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Okay... I'm still kickin' around this hair brained idea. I've mentioned it here before (PW traditional sized steam and traditional sized diesels in an early 1950s urban setting), but I do have some questions that may help or hurt the idea. Either way will be fine. Here they are:

* What type of modern transformer would be good for better control of the PW stuff? (My old ZW came on at something like 6-8 volts, however the increased voltage during whistle/horn use was helpful.)

* I understand there will be limitations concerning the PW mechanisms, but will there be any improvement in the start-speeds and better overall performance using a modern transformer?

* Are repro parts still readily available for such things as Alco FA decals, windows, horns, etc, or steam engine boiler fronts, class light lenses, etc? Likewise mechanism parts?

The bench work from my previous small layout effort(s) is still in place here in my computer/hobby room. I have the HO equipment and track on hand to start a small urban type early 1960s layout thereon when the mood hits. I also have a dedicated out building that's ready to have a medium sized 1880s Colorado theme layout built in it once the weather is too cold (for me) to ride motorcycles. However, now I'm beginning to have my doubts about the small HO diesel layout in this computer room idea. I'm wondering if I would be better served to go with PW in the room such as I had started decades ago (see picture), but evolved away from it for several reasons. (Which reasons I have defined for myself and may be able to circumvent.)

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Andre

12thStYd

 

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I'm certainly no expert, but FWIW; my MRC O27 is capable of running my (few) PW locos at a much lower starting speed than the PW transformers I have. It (the MRC) actually starts at "0", as opposed to the 5 volts or so my PWs kick in at. I especially notice an improvement with PW American Flyer...

I can only assume that other MRC items for AC would work (at least) as well...

Hope that helps (a little)

Mark in Oregon

I find classic transformers that I have gone through and serviced are just fine for my postwar equipment. I have something like 8 ZWs,1 VW, 4 KWs, 8 V & Z transformers and many smaller ones for use with my empires. I have not seen the need for modern transformers, especially for classic trains using conventional control.

As for parts availability, many parts can be found through traditional parts suppliers. Some that I know of and use (in no order of preference)

Olesns Toy Trains

Smitty's Toy Train Parts

Just Trains

Hennings Trains

Brasseur Electric Trains

Jeff Kane at The Train Tender

Trainz

 

Last edited by bmoran4

The reason that postwar transformers start at 6 volts is because the e-unit operates at start up. If a loco starts nice and slow from zero volts, as soon as the voltage gets high enough to operate the e-unit, it goes into neutral.  The post war equipment and transformers are designed for the e-unit to operate as soon as the voltage hits the loco and then the loco starts to move. If you want your locos to start nice and slow you have to either turn the postwar e-unit off or change to an electronic e-unit. 

This sketch has come in handy at least once a day since I made it.

If all you want is a 0v or just lower volt "start"  you can have it, and cheaply, but you will loose an equal amount off max voltage at full throttle. Every bump across the windings remains proportional the same.

It does not effect low power tourqe patterns of a motor. That would take skillful rewinding, varying counts by a few wraps here and there & or different wire gauge. There are folks that will perform the service. OR re-gearing, a lost art more or less.

It does not affect your whistle, but could be set up as a second "no boost"(maybe a slight slowdown) light boost (maybe no change) or big boost, etc. for whistle or bell controller for use on railsounds and later as well. Remove a diode or two of a single direction from the circuit and it will become an offset voltage and trigger boards and some mechanical relays as well. One direction of diode(s) removed it is whistle, if the other it is bell.

10amp is for the LW, yours may differ if larger. If the transformer is smaller than 10a max output your fine at 10amp. 3 or 4 of these total should get you close enough to zero to have trouble with a lone low power l.e.d. You're looking at a deck of cards size on 4-6 of them. They WILL get hot if closely rated so maybe cover them, enclose them, heatsink if you want to, etc.

Some creative switch wiring or tapping could possible get some DC power . I haven't looked.

th-15th-14th-48

 

sketch-1539477491275

 

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Thank you all for injecting some sanity into my dream world.

I suspect my biggest concern is that I would grow weary with having had to give up the ability for slow starts and nice steady cruising speeds, which are the elements that "modern" technology brings to the table... but then I lose the neat things about PW that I like. (Smell, sounds, simplicity, etc, etc.)

Sigh.

It's never cut and dried, is it?

