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Topics - Terry

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How To and Technical Information / Test tracks and rollers
« on: February 23, 2021, 01:51:03 PM »
I was asked about my roller base. So here's a whole topic just for test tracks and rollers.


The wooden base unit was made in texas in the late 1960s or early 1970s. HO units are somewhat common, the O gauge are harder to find but out there if you look. The label fell off mine years ago so I can't be more specific about the maker. This unit is always within arm's reach.

You don't need a roller set for each wheel. For a 6 driver steam loco you just put a roller set under the two outside wheels. For a single motor diesel the dummy truck goes on the uncoupler track.

The similar wood roller HO units are OK for diesels, but don't work well for steam locos or DCC. There just isn't good enough electrical contact for them. I sold the last one I had because it wasn't worth the space to store it. More on HO later. 

There are also really common O and g gauge roller sets that sit on the tracks. You can see them in the pictures below:




I keep the rollers in a drawer. I thought about selling the extra O gauge rollers, but decided I'd modify them to make S gauge rollers. 

The roller sets that sit on the tracks are sold under as Polk's Hobby  (# PLK50101 is the O gauge), and under the ARDUK name.

The big LGB track has strips of brass glued to the ties. Those are to test smaller trains. With the smaller trains it's just too hard to put it on the track to test it.

OO and HO just ride on top of the brass to test.


For N gauge, the loco is put on the wide strip then pushed back until it touches the smaller strip. It sits in the gap.


I can test the small locos as fast as I can place them on the enegriozed strips and wiggle them around. I could probably do it blindfolded.

Collector Corner / Marx 1950 M-10005 UP Streamliner set
« on: February 21, 2021, 02:47:32 PM »
I posted pictures of the 1668E set on Friday here, but didn't think of posting this MARX set. It's probably the most common of the Marx Streamliner Sets.

A neat set that looks cool.


The cars couple together with pins and only have rear wheels. The cars also have different names on them. I know the prewar sets in other colors come with more car names, but I am not sure about these postwar cars.



This is a large motor like used in a steam loco. No headlight, but there is a reverse unit but without an on/off lever. There might be a version with a smaller motor that only has one pair of wheels powered?


I think early sets have only dividers for the track and transformer with the cars in sleeves. The later sets have dividers for each item. This box would have the track in the long slot, the transformer in one square and the locon, wires and transformer cord in the other square.



Box is dated May 1950.


Here's an interesting set. 1940 uncataloged set 7003. It's not a special but more of a non advertised cheap set that was availible to many retailers. This one was sold by Meyer Brothers in Patterson NJ as you can see by the receipt below.


The set contains 1688 loco, 1689T tender, 1680 orange Shell tank car, 1879 Baby Ruth boxcar and 1682 Red NYC caboose. There also track, locon and track clips that would have been in an envelope and a 30 watt transformer in a box dated 1940.  Whole shebang for only $5.98 with no sales tax.

Note that both the loco and tender boxes say "Dull Black" on them, and the loco box has an X on it. I don't know what the X signifies.

Here's photos:






General Discussion / FAKE lionel 1921 calendar on eBay
« on: February 18, 2021, 06:06:01 PM »
Here's a fake lionel Calender on eBay:

These were common about 12 -13 years ago. Different years. Usually you can tell they are fake because the images include items from later years. For example there is a 1952 calender with the back cover of a 1940 catalog on it.





Layouts / Terry's Standard Gauge Layout
« on: February 14, 2021, 11:31:47 PM »
You all keep asking me what the white posts on the O gauge layout are for. The standard gauge goes up there.

The goal with the standard gauge layout is to showcase the neat Lionel trains and accessories from the classic period. Basically  the brass trim items from 1924-1935, but I do have a few later nickel trim trains and accessories. 

The layout will be tiered with a pair of wide radius ovals around the outside with parking sidings on the long faces, and then about 3.5" higher two smaller layouts with a river separating them.

You can see the wide radius curves in the lower photos. That's 72 and 84 inch diameter track with a 72 inch MTH switch.

The smaller layout closer to the stairs will have the Lionel Plots and 922 scenic park along with a big station and stuff.

The farther smaller layout will have more industrial stuff like the roundhouse and power station.

All the wood is cut, drilled and painted before going downstairs which adds a lot of time. The wood that is currently up is the used wood from my dad's layouts. A lot of it is warped and twisted and can't be used in long spans so I cut it up for a shorter spans.

