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Post 32  4/20/2017        revised 5-31-2023

Renovation and Installaion of Lionel 192 Control Tower

Latest addition to the layout is a junker Lionel 192 Control Tower.  My train show Buy list shows I bought it in 2004 at a train show in Fairhope, AL for $3.  I find that keeping a list really helps as I have been into this layout and trains for over 44 years.

It was missing the roof and roof details, and the rotating part that holds the operators all of which I got to make.  I added a switch for the lights and one for the rotating operators on the control panel.

New support for walking men and new men ( ex policemen!)


New roof made with vent and weather instruments.


Overall view of refurbished Lionel 192 Control Tower



updated 5-31-2023


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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Charlie, Very nice and very organized of you, if you put everything on your list. I have enough trouble keeping track of when/when my locomotives came from. I see the ice station in the background. I forgot if you ever said how many operating accessories you have on your layout? 


Post 33 6/4/2017         Revised 10-31-2023

Accessories on Layout List

Been awhile in getting back.  Been busy patching up my junk 1950s Delta 24 inch jig saw and working on stereo systems, getting an old Dual 1225 turntable up and a 1955 Hallicrafters shortwave tube radio running.

Scottie - No I did not install the Lionel trolley, I kept the HO trolley but had to replace the HO transformer.

Tom -

Accessories on Layout List  as of 5-2023

Scratch built Operating Turntable ,on page 1, Post 9

Oval and figure 8 for both direction reversing on inner loop Main board

Double dog bone on New board, reversing in both directions

2 Trains on 1 track with relays for two loops 1977 fixed 2022 runs good with NO OX on tracks, Two loops on main board have two trains on one track relayed system 1977, outside loop system will work on total out loop of both main and new board

Dozens of Lionel uncoupling /operating track sections

Wye added to outside loops of both train boards, 5-2020, on Pg 7, Post 61

Marx 1590 metal frog switches, 31 installed

Ice skating Frozen Pond rink, homemade operating with disk of magnets under board, rink recessed on new Board, have above board commercial ice skating rink in box,

Marx 18 inch metal Tress bridge over Ice skating rink, one Lionel or Junior Bridge Co. 24 inch plastic Tress bridge and one 24 inch metal Junior Bridge Co. Truss bridge in attic and one 18 inch Arch Under Train truss plastic and metal bridge on shelves

Marx Red 12 inch Plate Girder bridge

Coal Mine & Loading Station, Scratch built & kit bashed Bach. 1975 coal tower, w/solenoid triggered gate, on page 2,  Post 15

Milk Platform Lionel 3562, Have 2, Milk refrigerator cars have four, Lionel Automatic Refrigerated Milk Cars 3472, 3472, 3482, 36621 O Scale,  cans have to be reloaded to car by hand' one on outside loop of main train board installed when Wye installed 6-2020

Cattle pen Lionel 3656, Cattle car will unload cattle and to cattle pen will unload to the cattle car

Operating Gantry Crane Lionel 12834 installed with tracks for gantry

Lionel Steam Coal Tender Whistles in two buildings, each board, whistle buttons on each end of both control panels

Lionel Diesel Sanding Tower, no building around TT

Bachmann Shell Oil Tank with diesel horn, have 2, a Third one sounds bad, horn buttons on each end of both control panels

Trolley -  Bachmann HO trollies and homemade stop, reverse and start rotary switch

Log Loader, 6-12774, a Cheap Lionel Automated - Homemade solenoid automated loader will load coal dumping car and dump logs on to Lumber Mill-  see Post 43 for details of automation

Lumber or Saw Mill, Lionel 464, rebuilt needing several new parts, coal dumping car and Lionel 9303 log dumping car will unload logs onto Lumber mill

Barrel Loader, Lionel 362, homemade base, Lionel 3556 Barrel car will unload barrels to 362 Barrel Loader and Barrel Loader will load 3556  Barrel cars

Oil Drum Loader, Am Flyer 379, use with gondola cars

Ice Station, Lionel 6-12703 and Lionel BREX 19823 Burlington Refrigerator Express car to be loaded with ice blocks

Control tower Lionel 192, operating,  control men move around in cab, made some parts like roof, weather vane

Marx 416 Flood light towers, have 4

Operating Switch Tower  Lionel 445

Operating Gate Man Lionel 145

Colber Oil Derrick Tower with bubbling lighted tube, have another spare tower

Micro wave tower Lionel 199 - Two installed, one with homemade top

Rotary beacon tower Lionel 494, light bulb heat turns reflector - Two installed

American Flyer 762 Whistle Billboard with two tone whistle installed in mountain in Jan 2022

Two tender Water Tanks, one a repainted Water Tank, Marx 065  and the other a copy of Lionel water tank with brick building homemade from Oat meal box and Masonite, later i got a Lionel 6-12711 Water Tower Building Kit not on layout, one but mine is better looking.  Have second Marx 065 water tank not on layout and shell for Lionel Water tank

