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Thanks for the kind comments.  I am not aware of way cars, always something new to learn.  That Burlington ice reefer came with my Lionel Icing Station accessory.  It would not take much to made a reefer by adding a hopper into the top into a milk car or box car.  The reefer is part of my operating car train that is always on the layout and has a milk car, cattle car, barrel unloading car, log dumping car to dump on to the Lionel Sawmill  and a gondola or coal car to accept canisters from the Gantry crane or coal form the mine car loader.  For now one reefer is good and I am not tied down to any railroad line.  I am glad you and your grandson enjoyed the ATSF caboose.

Yes this topic, on post 9 on page 1, has details on my $10 turntable and roundhouse and most everything on my layout including lots of my homemade cars and accessories.  There is a table of contents on page 1 also to allow anyone including me to find where each subject is.

I could have bought all the things I homemade, (eBay has most if you can out bid and pay postage for them) but I really like to make many of them and have been a model builder since childhood and found I enjoy making them more than operating or running them.  The turntable is a good example of having fun planning it and building it for next to nothing 43 years ago.  They are very  simple unless you need an automatic indexing one.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 76          3-18-2021

A Lionel 6-8562, GP 20  -  Latest Diesel Roaming the Layout

A couple of weeks ago I made a rare eBay purchase, a Lionel Missouri Pacific GP 20 Diesel.  I liked it for its short nose and blue color.  It is a 6-8562, with one motor and traction tires.  It looks fine on my 027 curves and runs very well on 027 track and 31 Marx metal frog 1590 switches.

Lionel 6-8562, GP 20 with repainted Missouri Pacific SP style Caboose in background






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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 77          6-19-2021

Reviving 1930s Lionel 238 Streamlined Torpedo Locomotive and Tinplate Tender

I have owed a Lionel 238, the Loewy’s 1936 designed, torpedo streamlined body and old style metal tinplate tender for several years, origin unknown.  It needed a motor and I found an old Marx four wheel one from a Marx 999 that seemed to work and fit.  The Marx motor did not have the mount and two front wheels like the 999 does.

I have looked into adding a pair of wheels on the front and on the rear to make a 2-4-2 but could not come up with "something" that would work but believe if I can find a mount and set of wheels from a 999 they would work.  They can be added later so for now I am going with a 0-4-0, which will run with no derailments of front or rear wheels.


A metal mount was made for the rear and front of the motor into the engine and J B Welded them in.  Also made was a small metal tube to hold the head light, which is a 12v mini Christmas tree bulb, bulb holder, wire and socket.  A small hole was drilled into the top of the metal hole to let hot air out and added a small piece of red clear plastic to make a little red glow on the stack.  A locomotive coupler was installed.

The coal tender had a set of Lionel trucks, one with a Lionel coupler, were installed and a tender coupler was added to the front.


Motor holder shown below


Marx 999 motor and coal tender coupler shown below installed


The engine and tender were painted with flat darkest gray spray primer and then covered all with clear glossy paint.  A small metal strip was labeled with "L I O N E L "letters and sprayed with clear.  This was installed were the original engine had a strip labeled "Pennsylvania".  I decal-ed the engine and tender as "Pennsylvania" and used the side strip to show "Lionel" as the manufacturer not the fictitious "Lionel Lines" as Lionel had done.  The decals were sprayed with clear glossy paint to seal them on.


This picture shows the head light and the Red lighted smoke stack glow from the fire box



I wanted to also pull Marx tinplate cars as they are lighter and more typical of 1930s trains.  The Torpedo tin coal tender got Lionel old style couplers so I made a tiny adapter from a paper clip shown below, to allow pulling Marx spade coupled cars.  It simply has a loop to be held by the pin of the coupler.


This shows it hooked up to a Marx boxcar.


Below is my Marx cars tinplate train being pulled with the new to me Lionel 0-4-0 Torpedo stream lined steam locomotive.  This is an easy pull for the low powered Marx 999 style motor in the Torpedo.


This was a fun project and is my first Torpedo Locomotive.  I now have a late 1930s streamlined torpedo loco and tinplate metal tender.



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

The next one is a 4-6-4 Lionel 2065, a skinny Small Hudson with a Santa Fe boiler front and was designated good for O27.  It has Magna-traction and was built in 1954-56.  I have some long Lionel streamliner coal tenders and also have made a long Vanderbilt coal tender that look better with this long engine. IMG_1059

Excuse my ignorance but did you paint the valve gear gold on this engine? Or is it a camera trick? I don't recall ever seeing one like this before.

