Hi everyone! I wanted to provide everyone with a status update on where we are on our journey to get the Lionel 2025 engine running! First off - thank you everyone SO much for all your input and great advice on things to consider. I am in general, following the steps that JD2035RR (name?) laid out in his post. I connected with Bill aka RRTRAINCOLLECTOR who has been so gracious with his time and also with his resources. He did provide me with another Lionel passenger train for the cost of shipping - - to get my young son started on his path to O gauge heaven!   Hopefully Bill doesn't get too sick of my questions.

After heading to Balboa Park in San Diego and getting to connect with the Three Railer's Club, I've been working to collect some tubular track. I'm going to take the route of seeing how much my son gets involved before buying the Fastrack. RRTRAINCOLLECTOR was also super helpful in offering up some gondola cars for sale to add to the Lionel 2025 that I KNOW my son will love filling up with goodies!  The Three Railer's Club also has a monthly Kids meetup that starts up again in January - - what a find!

I also connected with Mike Mottler in the group and got some really helpful feedback on how his grandson's help him out w/his setup. (And also how he designed his setup!!) I think a number of people echoed Mike's comments that helping build out the track design, being involved with connecting (or at least directing if he can't do it himself) and just having him be the 'Junior Engineer' is important.

Santa is close to delivering! I still have yet to get the right Transformer. I am looking around and watching prices / watts... Will head to our local hobby shop in a couple weeks to see what they have as well. 

More to come. THANK YOU!!!

@1mariposita, I had wondered how the train set was working out for you? Glad to see you've connected with some local folks. And that was very nice of Bill to give you the passenger cars.

Again, in my past experience helping out single mom's getting a son started in trains, I found they couldn't spend a fortune and also wanted things kept simple, so that they could understand it: Manual switch tracks, simple accessories, used Plasticville buildings. I would take the buildings (and plastic people) and prime them with white flat spray paint, so they then could paint them however they wanted with simple acrylic paints from Walmart.

When you talk to bona fide adult train operators, some will tell you "You have to go scale," You have to have a command system," and "You need lots of power like a ZW transformer."

No you don't.

The trustworthy Lionel 1033 is one of the best transformers ever made for smaller layouts. I've been using those for 30 years now. What's nice about the 1033, is it has two possible voltage settings to the track. One (B-U) puts 0-11 volts to the track, and the other choice (A-U) is 5-17 volts to the track.

The B-U setting is perfect for the very plentiful and common engines made from the late 1980's to the early 2000's that had DC can motors, and a reverse board only... no digital control. These locos are some of the most affordable around. The B-U setting keeps them going too fast and flying off the track. It's very simple to move one wire from the B screw post to the A screw post.

The A-U setting would be perfect for the older Lionel engine you've mentioned: Or any older Lionel/Lionel MPC engine that has an open frame AC motor in it. It would also work with your Lionel Junction set along with the remote. You can find a serviced 1033 for around $50-$75. Maybe someone at the club could give you a lead on one.

The downside to any older transformer is that the newer ones tend to have faster acting circuit breakers in them, to avoid damage to the modern electronics that come in many newer kinds of train engines. There, the CW80 has an advantage. But the two choices of power to the track makes the 1033 a winner for me. You would just want to find one that has been serviced and fixed if needed.

It does take a while to learn all the nuances of this hobby. Not everything is quite as simple or compatible as it might appear to be. You cannot run the newer LionChief train set engines with a transformer only: You NEED the remote also. Those sets come with a DC wall wort, which won't run older Lionel locomotives. Some Lionel engines that had DC can motors and Railsounds will be damaged if you run them on DC current.

Some low cost Lionel and K-Line train set engines were DC only and came with a DC power pack, not an AC transformer. Many more Lionel and K-Line engines came with DC motors, but had a simple circuit board that allowed them to run on either AC or DC current. 

Not wanting to pass up on those low-end affordable and easily improved DC only locomotives, I can run my layout on either AC or DC current. With the DC power, the engine goes foward and reverse. I found one of those DC only steam engines at the Salvation Army for $1.00. My nephew loved that one. I cleaned it, fixed it up and added some weights to it. I was afraid to tell him how little I paid for it, but when I did, he exclaimed "I could have bought that engine... that's in my price range."

So there are ways to enjoy the hobby and not break the bank. Glad things are moving along for you and the boys.

 

Hi Brianel027! Thank you for the post! I did get the Junction (Great price!) and plan to keep that as a birthday gift for next year. Since I am going w/the Tubular track - I may sell the Fastrack pieces. I figure by then we'll have a feel for how the setup is going.

I do also want to clarify that I am not a single mom - I am married. I just happen to be the more technical one compared to my husband! Also, my boys are 4 and 6. And my oldest STILL sleeps next to the Lionel 2025 --- he just can't WAIT to ask Santa for track and transformer. He reads the adds of the OGauge magazine and points out all the transformers he sees. We will be going to the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum in Dec to see Santa at their North Pole Limited program. Boys don't know yet - - I hope they like it!!

Congratulations on choosing going w/the Tubular track - for your needs - the best decision you could have made.  Fastrak is fine if you put it up & leave it up.  Tubular track is much better for "put it up -  tear it down, and kids can have more play value as it will take the kind of beating they will give it. 

1mariposita posted:

Hi everyone! I wanted to provide everyone with a status update on where we are on our journey to get the Lionel 2025 engine running! First off - thank you everyone SO much for all your input and great advice on things to consider. I am in general, following the steps that JD2035RR (name?) laid out in his post. I connected with Bill aka RRTRAINCOLLECTOR who has been so gracious with his time and also with his resources. He did provide me with another Lionel passenger train for the cost of shipping - - to get my young son started on his path to O gauge heaven!   Hopefully Bill doesn't get too sick of my questions.

Never, Keep asking away. 

After heading to Balboa Park in San Diego and getting to connect with the Three Railer's Club, I've been working to collect some tubular track. I'm going to take the route of seeing how much my son gets involved before buying the Fastrack. RRTRAINCOLLECTOR was also super helpful in offering up some gondola cars for sale to add to the Lionel 2025 that I KNOW my son will love filling up with goodies!  The Three Railer's Club also has a monthly Kids meetup that starts up again in January - - what a find!

I also connected with Mike Mottler in the group and got some really helpful feedback on how his grandson's help him out w/his setup. (And also how he designed his setup!!) I think a number of people echoed Mike's comments that helping build out the track design, being involved with connecting (or at least directing if he can't do it himself) and just having him be the 'Junior Engineer' is important.

Santa is close to delivering! I still have yet to get the right Transformer. I am looking around and watching prices / watts... Will head to our local hobby shop in a couple weeks to see what they have as well. 

More to come. THANK YOU!!!

It has been a pleasure helping you, and has given me something extra to do. Sometimes when your retired, something like this is the best medicine.

Bill

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