Water Towers - One a Am Flyer 772 with repainted checker board and blinking red light, second, a Lionel Style 193 Industrial Water Tower with homemade tank and red blinking light made support tower from Marx tower

Goodyear - Blimp, with Moving Message Sign, a Revell kit, wired with a 3 volt wall wart and Buck converter to DC in 2022,  on layout for years, not working from 1985 or so

X-10 color TV security camera mounted on flat car.  Projects videos from moving train to 12 inch TV on floor by L of layout and to 55inch flat screen TV on wall

I have a Lionelville Dispatching Station, Lionel 465, that needs some fixing but no where to put it !

At least 6 Marx and Lionel light flood light towers

Numerus area flood light posts at various operating accessories

Two lighted working signal bridges

Wye to reverse trains on the outside loop of main train board and new train board

The following was added 5-26-2023 to show where on the layout, each accessory is located.

The photo below shows an overhead view of layouts boards, where most of my operating accessories can be seen.  The layout can maybe better be viewed if you click on it and to make a layout picture larger.

Main Board  11ft – 2 in  X  5ft - 9in,  New board  7ft – 6 in X 4ft – 7 in

L shape legs   11ft – 2in  and  12ft – 3 in

The layout accessories, from the left upper corner, are listed next.

Homemade Gray and red manual operated gantry crane, Lionel 445 Operating Switch Tower, homemade turntable with control knob left of the LW transformer on control board, Revell Goodyear Blimp with rotating lighted sign, non operating Marx water tower, Bachmann 1975 Coaling Tower that does not have coal loading or unloading at this time, Lionel 192 Operating Control Tower, Gantry Crane Lionel 12834 installed with tracks with controls left of TT control, AF 379 Oil Drum loader, Lionel 362 Barrel Loader, Lionel 3562 milk car unloading platform, Lionel 3656 cattle coral that loads and accepts cow from cattle car, Lionel 464 Lumber or Saw Mill, Operating Gate Man Lionel 145, gray and orange Lionel 6-12703 Ice Station,  Log Loader, 6-12774 with homemade automation at mountain with gray roof, behind Ferris wheel, Kitbashed Bachmann 1975 to Coal Mine and Coal loading facility, with the two roofs and brown walls at mountain.

On new train board, to the far right is a homemade Ice Skating froze pond with operating ice skaters, and to the left is another Lionel 3562 Milk Car Unloading platform.  The Lionel 3562 Milk Cars and unloading platform are by far the most popular with all the kids that visit the layout.

I also have two lighted working signal bridges, two Lionel 199 Microwave flashing towers, two working Lionel 494 Rotary Beacons, AF 772 water tower and homemade water tower with flashing red lights and an Colber Oil Derrick Tower with bubbling lighted tube, four Marx 416 Flood light towers.  Two of my building with open windows have working Lionel whistles for coal tenders, a  American Flyer 762 Whistle Billboard and two Bachmann Shell Oil tanks with working Diesel horns and two control panels that have operating buttons on each end to work the horns and whistles.  These work for all trains and I do not work any of the coat tenders or engines with whistles or horn from track voltage.  I tried to place items close to where the would be located in the real railroad era of steam locos.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Eli   Thanks for the response.  Yes old jig saws are very handy and fun to fix up.  I have had an old 1950s 18 inch Craftsman jigsaw since the 1970s.  You can see a picture of my Dads childhood pedal powered #1 Amateur Velocipede Scroll Saw (used by my brother and me from age 7 or so through high school) on post 10 in page 1 of this thread.

The 24 inch Delta jigsaw just begged me to take it home from a church sale in 2012.  I saw it on the floor in poor shape with part of the bottom casting broken.  We left to go to several garage sales and about noon I told my wife I decided to get it if it was still there.  Well it was and was 1/2 price after noon, at $12!   I used Marine Tex metal filled epoxy putty to rebuild the castings.  Marine Tex has been around for over 50 years and has been used to fix even cracked engine blocks, etc.  It much stronger and more of a putty than J B Weld.  I also found some new washing machine motors and installed a 1/3 hp one with two speeds.  It is not a capacitor start (but that is not needed for a easy to start jigsaw) and has an open case so I must make a shield to keep the sawdust out as well as a belt guard.  I found out this 24 inch jigsaw is more accurate than the 18 inch saw.

It has taken from 2012 to get it going as I had to build a garage and up stairs train and audio/video room.


Here is picture of my new Dual 1225 turntable I got at another church sale last month.  It said take me home too.  I like the older ones with wooden bases and Dual turntables keep finding me.




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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

I have no idea how I missed this topic last year up thru today.   This is quite possibly my all time favorite on OGR in the 10+ years I've been here.

This is my kind of layout.   I love the classics.

Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us, and detailing how you did everything.   There are not enough superlatives for me to use to express how happy it made me to read this entire topic today!

Nice work!


Thank you for the kind comments.

I hope members who like the older 50s style post war layouts and those just thinking or planning can get inspired to just start and go with what space, resources and skills they have and enjoy this hobby.  My basic first board layout and four for $10 Lionel 2-4-2 locos, two Lionel LWs and 17 Marx 1590 switches, used 027 track and homemade turntable cost less than one fancy new locomotive.  So one can have a lot of fun building a layout and running it with your kids, grand kids or friends.  Other locos, cars and operating accessories were picked up over the last 20 years, all used and most junkers a couple per year.


I do not know.  I just grabbed an LP from the stack leaning against the JBL L-50 speaker below to adjust the point where the stylus drops to insure it hits the start of the LP.

Hatari ! is setting on the turntable next to the new one.  I have eight turntables set up along two walls of speakers and four 1970s stereo receivers.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 35   6/22/2017

Unit trains on my Layout

A unit train is a freight train carrying the same type of commodity, from origin to destination.  Railroads usually chose 105 as the minimum number of cars that qualified a train for the unit train rate.  The locomotives pulling the train will usually stay connected from origin to destination and return with empty cars.

I was familiar with unit trains as Alcoa used them from my childhood company town, to transport alumina from the alumina refinery in Point Comfort, TX to the aluminum smelter in Rockdale, TX.  We loaded and shipped 25-30, 100 ton covered hopper cars each day, 365 d/y by unit train.

I thought it would be neat to have a unit trains for common commodities on my railroad layout.  So I made and collected some covered hopper cars used for alumina and they can be run on the layout even though I do not have an alumina refinery to load them.

The Alumina cars are from right to left, White Ormet car from Burnside, LA, two Alcoa Silver cars from Point Comfort, TX or Bauxite, AR, and a Blue Reynolds Metals car from Sherwin, TX or Bauxite, AR.  The Ormet car was homemade, the second Alcoa had a homemade individual 8 covers, and the Reynolds car has homemade cover with three hatch covers.  I have worked for these three companies (Alcoa bought Reynolds) and also Kaiser Aluminum in Baton Rouge and plant in Gramercy,LA.  I need to make a Kaiser Alumina car to complete my Alumina Unit Train.


Unit trains give an operator another reason to seek and collect rolling stock.

I have a coal mine so coal cars are needed and are shipped in a unit train.  So I started collecting 3 or 4 dumping coal cars, so I can load them at my coal mine loading station and unload them into one of those Lionel coal bin/trays.


I have 3 or 4 oil tank cars, chemical tank cars, gondolas, boxcars, flat cars, log cars, milk cars, cattle cars, etc. to make unit trains for each type car.

Oil Tank cars


Milk cars



Pictured here are 4 auto loaders operating as a unit train.  I have to be careful with these when using heaver metal cars as they are top heavy on curves.  I picked up a box of red metal 57 Chevy convertibles but plastic ones are better for auto loaders


So you can see unit trains add interest and fun to the layout and operation.



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Post 36a

Medium Weight Steam Engines Used on the Layout

I have reported on the small regular engines like the 2-4-2 type like the Lionel 247, 248, Marx 999, 333 and 666 at (, post 12).   Also included are 0-4-0 switchers.  Some had plastic bodies and some had metal.  I started operating these the first several years of the layout.  I needed at least four good steam engines as the original layout stared in 1977 had a homemade working turntable and had two loops wired for two trains per loop operation requiring at least four engines.

Next I added medium size engines to pull more cars or heavier cars.  These were the 2-6-4 engines like metal Lionel 2016, 2018 and 2026 and I needed at least four engines mentioned as above.  I ran these, starting around 1989, mostly for several years.

I then moved up the heavier 2-6-2 Lionel 2025 and especially the 2-6-4 Lionel 2035 with Magna-Traction starting in 1998.  At least four steam engines are needed as above.   These last two are still my overall favorites and usually at least two are on the layout, pulling especially trains with several heavy operating cars.

Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 36b    7-25-2017    revised 7-14-2022

Train Shelves - Economical, Wall Friendly and Moveable

Three wall, easy to build, economically, wall friendly and moveable train shelves were made in the 1980's and were installed in a hall ways and/or a spare bedrooms of three prior houses and the current house.  Each shelve is made in two sections each to allow moving thru doors and up stairs.  They also stand on the floor and are held to the wall by two 1" x 1" angles screwed into a wall stud per section, meaning only two small holes in the wall are required.  The shelves are backed with 1/8" Masonite, with some strips of white felt glued to the back, to protect the wall.  The shelves have router grooved surfaces to hold the train wheels and keep the cars and engines from rolling off.  The design has one wider 1" x 6" wide shelve, one half way up and one wider 1" X 8" top shelf to allow display of wider accessories or other items in addition to the typical train cars and engines.  Some of my shelves have track sections and are powered to allow lighting of train cars.