Post 78          8-11-2021

Engines Purchased with Previous Owners Modifications

Three Train Show purchased Engines, with Previous Owners Modifications are reviewed below.

Lionel 2065 Baby Hudson With Gold Painted Running Gear

Ben:  Thank you for the question about my Lionel 2065 baby Hudson.  I bought the engine only at a TCA train show at Millerville School, in Baton Rouge, LA in 1999 and it came with the gold colored running gear.  It was painted gold by a prior owner.  For some reason I have not run it or the Lionel 2046,  bought about the same time, much until the last year to two.  I like the 2046 a little better as it is not a narrow looking as the 2056 but runs and pulls the same.  I buy all used trains and once in awhile they a have been "improved" by prior owners.


Gold running gear Lionel 2065 with new Homemade Longer Vanderbilt Coal Tender


Lionel 2025 with Enclosed Cab and White Wall Painted Wheels

A Lionel 2025 was purchased without coal tender at a train show at the Astro Hall train show in Houston in 2002.  The Lionel 2025 came with a homemade enclosed cab and White Wall painted wheels.  I left all in place.   Recently I installed a coupler for a coal tender on the front of the loco to allow a oil tender to be pulled by the front of the locomotive.  It is now used as a Cab Forward locomotive with a oil tender.

Lionel 2025 with Enclosed Cab and White Wall wheels

A working Head Light and Marker Lights were added to the cab to allow use as a Cab Forward locomotive.  The camera flash brings out all the imperfections.


Lionel 2025 enclosed cab loco as a Cab Forward loco with oil tender


Lionel 4-4-0 General and Coal Tender- Engine has Home Crafted Wooden Cab and Cow Catcher

Here is a Lionel 1862, 4-4-0 General and coal tender that came with a homemade wooden engine cab and cow catcher.  It was purchased this way, at a TCA Train show in 2018 in Ponchatoula, LA and was the reason I got it for an inexpensive price.   I thought a prior owner did a lot of work and a good job on the wooden modes.  The roof is a little rough or more realistic.  I do not know if real 4-4-0 General style locos had wooden cow catchers or not, but probably not.

General w wood cab 11-7-2018 2018-11-07 004

General w wood cab 11-7-2018 2018-11-07 009


You never know what you might find at a train show.



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie
@Mannyrock posted:

Hi Charlie,

I don't mean to hi-jack this thread, so just refer me to the electric board if appropriate.

Your inner large oval has the "X" configuration in the middle of it, using just four switches.

Didn't this create a "reverse loop."?   

How did you handle that?



Not sure what you mean.  Unlike 2-rail, a return loop does not create a short circuit in 3-rail.

Well,  I guess I thought that if your engine is running clockwise around an oval, and then enters a turnout that puts it in the "X" part of the layout which is situated in the middle of the oval, and then follows that leg of the X across the crossroad, and then comes out on the other side of the oval and enters that oval such that it is then traveling counter-clockwise on the oval (i.e. suddenly traveling in the opposite direction on the oval), then that would cause an electrical problem or a stall.    I would very be happy to know that I am wrong.   :-)     

I mean, your engine is suddenly running on the original track, but in the opposite direction.

Does the presence or absence of an E switch have anything to do with this?



@Mannyrock posted:

Well,  I guess I thought that if your engine is running clockwise around an oval, and then enters a turnout that puts it in the "X" part of the layout which is situated in the middle of the oval, and then follows that leg of the X across the crossroad, and then comes out on the other side of the oval and enters that oval such that it is then traveling counter-clockwise on the oval (i.e. suddenly traveling in the opposite direction on the oval), then that would cause an electrical problem or a stall.    I would very be happy to know that I am wrong.   :-)     

I mean, your engine is suddenly running on the original track, but in the opposite direction.

Does the presence or absence of an E switch have anything to do with this?



Don't worry - be happy.  No short is created, and the e-unit has nothing to do with it.  It's the magic of AC.  Remember that the two outside rails are common.

Here you go...

Last edited by Mallard4468

Post 79          2-11-2022      revised 9-21-2022

NO-OX-ID A-Special Electrical Contact Grease Treatment for My Layout Track to Prevent Sparking and to Eliminate Track Cleaning FOREVER !