Here's some pictures:







Here's some of the lights and such for the layout with the 3 sections of the 920 scenic parks below:

Here's a shot of the work in the garage. That's new lumber i bought today for the longer runs. That will do the raised yard and industrial area.


I should have the layout decked by the end of the month.

I don't know what I'm looking forward to more. Either getting the boxes of trains that are piled up everywhere emptied, or running the big trains.

On my layout I don't want to mess with the e-unit not cycling correctly as I try to line the car up and put the train into nuetral, so I'm wiring my operating sections so they work when the power is off.

I have a relay circuit that gets a constant 12V that uses yellow wire already in place under the layout. You can wire to any tap on your transformer that results in 12-14V positive.

The RCS and UCS tracks are DIFFERENT.

Hard Wiring RCS Tracks:

The controller has a four-conductor cable that lays flat on the table so the leftmost wire  from the controller connects to the left terminal on the RCS track. That terminal is numbered 1.

When I rewire the controllers I mark the leftmost wire with a dab of red paint after stripping and tinning the 4 wires.   It looks like this:


On a RCS track, the number 4 screw terminal is connected to the center rail and provides positive current to the controller. Peel the 4th wire back and soldier a feeder wire to it so it looks like this:


A bit of 1/4" shrink tube cleans the patch up and prevents shorts:


When you wire the controller to the layout, the yellow wire is connected to positive and the other wires are connected to terminals 1 thru 3.


The dab of red paint from the paint pen helps you get the wires correct, and isn't that noticable. You could also use black paint. I keep paint pens in my work desk.

Here's a long shot of the wired track with the controller in the front:


The visible wires by the controller will get pushed under the layout when the skirting is applied.

Hard Wiring UCS Tracks:

The UCS track uses the same 4-conductor wire as the RCS track, but the UCS has the positive feed at terminal 3.

It's the same process as the RCS, but with the 3rd wire rather than the 4th. Here's one you can see easily:


After the addition of a short section of 1/4" shrink tube:


When you put it on the layout, the yellow wire goes to a 12-14V positive source just like the RCS track shown at the top.

Simple Uncoupler Only Wiring:

On my layout I have sidings behind the coal and log loaders and don't need the unload button so I use only a Lionel 90 push button. If you just want to use the uncouple features, you can wire the RCS and UCS tracks up to a momentary contact button like the 90 or 96C.

Again, the UCS and RCS tracks are different.

Wiring RCS Tracks To A # 90 Push Button:

On the RCS terminals 2 and 3 connect to the actuator rails. A simple wire from a transformer + post through a momentary contact button to terminals two and three is all you need.

It looks like this:


Wiring UCS Tracks To A # 90 Push Button:

On the UCS terminals 2 and 4 connect to the actuator rails and magnet. A simple wire from a transformer + post through a momentary contact button to terminals two and four is all you need.

Here's the UCS wired up:


If you have more than one siding in an area, you can use one pushbutton for all of them.

Collector Corner / 1930 Lionel 1066 Macy Special set with L. Green 253 loco
« on: February 05, 2021, 06:17:20 PM »
Don Lewis sent me photos of this wonderful set from 1930.

(You can open one of the pictures then use the > button in the top right corner of the picture to scroll through  the others.)












The loco is very hard to find. The box for the loco is even harder to find. The setbox is still more difficult to find. The cars are somewhat common because they came with a cataloged 254E set.

Notice the cars have white strips along the tops of the windows. Some olive cars also come that way. They used a similar strip on the 35/36 standard gauge cars in about 1923-4. 

Don is selling the set.  You can contact him from his website.

Collector Corner / Commonwealth Edison Lionel Certificate late 1920s
« on: January 19, 2021, 08:18:38 PM »
Here's an interesting item:


A Commonwealth Edison Federal Profit Sharing Cerificate with a Lionel 402 set on it. Comed is an Illinois electric company. Offers a Lionel Catalog with 46 pages if you write to Lionel.

The 1927, 28, and 29 catalogs had 46 pages. The 402 and 12-wheel passenger cars date from 1925-26. The 408E replaced the 402 at the head of the set in 1927, and a diner was added as a 4th car.  The artwork was not changed to show the 408 loco.


Evidently Commonwealth Edison had an electrical goods store and took these coupons which were similar to the later Green Stamps. I couldn't find any informatiuon about the Federal Merchandise Company, but did find some pictures of a 1930 catalog:



I found other Federal certificates without trains dating as late as 1940 online.