Andre

Just saw this thread @laming  I would try a ZW-L (ZW-Legacy) or K-Line "power chief" transformer.  These put out a "chopped" waveform that looks like a shark's fin when viewed on an oscilloscope.  The resulting inductive "kick" will coax a little more out of those old 3-pole motors.  Brighter lights and better smoke too if that matters to you.  The trade-off is more buzzing and more noise.  The K-Line transformers start at less than 4 volts, but pretty much any postwar loco needs at least 5 volts to get moving so not a big deal.

Because the gears are back-drivable, two motors or two locos can actually "help" each other, giving a reasonable number of power pulses per inch.   A dual-motored diesel, or even two single-motored diesels in a consist will give near-scale speeds, at least when pulling a load.  My first MTH can-motored diesel (no speed control) was quickly relegated to the shelf because vintage Postwar power actually gave more realistic performance on our sharp curves.

Last edited by Ted S

For a modern transformer, I like simplicity and the CW-80 works perfectly for me on all of my engines and most of my whistles. However, the problem with many of my PW whistles is that, if I'm diagnosing this correctly, the solenoid's trigger voltage increases as the component ages, and the whistle button can't trigger those whistles. That's where my postwar KW comes out on top, since it has a whistle lever that allows me to control how much power the whistle gets, while also peaking at a higher voltage, and those stubborn whistles that were growly with the cw-80 now sing with the KW. So I find pros and cons to both. CW-80 has the adjustable accessory voltage. KW has better whistle control. Both can provide more than plenty of power to run my PW TRAINS.

 

If anyone has a better explanation as to why my whistles do what they do please correct me, I'm still learning.

Thank you very much Ted for your input. It is genuinely appreciated.

When tossing this return to 3-rail idea around, my hope was to avail myself of more contemporary control.

Read: Some form of tethered walk around (or better yet, radio), but NOT command control. (I'm fine with utilizing block wiring.)  The reason for wanting walk-around ability would be my desire to be able to walk about the layout as mood/situation inclines. (Such as switching/etc.)

Do you (or anyone) know if I would have options for walk-around conventional control of some type?

Andre

Sure!  MTH Z4000 remote, Lionel Powermaster, or the ZW-L I mentioned previously, controlled remotely with a Cab-2.  In each of these applications you would be varying the track voltage (as opposed to true "command control" which is  constant voltage on the track modulated by a decoder in the loco.)

This will blow your mind, but there's an absolutely bomb-proof, low tech way to control two Postwar locos independently by using different polarity.  It involves the use of diodes and rheostats, or optionally, silicon-controlled rectifiers.  If you can find a rheostat built into some kind of belt pack, that would give you robust walk around simultaneous control of two (but not more than two) postwar locomotives by means of easily reversible modifications.

Hi again Ted!

We're getting into a realm of 3-rail I've never explored before: Contemporary control.  My previous 3-rail exploits were always built around the PW ZW. Looks like the MTH Z4000 Remote might be a good route IF I'm understanding it correctly:

* The MTH Z4000  utilizes a power source, BUT, it doesn't HAVE to have the MZ 4000 transformer as that source, correct?  If that's correct, that would be a very cost effective way to get walk-around capability: Two Z4000 hand sets, and an adequate power source.

As for the Lionel ZW-L:

* Looks like it is a command control platform that CAN operate in the conventional realm. However, am I to assume it would need some form of additional hand held units attached for walk around capability? And boy, they are PROUD of that ZW-L! ($$$!)

Diodes/etc:

I would likely want to stay with good old power blocks (insulated track sections controlled by toggles or rotaries), and conventional walk-arounds. (I have boxes of toggles and rotaries.)

Thanks again. I appreciate you taking your time to help me understand control options.

Andre

   A power master is the older tmcc way to use conventional power with a remote (cab 1) .  The power master varies voltage on the rails. Two trains need blocks; just like pure conventional.  DCS tui and remote can run conventional the same way as a P.Master  (idont know if either does two blocks alone, I'd put my money on dcs having two line capability over a P.Master though.) A TUI can use any transformer (except maybe the MRC or CWs(?)).

Another remote option is MTH #??? ... An infrared control I think uses external power, but not 100% sure... search infrared mth & I bet you'll find out It's lesser known because it is limited on controlling new train features.

The use of rectification as control for two engines on one line means no whistle/bell in the train.  (Whistle shack? Whistle billboard?)