This post is a  review and tells of my application of NO OX on my track and engine wheels.  A complete detailed explanation of what of NO-OX-ID A Special is, its history and application instructions (also summarized below) can be found on the below OGR topic link

An excellent you tube video below explains and shows how to use non polar Mineral Spirits to clean track and how to apply NO-OX-ID A Special to treat tracks to eliminate track cleaning forever.

Testimonies for NO OX from 10 years ago

Much was found on NO OX and its 50 year history of use on model train tracks to improve operation, eliminate sparking and track cleaning forever.  Sounds good doesn't it?  NO OX has been successful for many mode railroaders, for many years.  Many others have determined it failed and most probably tried it before the latest instructions, that emphasis the use of very little NO OX and special instructions for how to apply it, and how to handle its use with engine traction tires.

I bought a 2 oz jar on eBay and followed the 10 step application that is condensed below.

First, all the train engines and cars were removed from the layout on 12-3-2021.  Then, all the train track and engine wheels were cleaned.  Fine sand paper and Mineral Spirits were used for the track.  Track that had engine skipping was fixed.  I checked all my locomotive for black gunk on the wheels with most being on the lead truck of steam locomotives and removed the gunk b scraping with an old pocket knife.  I then clean all engine wheels with mineral sprites.  This took a long time with over 40 locos.  I did not clean any coal tender or car wheels.

Second, NO OX was applied on 12-6-2021, with a very thin smears on my finger, and rubbed it on all rails.  I did not apply enough to see any residue of globs of NO OX.  Next all of my locomotive, expect the three locos with traction tires, were run on all tracks to coat all the wheels with NO OX.  Many slipped and had to be helped to make it around a loop.  Engines were run on all the loops and track I could.  This took a good amount of time as there are 40 or more locos. Each loco was not run for 2 hours recommended by some, but were let to make several loops and ran on all track with one or more locos.

I then removed the last engines and rubbed down, (not scrubbed)  the track with a clean tee shirt .

The track was allowed set for 24 or more hours.  Then, an old clean tee shirt was used to gently rubbed, not scrub, down the all track again and some black was seen on the shirt rag.

There was a little slipping on a couple of my Lionel 2-4-2, 248 style plastic body engines which required slow operation to reduce slipping.  Later, I ran my Christmas train, with a Lionel 44 switcher and 6 cars and some slipping occurred.  My operating car train, with a Lionel 2035 and 6 heavy operating cars also slipped some on start up.  I wiped the track off again with a tee shirt and slipping ceased.  My passenger car train, with lighted 2400 series cars and two dome cars, pulled too much amperage with a 2035 so I changed it out with a Lionel AA 2024 UP diesel and removed one dome car.

I then ran trains and some still slipped when pulling cars mostly,  I ran the light Lionel 2-4-2 plastic engines without cars at first due to slipping.

Later, a very little NO OX was applied on the wheels of the cars with a traction tire.  No NO OX was applied any traction tire.  After setting 24 hours, the metal wheels were wiped down with a tee shirt rag.  The traction tire engines run great with the NO OX treatment on the track and have super slow speed operation.


One thing noted was all trains and engines could be operated and switched much slower than ever before.  This was not noticed before, after just cleaning the track.  Slow operation was not possible before with my O27, 31 Marx switches, conventional control layout and mostly post war locomotives .

As of the last week in January, the only train that will slipped occasionally is my Lionel 2-4-2, 248 plastic body engine with 4 giraffe cars and caboose.  I now run it with a 2035.  Slipping is very rare now.

I am very pleased with the overall experience with NO OX.  Operation is much smoother and trains can be run at much slower speeds and with very few skips and no sparking.  I can not over stated how much better my layout operates.  A few track sections were found with poor track connections, the cause of those skips.  The final thing to find out is how long the track stays clean and good operation continues.  NO OX is supposed to eliminate track cleaning forever!  We will see if that is a fact for me.

After applying NO OX to your tracks, do not ever use any cleaning solvent like Mineral Sprites, alcohol, Goo Gone, you name it, or sandpaper or any other abrasive to clean your track as you will remove the NO OX and you will have to repeat the application regiment all over again.

Some railroaders complain about rust on the track rails.  I do not want rust on the tops of the rails and remove it with fine sandpaper.  I do not mind rust on the sides of the rails as it looks realistic to me as I never have seen a real track rail, shinny.  The NO OX should eliminate rust on the rail top and it can be applied to the sides of the rails if no rust is wanted there.

