Advice definately needed ...

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by raybanduchi, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. raybanduchi

    raybanduchi New Member

    I have new (3 1/2 months old) twin grandbabies. I want to start a tradition I never did with my kids (train around the tree). I have a post war Lionel that'll probably need new track. Suggestions? I haven't run it in many years. Will a new rail sounds tender work on with the old stuff I have? What do I need do before I burn the house down?hamr
    I'm retiring soon, and have grandiose thoughts of scale modeling with O gauge, which is probably not a smart thing to do, but nobody said I was ...

    Any and ALL help is very much appreciated.
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Ray: any of the track Lionel makes should work. If you can go the extra $$, FasTrack may be for you. It might do less damage when the twins have at each other with it.
    Are you replacing the controls? Then a new sounds tender would be cool. But the old one should work still (if it had a whistle).
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Normally I would nix the FasTrack idea because I can't stand the stuff. However, with young children around, it might be the way to go. It locks together so they aren't as apt to pull it apart as regular O and O27 metal track. Your old postwar should still run fine on it.

    Also, if you do decide to go with regular old fashioned three rail metal track, be sure whether you're getting O or O27. If you have an O27 engine, the track will be fine either way. If you have a regular O gauge train, be careful of your curve radius as well. It will not run on the 27" radius curves that O27 runs on because regular O is longer and will derail. Also, O and O27 track is not interchangeable without an adapter piece since O gauge track sits a little higher than O27.

    All of that is another issue FasTrack eliminates because it's minimum curve radius is 36", which is fine for either scale.

    One other point- Unless you know for sure your power transformer is good, I would look into a new one of those as well.
  4. raybanduchi

    raybanduchi New Member

    Okay, sounds like ...

    FasTrack is the way to go, since I have no idea if I have O or O27. How can one tell?

    How can one tell if the transformer is good?

    Also, if you do decide to go with regular old fashioned three rail metal track,
    I detect the possibility of running the postwar on a 2 track system, n'est pas?
  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Insert plug into wall. Grasp transformer feeder wires firmly, one in each hand. Have wife or friend watch your eyes. If they really light up, transformer is working.

    Now, if you insist on being serious, a multi-meter works just fine, and the transformer should have a data plate giving you the expected results. :cool:
  6. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Transformer safety 101: First examine the cord for any breaks or other deterioration. If the cord isn't supple and flexible, or has any breaks, don't use it. Second, look around for any signs of rust. If there's rust outside, there's likely to be rust inside, and that's a good warning sign. If the transformer has spent most of the past few decades in a closet or some other conditioned living space, odds are it's OK. If it's spent significant time in the tool shed, it's probably not OK.

    If the transformer passes visual inspection, try it out. If you don't have a multimeter, the easiest way to test the transformer and train is to connect a wire to each of the two posts, then wrap the other end of the wire around some convenient metal part of the body of the locomotive, such as the coupler. Touch the other wire to a pickup roller. If all's well, the motor should run. It may very well hesitate a lot until it gets used to running again. If there's a hobby shop near you that deals in trains and/or slot cars, I'd pay them a visit and get a tube of Labelle #106 grease and 102 oil. Put a bit of grease on the gears and a drop of oil on each axle. This will help free up the motor and make it run better. Run the locomotive attached directly to the transformer for about 10 minutes before trying to run it on track.

    Good luck, and if you have any more questions, it sounds like you're pretty much headed down the same road I traveled five years ago. I'll be more than happy to try to help you get that train running.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I was actually referring to the old all metal 3 rail track as opposed to FasTrack which is still 3 rail but sets on a plastic rail bed that locks the pieces together.
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I think most of us have wandered that same path. :D
  9. raybanduchi

    raybanduchi New Member

    Okay, Guys ...

    Thanx for the heads up on the transformer. I'll try it this weekend and if anythingy pops, ... I'll BE BACH!
    Thanx, again!
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    O track is beefier than O27. (O27 was intended as a starter system, until you could move up to O)
    The ties on O27 are small and rectangular with 4 sides. O ties have no ends but usually have curled bits both sides that can take a track clip.
    O27 measures 27" across a circle; O measures 31" (over the outside of the ties, yet) but they both come in larger circles as well.
  11. hmas

    hmas Member

    OK lots snipped from the above sorry.
    Before you re-oil & grease I suggest an aerosol can of carby cleaner ( do not use on painted plastic) or brake cleaner ( gentler cleaner) to rip out the old oil & grease, dirt dust on the motor etc use liberally. Allow to dry about a minute or so, now re-oil!
    The pickups/ wheels will respond to a kitchen scourer pad as will the track if it's filthy.
    Yes sounds rough but it works.
  12. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Steel kitchen scouring pad on track= not good.
    This can scratch the track and scratches will reduce electrical current.
    If you've done this a few times, I would recommend going over your track with some ultra fine grade sanding cloth. Like 1,000 grit or higher.
  13. hmas

    hmas Member

    Hi Cannon ball
    I should have said nylon scourer pads, Never use steel pads as the small metal fibres are attracted to the magnets in the motor, if AC the energized coil will act as a magnet for the steel fibres as well
    Forgot that steel pads were still used or even sold even the ali pads are not common here.
  14. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Ah.... ok.
    Nylon I can deal with.
    the steel ones can still be bought here and there.
    That's what I'm used to getting because I use them to sand and buff out other craft projects.
  15. raybanduchi

    raybanduchi New Member

    Thank again ...

    You guys made me feel more comfortable 'bout doin' this. Bye-the-bye, what are the diff's in O and O27 railcars?

    Could it be just starter sets made of cheaper materials?
  16. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    It really has nothing to do with the quality of the materials. O27 locos and cars are shorter to take the tighter curve of the O27 track. That's why a lot of standard O stuff will derail if you run it on an O27 curve. It's too long. That's why you have to be careful when buying new engines and cars if you are running O27 track. Be sure to check their minimum curve radius.
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Lionel originally (1930s? Late 20s?) used O27 to market the Ives train line that it had bought. (I think). There was enough variation in the trains that they also had low-end and high-end O gauge -- some big trains needed 72" curves. When I was running in the 50s, they had smaller cars and larger cars but my O27 set had cars that were also in O sets and I ran O cars on my track. Some locos came in O and O27 versions -- the difference was 3-digit numbers in O and 4-digit in O27 (see the RDCs). They definitely had 2 different sets of passenger cars -- the streamlined aluminum jobbies in O and the shorter nobbly plastic ones in O27.

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