Lionel question from a Lionel newby

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Russ Bellinis, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I've been modeling in ho scale for 20 or 30 years, and belong to a ho scale module railroad club. My oldest grandson will be 2 in Jan. and his little brother is about 6 weeks old. I retired from my job last May, and while at a childrens summer camp where I do volunteer work, they asked if I new someone who could rebuild an Izusu diesel engine in a Mustang tractor. I told them I could do it, so we made arrangements for the maintainance director to bring the engine down the mountain to me. I called my old service manager to see if I could use the steam cleaner on the engine yesterday morning. Jack said ok, so I met the director at Carrier Transicold. My old service manager is also a fishing buddy of Rod Carew. When I got to the shop, jack had enough boxes of trains in the back of his truck to fill the back of my Dakota! Rod bought a bunch of trains when he retired from baseball, but got bored and stored them in Jack's garage. I guess he told Jack to go ahead and get rid of the trains. I finally went through the boxes tonight. I found a LGB starter set, a Lionel set, a bunch of ho stuff, and even Marklin a/c ho stuff.

    Now to my Lionel question. The Lionel set is an Alton passenger train set with a maroon colored hudson type locomotive and 7 passenger cars. Will this set work on 027 track or do I need to get 072, or is there another size in between? My plans for the trains is to use tsome of the ho stuff at the modular club. I'm going to set up the LGB trains on my patio when my grandsons come over after they get old enough to play with electric trains. When they are old enough for the trains, I think I'll get a freight set to go with the passenger set, and give them the Lionel sets. I'll get them enough track to set up two layouts on the floor to run both trains at once. I'm probably 4 years away from them being old enough to have electric trains, but am wondering what track to use for the Lionel.
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The Alton set is from the late '70s I believe (called the MPC era of Lionel). It was designed to run on 027, but does better on wider curves - especially when little hands are controlling the train and want to see how fast it will go!

    Tubular track is still produced to match the 027 height in 027, 042, 054, and 072 curves. Used Marx 034 track also matches the 027. The higher 0 tubular track uses 031, 042, 054, and 072 curves.

    If you are going to set up the trains on the floor or on carpet, take a close look at the newer Lionel Fastrack. The base version uses 036 curves, but wider are available. The 036 is plenty wide for the lower end sets and cars. Fastrack has a built-in roadbed (to keep carpet dirt and fiber out of the trains), locks together tightly, and is readily available.

    In the meantime, treat them the boys to some of the wooden train sets to get and keep their interest.

    yours in training
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Thanks Fred. I have a Santa Fe set by Whittle Shortline put away for either this Christmas or the oldest ones first Birthday in January. The six week old isn't ready for trains, yet, but when he is grandpa is definately going to make sure he has some trains! My daughter and son in law recently had the carpet taken up and the hardwood floors in their house refinished, so they won't be on carpet, but I was planning on picking up some of the O gauge track with the built in roadbed and the blackened center rail. I remember when I was a kid and got Marx 0-27, I was disappointed that the trains had 3 rails. My buddy got American Flyer and it had 2 rails. I didn't know much about prototype then, but I knew real trains didn't run on three rails (from California, I didn't know about 3 rail electric commuster trains). I want the trains to have enough radius to keep them on the track, but also for them to be able to set them up without taking up the whole house.
  4. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Russ, it sounds like O42 track or thereabouts is a good compromise for you. O27 trains can run at frightening speeds on O42 and still stay on the track, and O42 is small enough that you can still use it on a 4x8 table.

    Lionel Fastrack (with integrated roadbed) comes in O36 and larger. Like Fred said, the standard O36 is pretty good for running most stuff if you can't find O42.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Thanks for the info. I was in my local hobby shop today looking at Lionel & MTH track. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with those boys in a few years. In the meantime, I have a Whittle Short Line Santa Fe set for the 2 year old this Christmas or his birthday in January. Lionel is a whole new thing for me.

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