I have turned into a NO OX fanatic.  I have applied it to my NiMH batteries and chargers and battery radios like head phone Sony Walkman AM &FM batteries and cell terminals.  I have also treated the land line telephone connections between the phone line and the phone and the base and hand held unit and static has decreased or has been eliminated.  I have also used NO OX on some of my audio RCA plugs, some of which tend to get white powdery residue and speaker wire terminals but have lots more do as time permits.

This week, 2-11-2022, the 31 Marx 1590 switch track contacts were cleaned with fine sand paper glued up to make two sided sand paper.  It is used by pulling in both directions and an then applying a little NO OX, with a small thin piece of card board, to both sides of the contacts to keep sparking down and contacts clean.  I also applied NO OX to the contacts, of my two relays that control my automatic 2 trains operating on 1 loop track systems, with isolated track section triggers.  They have not been reliable for several years, but work much better now.

Picture of Marx 1590 switch rail copper contact strip.  The two rivets below the copper contact are the contacts for the center rail. IMG_1094

Picture of two sided fine sand paper strip cleaning contacts IMG_1096

This post will be up dated in the future, when experience with the NO OX treatment has been had, after months or years, to determine if NO OX really makes track cleaning a thing of the past !  Meanwhile the trains are running better and slower than ever before.

NO-OX Charlie


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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

I came across probably the same source as you did, on the No-Ox recommendation, about a year ago. I have an O27-type layout 4 x 24, with 2 concentric loops, powered by a KW. The switches are all 1122's. I run both PW and RailKing engines (no DCS.) Before I applied it, I meticulously cleaned as much old grease & residue off as possible, then laboriously "lightly" coated all the rails with No-OX, and then wiped them off later, as per the instructions. (The guy independently promoting the stuff gives an EXACT prescription for how to apply & remove excess.) I DO think it has helped. I still get sparking at some of the switch junctions as wheels go over them, but that was happening previously to No-Ox. I think I have noticed better slow-speed running as well.

Post 80   4-19-2022

Videos  - Showing Two Sets of 2 trains Running on 1 track, and 5 trains Running

Finally here are some videos of two loops of 2 trains running on 1 loop track, and total of 5 trains running.  I got around to finding out why my 44 year old relayed 2 trains on 1 track of two loops did not work.  The insulated track sections, making the relays trip, both were grounded.  On the inside loop, the homemade tooth pick with a ring of wire insulation track pin was squeezed, grounding it.  On the other, there was a steel pin in the insulated outside rail that should have been a fiber pin.  Both track sections were located on the seam where the two train boards were separated for storage each year.  I used a Dremel with fiber cut off wheel the cut through both grounded track sections to reinstitute the isolation.  Fixing the insulated track sections and the recent NO OX treatment on the rails made the operation super good.

I had to try different locomotives and number of cars it took to make the speeds close to the same.  I wound up using four non smoking Lionel 2016 and 2018, 2-6-4 locos.  The similar Lionel 2026, 2-6-4s ran slower, as they had smoke generators.

Video below shows the inner and outer loops of the Main train board operating counter clock wise, with each having relays operating, to run 2 trains on each loop  Note:  I had to add another missile car to one outer loop train to get them to stop via the relay.

Videos below show four trains on the Main train board operating, with 2 trains per loop,  Inner loop is running CW and Outer loop CCW, and the Operating car train running on the New train board giving 5 trains operating.  Note:  The two, 2 trains on 1 loop trains, are not requiring the relayed system to perform their duty as I was able to run these four, 3 car trains, for at least 10 minutes without its assistance.

The video below shows one, 2 train on one track loop, on the Main train board inner loop going CW.  The other, 2 train on one track loop, is operating CCW on the outside loop of both the Main train board and the New train board.  This can only be done going CCW due to availability of the relay controlled track section and insulated track section.  This is not the case for CW running.  Note at the end of video,  Schnoodle dog Beau is checking out train action of which he is very interested and thinks trains are alive.

Video below show both Main Train Board loops with 2 trains per loop running as Slow a possible and with most layout turned on.  Note:  All my videos show the trains running faster than they really were running.

Hope you enjoy.



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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie


Thanks for the kind comments.  The layout is running better now than ever.  Two pairs of 2 trains on 1 track has never been this reliable, just like running one train per loop.

