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Archive for the 'Odds and Ends' Category

The Russian O Gauge Train Set.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

The Russian train set was made in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. At least I think so because there are dates or at least things that could be dates rubber-stamped on the bottoms of all the items. This was sold as a set with all the items shown below and a bridge and crossing gate not shown.

The track is numbered with riveted on metal tags. You start with the section numbered one and connect number two to it and so on until you have set up the entire layout. There are wire harnesses that clip to the track and have plugs similar to the type found on Marklin HO trains.

All the contents appear to be copies of toy trains made by other manufacturers. Oddly the Russians did not copy new trains, they copied older items. This could be because their technology was better suited to making trains with 20-year-old manufacturing methods.

The die casting of the engine is very well executed, and the overall construction is superb. These could be the only toy trains produced in a command economy. Obviously the profit motive was not a factor in the design. As far as I know after 1948 no American company made complete ready to run train sets that included accessories except Marx’s low cost train sets and the failed All Aboard train sets made by American Flyer in the 1960’s. The accessories included with the Russian train were not available separately. However, there does seem to be a lot more accessories out there than trains. This could be because the trains were thrown out instead of being repaired and the accessories were then used with other trains.

Note: Pictures are note to scale. Engine is actually longer than the passenger cars.

The Set.

This is the set with a few extra items added.
The Station.

The station has a bell inside it and light. The station has punched out widows with nice sheetmetal frames in them. They look like they were designed to hold glass in the frames. There is no glass in the frames though. There is, however, plated sheetmetal in the frames. Note sheetmetal, unlike glass is NOT transparent. So why is there a bulb inside? I used to joke with my dad when he had only one station to look at that it must be because they were designed by a committe. One person wanted a lighted station, while another thought the shiney metal looked good so they compromised and did both! As an aside I hate committes and run when ever one
is suggested. We also surmised that it was because they were made inCommunist Russia and the guy who added the bulb to the station needed the job. Only one station came with the set. The station on the left should have light covers like the upper station on the streetlights.

These small holes are the only place light can come out of the station. Notice black lettering on one and red on other.

The Engine.

The engine is a big blue 12 wheeled diesel locomotive. It is diecast metal. Only the four inner wheels are powered. The loco can also be found in brown or green.

The Passenger Cars.

The set came with two of these green coaches. There is a variation of the lettering and the color changes to a brighter shade in the later trains.

The Boxcar.

Only one of these came in the set. There are probably variations in the lettering, but with only the one shown to look at I can’t make any statements. The door slides. All cars have die cast metal wheels with oversized flanges. And couplers similar to American Flyer Link and Pin style couplers.

The Flat Car.

One flatcar came in each set. This car comes in two shades of brown. Only one is shown. I don’t know if this car came with a load.

The Gateman and Flagman.

The Gateman is a copy of a Lionel 45 gateman introduced in 1935. When a train goes past the man comes out and waves at traffic. It does not have warning sign like Lionel’s version. The Flagman is a smaller copy of the Lionel 1045 Flagman introduced in 1938. Like the Gateman there is not a crossing sign.

Streetlights and Block Signals.

I don’t know how many of each came with a set. Two different bases were made over the years. The block signal also came with two different heads. The streetlight has a glass bowl over the bulb to give it the shape you see in the photo. The Transformer is rated at 75 watts and runs on 127 volts 50 cycle current. The output is 5 to 13 volts AC for the train and 13 volts for the accessories.This is a beautiful set of trains with an interesting history.

Real Train Signals

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I bought a bunch of real railroad signals, lanterns and switch stands today. I think a switch stand will make a great mail box holder. I bought the stands without knowing how heavy they were, but the woman threw in an old cast iron handcart to move them around. The handcart is pretty neat too!

In among the haul were three of these short signals. They are boxes with Corning glass colored lenses on each side on a heavy steel post. The boxes are mounted on the poles in different configurations.

Here’s a photo of one. The color on these is dirty black. The lighter areas are because the signal was still wet from me hosing it off. These were in a back yard with grass and weeds covering them so only a small bit of the pole was visible.

yard signal

Here’s a close up of the signal’s face. The lenses are 4.5 inches in diameter.

yard signal face

Here’s a top view. Each box has two bulbs and has space for 3 lenses. There doesn’t appear to be an area to mount a missing divider between the bulbs.

yard signal face

They are about 30 inches tall and the top is about 13 inches square. Set up for electric bulbs, never had any kerosene fonts.

These came from a former Southern Pacific engineer’s estate. He retired in 1961. The stuff I got with these came from various western railroads, but much of it was from the SP.

If you know what these signals are drop me a note. TERRY AT NALROO DOT COM.

If you’re researching and found this page, here’s a link to a website I found with lots of pictures of interesting railroad signals.

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Lionel 5A Test Set 1938 Only

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Lionel 5A test stand
Lionel made a series of test stands for service station use. The one shown here is 5A for 1938 only. In 1939 Lionel changed it a bit and renumbered it the 5B. In the postwar period they made 5C, 5D, 5E, and 5F with different capabilities.

The 5A and 5B test stands tested Standard gauge, O gauge, and OO gauge trains in addition to every type of accessory and transformer Lionel made.

Close ups of the knobs and switches are shown below:

Lionel 5A test stand

Lionel 5A test stand

Top view showing T-rail track. I think the end bumpers on this are not correct?

Lionel 5A test stand T-rail track

When you connect an automatic station or semaphore to these terminals:

Lionel 5A tester station terminals

This motor inside the unit simulates a train entering and leaving the block:

Lionel 5A tester Inside View

Here’s an end view:

Lionel 5A tester end View

The Lionel 5A tester is 24 inches long, 7 inches wide at the base, and 7 inches tall to the track platform.

The Lionel 5A test stand came with instructions so the service station operator knew how to connect the accessories, and run the diagnostic tests. The instructions with this testor are mimeographed sheets because there weren’t enough copies needed to warrant the cost of offset printing. The instructions are held in a common file folder with bent over clips.

Here’s a photo of the cover page of the instructions:

Lionel 5A test stand instructions

The instructions also include a diagram of the tester itself so it can be repaired if needed. Here’s a photo:

Lionel 5A test stand diagram

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There is a page on the Toy Train Revue website that shows photos of all of Lionel’s test Stands along with some other service station tools. Here’s a link.

Noma Talking Station Postwar

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Noma Talking Station
Noma made Christmas tree lights and other seasonal items. This station has a battery operated record player inside it that plays when teh button on top of the chimney is pushed.

There are at least 4 different records for the station. Joe Mania has recordings on his website if you want to listen to them. Here’s a link.

The station was made with a red or green plastic roof. Green is more valuable.

Red rectangular areas surrounded by white under the roof on the corners are sign boards. The station came with paper town names to fit in them, or the user could make his own.

You can find a history of Noma here.