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Messages - Terry

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General Discussion / State of the train marketplace.
« on: December 04, 2020, 09:59:07 PM »
I looked at all the ebay listings in the standard gauge category tonight. I do this once a week.

I bookmarked one item I might bid on but probably won't.

That's it.

I grabbed another early Lionel O gauge loco this week in a buy-it-now listing because I have poor impulse control.

There is nothing there.

Last week was nothing at all.

I watched about an hour of a Bertoia train auction last month. I was after a Lionel 1910 loco, but didn't get it. The trains seemed to be going cheap, but I'm not familiar with early European trains. Lots of them did not reach low estimates and sold for less. Only the American Miniature RR trains consistently met and blew past estimates.

Based on what I'm seeing the bottom has dropped out of the common just good trains to play with, but not all buyers know this so some sellers are still getting the prices from 6 months ago.

Earlier this week I scrolled through the 50 most recently ended Lionel Standard Gauge listings. Only 11 had ended with buyers. That is a 22 percent sell through rate.

Just now - Friday night - I saw 26 of 50 sold for a 52 percent rate. That might be high as someone sold a catalog collection one at a time with low opening bids.

Here's a link so you can count for yourself:

Based on what I see, that is  a good range. 20-50 percent. Probably usually closer to 20 percent.

This week I have been selling Postwar transformers on eBay. I put cords on them and spritz them with Lemon Pledge and away they go. The Christmas trains I held all year mostly brought good money. Any G gauge track sells, but I can't give away Lionel tubular track. I just listed more tonight for a dollar a section.

I threw out all the Marklin HO track, and all the 027 track. If you put it in the big garbage can at the bottom, it cleans out the can when the truck comes by and dumps it. I never know if I should put it in the recycle can so I alternate.

Here's a transformer I sold this week. First broken train this year:

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It's common to say that's the temp. workers, but it could just be a worker having a bad day. I'll refund the buyer's money and then file an insurance claim. Then I'll sell him another one!

Shifting gears. . .

I looked at a collection a while back, and I am scared to put out the money. This collection has two stucco 184 bungalows that I'll keep. That's it. I can buy them on eBay anytime I want for $30-50 each.

There will not be any shows until at least April. Denver and LA are both saying they want 60% vaccination rates before they allow large gatherings, and even then, they'll require masks and distancing.

Based on the outdoor show we had here last month, lots of people knew about it, but did not go because they were afraid to get sick.

My friends and I are going to start a monthly Parking lot swap meet in Jan. But that's more fellowship than sales.

eBay is done.

I can't rely on eBay going forward. . .

On my small account, Ebay is holding my money and imposing requirements that change daily to get it. Wednesday night they froze the account completely.

Right now, they want the full EIN letter from the IRS rather than just the top 1/3rd I sent them in July. On the phone they say they'll send me a message with a link to upload a picture of the full letter. (The bottom 2/3rds is just a list of IRS address for different correspondence.) It's been ten days and three phone calls since they said they'd send me an upload link and nothing so far.

In July I uploaded pictures of my driver's license at least 6 times at their request to find out the birth date on it didn't match the birth date they had. Even knowing that was the problem it took three days to find someone at eBay that knew how to change the number in their system.

This is the small account I sell HO people on. They haven't paid me since Nov. 3rd.

The problem here is I'm dealing with Indians living in Pakistan making $2.15 an hour. Their only goal is to get me off the phone as fast as posible. It used to be you could get US people in Texas in the morning, but now all I get are Indians. One of them put me on hold for over an hour before I hung up.

Six hours spent over more than ten calls. They call at my request and then once they confirm my name and eBay account they ask how they can help me. They don't even have notes about recent prior calls.

I tried jumping up to a manager, but it's 3 days to get a manager to call. When he did I was not around the phone, so he left a message advising me to consult the online help menus if I still had problems. No number to call back, no familiarty with the issue. Back to the end of the line.

If they started playing games in the big account, I'd be eating savings. I did change the big account to daily payouts so I will see problems immediately if they develop.

But the good news is I'm having fun with my layout. I'm going to wire the middle loop this weekend so I can run two trains with relays. I'm also going to start painting the wood for the standard gauge layout this weekend.

General Discussion / Re: Recent Additions
« on: December 04, 2020, 08:19:07 PM »
That's WONDERFUL. I've not seen a 152 in gray with wire handrails before.

I have a few gray 152s but all have stamped handrails. I also have a gray 153 with no reverse - the holes have paint in them - and stamped handrails.

Layouts / Re: Christmas Layouts
« on: December 04, 2020, 07:24:52 PM »
Here's Mike's Christmas layout as it was back in 1926:

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Layouts / Re: Mike's layout
« on: December 04, 2020, 07:13:11 PM »
I have a bunch of loose parts for them if you need to fix some up. Roofs, floors, doors and windows.

Layouts / Re: Mike's layout
« on: December 04, 2020, 04:54:10 PM »
The schoenhuts are wonderful. I have a whole town of Schoenhuts  on my layout. The ones on the end under the cliff.

They made stores which I don't have. This lot has stores in the backrow.]]This lot has stores in the backrow. Those are harder to find than the houses.

There is also a Barn which I think I have, but can't find and the gas station and most of the houses were made with pressed paper roofs after 1932. Then they went bankrupt. They came out of bankruptcy as SKYLINE MFG.