Construction is 1" x 4" straight pine #2 lumber with grooves routed in for train wheels.  It is usually less expensive to buy 1x 4 x 8 ft long #2 common pine boards at Home Depot and pick through them to find straight boards.  Knots are not that important to me as they can be filled in and painted over.  I used 5 min epoxy glue(fingered on)  to coat the knots to keep them from bleeding through the white paint which I chose to make the trains show out better. The length of the shelves can be any you like up to 8 ft with this type of shelve boards.  I place the shelves with a 4 1/2 in open space between each shelve.  Mine are 7 ft 2 in tall and have 16 shelves with the bottom one 3 1/2 off the floor (about the height of my baseboards).  They are nailed together with two 2 1/2 inch finish nails per shelf each end and have 1/8 " Masonite, nailed with 3/4" roofing nails every 6 inches on each shelve, on the back to keep the shape square, keep the shelves from sagging and to keep from marking wall.  Pieces of white felt are glued on the back of Masonite to keep from marking wall also.

I filled knot holes and nail holes with DAP Plastic Wood Latex Based Wood Filler (update- I now seal the knots with 5 min epoxy to better hide them when painting, too), Natural and primed the shelves and backing Masonite with Kilz primer probably oil based but would use latex now.  I chose to paint the shelves glossy off white latex paint.  I think the light color makes the train engines and cars show up better and makes the room brighter and more cheerful.  I use a 3 in x 12 in piece of clear Saran Wrap on the shelf where an engines go to keep the white shelf clean of grease from the wheels.

View of one shelve shown below   The 8 inch wide shelf is shown on top and one 6 inch wide shelf is in the   middle with the picture framed pictures and milk car and cattle car accessories.  There are some powered track to operate the accessories and operating cars on this shelf.


View below shows joint between two half's of shelves. ,  Holes were drilled in the ends of both side boards and two, 3 inch finish nails, with heads sawed off, were inserted in the holes to allow the two sections to be secured.

Notice the grooves for wheels routed with veining bit on all shelves, a 6 inch wide shelf is one half way up 16 shelves.  Also note the picture shows the joint between the two shelve sections that are aligned with cut off finish nail to keep the sections secure.


Some 6 inch wide shelves allow display of extra accessories and figures.


Photo below shows powered track to allow lighting cars


Next picture shows shelf legs setting on floor, showing cut out for base board.  Extra, a Boxcar Willie LP record.


Top shelf is 8 inch wide to hold other train items


Over all view of all 3 shelves which were moved to from the house to the new 2010 train/all purpose room over a new two car garage/shop.


The two large shelves on the left and right of the picture above were in the halls and spare bedroom of my present house for many years until the train room was built making the spouse very happy!

Notice in last picture I have added two more small shelves under two windows for more trains.  One never has enough trains and thus shelves.

Small shelf under window shown below.


All shelves are standing on floor and held to wall with 1in X 1in angle brackets screwed into studs.  Shelves come apart to allow removal and moving to another room or house.  Build once for life!

Some train storage on the shelve hints are below.

Post war locos with Magna-traction are put on a section of steel track to act as a "magnet keeper" and hopefully help save the magnets.

For engines with traction tires I keep them off the wood or track to protect against flat spots.

I also store all cars and trains with the couplings open to "save the springs".

I use a 3 in x 12 in piece of clear Saran Wrap on the white or light colored shelves where greased engines are stored

I do not know if any of this makes a difference but I feel better.

Update: May 2020 :   A fourth shelf section was built and is the last section of trains shelves.  I have noticed a couple of knots are showing as slight yellowish through on some of my three original 30 plus years old shelves.  I have searched for a cure to hide sappy knots and some Kilz B-I-N shellac based primer is recommended but does not always work.  I have purchased my boards at Home Depot and the choice of #2 cheap lumber is of a much lower quality than in days past and this lot had several knots on about one half of the boards.  I have decided to not buy the expensive shellac based Kilz for this small job and have decided to use cheap Harbor Freight 5 minute clear epoxy glue, to seal the knots.   I applied it thinly with my finger tip.  We will see in a few years if it works at keeping the knots from showing thru.

I now have four larger sections plus two short sections under the windows, totaling 425 linear feet and built my last shelf section.

Picture below shows all train shelves, with new in May 2020 longer shelf section the on right




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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

 When you post, I get the same rush of excitement I'd get when a new issue of one these brought; especially when I was a boy; I'd stalk the pharmacy shelves for them before they vanished. Your builds are like time refined creations out of a "best of" issue.


  You keep pumping out gold Charlie, I'll keep taking on fluids for my excess drool.

