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Tom Stoltz posted:

Does anybody have any info on a digital talking station?  I have an original, but don't want to wear out the record any further.  I'm hoping MTH or Flyionel makes a repro.


Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Doug at Portlines Hobbies has cataloged reproduction records for the Gilbert No. 755/755A. The Lionel 6-49812 version requires the user to make his/her own recorded announcements with a handset and, thus, seriously lacks the charm of the Gilbert originals fitted with the a-Koostikin.

Have fun!



AmFlyer posted:

You want part number 3143 from Port Lines, it is $85 but is the complete electronic system.


I haven't been able to local the repro -- if he still has them.  However I did get to where Tom is mentioning.  Being a cheapo, I like the $45.00 style.  My recording ended with "and all points west", would that be the westbound version?  Though it might be fun to have all 4.  How does that work; rotates through them one at a time?

I'm guessing this is a little unit one could put anywhere, like even in an old Plasticville suburban station...

Thanks guys,


The station record that ends in "and all points west" came with the 755. The Continental Limited Westbound listed on Port Lines site is a different record that came with the later 799 Talking Station. All my Talking Stations use the original record player system.

The small $85 system has 4 buttons, one to play each announcement when desired.

Soo Line posted:

Nothing like the original.  

Bob Bubeck posted:

That would be practical, but that route will not have the charm of an a-Koostikin. Have fun, regardless.

Does the repro sound nothing like the original?  Or is the sound just 'too' clean?  I would think cleaner (digital) sound would be a plus and if you place the new electronics in the original station, who would know?

Tom Stoltz


Soo Line posted:

No one would know, except possibly for the sound.

Play a record  -  45 or 33.3 on a record player....then listen to the same recording on disc.

The "charm" in my opinion is to have the original sound as it was made in the day.

The repo record would be very close....I would not choose the electronic route.


Sort of like vinyl vs CD?

traindavid posted:

not to hurt any of our trusted suppliers, but you can get phonograph needles in quantity MUCH cheaper than $2, which is important because you should change them out frequently as they do wear the record once they've been played a FEW times.

Yes, it is a bit of a nuisance, but I agree there's nothing like the authentic sound.

Not to be too contentious, but it is the vinyl that wears out.  When I was an audiophile (quite a while ago now), the rule of thumb was you only played vinyl once and that was only after you gave the record some very special treatment.  Vinyl degrades in fidelity after 5 playings and that’s with the best of styluses, so the idea is that you record vinyl rather than play it.  At that time recording was done using 15 ips, ¼” two channel tape.  Do I miss the sound of vinyl? – not at all. The dynamic range of vinyl compared to digital is rather poor (how about wow and flutter from the turntable, not to mention rumble).  Then there was all this extra equipment to eliminate clicks and pops – that’s where Dolby started and don’t forget the white gloves.  Vinyl was no fun.

Bill, well said; a 78rpm compared to a 33 rpm. Well, they don’t compare.  That’s why standards changed.  However, if you prefer the sound of the record – groovy.


David, that is really interesting and I did not know anything about this aspect of ‘record playing’.  I looked it up and found you to be 100% correct.  The reason for the changing the needle so frequently is by design – the needles are soft metal designed to wear away because the filler used to make the record was 75% limestone & slate!

So now the question begs if this is true for the ACG records used in the talking stations?  Either way, a record has limited playings and the 755 I got as a kid has been played and played.  And to make matters worse, I remember replacing the needle with one of my mom’s sowing needles several times… talk about wear.

Now I have a granddaughter who will be old enough to push buttons next Xmas and I would like her to enjoy the sounds just like her mother before her did and her grandfather before that.  I’m sure I will go with the digital version (and probably the one with all 4 announcements) and break out my whistling billboard to add to my Dept 56 Xmas layout for her.

This has been interesting for me and I thank everyone who offered info,


When Lionel re-issued the AF talking station about a decade and a half ago, they should have started thinking outside of the box.

They should have had 2 functions. One with the microphone as issued, and a button that would have played a digital recording

of the original records. Double the fun. With the digital recording an automatic train start feature.

Last edited by Chuck Sartor

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