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Hi Everyone,

Tried this in Track layouts forum but no responses, thought I would broaden my audience.

Working on my track plan using Gargraves, and I am wondering if anyone has a Postwar 497 Coal loader on a Gargraves, and how did you work out the operating blades on the coal loader that operate the dumping car?  Pictures would be helpful


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I have Gargraves/Ross track throughout the layout.  I also have a 'coal yard' area with several coal-handling accessories grouped and interactive.  But, sadly, I never made room for the 497 loader.  So I can't give you first-hand experience on your question.

However, I did find a YouTube video on the 497 integrated into a layout with FasTrack.  The vid clearly shows that the owner/operator simply adapted a length of Lionel tubular track within the loader zone, FasTrack on either side.  Of course that's pretty much the simple way of resolving the problem...even though it disrupts the appearance/continuity.  I know Gargraves sells the adapter pins...std O and O27 versions...for making such a transition.


Lionel also re-made/improved this accessory, 6-14107, around 2003.  The link photo shows this version simply used a Lionel UCS Remote track.  I can only imagine that the accessory base was modified from the original version to accept the UCS.  BUT...if that's the case, Gargraves makes their version of the UCS, s/n 108.  Ergo, you could modify your accessory's base to accept the 108 Operating Track, thereby giving you a more consistent appearance.


Finally, I wonder that you might be able to remove wood ties from a section of Gargraves track to mimic the rail/tie arrangement of a couple O27 pieces of track, and simply work from there.  After all, they're both 'tubular'...Lionel and Gargraves.  You might have to do a little fitting/filing here and there, but it should be doable.  Again, no experience here with an original version of the 497 myself.


Just some thought-starters.  Can't believe someone hasn't dealt with this problem before.  I've posted before with no, or long tardy, responses.  Hang in there!


BTW...OTOH, you may be the first to achieve this adaptation!!  Please share with us how you resolved the situation...text, photos, video, etc..  Or, write an article, submit to OGR, get some moolah for your effort!   And then enjoy your celebratory vacation to Tahiti!!!

Thanks for the reply, I think being in the general forum helped garner additional views/response,

I was indeed wondering if the Gargraves UCS, would be that simple to solve this, I do have it laid out currently in FT and then transitioning to the tube track.  I'm also wary of modifying the 497 in ways I might not be able to undo.   Also on the layout, I do realize the 497 is not located in a good spot yet.

I made my layout in RR Track in Gargraves, after I noted that I'm already using FT and Tubular in spots, and I want to use the Gargraves Gantry track and I have the Atlas turntable and roundhouse.... so rather than use 3-4 different track types, I could actually do this all in GG or GG/Ross.

Would require me to sell my FT, including the 16 or so O-36 Command Turnouts I acquired, in order to fund.  Plust the FT O-60 Turnouts have been nothing but a problem, trains blowing through with out turning, or derailing/splitting the front and backs each taking a different path....  bought some from a LHS, and from TW, nothing but problems all of them, no matter the tinkering I've tried so far, (Posted about it last year).

Still debating whether I want to use the GG turnouts, or use Ross. (Some pros and cons in wiring/automation and cost etc.)
I do have a mix of Ross 54 and 63 turnouts, which would still require me to use at least some of the Ross switches even if I did use mostly GG.

Thanks for your thoughts!


Images (2)
  • IMG_0098
  • Bobrovsky-2-Ross-5 (1)

I used RR-Track, too.  I chose to use Ross switches, but Gargraves for all other trackwork.  The reason was one of appearance.  There are numerous areas in the design where I took advantage of using the flexible track transitional curves, et al.  Gargraves is the exclusive manufacturer of flexible track in the wooden tie genre (Ross also markets this GG item because of its uniqueness and compatibility).  I also decided that if I was able to use pre-formed sectional curved track (per RR-Track) I would do so, rather than custom bend all curves using the unnecessary PITA, IMHO.  Ergo, in order to keep the no-spike appearance consistent I chose using GG sectional curves.  Frankly, I believe the Ross switches being spiked gives them a special, 'busier' appearance that seems appropriate for their special role.  All in all, I'm happy with my choices.

Re modifying an accessory to make this sort of accommodation: TEHO.  Were I faced with your specific 497 issue, I'd modify the accessory base to simply accommodate the GG 108 Operating Track, and call it 'done!'.  I won't be around when the layout is dismantled (I'm in my 78th year).  The layout and all that's going into it is for me.  Nothing is an investment except in pleasure and happiness.  But, I accept that others may seek to keep things without alterations.

I did have a 6-14107 version of the accessory pass through here.  My wife is very much into this hobby, too.  She has a secondary market business, largely in support of our LHS which, as my second career, I retired from in June 2020 after 21 years.  One of her clients had the modern 497 in the collection they were disposing of.  It needed some small repairs/cleaning.  In short order it was working perfectly and sold quickly thereafter.  It was/is, indeed, a nifty bit of action when working properly!

One other alternative to the Lionel UCS and GG 108 version thereof that I have used in my coal yard is the Atlas Accessory Rails set.  They're simply the 4th and 5th rails of the UCS-type tracks.  It was very easy to mount them onto the GG wooden ties at the appropriate accessory location.  They do a fine job for any sliding-shoe actuation.  In another area of the layout I fabricated my own version of the Atlas concept using some #14 solid copper wire from left over house electrical cable.  Easy to make, less expensive, ...not quite as 'glamorous', maybe.

Again, let us know how you resolved the installation/track.


I second the recommendation of the Atlas Control Rails. In my experience, they offer the flexibility to locate the control rails right where they are needed for operating cars to work as intended, without having to cut the tracks for a UCS section.

One does have to be careful installing them, as the control rails need to be located midpoint of the center rail and the running rails. Mounting them too close to the center rail can cause loco pick-up rollers to short out against them.


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