Questions from the new guy.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by mortarman, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. mortarman

    mortarman New Member

    Hello all,

    I'm new here and just starting to rekindle my interest in model railroads. My children are now of the age(4 & 7)to enjoy them as much as do. I recently unpacked some old Lionel steam locos that my uncle had given me many years ago, they haven't been ran in over 25 years. I would like to set up a 4x8 layout for the kids to enjoy and then I'll start on a HO layout after that.


    1. What should I use to clean the steam locos? (The youngster in the local hobby shop wasn't very helpful.)

    2. What should I use to clean the track? It's 3 rail, not sure if its O or O27, some pieces are slightly rusty. (Wouldn't you be if you were in a dark box for 25 years?)

    On another note my brother and I are begining to go through our grandfathers boxes of trains. (No idea of how long these have been boxed up, he passed away in 1983.) We have found many very old trains, we have a price book for pre & post-war Lionel and a book for post-war American Flyer. We haven't been able to find much information on pre-war AF. (Again the youngster at the local hobby shop wasn't very helpful.)

    We also have some old Marx and Hafner trains, no clue on age or value.


    3. Are there any websites that have more info and prices on these trains?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    Welcome to the gauge, "mortarman". 3 rail track sound like maklin to me.
    without a total pull down drop a drop of oil(the finest you can get) on the running gears(cogs) and then run them gently to work the oil in. I have known loco`s to run after 25-30 years in storage like brand new. as for the rusty track I use 300 grit wet n dry emerypaper very lightly to remove the rust, not the track...
    Hope this helps, there are others on the gauge that are more expert than I, and will,I`m sure post a reply to your questions more fully than I, again welcome....have a good one..steve
  3. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    ausien: Lionel produces 3-rail O scale equipment--definitely not Marklin.

    mortarman: Although I don't know exactly where to refer you, definitely get an appraisal of your collection--especially before letting kids have their way with it. But I do know that pre-war Lionel and American Flyer equipment can be quite valuable!
  4. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Mortarman.....allow me to also welcome you to our little corner of the web. Nice to see a new guy come in...if I can call you new since Ive only been here a little while. Anyway...I agree with Ausien just throw some fine oil on the cogs and then I would suggest laying them on their sides and touching the pickup wheels with the wires from the transformer and letting them run a few minutes on the lowest speed...then increase to about 1/4 throttle and let them run for about 5 minutes....thats what I did with my flyers after 20 years of shelf life. On the AF stuff you can get a greenburgs book...I think thats the name...and they have prices on that stuff....if your like me you have some stuff that is worth more in memories and smiles on little ones faces then it could ever be in dollars.....take it slow and enjoy the trains....if I can be of any help dont hesitate to pm me. Let those Flyers Fly....

  5. mortarman

    mortarman New Member

    Thanks for the responses and welcoming.

    The track is Lionel, I may have termed it wrong.

    The kids won't be playing with the old trains from my grandfather. We are just starting to go through them, and we haven't been able to find a book about pre-war AF, or Hafner. We have Greenburgs AF book for 1946 to date, no info on pre war.

    I will follow the advice on oiling the locos, now just need to get a transformer for O guage, I have several transformers that came with HO sets in the 1980's but I never had one for the Lionels.
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    ah, I see--you know NEVER to use the HO power packs with the O equipment, right? HO uses DC, O uses AC...

    If you don't have an HO set yet, you might consider building your own "set" with Athearn engines and rolling stock--they're a higher-quality product than the ones that come in a train set but inexpensive enough where you won't have a cardiac arrest when the kids grab one too roughly.
  7. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Welcome mortarman!! :) ... jetrock is right - You have to get an AC transformer to run the O gauge engines.. IF there's a train show near you - look there first. Also if you see your "Pre-War" things there you will get a good idea of how much they are worth. I have one (Green & Orange) that's worth about $800.00.

    If you search on the internet by "Engine number " (Ex.: Lionel 246 engine) you might find them. Also search for car numbers. :)

    Best of luck!!!!
  8. hoo-t

    hoo-t New Member

    eBay is a great source for O gauge transformers. Especially if you're not afraid to take one apart and replace the cord. One that is guaranteed to work will usually run around $20, one that's advertised as untested is usually around $5 - $10 (plus shipping). From what I've seen so far, the old Marx transformers must be pretty much bullet proof (except for the 50 year old cord). I have 4 of them now, and they all work. Watch the wattage. They come in all "sizes". All of mine are 40 - 50 watts and work fine on a small oval. I'll probably upgrade when I get started on a bigger layout.

  9. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Better Go Slow

    I've been repairing Lionel trains for over 40 years. I'm a bit concerned about some of the advice you received about getting your trains running, especially since you say they have been stored for over 25 years.

    While just "throwing some oil on the cogs" may work in some cases, you could be courting disaster to do so. Locos that have been stored for years need special attention. They should be partially disassembled, the wiring should be inspected (solder joints and insulations fail over the years), mechanical connections should be checked (no loose screws etc), gears should be cleaned of old hard grease and regreased. The E Unit (reversing solenoid) should be inspected and should work freely, motors should be cleaned and properly oiled.

    I can go on and on about what needs to be done before you first attempt to power up these old locos. I'd suggest that you do some research and there are a number of really good books on restoring old Lionel locos. There are even reprints of Lionel service manuals available.

    No offense meant to 77railer and Ausien but you guys gave motarman some bad advice :rolleyes:

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