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Thought I would toss out my buying experiences thus far.  I just started the hobby in March; I bought a pre-designed track fastrack layout and a Legacy Diesel, transformer, etc. to get started and then began to concentrate on the operating accessories.   Here are my experiences to date:

eBay purchase #1:  6-12983/12982 Culvert Loader/Unloader

Listed as “working condition”; items work fine as received, no issues.


eBay Purchase #2:  6-22998 Triple Action Magnetic Crane

Listed as “NIB”; my strategy on eBay purchases was either to get something new or that had been verified as working.  Received this guy and the motors were seized up from the hardened grease (which I didn’t know could be an issue until I researched this item AFTER I had received it).   Seller “Accepts returns with the buyer paying return S&H”, which is what I elected to do.  Buyer challenged me sending something that was “NIB” back but I said it wasn’t working regardless of being “New” even though this new means it had been manufactured several years ago.   Buyer filed a grievance with eBay; I not only won the grievance but my return shipping was also refunded.

LESSON LEARNED:  research the possible problems with older items prior to buying it.  Also don’t buy anything like this unless it’s been tested and verified operational.


eBay purchase #3:  2324 Switch tower

Listed as “operational”; received and it works fine.


eBay purchase #4:  6-14295 Legacy CS 990

Came with an extra Cab-1 remote; all listed as tested and functional.  Seller does not accept returns.  Cab-1 and Base2 work fine; Cab-2 (main reason for purchase) does not.  Contacted seller and seller offered to either refund fully (even though he had said he didn’t accept returns but I think it was because he actually had not tested the unit but had used it 6 months earlier and just assumed all was well) or have it repaired at his expense.  Lionel fixed it for free (and turned it around in less than two weeks) so everything turned out fine. Shout out to seller dorgri2845


Amazon Purchase:  New 682013 double floodlight tower; 681063 Gateman; 612062 double crossing; 682016 oil rig; 2029240 fake news stand

These came from various sellers (some direct from Amazon, others from third party).  Oil rig and floodlight tower worked fine (although I first thought the floodlight was faulty since it puts out so little light).  Gateman the door opened once and stayed stuck.  The double crossing only one side moved.  Everything was seized on the Fake news stand.

At this point, I’m feeling a little cursed.   Did some research, the double crossing has a history of being junk so that one gets returned (it was their last in stock and the box seemed like it had been opened before so I’m thinking it was a previously returned item).  The gateman I played with a bit to make sure I wasn’t doing something wrong and I sent it back for exchange.   The Fake News was an obvious previous return since it was missing the paperwork.  It was “only 1 left” so I just got a refund.   I received a replacement Gateman and it works fine.

LESSON LEARNED:   Seems you have no better chance of getting a working item with the current generation of stuff as the older stuff (and from what I’m reading/learning in many cases the new stuff is inferior) although that data might be skewed if all three bum items were “previous returns”.


eBay purchase #5:  282 Gantry crane

Billed as “totally restored and works perfectly”.   Received it and it does indeed look great for its age; magnet works great, boom rotates but magnet will not go up and down.  Contacted seller and he was extremely apologetic; offered to either give refund or exchange for another unit.  I chose the later and asked him to verify it working before he shipped it.  Got the exchange and new one works great.   Seller had to jump through a lot of hoops to make it happen and it was greatly appreciated.  Shout out to seller alerubin.


Trainz purchase #1

Decided that the best route on these accessories is to buy from Trainz since they are 1) a sponsor, 2) list the units as functional and 3) do returns.  Bought “like new” most modern incarnations of 6-14107 coaling station, 6-24115 log loader, 6-32996 barrel loader, 6-14000 forklift platform and various freight cars needed by the accessories.  Forklift and barrel loaders worked like a champ.  Coaling station dump actuator would work but elevator would not go up/down (although you could hear the motor turning).  Log loader the LED’s would light but neither the dump or motor features would work.  Contacted Trainz and they offered to either fully refund, let me keep them at a reduced price or for me to return and they would try to repair.  I went with Door #3; sent them back and they were repaired and now I have them..took less than a week turn around.   Shout out to Trainz.

Anyway, that’s my experiences to date.  Thanks for reading.


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You seem in good sprites and willing to keep going after all those issues.  My experience has been things broken in shipment.  You might try purchasing at train meets or train shows and testing the item before paying.  The usually have place or someone that can hook them up.  Also, by buying in person you often have an opportunity to bargain the price down especially late in the day.


Yeah, hopefully there will be a train show near me someday I can attend; that would be a blast.

i got super frustrated at this stuff at first; my problem is i don't have extended lengths of time to work on the layout so when i do get time, i want to be able to progress.  I start on scenery next so hopefully that will go smoother

I definitely agree it really helps to know what you're getting into with each accessory. If you don't, you might be spinning wheels until someone with experience informs you.

I purchased the giant Lionel lift bridge from 1991 off a fellow forum member almost a decade ago. I knew these bridges were finicky. He told me it worked perfectly on his original layout.

It did for me at first, but not long after the on/off rocker switch went belly-up, which I didn't know at the time was a common ailment with these controllers. After spending a couple weeks trying to find a replacement, another operator told me it would just be easier to jump the switch entirely and use a separate power strip to keep it on or off. Learn something new every day.

I still have it. It's still a little finicky if you don't have it screwed down well, but I still love it.

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