Interesting. . . I wonder if Com Ed had special trains? Maybe this explains the cars with Illinois Central on them?

Hmmm. . . .

PS. this is listed on eBay right now if you're interested.

I've had this tender for decades. When I got it I showed it to some postwar collectors  and held it back for trading. It got mixed into the storage and buried.

It's a simple 6466W tender that was erroneously stamped 2046W on the frame. It dates from the early 1950s as the 2046W tender was new in 1950.  The tender has both a staple end and a bar end truck. It's been rewired so I don't know if that's the way it came.




The gold colored plastic on the air chamber is interesting. I'm not aware of anything Lionel made in that color.

It's not unique as I've seen others.

Collector Corner / 1941 Sears 8125 Set 229 0-2689TS plus 2800 cars
« on: January 18, 2021, 12:49:01 PM »
Larry Murphy posted a 2666TS tender on eBay and we got to messaging. This tender comes with a 229 loco and some 2800 series cars. The S tender has a high coupler for use with the 2800 series cars.

Turns out he also has a similar boxed set:


Notice this set has a 0-2689W tender with the box stamped TS. The 2666TS tenders are plastic and do not have whistles. 


I've never seen that tender. Here's the tender I've seen:



That's the lot Larry has listed on eBay.

The set has a 229 loco with the number RS in the plate recess. The tender is as shown above.
A green 2812 gondola
A RS 3814 Merchandise car
Another car - this set has a 2815 tanker in orange. I've had with a RS 2814R and with a RS 813 stock.
A 2817 caboose in any of the three variations. Larry's set has the most desirable variation:



General Discussion / TCA convention Survey
« on: January 07, 2021, 01:04:57 PM »
The TCA has sent out a Survey asking members if they will attend the Convention in LA.

It's an email dated 1-5-2021 at 6:10 AM

If you fill it out please tell them you'll go or it's too early to make a decision.

I bet this whole flu issue blows over by April.

How To and Technical Information / Lionel 397 coal loader
« on: January 02, 2021, 03:59:22 PM »
I'm putting together a coal loader for my layout. I have an early one with yellow generator and a dark bronze gunmetal base. It has a red painted bin. It has no light pole on it, but does have two tapped holes to mount a light. It doesn't look like there were ever screws in the tapped holes. There's no hole for a wire to go through the base.

I have a light to mount on it. Is the light wired separately?



Here's a comparison with later base without holes and silver-metallic paint:


How To and Technical Information / Toy Train Repair Hall of SHAME
« on: December 20, 2020, 10:37:15 PM »
While fixing trains I am amazed at some of the repairs I see.

I had a KW transformer a few years back that had a new cord installed. A soldierless repair. They stripped the original cord and tied the wires to the ends of new cord. Then wrfapped the whole mess up with Scotch tape!

I just had a soldierless ZW that used crimp connectors on the stubs of the original cord a few weeks ago that got me started on doing a thread with pictures.

Then I just opened this one up last night. This guy had a soldiering iron, but left the original cord end there. The brown one is the new one, the original black one has some tape wrapped around it. This is a postwar SW transformer.




A few years ago I had a Lionel Standard gauge 10 loco with WOODEN wheels. There was a wire out the back to get ground from the next car. The guy was a paperboy in the 1950s who liked standard gauge. He painted everything silver, and made it run. He said he made the wheels in shop class with a lathe.

General Discussion / Old Train store pictures
« on: December 20, 2020, 11:46:07 AM »
A freind just sent me these two old pictures becuase he knows I like trains.

Looks like a store in Seattle.

Terry Gibbs 1.jpg

Terry Gibbs 2.jpg

The powerwagon is neat. The wear and patina are wonderful.

General Discussion / Roadside America Layout Auction
« on: December 14, 2020, 01:50:56 AM »
I remember going to see this when I was a kid back in the lat 1960s or early 1970s. I know we went in 1978 when we went back to PA for the summer and took a day trip to the TCa museam and the PA ducth area.

We had trains at home, so the trains aren't a big draw. The layout, on the other hand, was astonishing. All the hand made buildings and small motorized attractions like the circus parade are just fascinating. The decades of work that went into this layout certainly makes it unique.

The later photos have blue tape and lot numbers on them I think this means they are going to cut the layout into small sections.

Just fascinating.

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