I even had 3 trains on 1 track (on the long outside tracks of both train boards) for about 3 minutes, drawing about 4.3 amps on one LW, until a derailment!  It will never work well since there is only one isolated track section and only one train can be slowed down by relay.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 9   6-25-2016,   revised 1-8-2022

Turntable with pit Construction & Operation - Homemade and Scratch Built and Inexpensive ($10 !)    How to Build any Size Turntable with Pit for $10

The center piece of the layout is the scratch built, inexpensive turntable and roundhouse.  Designing and building the turntable was the most fun part of the whole train layout for me and well worth the time and effort as it provides much operation interest and fun.  The Turntable was built during the initial layout construction in 1977 in Kingston Jamaica.

The turntable can be built the same way I made this one for any size of table one needs and for any gauge of train track.  It can be rotated by crank, pullies and belt like mine or rotated with an junk electric DC battery drill or screwdriver motor powered by a small, cheap DC HO transformer and located any where on a layout.  If your layout is already built, the turntable can be more easily built in a 2 or 3 ft or so, square module, in your work shop and then set into the layout.  The turntable can be detailed from Toy 027 to scale, depending on the builder desires.


Turntable Description and Construction Details

The turntable rotates on a 6 inch diameter (8" might be better for a larger TT) Lazy Susan, metal turntable ball bearing unit and rotation is by a hand crank driving a pulley beneath the turntable using a spare or used clothes dryer drum belt.  I purchased the 6 inch diameter lazy Susan turntable ball bearing unit, for about $5, at a hardware store.  I had a spare dryer belt as I lived overseas and appliance parts are hard to get.  Track alignment is the realistic, "line it by eyeball" method and roundhouse  track selection is by a rotary switch.  A momentary push button switch is used to activate the selected RH track and the TT track.  A light in the TT shack comes on with the activation of the TT track and indicates power is on.  The turntable has a pit as that is more realistic and better looking in my view.  It would have been easier to surface mount a Lazy Susan bearing on the train table like the Lionel TT, but seeing it made a pit a must have.

Location of the control panel and the turntable, with hand crank, should be fairly close to each other for two reasons.  One is the use of a clothes dryer belt will require it to be close.  The other is it is helpful for the engineer to be close at hand to correct derailments and to see the turntable as eyesight is used to align the TT and the tracks.

The homemade turntable can be belt driven with a hand crank like mine or can have an old battery driven screw driver as power and the TT can be located anywhere.  More details later in this post.

Picture of TT with TT crank (red knob) and Control Panel -  Picture shows the track with crane car and caboose align with the TT and the off trackTrain Lots 5-10-2016 272

Picture of main control panel track diagram with selector rotary switch (black knob with pointer) to select track for transfer of train from TT to spur/roundhouse track.  The black push button momentary switch, below the rotary selector switch, controls power to the selected track and the turntable track.Train Complete 1-17-2015 152

Two pieces of 027 track or 17 5/8 inches was chosen for the turntable bridge length.   17 5/8 inch diameter will handle all of my engines and coal tenders at the time I built it.   Two more inches of length would have been better and handle my later bought larger engines and coal tenders but space was at a premium   I cut a  17 5/8 inch diameter circle in my  3/4 inch thick particle board train board using a sabre saw and used the ¾ inch thick, 17 5/8 inch diameter cutout as a pulley by adding a rim of 1/8 inch Masonite around both edges as pulley flanges sticking out about ½ an inch.  

Most of the work on the TT was done with my train board section standing on edge, leaning against a wall.  To build a TT for an existing permanent layout on legs would require lots of work under the table and looking up.  In such a case one might want to build a two foot or so module to construct the TT and install as a unit.

A recessed ring around the turntable hole, about 1&1/2 inch deep, was installed on the bottom of the hole and a 1/2" plywood bottom was added.  A 3/8" hole was centered in both TT bottom and the pulley.   A 2"x 2" x 3/4 inch block was drilled in the center to take a 3/8 threaded hollow lamp rod.  The block and rod were mounted about 1 inch from the rods end and drilled for a 2 inch long finish nail.  The block was glued and screwed to the pulley in the center.

A 6" lazy Susan ball  bearing (Ace or Home Depot for $4) was screwed to the top of the pulley.  Four 1 inch diameter holes were drilled through the pulley for the screws on the other flange of 6” lazy Susan bearing.  These holes allow the bearing to be screwed to the underside of the pit bottom.