  No train covers handy, these all contain kit car info for ones I ended up choosing to restore....two decades later, still had boyhood refrences lol.    That's the kind of long term influence this kinda stuff has on me.

My first power tool was a Dayton or Dweyer jig saw (forgetting at the moment), a gift from my machinist Grandfather, beginning of 4th grade. Got tipped by someone when I was about 15 and the beam clipped a pipe plug and snapped from the shock. I moved to a bandsaw. Older and stronger, I used a coping saw more on carvings by then anyhow and needed a bandsaw for metals, but oh the memories.  No money at OUR house, but a music lover,  I'd hack junk radios together till I had one that worked and make cabnets for them. My knowledge about them was nill. I just swapped stuff around with the best logic I could muster, and flipped the switch on and off switch fast, waiting for silence :dissapoint: smoke , or sucesses  


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Fellows, thanks for the views, comments and likes.  There are not really extra shelves as there are 3 or 4 shelves of trains on the layout and many more cars in boxes!

MTN - I am not into tube audio gear but 1970s, mostly silver faced and walnut veneer, like Sansui 9090 and db.  I find audio gear cheap at garage and estate sales and that have discrete transistors that I can repair.  I had a Hallicrafters tube SW receiver years ago and did not like the drifting until warm as we used for VOA, BBC, and AF Radio for news overseas and sold it.  A friend gave me an old 1950s Hallicrafters tube to fix recently.  These old jobs are shock hazards and have to be rewired to make safe.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie
Choo Choo Charlie posted:

I hope members who like the older 50s style layout and those just thinking or planning can get inspired to just start and go with what space, resources and skills they have and enjoy this hobby. 

Charlie, I have to say this is one of my favorite topics on the forum. I had a 4x17 layout as a kid, and always thought it would be fun to build another. I had put it off for a while due to lack of space and time.   However, you and your layout inspired me to get started on a layout,  and let it evolve over time.  I'm in the early stages now, but work on it a little here and there when I get time.

I really enjoy the enginuity of everything on your layout from the turntable, to the wiring, to the roller wheels on the edge of the layout,  to the coaling tower, etc. etc. etc. 

Thanks for taking the time to show the details and tell us how you did it!

All the best,


Last edited by JD2035RR


Thanks for the encouraging words and you are exactly the type of train fan this topic is aimed at.  Does the 2035 in your forum name stand for the Lionel 2035 steam engine?  As you probably know the 2035 is my last favorite engine for my 027 track and Marx switches and allow me to pull heavy trains with operating cars.

I found the planning of the track diagram went pretty fast.  I would try to study other layouts to see where you might want to go in the future and try to plan for that or make it expandable if you can.  I never originally planned to have or build the addition but fortunately it could be built in an L and that fit one of my living rooms and also other houses.

It will take time to accumulate train stuff to get good prices.  Living in Illinois should be great for train meets and train club shows to met train guys who will be good contacts and sources for trains, track, switches, transformers etc.  The north, north east and center of the country model train areas, way more than the south (colder winter up there, I play golf in Jan and Feb in south LA).

I made the main train board in three or four months (including control panel and homemade turntable) working some evenings and some weekends with family of 3 yr and 1 yr and leaving home at 6am, back at 6pm if lucky.  The first Christmas we had the board, control panel, turntable and all track and switches.  No new buildings but a few Plasticville and two from my kid layout my Dad had made.  But trains ran and we had fun.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 37   8/5/2017  revised 6-17-2024

Layout Moves to New Hobby/Train Room in 2011 and Layout Legs and Skirting Added

When the layout was moved to the new hobby/train/media/audio room, above a new two car garage, in 2011.  The layout was put on legs at 35 inches above the floor.  This height was found to be good for operating and viewing from standing or sitting on a stool.  Three trains shelves were moved from a hall in the house to the walls of the train room to be close to the train board.  It was decided to eliminate some of the background to allow better viewing of the train shelves.

Most legs were 2 x 4s bolted on with carriage bolts and bracing is 1x2s screwed on.


Since the train room does not have a closet or storage room the space below the train layout is used for storage of LP records, spare stereo gear, train cars, etc.  This makes for a messy looking area.  It was decided to make a cloth skirt to hide the mess.

Some dark blue inexpensive material was purchased at Jo Ann’s or another cloth store.  Enough was purchased to make skirt for the whole perimeter around the layout.  Skirting was made for the most visible ends of the “L” and the sides where the control panels are.  It was not made at this time for the less visible sides facing the two walls with the train shelves.  This also provides easier access to the boxes of LP records , VCR tapes, Reel to Reel tapes, CDs, cassette tapes, etc. stored under the layout.