.(way way back , Walthers(or Thomas) used a.c., dc, and half wave together to control various things in O (motors used the a.c., the rest I never looked into. TCA guide/list of MFGs makes a reference to it under Walthers(or Thomas)... I think it's prewar too fyi Before Lionel sued AF over O whistle relays anyhow.)

Another way is to run two throttles and isolated outside rails, one throttle for each rail and isolated drivers on the left or right of each engine. But now you need to find isolated wheels, lol.  Another prewar production method lost to time.

  I never stopped riding till my glasses frosted over at speed

bmoran4 posted:

I find classic transformers that I have gone through and serviced are just fine for my postwar equipment. I have something like 8 ZWs,1 VW, 4 KWs, 8 V & Z transformers and many smaller ones for use with my empires. I have not seen the need for modern transformers, especially for classic trains using conventional control.

As for parts availability, many parts can be found through traditional parts suppliers. Some that I know of and use (in no order of preference)

Olesns Toy Trains

Smitty's Toy Train Parts

Just Trains

Hennings Trains

Brasseur Electric Trains

Jeff Kane at The Train Tender

Trainz

 

Any list like this should include drtinkertrains.com.  There is almost nothing postwar that he doesn't have and he can fill most  of my prewar requests.  Owner Dave Laughridge knows just about anything their is to know about repaiting Lionel from any time between 1920 and 1969, but be sure you do your best to find part numbers first.  If you have a lot of items you're going to want to repair be sure to geta  copy of Greenber's Repair & Operating Manual for Lionel Trains.  There's nothing parts sellers hate more than an ambiguous description and no part number.

Hi All:

Just an update.

I have decided to return to 3-rail. I think I can do what I want to do with model trains using traditional sized equipment and walk around control.  It's my feeling that by taking this approach, I'm confident it can take me to the DnD* stage of life.

* Drool n' Diapers

After the DnD stage... well, all bets are off. 

I haven't decided whether to continue this thread, or start a new one that can be used as an ongoing blog for my ramblings about my 3-rail future. Lots of decisions await me. Plus, a lot of menial work (like the massive selling off of my HO holdings) lies immediately in front of me before I can start to seriously indulge in 3-rail. I have much to relearn, and learn anew, about traditional sized 3-rail. All in good time, I suppose.

But hey, I'm NOT starting from scratch in my 3-rail adventure. No sirree... I already have a great start on a fantastic traditional collection:

MyCollection

    

All fer now.

Andre

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Hi CBS072!

Thanks for the welcome. I am essentially investing my future with model trains into 3-rail. SO... it better pan out!

Farmington is just a skip hop and a jump from here. Cool.  Sounds like there's a small 3-rail "fraternity" of sorts in NW AR!

What would be a help is if you can advise me about any upcoming train meets in the our region. I would like to start hitting some meets to look for items of interest. I've got a long ways to go in that front. (i.e. Amassing trains to run.)

All fer now!

Andre

Two boxcars is better than no boxcars There's nothing written you can't fill the room with ozone and run command a half hour later. Save your most prized ho, one loop, enough straight for a shelf display; "a big shoebox full" (even I have about that much HO...but its a small shoe box 🤔😕) Just in case you regret; just incase you want to see one... save some, please

Hi Adriatic!

Nothing wrong with command control!

It's just that for 3-rail I'm not wanting to go there at this point. (Like the simplicity/dependability of good old fashion block wiring/etc.) However, I will make sure the bus wires are heavy enough to allow for any future change along that line.

Yes, I fully intend to save my most prized HO. Those would be:

* My small fleet of freelanced Kansas City & Gulf diesels/cars.

kcg136cSm

* My contest winners. (IF I can find the rest of them.)

* My vintage Lindberg Lines collection.

The above HO will be displayed here in my computer/library room once it's all said and done.

Lands I didn't realize what all I had amassed in HO. I'll be selling this stuff forever.

All fer now!

EDIT: Thought I'd pitch in a picture of one of my KC&G diesels!

Andre

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Last edited by laming

Another thought Andre (that may sort-of been covered a bit earlier), but Gun Runner John (still a moderator here?) a couple of years ago put together at least one, maybe two articles with pics and great description, of how to convert typical postwar or newer O gauge engines (Lionel, Williams, MTH, etc) to run slower using diodes across the motor leads. Perhaps you can google or get those articles here by fishing...