The lazy Susan bearing will hold all the weight of the pulley and take the side thrust from the clothes dryer belt.  The 3/8” threaded hollow lamp rod allows thin, flexible twin wire to feed power to the TT bridge and to secure the bridge to the pulley beneath the TT pit.

The 3/8" dia. threaded hollow lamp rod was installed through the pulley and the rod was pinned block on the pulley with a nail.  The rod was measured to the length needed to go through the pulley, block, TT bottom and to the top of the TT bridge minus a ¼ inch, sawed off, and a hole drilled through the bridge to be able to pin the rod to the TT bridge to be built.

A pair of wires were run up through the 3/8" dia threaded hollow lamp rod and soldered to the outside and middle rail of the track that was put on the TT bridge.  Some slack was left in the wire and a type of disconnect like a plug or spring clips ( I used two electrical connectors cut from old 9v batteries) was installed to allow removal of wire to unwind the wire if it gets twisted too much (I also try not to keep going is one direction too much!)

Picture of 17 5/8"dia. Pulley under Turntable with Clothes Dryer Belt and wires from TT BridgeIMG_0006

A spare electric clothes dryer belt, that is about 3/8" wide and 1/8"thick and about 8 to 10 feet in total length (not diameter) ,was used to move the TT.  This is the size of most any make of clothes dryer.  The belt  is super strong, as after all it must apply power to 20 pounds plus of wet cloths in dryer drum, from the motor to the drum.  

I made a hand crank out of a 6" long 1/4" carriage bolt as the driving pulley with disk and knob held on to the disk with a Tee nut and locking nut as the crank.   Over sized Tee nuts were used for shaft sleeves for the shaft, top and bottom.  A small pulley was made for the shaft from a ¼ inch ID radio shaft coupling and two brass grommets soldered together to make a Vee to give more bite on the belt by the small shaft.  This Vee is necessary to keep the belt from slipping on the small diameter shaft of the crank and also make the diameter larger than the shaft.

Picture of Hand Crank Vee pulley made from radio tuner shaft coupling (seen with the set screws showing) and brass grommetsIMG_0024

A 2" dia. take up pulley assembly was made and a threaded rod used to move it to make and adjust the tension in the dryer belt. The threaded rod was installed on the 1"x6" edge of the train board near the control panel.  I installed a 3" dia. pulley to make an S in the belt routing to allow belt tensioning.  A 2” dia. pulley was used to make the belt stay about  ½ inch apart after coming of the ½ inch Vee pulley on the hand crank to insure good 180 degree contact with the Vee pulley.  Pulleys are made from 1/2 inch plywood with flanges of 1/8 inch Masonite having polyethylene next to wood from coffee can lids.

Picture of Belt Routing - Belt length total is 8 to 10 ft not diameter on drawing.


Picture of Pulleys and Belt - Tension adjuster on bottom belt with wood box with metal strap, the hand crank with Vee pulley is to the left of the picture.  The two pulleys force the belt to have maximum contact around the Vee pulley (180 degrees).IMG_0019

A turntable bridge was made out of wood and the bridge was pinned to the 3/8" dia threaded lamp rod with a finishing nail.  The 3/8” dia threaded lamp rod is anchored to the bottom of the 17 5/8“  pulley and on top of the TT bridge with two 3/8" dia lamp round thumb nuts.

Small wheels were made for the ends of the Turntable Bridge to transfer the weight of the bridge and locomotive with coal tender to floor of the TT pit  (I used some small ball bearings I had for wheels).

See picture of the TT bridge wheels (note the Sharpie pen ties and rail on the floor of the TT pit ! ) Turntable Detalils 5-29-2016 2016-05-24 005

Wiring of the Turntable and Round House/Spur Tracks

Tracks were added to store trains around the TT being careful of spacing between tracks.  The tracks were wired to a Radio Shack rotary 10 position switch to select the track to be powered.  A momentary contact push button switch (with black push button) was installed on the control panel and wired in series to allow the selected track and turntable bridge track to only be powered when this switch is held down.

The turntable track and all the Round House/stall tracks have common outside rails.  The center rails of the Round House/stall tracks are each wired individually to a spot on the rotary selector switch on the control panel (see Picture below)  thus allowing only one stall track to get power at a time.

Turntable Operation

Once the RH track is selected, pushing down the momentary black push button switch on the control panel allows that track and the TT track are wired for the red lighted LW trans on the right to control the engine to go from the inside loop, over the TT and into that elected stall.