The skirt is made using simple panels, each 6 inches wide with 2 inch pleats.  A 5 inch hem was sewn on the bottom and a 1 inch hem was sewn on the top.  The skirt was held to back side of the 1x6 base boards around the layout with thumb tacks or push pins. The skirt is sized to hang about ½ inch off of the carpet.  It was made in sections large enough to cover each straight side or end with about 2 feet extra to overlap and not leave any gaps.  Believe it or not I sewed the skirt with my wife’s help threading the sewing machine.




Pleats would be sharper if I had ironed them !

It turned out the layout would be an eye sore without the skirt hiding the storage mess under the layout.  It is more convenient to access the LPs under the layout without skirting on the backside.


This next shot shows the electric cord protector for the power cord to the layout.  I regret not having a couple of outlets installed in the center of the rooms floor during construction.

PS: 10-2019  I have since found a way to add a power outlet under the train layout.  There is a 110v outlet in the ceiling in the garage below that was added to power a garage door opener.  It would be easy to add a floor grade outlet under the train board and electrically tie it into the garage door opener outlet below.  I have decided, for the the time being, to stay with the electric cord protector as there is not much foot traffic here.




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Thanks for the response.  You are this topics best fan!  Velcro is a better way to hold the skirt on but as you know takes much more work to sew on and install on the layout.  I have seen Velcro on layouts at train shows that get moved and set up often.   I took the quick easy way and also do not remove the skirt so the tacks work ok.

Next posts will be on Special Trains run on the layout.



  Glad you have more topics up your sleeve. Great layout you have there and I look forward to your do many others who are following your thread. I was reviewing some of your earlier posts and I remembered we have 2 things in common, I like the LW transformers, too and my last layout had that same crazy wiring that you showed in one of your earlier pictures. When I had to take apart that layout when we moved 5 or so years ago, I had such a mess, I unknowingly/accidentally snipped a power cord on my other transformer, a ZW!  


Choo Choo Charlie posted:

 Does the 2035 in your forum name stand for the Lionel 2035 steam engine?

In fact it does stand for the Lionel postwar steamer, my favorite Christmas gift that I received as a kid.  I really enjoyed it as a kid, and grew to respect how great of an engine it really is as I grew older.  Maybe the most underrated engine of the postwar period?

Your family situation at the time of the build sounds similar to mine now.  It's tough finding time at the end of the day with so much going on. I'm really trying to make it a priority to include the kids on the build, to try to pass along the skills learned in creating a layout.  We will make some time for it shortly as I'd like to have it up and running by Thanksgiving this year.  

I've been purchasing layout items over the past two years as I saw good deals pop up.  Goal is to have it action packed like yours.  


Post 38a

Heavy Weight Steam Engines Upgrade 1998 to 2011

I have gone from:

Light Weight  2.0-2.4 pound plastic body 2-4-2 Lionel 248 type, and metal body Marx 999 and 666, mostly from 1977-1980

to Medium Weight  2.5- 3.5 pound metal body 2-6-2 Lionel 2016, 2026 2-6-2v type, mostly from 1986-2000

to Heavy Weight 3.6 - 4.5 pound metal body Lionel 2025 2-6-2  and Lionel 2-6-4 2035 (with Magne-Traction) 2-6-4, mostly from 1998-2011      Steam engines to pull heavier and heavier trains with 4 to 6 heavy operating cars like milk, cattle and barrel cars.

Early Heavy Weight engines were two Lionel 2025, 2-6-2, 3.6- 4.5 pound engines without Magna-Traction


Later four Lionel 2035, 2-6-4, 3.6-4.5 pound engines with Magna-Traction

Lionel 2035 10-15-2023 2023-10-15 008

Lionel 2035 10-15-2023 2023-10-15 001



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 38b   8/12/2017

Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Car Train  (1st Post, Milk Car)

I operate several Trains frequently on the layout such as the Operating Car Train the Operating Car Train, the Christmas train and a Wrecking Train and several more to be detailed in later posts.

Operating Car Train and the Milk Car Lionel 3582

One train always on the layout is the Operating Car Train.  A Lionel 2035, 2-6-4 heavy locomotive with Magna-traction is used to pull this heavy, long train.  This train consists of a Lionel 3582 milk car, a Lionel 3656 Cattle Car, a Lionel Barrel 3556 Unloading Car, and Lionel Ice Refrigerator 19825 car ,a  gondola and caboose.

This Operating Car Train is usually on the bypass siding on the new train board, near the control panel and with the Milk car posted in front of the Lionel 3462 Milk Platform so it is ready for action.


The Lionel 3582 Milk Car is the main action as the little man throws milk cans at the platform trying to get them on the platform and stand them up.  The milk car is activated by 12 volts to uncoupling track in front of the platform.


The Milk car and Platform get the most action by all children who all can reload the cans into the car and discharge them quickly.  The Lionel 3482 Milk Car and Platform are easy to find as it was probably Lionel’s bestselling operating car and is a must have.