 

WELL...

I may not be able to have my cake and eat it, too... but I just might have figured out a way to at least have a piece of that cake. 

Goes like this...

Wife has been talking maybe we ought to put up our tree and decorations next year to help us feel in the mood a bit more.  (Our daughter has long out grown the Christmas tree/present experience and now the grand daughter is entering adulthood... so Christmas ain't what it used to be for us.)

I explained that our Christmas display we used to make with some of my Lionel trains was always a "warm fuzzy" for us... perhaps we need to include that, too?

I think she's in.

SOOO... after the Season's over... and once the summer slump hits for train sales... I might pick me up enough PW stuff to have a Christmas train. Of course, as we ALL know. THAT'S where closets/shelves full of stuff starts. Let's see, I would want a set of 2032's... some freight cars... a good PW Baby Hudson... OOOoo... a Berk!... some lighted Baby Madison's in Pullman green... some...

Merry Christmas!!

Andre

Last edited by laming

Laming a postwar 2046 baby hudson is my favorite of the baby hudson about 1/2 inch to an inch longer than the others 2055/2065/665 etc.

All post and prewar lionel,williams ,marx and some modern mth ran on small 2 loop track layout with 2 pw ZW transformers since 2002 with a dcs setup with remote in conv or command and sometimes without remote just using handles of ZW for the older trains but run fine with remote as well.

 

 

laming posted:

SOOO... after the Season's over... and once the summer slump hits for train sales... I might pick me up enough PW stuff to have a Christmas train. Of course, as we ALL know. THAT'S where closets/shelves full of stuff starts. Let's see, I would want a set of 2032's... some freight cars... a good PW Baby Hudson... OOOoo... a Berk!... some lighted Baby Madison's in Pullman green... some...

Merry Christmas!!

Andre

Summer is the best time to find deals on the internet auction sites. May-September is when I've always gotten the best deals. The winter months are the worst time to buy.

Works the opposite way with my other hobby (old Ford Thunderbirds). Now is the best time to buy parts. May-September are the worst times, as everyone is driving and breaking their cars. It's always best to buy hobby stuff off season, especially if you are patient and don't "need" it right now.

Lou1985 posted:

Summer is the best time to find deals on the internet auction sites. May-September is when I've always gotten the best deals. The winter months are the worst time to buy.

Works the opposite way with my other hobby (old Ford Thunderbirds). Now is the best time to buy parts. May-September are the worst times, as everyone is driving and breaking their cars. It's always best to buy hobby stuff off season, especially if you are patient and don't "need" it right now.

Hi Louis!

Well, I certainly don't NEED any PW right now... but I sure do WANT some of it.

I fully intend to wait until after the sellers market is over. I will readily admit, though, that I'm anxious to feel the heft and smell the aroma of PW again... but I'm going to try to not allow myself to be in too much of a hurry.

Having said that: I also confess I'm watching a listing or two on eBay.

Andre

All:

Well, I dood it: I just purchased a package deal and awaiting delivery of a 2055 engine, 2065 engine, and a 2046W-50 whistle tender.

This brings up a question about Postwar Whistle tenders. By virtue of the above purchase, I'm now aware the 2046W-50, but I'm wondering, what other postwar whistling tenders were offered by Lionel?

I can recognize a couple that came with whistles by their shape, but I don't know the numbers/etc. Looks like I'll need to be shopping for a tender for one of the Hudson's I have on the way, and it would be nice to be schooled on PW whistle tenders so I know what to look for for it, as well as whatever's to come. My Greenberg PW book doesn't go into much detail about the whistle tenders, so therein I see the pictures of them with engines, but no notation as to what tender is what.

Any assist t'would be much appreciated!

Andre

Last edited by laming

There are a few web sites ,like this Tandem Associates one that give pretty good information and indexes

Tenders: https://www.tandem-associates....el/lioneltenders.htm

Main Index: https://www.tandem-associates....onel/lionelident.htm

However, I find these as other valuable resources of great PW information:

*Greenberg Guides (not the price guides)

*A membership to the LCCA to get the access to the digital copies of the Lionel Catalogs from the pre, post, and modern years (along with the Postwar Service Documents)

*Olsen's Toy Train Library (Freely Hosts copies of the Lionel Service Documents in hopes you will order parts from them)

@laming posted:

All:

Well, I dood it: I just purchased a package deal and awaiting delivery of a 2055 engine, 2065 engine, and a 2046W-50 whistle tender.

