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I personally have one of these engines, but have not done such a modification.

Here is what I know:

#1 the tender currently has no electrical pickups. It is getting power for railsounds across the tether. You would have to find in Lionel parts, either the correct insulator and pickup that matches the trucks, or custom fabricate something. Again, this is kind of step 1 to even get power to the tender standalone.

Again, a picture of the truck but there is a very specific snap in insulator and pickup for these, and I sadly do not know that part number.

#2 While there may be enough drive signal strength in the engine from the LCRU2 to drive an IR transmitter, in the tender, the railsounds 2.5 might require that you use a front end receiver board like a Lionel 691PCB1039 Ad20A I.R. Receiver ti first interface the IR receiver and then also provide the serial data to the railsounds 2.5 board in the tender. Also the Ad20A gives you reverse light output and coupler?

Lionel support is ONLY showing the tender https://www.lionelsupport.com/...nder-Only-6918053T01

FWIW, this is why I also then bought the PWC series, 726 Set because that engine is very similar but does have the wireless drawbar and more features.

http://www.lionel.com/products...et-loco-736-6-31757/

It also has a more comprehensive parts listing https://www.lionelsupport.com/...Freight-Set-LOCO-736

I'm not saying they are 1:1 compatible but you might get some info and ideas from looking and comparing.

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Last edited by Vernon Barry
#2 While there may be enough drive signal strength in the engine from the LCRU2 to drive an IR transmitter, in the tender, the railsounds 2.5 might require that you use a front end receiver board like a Lionel 691PCB1039 Ad20A I.R. Receiver ti first interface the IR receiver and then also provide the serial data to the railsounds 2.5 board in the tender. Also the Ad20A gives you reverse light output and coupler?

Vernon is correct that you'd need the AD20 board above, but instead of that one (which requires a motherboard), I'd recommend the earlier, non-modular board that can function as a stand-alone.

But in addition to the AD20 (and the obvious wireless tether parts and power pick-ups), you'd also need to replace all the electronics in both the loco and tender. You can't use the existing LCRU2 as it wasn't designed to accept the chuff input from the smoke unit microswitch and then send it along the serial line to the tender. (Late LCRU2 boards were designed for a wireless tether.) Likewise, the existing sound system in the tender wasn't designed to accept the chuff command on the serial line. Technically, it's not a problem with the board but rather with the PIC chip that comes with it. Lionel doesn't sell these PIC chips separately, so you'd need to replace the RS2.5 board as well with a later version.

So can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? That's up to you. It's a fairly straightforward project, but you'll need a healthy budget, the wherewithal to source the proper parts, and then the ability to complete the retrofit.

TRW

Last edited by PaperTRW

I have this engine and is the subject of my next YouTube video.  The tether doesn't bother me at all and is a bit of the charm of it.  It is, if I am not mistaken, the first Century Club engine, as it does not have tower comm or crew chatter.  A look in the manual shows "for future use" where those buttons are.  While some found paying a premium for the CC engines, I think at least for their charm and nostalgia, they were worth it.

I've alread did the 671 Turbine and will do the other 3 CC1 engines in the near future.  The Berk is a beautiful reproduction of the Postwar Classic, regardless of the tether.

726 Berk Edit

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If this were my project, I'd probably be looking at using something like the Legacy BEMC and doing a can motor conversion.

Thinking about Pat's chassis swaps... Lionel has twice offered a "726" style Berkshire with LionChief Plus.  The boiler shell, at least, seems to be unmodified from postwar days.  Not exactly Legacy, but the LC+ speed control is pretty good and Lionel has already done the engineering for the can motor.  It even has a "divorced driveline," i.e., a U-joint coupling between the motor and cast-in gearbox.  FWIW.

@Ted S posted:

Thinking about Pat's chassis swaps... Lionel has twice offered a "726" style Berkshire with LionChief Plus.  The boiler shell, at least, seems to be unmodified from postwar days.  Not exactly Legacy, but the LC+ speed control is pretty good and Lionel has already done the engineering for the can motor.  It even has a "divorced driveline," i.e., a U-joint coupling between the motor and cast-in gearbox.  FWIW.

Yep, but I'd want something that has TMCC/Legacy, so maybe an LC+ 2.0 chassis.

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