appreciate it.
Joshua Lionel Cowen, if not the actual inventor, certainly was a pioneer in creating a full line of electric trains along with a successful marketing campaign. Oddly enough, his first creation - a simple motorized wagon on a circle of track - was originally meant as a marketing tool for merchants to use in window displays. When customers were more interested in the little rail wagon than what merchants place in it, Lionel Trains was born. The rest is history.

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
The earliest actual electric toy (model) train I could find is this:

This electric train was marketed by Jehu Garlick in 1895.
That is one very interesting locomotive. It appears it may have originally had only one axle powered and used a side rod to connect the second axle as evidenced by the bosses on the spoke webs above the hubs. Trolley pole looks insulated at the roof and a wire is visible through the cab window. Pretty advanced for 1895 I would say!

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