I have three other Milk cars, two 3472s and an O scale sized 36621.  They all work the same with the Platform.  The 3470s have aluminum doors and an older style milk can door for installing the milk cans.  One has to use a finger nail to open this door from the front.  The 3480 has the hinge away from the end of the door and opens easier by pushing on the back of the door.  Having additional Milk cars allows one to have operate a milk car train or have another train have a Milk car too.


Note Flood lights working for night operation.

Picture of Large Tweezers to help in retrieving milk cans from the track and between car and platform.




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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie
Casco posted:

Charlie, thanks for taking the time to provide your very thorough explanation.  I think I get it now but I'll find out if that's true when I actually build the turntable and roundhouse.

As far as the rotational power for the turntable, I suppose horses or other draft animals could have been used as well.  Modeling that would be pretty interesting.

Tom, that's a cool picture of man-handling a locomotive.  It seems like it would take a lot more men than just one with a lever to move it.  I imagined a bunch of guys climbing down into the pit and pushing the TT.


You don't need a team of horses or men to manually turn a steam engine.  One man can easily do the job.








Last edited by Former Member

Post 39   8l18/17

Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Car Train  (2nd Post, Cattle Car)

Operating Car Train and the Lionel 3656 Cattle Car and Cattle Pen

The next car on the Operating Car Train is the Lionel 3656 Cattle Car.  The Cattle Car and the cattle pen are another of the more popular Lionel Accessories and easy to find.

The Cattle Car and cattle pen do two operations.  The first is to unload cattle from the cattle car into the cattle pen.  Then the cattle car can go on its way with the train.  Later that cattle car or another cattle car can dock at the cattle pen and be loaded from the cattle pen.  This allows two operations and more realist train movements.  The Lionel 3656 Cattle Car and cattle pen also can load and unload cattle, car to pen and pen to car or to a second car on another train.

The cattle car must have Lionel accessory track and the cattle pen must have power.  I use variable voltage from the train operating Lionel LW transformer.  Variable voltage is a must to get the finicky cattle to vibrate and move correctly. I have a momentary switch on the control panel to feed that power to the cattle car and to the cattle pen.


Note:  White spots have been added to some of the black cattle with white latex paint and Flood Lights for night operation.

I recommend the cattle pen be placed where it can be given some human finger help.  Cows will often get stuck or jammed in the cattle car also requiring removal of the car and shaking them out.  Cows also get stuck or jammed in the cattle pen also.  This car and cattle pen can be frustrating for small children.


Cattle Pen is near Control Panel and LW transformer



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 40  8/20/2017

Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Car Train  (3nd Post, Barrel Car Loader)

Operating Car Train Lionel Barrel 3556 Unloading Car and the Lionel 362 Barrel Loader

Another car on the Operating Car Train is the Lionel Barrel 3556 Unloading Car.  This car uses a vibrator motor to transport wooden barrels up and off the car.  The barrels can discharged into a Lionel black plastic tray used for logs or on to a platform you can make.

Picture shows Lionel Barrel 3556 Unloading car discharging Barrels


The best option is to procure a Lionel 362 Barrel Loader.


The Lionel Barrel Loader 362 is a long vibrating ramp that will load the barrels into the Lionel Barrel 3556 Unloading Car.  My Barrel Loader 362 came as a Junker ramp and vibration motor without the base.  I got to make a base from wood in just the size I needed for my location near the main board control panel.  I made the ramp discharge piece from plastic from plastic gutter piece and ramp feed section from aluminum sheet from flashing.  I have yet to make the fencing around the ramp.  The Barrel Loader is not anchored down to allow moving as necessary to adjust the distance to the track and cars.

What makes this car and accessory combination more fun is the fact one can load barrels on to the car and then unload the car back onto the barrel loader ramp.  The use of a second barrel unloading car on a second different train makes for lots of realist operation.

Barrel Loader Operator- my guy is not the  2 inch high man like the original but larger than the little Barrel Car man         




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Post 41

Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Car Train  (4nd Post, Ice Car & Icing Station)

Operating Car Train Lionel Ice Refrigerator 19825 car and Lionel Icing Station 6-2316

Another operating car on the Operating Car Train is the Lionel Ice Refrigerator 19825 car.  This car receives blocks of plastic ice from the Lionel Icing Station 6-2316.  If you have a Lionel Icing Station, the Lionel Ice Refrigerator car is a must.  Dumping ice blocks into a gondola or coal car just will not cut it !




Of coarse there is no way to recover the ice blocks or unload them, since they all melted keeping the shipment cold !  The Icing Station is not anchored down to allow moving to adjust position for the distance between the Ice Car and also not let trains swinging by from hitting the Icing Station.



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

 Horray for operating cars.

  I missed some. My notifications on this thread are only comming intermediatly...likely MS Outlooks new found unreliability these last months and not a forum issue.