I do not have a diagram.  All of the center rails of the stall and TT track are wired to the black push button switch.  The other terminal of the black push button switch is wired to the output of the Red lighted LW trans.  When the TT track and selected stall track are activated by the momentary switch and power from the Red LW is applied, a light comes on in the little house on the TT to indicate power is on the TT.

The Red lighted Trans always controls the stall tracks, TT track and all of the inside loop on the main board.  It also is wired to all switches on the inside loop of the main board.

Picture Below:

See the RH track selector switch with black pointer knob:   Black push button switch that must be pushed for power to go to selected RH track and turntable is below the black knob on track to TT.  Red and green buttons are for switches and blue are uncoupling track sections.  Black slide switches turn on and off the section of track they are on.  The black slide switches show "white" on and "black" off.  All tracks are blocked and controlled by a slide switch.  All rail switches are always hot or on.

Train Lots 5-10-2016 252

With the selector switches above the red lighted LW transformer can also control the outside loop of the main board as another selection or it can control the outside loop of main board and the new train board thus giving it control of every piece of track on the whole board.

Note on picture below, that one track aligns with the TT and the approach track.  This is the only track that a wrecker caboose and crane car can be sent over the TT and be stored around the TT.  I made sure to leave this track outside of my future Round house to be built and detailed later.

Picture of Track that will allow work caboose and crane car to be stored Turntable Detalils 5-29-2016 2016-05-24 009

This TT can be detailed to any extent or even scale quality and I detailed my TT for a Toy 027 1950s type of layout.

I added details like the lighted TT operator shack, ladders on the bridge to the pit made from cut up N gauge track ties (remove the rails and cut out with every other tie), a TT bridge central tower for overhead wire with ladder, pigeons and poop, and Sharpie penned in rail and ties in the TT pit.

TT bridge has 1/8 inch smooth Masonite deck, grooved with knife to look like wood planks and painted buff to look like wood.  Some sieved coarse sand was glued into the pit bottom.

Picture of Turntable with center mast and ladder, exposed ties, birds, and pit trackTurntable Detalils 5-29-2016 2016-05-24 010

A close up of TT power tower and pigeons, ladders were made from plastic ties from N gauge track with every other tie cut out with X-acto knife or diagonal pliers


A TT control cable tower was made from wood and a TT operator shack were made later to add important detail to the TT Bridge.  Also note the wooden support beams for the TT decking and ladders.


This project takes time, planning and careful measurements to make it all work.  Care must be given to aligning and screwing down the tracks so derailments are few or at least blamed on the TT operator !

To summarize:

A great operating turntable with pit can be built for $10 and using only a hand held jig or saber saw, 1/4 inch electric drill and soldering gun

The turntable can be made for any gauge trains, any size or length of turntable, and located anywhere by automating TT rotation via battery DC junk electric drill or screwdriver motor  :all up to the builder.

The TT really did cost me less than $10 since I had a spare clothes dryer belt.  You could get a belt from a junked clothes dryer, as a used belt is plenty good for this.  Buy a new one for your current dryer and use the old one for the TT !

The turntable uses an inexpensive, easy to find Lazy Susan metal turntable ball bearing unit, to provide smooth and accurate rotation of the turntable.  I used a used clothes dryer belt to provide rotation of the turntable via a hand crank for my turntable.

Remote or Power Operation of this Turn Table

If you do not want to place the TT close to the edge of your layout and be restricted by location due to the length of the clothes dryer belt, one can power the turntable with a used DC electric drill or screw driver motor.  Junked DC electric drills and screw drivers show up often at garage sales and thrifts as it costs a lot to buy new batteries and is often cheaper to buy a new tool.  The drill motor could be powered with a small cheap HO DC transformer in both directions.  This would be easy to power the TT with a shorter belt and pulley on the drill and the the TT could be located anywhere on your layout.

The  TT has worked well since 1977 or almost 44 years and is very reliable.  It would not turn in 2015 and after investigation, the cause was a broken solder joint on one of the grommets on the Vee pulley.  The original was soldered with a 100 watt soldering gun (the only soldering tool I had) and it lasted 38 years.  I re-soldered the Vee with a propane torch, with a soldering iron tip, that gets much hotter.

Post 11 shows how I built a $10 Roundhouse.