This brings up a question about Postwar Whistle tenders. By virtue of the above purchase, I'm now aware the 2046W-50, but I'm wondering, what other postwar whistling tenders were offered by Lionel?

I can recognize a couple that came with whistles by their shape, but I don't know the numbers/etc. Looks like I'll need to be shopping for a tender for one of the Hudson's I have on the way, and it would be nice to be schooled on PW whistle tenders so I know what to look for for it, as well as whatever's to come. My Greenberg PW book doesn't go into much detail about the whistle tenders, so therein I see the pictures of them with engines, but no notation as to what tender is what.

Any assist t'would be much appreciated!

Andre

This might help if you're looking for the tender that came with your loco. Since you (will) have the 2046W, you could look to pick up a 6026W.

https://www.tandem-associates....trains_2055_loco.htm

https://www.tandem-associates....trains_2065_loco.htm

Note, if a can motor belongs anywhere, it's in a tender.  I've used a few and they are good at it.

Standard whistle relays and board triggers alike got made for can motor powered air whistles. A lighter assembly is nice on stub axles. These use less power and let more of the 5v boost get to the engine for a speed up vs slow down. (Works nicer on heavy pulls at loco or transformer  limits)   Same chime housing; offhand.  Might be good for a bash onto a plain one. Most "T" shells have the ports opened or at least marked.

The early cast ones have beautifu detailing, esp. in the grabs and stantions. Even the slopebacks. Only a good valve train impresses me as much. My fav was actually a cast link & pin tender (# forgotten)

 

Hi All:

Just yesterday I received my 2055, 2065 and 2046W items from the USPS.

Two questions:

1. The headlight bulb is burned out on the 2065. The bulb that was installed was a "GE 57". Using Google, I learned those are available but I also learned they're 12v bulbs. Seems to me that isn't enough volts in view of the 16+ volts typical transformers can crank out? What bulb is called for and where to find?

2. One of the clear "Class Light" lenses is missing on the 2065. What is the part number for it so I can find it on the parts lists I've downloaded from S&W (forum sponsor)?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

Andre

The 2065 bulb is indeed a #57 bulb available from any auto parts store (see below). They are nominally 12V, but are actually rated for 14V. They can be run at higher voltages that our trains use at a cost of a somewhat shorter life (stock life is about 500 hours rated). You will be just fine replacing with another #57.

As for what you are calling the class light, Lionel refers to it as the running light and is part number 2065-16 which @S AND W lists:

If you are looking to one stop shop, @S AND W also has the #57 lamp you need:

Automotive listings for the #57:

https://shop.advanceautoparts....2-57llbp2/10030922-P

https://www.autozone.com/elect...bulb-57ll/964974_0_0

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/LMA57

 

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The 12v bulb is a good choice. I would not use anything higher than a 14 v. At 16v your engine will be running 120 mph and derailing at the curves. 

Those engines came with green "marker" (sic) light jewels. I doubt Lionel ever referred to them as class lights. Search the auction sites for them and get many hits. Some may list the correct Lionel part number if you prefer to order from a sponsor.

700E-166

Pete

edit I believe the clear lens referenced above is for the headlight. Lionel used only green and red (switchers) jewels in their post war engines.

Last edited by Norton

Thank you all for your knowledgeable input.

Looks like I will try to source the GE 57 bulb locally, and will start compiling a list of parts over the coming weeks/months for S&W. (I am going to try to support our advertisers as much as practical).  I'm sure S&W would NOT make enough profit on a $1.85 parts sale to make it worth their while. Seems a bundle order would be best, and I don't have a "parts needed" list containing enough parts as yet. For now, the 2065 will be fine missing one lens.

I have had the Greenberg's "Guide To Repairing Lionel Trains" book suggested as a "go to" for parts #'s and specs/etc.  Is that the book I need to in order to have parts diagrams, exploded views, and specs for working on Lionel Postwar so I can be more self-sufficient as the months go by?

Andre

That Greenberg book is the ticket! I believe it is titled "Greenberg's Repair And Operating Manual For Lionel Trains, 1945-1969". There have been a few selling quite inexpensively on the for sale forum here in recent months.

You may also be interested in the companion book "Greenberg's Lionel Postwar Operating Instructions With Layout Plans" which has all of the postwar instruction sheets.

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