Rediscovered Lionels: Where do I start?

Hi,

I just rediscovered my Dad's old lionel set from around the 40's or

50's. From the looks of things, they've seen *much* better days. I think there is one "complete" engine and a few other cars with various parts laying around. There are lots of track in various states of disrepair. There are also two transformers. One looks like a rectangular box with a slanted front with some knobs, the other is shaped like an 'anvil'. I think that one had a 'ZW' or something on it. I can get the exact markings when I get back to where it's being stored.

I'd love to get the various pieces back to a working set but being a complete novice, I'm not sure where to start. I live in Delaware.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! R

Reply to
rbonafied
Loading thread data ...

rbonafied wrote: I just rediscovered my Dad's old lionel set from around the 40's or

50's. From the looks of things, they've seen *much* better days. I think there is one "complete" engine and a few other cars with various parts laying around. There are lots of track in various states of disrepair. There are also two transformers. One looks like a rectangular box with a slanted front with some knobs, the other is shaped like an 'anvil'. I think that one had a 'ZW' or something on it. I can get the exact markings when I get back to where it's being stored. I'd love to get the various pieces back to a working set but being a complete novice, I'm not sure where to start. I live in Delaware. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-------------------------------------------------

An inexpensive book that might help: "Beginners Guide to Repairing Lionel Trains":

formatting link
My bookstore page has a number of toy train books that might be of interest. Many are up to 30% off and include free shipping on orders over $25.

formatting link
Good luck with your trains!

Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:

formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Links to over 700 helpful sites:
formatting link
formatting link

Reply to
Bill

Go to Lionel's web site,

formatting link
and go to their dealer search area. Look for a service center in your area. Contact them, they can get your engines back in good running order. Also have the transformers checked out to make sure they are safe.

This in not the time to do this do to the Christmas rush at most hobby shops. I'd advise you to wait until late January when things slow down. After all the things have been stored for a long time so what is another month.

Reply to
TRAINMAN9

being a

Delaware.

search area.

get your engines

out to make sure

most hobby shops.

down. After all the

month.

Disclaimer: I run an Authorized Lionel Repair Center, but I'm not looking for your business. You have folks much closer than where I'm located who can help you out.

Since you say you're a "complete novice", I'll second Trainman9's advice to have your trains and transformer checked out at an ASC.

Avoid the temptation to put it on the track, "just to see what it does". Especially if it's a 2020, 671, or other loco with a Pul-Mor motor and worm gear drive.

The old grease that was used in these locos is parafin based. And if it sits for an extended period it can harden into a lump that makes candle wax seem soft. Cleaning it out is not fun.

And trying to force the motor to spin through that stuff can result in burned out armature windings and/or field coils. I've had to explain to more than one owner who thought putting a bit more 'juice' from the old ZW transformer would get it going again, why what should have been a basic clean and lube was now a major motor rebuild.

Speaking of old ZW's, make sure you get it safety and operational checked before you try to use it. Very often the insulation on the line cord breaks down with age, and will crumble off if the cord it bent. It can ruin your whole day to reach down to pull the plug and find yourself hold a pair of bare wires with 115VAC on them.

Once your sure it's safe to use, I also suggest hitting Radio Shack to pick up one of those 'in-line' fuse holders with the wires on each end and a pack of 10amp fast blow cartridge fuses for it. Make this part of the center rail feed wire to the lock-on.

In some derailment cases it can take over a minute for the built in 'circuit breaker' (and I use the term loosely) to trip. Which is more than enough time to do serious damage to your locomotive, especially if you get a new one full of electronics, and transformer. The fast acting in-line fuse will protect both.

-- Len Head Rust Scraper KL&B Eastern Lines RR Museum

Reply to
Len

Will do. Thanks for all the advice.

Reply to
rbonafied

You might start with:

formatting link
There is also a series of books called Greenbergs' price guides for Lionel trains. I am guessing there would be a copy of one or two of them in your local library. You might try that.

Reply to
SleuthRaptorman

Greecer wrote: Bingo! I just checked our online library catalog, and they indeed have this price guide there. I can't wait to browse through it; it'll be a good holiday project. I do thank you for this information.

--------------------------------------------------- "Greenberg's Lionel Pocket Price Guide 2004 Edition" :

formatting link
This is 30% off and free shipping on orders over $25.

Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:

formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Links to over 700 helpful sites:
formatting link
formatting link

Reply to
Bill

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.