The Austrian company Roco Model Railway GmbH (formerly Roco Model Toys Ltd.) is a manufacturer of model trains.


The model trains have produced the nominal sizes H0 (1:87) and to a lesser extent TT ( 1:120 ) and H0e (1:87 ) ( narrow-gauge ). The development and production in N ( 1:160 ) was abandoned after the takeover of the company Fleischmann by the common parent model railroad holding. She is in Europe by Märklin with € 128 million and € 70.6 million with Hornby, currently € 55 million annual turnover of the third largest supplier in the European model railway industry. ( Sales figures as of 2008)


Early Years

Roco was founded in 1960 by Dr. -Ing. Karl Heinz Rössler († 1977). First, children's toys were produced. A little later, under the name " Roco mini tanks" and military models of vehicles of various forces. Rössler moved in 1967 to the production of model trains and made first in order for model railway companies from the U.S. locomotives and cars in 1:87 scale, (pronounced Ha - zero) H0 and 0 ( 1:45 ). Roco brought in 1967 for the first time H0 freight car models according to European models on their own to market. Achieved this because of their value for money and high detailing great success especially in Germany. At Roco's first Lokkonstruktionen for the German market was a model of DB Class 215, which was launched in 1973 to market. This was followed in 1975 models of the Tag- wagon of the DB.

The big market entry

In the same year 1975 succeeded Roco to take over a large part of the tools from the holdings of the collapsed model train manufacturer Röwa. This step helped Roco their breakthrough on the European model railway market. The success and so was related that the finely detailed earlier Röwa models cost only 60 percent of the former Röwa price and thus were even cheaper than the models less well-executed the competition. In 1977, the Röwa models, which reflected mainly TEE cars, fast cars, pieces of silver and Eilzugwagen, followed by our own constructions, including Europe procured Eurofima wagon and Corail cars of the SNCF. Likewise with the market entry of Röwa models 1976 model locomotives were offered by DB model as 110 and 140 in many variants and the 111. The program has steadily increased. In addition to DB models were models of ÖBB an emphasis on Roco.

In H0 area taken over from Röwa coaches were already modeled in the length scale of 1:100. The great German model train manufacturer Fleischmann, Märklin and Trix had at that time even more significantly shortened coaches on offer. Only companies like Lilliput and Rivarossi had in 1971 and 1967 respectively to scale long car running, but little success in the market: Because of this time on the model railroad layouts still prevailing tight radii at curves and switches there were problems with the turning behavior of the long cars.

One step to longer dared Roco cars with the replication of standard cars (SBB ) SBB type IV in the length scale 1:93,5, the (1991) and, from 2006, later with the manufacturers Fleischmann Marklin standard. The first car in the correct 1:87 scale by Roco were in 1983 then again replicas of the Eurofima wagon. Roco built the product line of the scale long cars initially hesitant from, including the Eilzugwagen the DB type yl to explore the market. As of 1988, almost all types Roco had in 1:100 - length in the program were also produced in the correct scale. Today the shortened car almost exclusively in the entry-level range will be offered.

At the beginning of the 1970s Roco operated in the gauge 0 However, these activities were lack of economic success not pursued and set the product line again. Innovative remained Roco also with a 1989 featured track system for two-wire paths, which possessed an aligned on model dimensions ballastway of rubber as a replica of the superstructure. In addition, this track system have been less common on high rail profiles than usual with the other traditional German manufacturers - 2.1 instead of 2.5 mm, which one was close to a full-scale rail (UIC 60 rails were in H0 approximately 1.9 mm high). The railway system but is now available due to patent law issues only without the ballast. Alternatively, a geoline called track program is offered with solid track beds made ​​of plastic as a generic demand for construction education, which is very similar to the C-track from Märklin and Trix. In the early 1980s Roco experimented with an electronic joystick box and a switchboard for model railways.

Röwa developed a close coupling, have now been prototypically closely coupled with the model railway wagons, which inevitably can not drive closely coupled because of the usual there tight radii. This was achieved with a special kinematics of the drawbar guide. The cars are pushed or pulled, so that the buffer can not catch apart only in the curves. 1975 offered Roco short couplers for retrofitting, was published in 1976 an improved variant. Other manufacturers followed this trend until 1985 ( Fleischmann ) and 1987 (Märklin ), both of which offer these couplings but now standard on their vehicles to, Roco only as a replacement part. From 1993, a new close-coupling ( " universal coupling ", UK), which is like the Märklin KK compatible with the usual hitherto model railway standard couplings and even with the Märklin product appeared at Roco. In contrast to the Märklin close coupler, this coupling is not entangled with the buffers long model railway wagons. Because patent law problems, this coupling was no longer offered as of the end of 2005, but has since August 2007 back in stock.

Insolvency and their causes

Roco ran into financial difficulties in 2005 (along with other model railway manufacturer also ) and announced on 15 July 2005 bankruptcy. This was due to alleged lack of quality, wrong model selection, and many other management mistakes that could pull the emergency brake, the banks involved, as it was in many model train forums by critics, but also in the press. The business was continued by a collecting society by the name of model railway GmbH, which also owns the rights to the brand name Roco. A major problem is that several patents have been filed not by Roco, but the name of the previous and deposed CEO. Thus, after the fresh start could diverse products no longer only after litigation or only slightly changed (eg the so-called Flüsterschleifer ) produced.

