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I have a Lionel 249E with whistle tender. It is a great running little locomotive. 

However, it has very very little pulling power. This is NOT a torque issue, it's a traction issue.

I bought it with three 600/601/602 passenger cars, lubed the wheels and rollers, and it still slips and slides with them behind it.

This doesn't seem right to me.

The wheel treads are not greasy. Any ideas? Were these locomotives supposed to have weights in them?

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No weights in them and should pull those cars easily.

Iv'e run into several scenarios that you describe here is what to check .

Make sure the pickup rollers are not bent down to far toward track if so this will cause wheel slip.As the whole wheel assembly is lifted ever so slightly but  just enough where as full weight of engine is not on track. I've run into this several times with prewar engines where previous owner thought more downward pressure was better for electrical pickup and the strip behind the roller bracket was bent down to far.

Check the driving rods are turning freely without obstruction.

If re wheeled at some point in its life hopefully they were quartered properly and also have a little side play not a lot but not so tight where there is virtually no side play.

Last edited by Dieseler

Have you lubed the wheels and axles of the passenger cars? Sometimes that can keep an engine from pulling the cars properly. The wheels should spin freely with very little resistance.

I have a 249E and it came with 2 freight cars and the caboose. Have not seen a 249E with a passenger set before but could be possible as the Greenberg's guide don't list what cars came with the 249E.

I am thinking about taking my 249E in for servicing at my local hobby shop. The engine runs very slowly and may need new brushes or something.

Lee Fritz

Last edited by phillyreading

Take one piece of straight track, put the loco on it, then pick the whole thing up and sight down the rails closely, like you are aiming a rifle. It's possible that the pickups have been bent so that they are putting too much pressure on the center rail, lifting the drivers off the track.

Corrosion can kill the wheels and axles. Steve Eastman showed me how to remove them and using s brass wire wheel clean the wheels including where the axles go into and the axles themselves. One test my 249 could not pull 3 cars and after cleaning pulls 10 or more with less than than a 1 amp draw. So my thinking is dirty wheels and axles.

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