whadda i got?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by King Bonk, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    Hi - fellow Lionel users... I have recently inherited a number of Lionel trains from my dad's collection. I have absolutely no idea about history / context / manufacturing history of these trains, but i would love to start accumulating knowledge so i can develop a better understanding of what my dad collected and how i should subsequently expand my collection.

    Please take a look - any insights you have re: the history of these engines, I would really appreciate it. thanks

  2. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Well, the majority of it is postwar Lionel. I *think* the engine you call a pistol is a 1688 Torpedo, and it might be from before the war. I'm a bit rusty on my prewar and postwar Lionel, so someone else may have to correct me on that.

    The 2055 that you say doesn't work--what are the symptoms? One of my dad's old Lionels had a bad e-unit in it, and required repair to get it going. Ray Plummer's books talk about rebuilding e-units, but it's tricky. I opted to have a professional do it. It cost me about $40.

    Lionel was on top of the world from about 1946 to 1957 or so, and they were able to sell their trains as quickly as they could make them. They fell fast in the late 1950s and Joshua Lionel Cowen and his son Lawrence sold out to the infamous lawyer/communist hunter/serial entrepreneur Roy Cohn, who happened to be Cowen's great nephew. Under Cohn the company diversified and initially did OK, but things quickly got a lot worse. By 1968, Lionel practically had to give the trains away, and the company sold out in 1969 to General Mills, who was busy buying up toy companies. Some people choose to limit their collecting to 1946-1959, others go 1946-1969, and others buy anything they like and can afford.

    There's a glut of postwar on the secondhand market right now, so this is a good time to be buying, but buy for enjoyment and not investment, because nobody really knows if prices are going to level off or fall.

    Your dad left you some nice trains. Enjoy them. My dad's Lionels are one of the few remaining connections I have with my dad (he died in 1994). It reminds me of the time we spent together with them in the mid-1980s with them set up on the floor in our basement.
  3. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    thanks dave. yes i feel lucky, im glad he never sold them. that whiff of electrical smell when the 675 sprung back to life (to my astonishment) brought me back to sitting in the garage with my dad running the trains.

    thanks for the tip on the torpedo, so to speak. also for the history lesson - i know it may be old news for some, but its the kind of context i need.

    2055 - it struggles, and when it stops, it goes in reverse, then stops, then goes forward. i have been reading that what it would appear to need is a good cleaning. is there a step-by-step procedure to this? im sure its on another thread...

    yeah im definitely in it for the enjoyment. more than a cool hobby, its a connection to dad

    im happy with getting the trains i have working right now -- and the storage garage isnt even empty yet!! we'll see if there are more treasures in there.

    thanks again - other insights welcome!!

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The 2055 (my first Lionel engine) sounds like it's having pickup problems. The reverse sequence is just what is supposed to happen each time you shut off power.
    There's a lever on top of the boiler near the front that goes side to side -- if you get the loco going forward and then move the lever it should keep going forward.
    The boiler casting comes off with 4 screws -- 2 under the cab and 2 by the cylinders. (Don't lose them) you can then look at the mechanism and see if it's choked up with anything. A very little bit of oil on moving parts may loosen it up, but use a light modeller's oil and use a pin to apply it. See if there's any old dry lubricant on it. That will need removing, but I'm not sure how.
  5. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    Thank you thank you! This 2035 only goes in reverse as it turns out, i wasnt being clear. it goes like blazes backwards, but forwards it seems stuck or something. will try the steps you suggested. thank you

    So heres an update, then - did some searching on Lionel Postwar Trains Library:

    Engine wise I have:
    2035 K-4 Pacific '51
    675 K-4 Pacific (not sure of year yet)
    Torpedo, prewar (no tender. thanks Dave, still checking that)
    Santa Fe Diesel 2343 (two of them. why in the world would my dad get two of the same engine? pulling a long train?)

    Car wise, so far i have ID'd

    9--- Libbys Vat Car circa '75
    2627 Madison Passenger
    3472 Refrigerator (dont know how to work it yet)
    2555 Sunoco Tank

    A whole bunch of prewar passenger cars. Sadly one came to me very squished. any thoughts on restoring a squished tin train?

    I have a lot more obviously but thats the ones ive positivly id so far.
  6. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    You can very carefully disassemble the metal parts and reform them, but odds are the remaining paint will chip off in the process. Fortunately you can buy paints matched to the old Lionel colors. Either take a car to an auto parts store and look for a car paint that's a close match, or visit a site like trainenamel.com.

    Basically, to disassemble, you carefully straighten the tabs that are bent to hold it together, then use weight and/or pressure to form any misshapen pieces back into their correct shape. When re-assembling, instead of bending the tabs again, either twist the tabs, or get some heat-shrink tubing from Radio Shack and place a small piece of tubing over each tab to hold the pieces in place.

    It can be done. Chances are you'll find you either love the process or hate it. The result may not be perfect so you may want to practice on some junker pieces that don't mean anything to you first. Look under the tables at train shows--that's a very good source for that kind of material. A good question to ask a dealer would be, "Do you have any busted-up Marx tin cars?" Marx was a maker of inexpensive trains. They were the last to stop using tin (into the early 1970s) so they're very common, and extremely inexpensive when in poor condition.

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