According to a report broadcast on 8 July 2008 the ZDF magazine Frontal21 the cause insolvency of the company, however, presented a completely different dar. Thus Roco had previously been lured with the promise of low-cost loans. Only a few weeks after the completion of the loan agreements with the Raiffeisenverband Salzburg this was then placed all loans due for no apparent reason. The former company owner Peter Maegdefrau: "I can not to this day explain how you come to such steps, if you previously sitting together a few weeks, talks about partnership, long-term bonds. " After Maegdefrau and its 800 employees were then in the credit trap sat: the accounts have been locked, the company had to file for bankruptcy, which Raiffeisenverband Salzburg has benefited considerably. According to research conducted by Frontal 21, the bank knew very well that the company Roco developed well. For founded before the insolvency rescue company had Raiffeisenverband an internal forecast, according to - which would not comment on the Raiffeisenverband Salzburg on request of Frontal 21 - calculated with 3.8 million euro profit in a sale. What is certain is that the Raiffeisenverband is now involved in around 400, some German companies. Peter Maegdefrau filed against the Raiffeisenverband Salzburg now a court action for damages in the amount of 40 million euros a.

Faced a very different Salzburg prosecutor the causes of insolvency. According to a report in the Salzburger Nachrichten on 21 July 2007, the Salzburg prosecutor was convinced, after examining all processes that Maegdefrau has brought about the insolvency of the company's gross negligence. In addition, he was accused by the prosecution to have managed to set aside assets in the company and have also transferred money from the company account to his private account. In the indictment, July 3, 2007 Maegdefrau is accused of fraudulent bankruptcy offense and grossly negligent impairment of creditor interests.

3 May 2010 Maegdefrau was condemned by the Salzburg Regional Court because of several cases of fraud to a prison term of 20 months. Accordingly, he has committed as Managing Director of Roco companies economic crimes by having corporate assets managed to one side. He has no consideration referral fees of around EUR 77,000, - privately conceded. He has also tried himself shortly before the bankruptcy EUR 94.000, - to pay out for alleged benefits, even though he already received a Managing Director with respect to those activities. Also by the application of developed patents in the company on itself Maegdefrau has allowed the company unlawfully deprived assets.

The Business Journal of 10 August 2007 reported that after examination by the prosecutor Salzburg have all allegations Maegdefraus to banks and proven against the bankruptcy trustee to be groundless. The spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office Salzburg told the business daily that the bankruptcy was handled legally, and presentation of Maegdefrau were untrue. However, the could the Salzburg Regional Court in its judgment of 3 May 2010 will not connect, saying Maegdefrau of the insolvency responsibility -free, which was confirmed by the Higher Regional Court of Linz on 21 March 2011 in the revision process (AZ 35Hv 153/07y ). Thus, the bankruptcy is still an unsolved case.

Development after the bankruptcy

Following the bankruptcy Roco was initially continued by Raiffeisen and resold to Freising entrepreneur Franz -Josef Haslberger in September 2007. In 2007, the company was able to write again gains and achieved sales of 34.6 million euros, an increase of 12 % in early 2008, the German - Austrian model railway Holding, the owner of the Roco model railway GmbH, also the competitors Fleischmann, the former number four the European market - behind Marklin, Hornby and Roco - accepted. The end of 2008 the rights were acquired model train parts of the company small program.


The company H0 models are fitted as standard for the two -wire DC system. In addition, however, offered by House of a variety of models, including the Central -wire AC system of the manufacturer Märklin. In addition, it is common that when buying car models clutches and axles for the desired current system at no extra charge to be replaced by the dealer. A special feature of Roco locomotives was and is equipped with a flywheel, which give the models prototypical fairer handling characteristics. Today this technology is standard on all major manufacturers.

In digital control Roco offers its own range of products that corresponds to the system of the company Lenz. However, the actual control panel is the control unit, the so-called Locomouse, the central unit is basically just a special amplifier. The components are connected via the X-bus system. The system operates according to the NMRA / DCC standard, the special is the beginning with 0 address range for the accessory decoder. For the control with the PC there is a serial interface and the software Rocomotion, a special version of the Train Controller of the company Freiwald.


The company is based in Bergheim (Salzburg). There are next to senior management, global sales and marketing and product management and all commercial areas of the business. Also to be found in Bergheim service department and parts warehouse.

In the work Gloggnitz parts of the Roco rail system, the motors, circuit boards, pantographs, controllers and wheels for further processing in the other locations are made. In Gloggnitz but also the plastic injection castings and injection molds for locomotives and wagons will be manufactured.

In Roco plant Banska Bystrica in central Slovakia is the production. Here are the locomotives of both current systems and the cars are assembled.

The work Arad ( Romania) is the latest production facility Roco. Here, the bulk of the H0- rail and a part of the program is made Roco wagon.