I am not sure of where I got sidetracked but I just stumbled on your reply with this turntable I want to first apologize and also thank you for the posting of the construction. I will probably print out that post 9 to have it at hand, I'm not sure if I will be around long enough to build it and add to my layout but will keep it just in case.

Again thank you,



Thanks for the comments on the TT.  I am glad you liked it and may be the first to make one like it.

With good planning and securing of the Lazy Susan bearing and clothes dryer belt (if you decide to use one or a drill or Elec. screw driver for rotation) before starting, this is a very manageable project.  It probably took me a couple of weeks, with a few evenings and most of one weekend days for each week.  One just has to be careful making measurements and cuts so every thing fits fairly close.  It was enjoyable for me and very pleased on how good it worked and came out.

Extra time was needed to add TT details, the TT bridge and painting with pit gravel but those can be added later.


Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Post 81      9-28-2022

Repairing Broken Lionel 2035 Classification Lights

Lionel 2035 boiler fronts (and others in the family) are notorious for breaking off classification (some call them Marker) lights.  Five of my used 2035 or 2025 engines had missing classification lights when purchased.  At $16 or so, plus $6 to 8 shipping for a new one, this gets out of hand. The picture below shows a Lionel 2065 light boiler front on the left, that was used as a model showing the classification lights inside the diameter of the boiler front.  The broken Lionel 2035 boiler front is shown on the right.

One had one classification light left and I made a marker light out of styrene spurns and runners (the round plastic sticks that hold the parts from the molding process) from plastic model cars or planes.  This will be a very fragile fix, as the classification lights are still sticking out and easy to break off and a picture is below.   IMG_6936

I decided to repair the rest of them by making new classification lights and installing them on the face of the boiler front like the Lionel engines 2065 and 756.  The runner I used was 5/32 inch in diameter.  I rounded off a square cut end slightly with a file.  I then marked the center of the runner end with a sharp utility knife and use a counter sink drill bit to counter sink a dish for the jewels angled back.  A utility knife or X-acto can also be used.  I then cut of the end 1/8 inch back to make the marker light with a razor saw in a shoe box lid to keep from losing it.  I  made all ten marker lights and scraped of the paint on the boiler face where it was to be glued.  I used a file to smooth off the rough area where the old classification light broke off.  5 minute epoxy glue was used to glue the classification lights on and to fill any voids where marker light broke off.  They were painted with Krylon satin black paint.  Green jewels were purchased on eBay from trains7272 who advertised brighter original green jewels and they are brighter than most my other jewels.  Jewels were glued in with Pliobond rubber type glue but now I would use E6000 glue.

I know this fix is not like the original and if that is required, buy a replacement.  I am an operator and not into selling my trains so this fix works for me, saving money and still have classification lights that are similar to those of some Lionel engines.

Four with glued jewels shown below, 3 have face mounted classification lights that are more rugged than the original.


A 2035 in the round house showing brightness of jewels.


Another possible way to replace the broken off classification lights is to make them like the Lionel 2065 boiler front with the lighted classification lights as shown in the first picture, on the left, on the top of this page.  One could drill two 1/16 inch diameter holes in the 2035 boiler front where you want the classification lights.  Then make a classification light frame like above, then drill a 1/16 inch diameter hole in the center before cutting it off the spurns.  Then glue the classification light frames over the 1/16 inch holes in boiler front.  You can add some clear styrene rod in the hole.

An alternate method would be to make the classification light frame from Clear plastic spurns.  Do not drill a hole, then the outside can be painted semi gloss black.

Now you have a lighted classification light.

I hope this helps others revive boiler fronts with broken classification lights and save a few dollars.

Bonus hint:  Here is a way to make replacements for the head light lenses on many Lionel steam locomotives.  Find or buy a section of clear styrene plastic rod, the same diameter of the hole for the head light in the boiler front.  Place a small piece of sheet metal or heavy tin can in a vise to hold it.  Heat the back of scrap of metal with your solder gun or iron until very hot.  Hold the rod of clear styrene plastic rod perpendicular to the piece metal and press it against the heated metal until the rod tip mushrooms out slightly (about 1/32 inch).  Remove and let cool and then cut off the new headlight lenses with a fine tooth hobby or razor saw.  Job done.



Images (4)
  • IMG_6930: Broken marker light on right
  • IMG_6936: Repaired marker light
  • IMG_6938
  • IMG_6950
Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

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