Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer upgrade path

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by gfmucci, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    Does this set have a good upgrade path, or should I start with a different set? By upgrade path, I mean the use of the remote electronics system for accessories and other features.

    For example, would I be able to continue to use the same engine and transformer, which are the two most expensive components of the set? I am new to Lionel.

    The two sets I had in my lifetime were a basic American Flyer in the 50's inherited from my older brothers, and a small Bachman HO set in the 80's. I'd like to really grow into the new Lionel.
  2. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I think it's a very good way to get started. Retail value of the track, cars, and transformer alone is close to what you pay for the whole set. There are no electronics to speak of in that set, but you can get an aftermarket upgrade board to put TMCC in the locomotive if you want. You may want a bigger transformer if you get a bigger layout with TMCC, but you can still put that transformer to work powering accessories and stuff like that.

    And that locomotive is a good value for the money. It has a reputation for being a very good puller.
  3. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    Thanks for your comments, Dave. Where would I go for the upgrade board for the engine? I want to begin adding resouces to my website favorites. And what are your thoughts about "FastTrack" compared to standard track? Is it strickly a matter of cost vs. convenience and slightly better appearance? Switches cost more - twice as much? I understand there is better variety in some components.
  4. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Digital Dynamics at has upgrade boards. I believe Electric Railroad Co., at, has them too, but it may just be sound upgrades.

    As far as track, I really like Fastrack under my Christmas tree. I don't like the cost. I saw somewhere recently a collection of Fastrack plans someone had made for medium-sized layouts (5x9, mostly) and by the time you paid for all the switches and crossings, most of these 5x9 layouts had more than $1,500 worth of track on them. I went with O27 track on my permanent layout for a variety of reasons, cost being one of them. (I also run some vintage Marx locomotives that won't work with anything other than old Marx O27 switches--something that was an important consideration for me, but probably doesn't matter to most people.)

    There are lots of choices when it comes to track. If you want better realism, you could get Gargraves track, and then if you want cheap switches, get some Gargraves O27 adapter pins and use O27-profile switches with them. Gargraves track is pretty realistic looking, and doesn't cost much more than tubular track does. Or you could dress up your O27 track. Look for some of Spankybird's pictures. At least one of his layouts is O27 track and he just added wooden ties to them to make it look more realistc.

    The last time I priced Fastrack switches, they were going for about $65/pair, which isn't quite double what O27 switches go for. But the curves and straights cost 2-4x as much as equivalent O27, and when you need an odd-length fitter section, you'll pay about as much for that as you would for a full-length piece. You can easily cut O27 track to whatever length you want, and reusing those off-cuts can result in significant savings. The same is true for Gargraves.
  5. Geno

    Geno Member

    You can control your existing set by remote control with the use of a CAB-1 remote control (6-12868), a Powermaster (6-12867) and a Powerhouse power supply (6-22983). If you have an 18v transformer, you can use that instead of the Powerhouse. This set up requires no modifactions to the engine, and when you upgrade to engines with TMCC you'll already have the remote.

    The CW-80 transformer that comes with your set has a mixed reputation, but it does have 80w and 18v-enough to run the Powermaster. I've tried it on a trial basis and it works , but my main power comes from an MTH Z-4000 (360w).


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