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As technology advances, I have to relinquish to the thought that traditional motors won’t be making a return anytime soon. 

Can motors that have all of the fancy electronics can do so much more than a buzzing e-unit will ever accomplish.  In my own way, I’ve always loved the more traditional versions that have been produced in the past 10 years because it offers more imaginary play value, in my opinion. 

I just purchased a new traditional black 400E along with a traditional Super 381 for my green state set.  I believe that I was lucky to get them since they were the last ones at their respective dealers. 

I think it’s kind of funny how traditional versions of O and Standard Gauge trains have become a thing of the past when MTH was producing them to bring the past into the present.

I will agree with Hojack that I did hear the same information about contemporary versions outselling traditional versions by, roughly, the same statistic.

Last edited by Phoebe Snow Route

I just prefer the AC motors as to me they are works of art to look at.  Sure the CAN motored locos with bells and whistles are great also but there is something to be said at looking at that Bild a Loco motor.   Speaking of...was it normal for original Lionel to call all STD motors "Bild A Loco" even if they loco wasn't the kit?

Mike W, I'm with you--I love the old-style AC motors. For me, that's what a tinplate loco, be it O or Standard-gauge, should have. If you're willing to pay the price, as far as I can tell the motors can still be had; I recently bought 2 brand-new MTH Standard-gauge bild-a-loco motors from Henning's Trains and they had no problem getting them. They're now in a Williams 408E that I bought last winter and they run great. I could've powered it with DC can motors for a fraction of what the AC motors cost, but I wouldn't have been happy with it. 


Last edited by BlueComet400

For me the choice is easy.
I choose to only buy prewar and some postwar trains instead of new  and only from the secondary market.
Just like the toy train sounds of the engine going over the tracks.

As stated on previous post, more folks want the new stuff above the old.
Bottom line is that the train manufactures are making a profit and helping this hobby to continue on, this is good for all, conventional or not


MTH did have issues with the AC powered traditional line. The Chinese steel used in the field lamentations does not have enough iron in it so the motors tend to overheat and poor pulling power, low torque. AC armatures were not of good quality either. After a while word got out. And I would say the manufacturing cost was not much savings, if any, over the protosound version.  So if MTH as cancelled the traditional line for good, I could understand.

The difference between a Super motor and a Bild-a-loco motor is the wheels and axles are removable from the frame. The Bild-a-loco wheels and axles are pressed together with the axle bearings loose on the axle that fit in slots in the motor frame, where as a Super motor the bearings are mounted the motor frame, and the wheels cannot be lifted out. The idea behind the build-a-loco, originally was the motor chassis could be removed from the engine and the wheels removed from the motor frame and be replaced with a set of pulleys and gears to power things like a windmill, or a pile driver made from the Lionel construction sets available at the time.

Lionel renamed their bild a loco style motor to just a standard gauge motor, but retained many of the same features (removable bottom plate, wheel sets, etc) and some parts are interchangeable. The BAL reversible motors early on had the ragside pendulum e unit connectors and later transitioned to the 3 position E unit. Super motors were relatively unchanged after first introduced with a shorter wheel base (which matches the journal stampings of the 8/8E engine unlike the later style.

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