  I love seeing posts from David of Dearborn too. He is another "Tinkerer Extraordinare".  Portable micro- tinplate layouts and the coolest of long forgotten about "gadgety" tin accessories are just a few of his goodies. 

  Gramps always had plenty of #90s to keep little fingers busily entertained (and slider switches to kill them if you abused the buttons wildly, lol ); and he  had the icehouse and car around too. But in my whole life, I only got to see it work one or two times (as with a few items). He felt there was something too delicate about it, or it didn't work very well or something....a mystery to this day because it wasn't " mint".

  The stock coral and vibrating car was only used a few times as well, but was there a decade.(his stock tended to stay put or fall over lame).  

  Coal loaders tended to make a mess, and stray rocks in loco gears just wasn't the kind of thing that appealed to him, but were rather more of a nightmare scenereo for running his nicer trains (white glove stuff). I could run the coal elevator, but milk cars were just plain easier for me to use and clean up after. I cleaned or might be forbidden from the throttle next time...that wasn't really about just the coal though. That was recognition of ownership; respect

  One of the nicest "groups" of cars Gramps had were the various versions of the milk cars. The ones we handled were just so-so. I always liked the looks and action on the aluminum doored cars best but they were way more delicate too. Plus they had the magnetic bottomed cans, so twice as likely to remain standing. We called the plain bottom milk cans "the empties" because they fell over easier  

 The red, white, and black switcher; what road is that? A striking loco.

Choo Choo Charlie posted:

Post 39

Popular Trains Run on the Layout (2nd Popular Trains Post)

Operating Car Train and the Lionel 3656 Cattle Car and Cattle Pen

The next car on the Operating Car Train is the Lionel 3656 Cattle Car.  The Cattle Car and the cattle pen are another of the more popular Lionel Accessories and easy to find. 

The Cattle Car and cattle pen do two operations.  The first is to unload cattle from the cattle car into the cattle pen.  Then the cattle car can be go on its way with the train.  Later that cattle car or another cattle car can dock at the cattle pen and be loaded from the cattle pen.  This allows two operations and more realist train movements.  The Lionel 3656 Cattle Car and cattle pen also can load and unload cattle, car to pen and pen to car or to a second car on another train.

The cattle car must have Lionel accessory track and the cattle pen must have power.  I use variable voltage from the train operating Lionel LW transformer.  Variable voltage is a must to get the finicky cattle to vibrate and move correctly. I have a momentary switch on the control panel to feed that power to the cattle car and to the cattle pen.



Note:  White spots have been added to some of the black cattle with white latex paint and Flood Lights for night operation.


I recommend the cattle pen be placed where it can be given some human finger help.  Cows will often get stuck or jammed in the cattle car also requiring removal of the car and shaking them out.  This car can be frustrating for small children. 


Cattle Pen is near Control Panel and LW transformer


Sounds like my old vibrating football game



I am glad you asked.

You asked  "The red, white, and black switcher; what road is that? A striking loco."

Post 21 on page 2 of this topic (quoted below)  explains this engine.

"I had a Marx 1998 switcher missing the shell.  I found a Lionel SW2 shell and cut out about 1 inch of it to shorten to fit the 1998.  I painted it black, white and red in the colors of ALCOAs Bauxite and Northern short line railroad from the Bauxite, ARK alumina and chemical plant in Bauxite, ARK to the a major railroads main lines.  The Marx1998 is a great running engine and always beats other engines in racing through the oval and figure 8."

Train Pic 2, 1-19-2015 007



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Charlie, at one point you mentioned automating the manual Lionel log loader on your layout.


I don't want to make you do anything you dont want to do, but I'd love to see you do it and share how you do it. I've thought about picking one of those up and doing the same thing - possibly with an old switch motor to drop the logs and create a conveyor to pull the logs up from a dump bin into the shed. Just a thought for a future post! Thanks!

OGR magazine should run an article on your layout - heck - it's already written and photographed!



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Last edited by JD2035RR

Boomer and fellows, thanks for the comments.  Boomer, I am not the quality of modeler they look at for magazines to publish.

I have been following Hurricane Harvey today (8-25-2017) and tonight.  I still have friends in Port Lavaca and Victoria, TX.  This one looks average in wind and heavy in rain.  We had Hurricane Carla hit right over Port Lavaca in l961 with winds above 175 mph.  It blew some of the roof off our house.  We went to Austin but my father stayed at the ALCOA plant (at Pt. Comfort, 6 miles over the causeway from Port Lavaca) since he was Hurricane Coordinator.  They  were all safe.  Please pray for those affected that they and their homes survive.

JD,  I have had the idea to automate the cheap Lionel 6-12774 Log Loader for over 30 years.  I would simply come up with a way to use a solenoid to trip a gate or tilt the ramp and let the logs roll.   Maybe some day, meanwhile I have that to look forward to.  In the post after next I will outline why I might speed that up.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

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