1952 Technofix, Geisterbahn (Ghost Train) in Original Box

1952 Technofix, Geisterbahn (Ghost Train) in Original Box

This is the clockwork tin litho Ghost Train, also known as the Halloween Train. It's German name is Geisterbahn. This example rates as one of the best I've seen; conservatively grading excellent++ to near mint. It comes with the highest grade box I've seen for the toy; easily excellent+ to near mint. It also has the first set of original instructions I've seen!

Structurally, the Ghost Train concept was used for several other Technofix toys. It has two separate tinplate trains or cars with complex forward and reverse wind-up mechanisms. Both have solid clockwork construction. 

The cars run over a simple 18" x 25" oval track. This includes 4 curves, 1 straight, and an elaborately  designed full color, deeply embossed tunnel. As part of the set it also includes a metal shunting rod which looks similar to a fish hook. Although difficult to find I've seen the toy several times, but this is the first one with a shunting rod. Another thing I never knew is that in order to work correctly the trains must run in a specific direction, left to right.

Method 1
The underlying feature is its "mystery action". Whenever a train car enters the tunnel another will emerge, but you can never tell which one it'll be. The mystery action works two ways. To begin, both trains are wound, but not tightly. Each has it own original nickel plated cast iron key with packaging. One of the cars is placed inside the tunnel in the direction which stops it from moving. Stopping is accomplished by contact of a metal clip underneath the train with switchable track inside the tunnel. Each has a metal clip which, when make contact, is immediately stopped. At this point the motor shuts off automatically to conserve power. The second train will eventually enter the tunnel a switch clip located on the track. This causes the switch to change position releasing the first car which then travels back through the tunnel entrance. 

Method 2
I'm familiar with the switching method, but I didn't realize that in addition it also uses a secondary shunting device. This is an intricately curved steel rod which hangs down freely from the tunnel roof.  A train striking the shunting rod is randomly forced left or right (inside the tunnel). So there are actually two ways that the car position can be altered. 

One point to mention....despite having written directions it was extremely difficult to figuring out how to set up the shunt. Eventually I came up with laying the rod between the interlocking tabs which hold the tunnel halves together. I really couldn't test it out, because it would scratch the cars. However, using the first method, it functioned beautifully and for an unusually long time.

The box European style box is completely blank except for a full color cover print. It shows a dark clear night with th train speeding out of control to a dark castle. The engineer is asleep at the controls. People are screaming while bizarre creatures infest the cars. If you look closely one of the passengers was so affected that he vomited through an open window! Also included are sheets of old packing paper. I'm not sure if these are original to the toy. 

Size: Cars 4". Box 15" x 9" x 2ΒΌ". 

Sold: Jul. 2010

Price Sold: $ 577


 

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