General Discussion / Re: Interesting Auction Items
« on: December 04, 2020, 12:57:09 AM »
Here's something neat:

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Here's something I find interesting:

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I've owned a few of these orange 815s and even still do. EVERY one I have ever examined shows signs of being taken apart. This one too:

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Here's the coolest thing Stout has listed for next week:

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10 years ago I'd be drooling on that. Here's the auction:

That says something. This auction has wonderful mint boxed postwar, blue comet sets and nice IVES transition stuff along with a host of nice boxed plots and I'm looking at half a 69 bell signal in the box.

General Discussion / Re: Restoring Prewar Lionel Streamliner 1700E
« on: November 27, 2020, 08:42:53 PM »
I bake the paint. Turn the oven on so it preheats to about 200 degrees. Then put the painted trains in, and turn the oven off. Close the door. Supposedly it gives you a harder finish.

I had this working years ago, but cannot get it to work now. Last time I used a Napa 537 relay. Thst broke and Now Napa doesn't have the 537 so I got a 550 which they call the replacement.

Here's the relay:

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Here's the terminals:

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From testing X goes to Power on the transformer. There is a thermal strip that makes the contacts change from L to P. When the power goes X - L the thermal strip is powered and moves the contacts to P which disconnects the thermal strip andit flops back to L. 

P is pilot.  On a car this is the turn signal lamp on your dash. It is on when the turn signals are off.

When I connect transformer leads to X and L, I get the thermal strip to open and close a few times and then the circuit breaker throws on the transformer. Leads to X - P or P - L do nothing.

To wire this to a hiway flasher you connect power to the X.

P and L both go to the bulbs (2 and 3 on the signal), then you connect ground to the ground on the signal #1.

This way there is no short as the current from X-L goes through a bulb. That is true. But it does not throw the contact over to P. Adding resistors and using different voltage bulbs doesn't help.

I had a diagram years ago and it said on it that it didn;t look like it would work when wired up as shown, but it did.

Maybe I don't have it wired correctly?

Here's the diagram:

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You'd think you could just go online and get a diagram, but everything I can find is about converting the signals to LEDs and soldiering up electronics or buying crap from china on eBay and putting it together.

General Discussion / Re: Restoring Prewar Lionel Streamliner 1700E
« on: November 19, 2020, 11:32:04 AM »
I have problems with the steam switchers. I get to the point where I want to just throw it, and then put it aside for a while.

Layouts / Re: Terry's Layout
« on: November 19, 2020, 01:31:17 AM »
Here's the 156 station platforms. I bought 4 of these at a show last weekend for $10 each. I'm glad I did. I only have one whole platform left. Based on the parts I have left over, the roofs are broken much more commonly than the bases.

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I made a box to go under the 116 station in the area between the sheds and the wall. It will be 514R Ivory and 45N red on the upper portion.

Here's the box before painting:

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Collector Corner / Re: Lionel 156 Station Platform 1939-1949
« on: November 19, 2020, 01:24:15 AM »
I found another sign - Says Lionel Construction sets. Probably postwar.

Here's the platforms on the layout:

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While I was putting those together, it turns out there are two sizes of finial threads. Common larger #6-32 threads, and at least one had an smaller 4-40 thread. From the outside both look the same.

Collector Corner / Lionel 156 Station Platform 1939-1949
« on: November 18, 2020, 11:30:29 PM »
The 156 is an O gauge station platform with bakalite base and roof, diecast pillars and plastic fence with clip on litho signs. It was made from 1939-42 and then again from 1945-49 when it was replaced with the plastic 256 platform.

All stations had green bases and red roofs. Color variations are likely due to fading rather than variations. The earliest and postwar stations had aluminim colored posts like the two below:

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Upper station is prewar, lower is postwar as the Fleer bubble gum sign second from left was only made in the postwar period.

In 1940 the posts became gray due to the war in Europe raising prices for aluminam paint. Two versions with gray posts are shown below:

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The upper station in the photo above has black finials. These are very rare. Here's a comparison of the two types of finials:

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Lots of different signs were made. The picture below shows signs from the different platforms. The signs on the left are postwar and may not have come on the 156 station platform originally.

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Prewar stations come in corragated boxes with inserts. Postwar stations after 1947 came in orange classic boxes without inserts. All stations were originally packaged with an extra fence section to put between stations in a brown envelope. 

General Discussion / Re: Restoring Prewar Lionel Streamliner 1700E
« on: November 18, 2020, 03:43:13 PM »
To embiggen point your mouse at the picture I posted and click once with the right button.

Then in the upper right corner there is a box with a diagonal line. That will embiggen it even more

Layouts / Christmas Layouts
« on: November 18, 2020, 03:39:14 PM »
I just set up a little layout on my front porch. That's a genuine Mr. Christmas tree from the mid 1960s. I even have the original box!

The lights and tree were in my step-mother's Goodwill pile.

Trains are just junk from my bins. I'll find a loco when I sort more junk on Friday.

This makes a good screen for the wood I have on my porch. That's the sheets for the standard gauge layout.

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I'll go out tonight when I put the car away and get a night time photo.

Let's see your Christmas display.

How To and Technical Information / Re: Lionel e-units
« on: November 18, 2020, 02:36:09 PM »
Here's the diagram for wiring when one brush is wired to ground and there is a single field.

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These were used on cheaper Lionel JR and 027 locos from about 1934 to the mid 1950s.

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