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I was looking through some old Lionel literature and found a mention of the Trutrack System.

The literature has no date, but does say Lionel of Fundimensions, a division of General Mills.

Can anyone provide more info about this type of Lionel track. I sure do not remember ever seeing any on a layout.

Jeff

Original Post

Yes it was made and it was made in Italy.  1974. Glen Uhl of Glen's Train Shop in Akron bought out the stock. Sold the stuff at the Parma TCA meet for 25c a section and same for the roadbed. Bought enough to make a big oval. 

It is completely useless especially since it renders magnetraction ineffective with aluminum rails. 

I tell people that I'm about to show them one of the rarest things Lionel made but it is completely worthless. 

Lou N

 

 

 

The straights and curves, along with their roadbed are relatively easy to find. I purchased some years ago. The dealer warned me that it wasn't any good, but I figured I'd use it for display track. I tried setting up a loop and could not get the train to make a full trip around.

The problem is that the rails are aluminum, and the joiners are poorly constructed and poorly attached. Combine that with aluminum rail, whose oxide is not conductive, and you have track that does n
ot work.

As has been mentioned, they did make manual switches, and a terminal track too. The manual switches came with a small fitter track section.

Not all that long ago, I picked up a lot of some junk box switches and was able to assemble 2 complete switches from the lot. IMHO, they were very poorly made,

NOS switches and terminal tracks tend to go for more than I am willing to pay for a curiosity item.

Well, the idea wasn't a bad one.  Just not thought out very well.  Back in those days, aluminum was becoming popular.  Anyone remember the  aluminum house wiring debacle

Yes.

According to my understanding if aluminum wiring is done properly, it's OK. The devices (outlets, switches, etc.) used have to be aluminum compatible. I've been told there is an anti-oxidation crème that should be used, and the terminals have to be tightened to a specific tension.

I was just talking with a contractor who is about to do some work for us, and the subject of main power panels came up. He told me that many  of today's home panels have aluminum buss bars.

Last edited by C W Burfle

Looks good - better than Super-O in some ways, not as good in others. Not sure I ever heard of it.

Again, like Super-O, this track appearance philosophy would have looked much better than Fastrack. I care nothing about Magnetraction, but the aluminum rails' durability was not optimal, especially in small cross-section - and the small rails were one of the appealing things about it. Steel - not tinplated! - is needed.

Take Trutrack and Super-O, choose the best features of both, add wide diameter curves/switches, maybe roadbed, and retire Fastrack - a good product, but is just too much the toy.

Just sayin'. Never happen.

Last edited by D500
C W Burfle posted:

Well, the idea wasn't a bad one.  Just not thought out very well.  Back in those days, aluminum was becoming popular.  Anyone remember the  aluminum house wiring debacle

Yes.

According to my understanding if aluminum wiring is done properly, it's OK. The devices (outlets, switches, etc.) used have to be aluminum compatible. I've been told there is an anti-oxidation crème that should be used, and the terminals have to be tightened to a specific tension.

I was just talking with a contractor who is about to do some work for us, and the subject of main power panels came up. He told me that many  of today's home panels have aluminum buss bars.

Yes, on the main feed from the utility pole, aluminum service cable is the material of choice because of it's lower price tag than copper.  When electricians install a new panel and new service cable, they follow certain procedures that are meant for the aluminum.  

For house wiring, aluminum can be a problem.  It's brittle when bending it around receptacle and switch screws, and a crack may not be visible at installation.  But if the wire breaks at the crack, an arc can start and create heat and fire.  In the seventies, copper coated aluminum wire came on the market.  It seemed like a good idea, but the same issues I mentioned above plagued it.  

What we need is Tesla's idea of transferring electricity.  But it may put some electricians out of work.  

As pointed-out above, Magne-Traction didn't figure into the failure of TruTrack. That feature wasn't in any current products at the time, and wouldn't be revived for a few more years (1976).

The oxidation of the aluminum rails was definitely the issue. I've been told that the problem never really manifested itself until the production quantities of the straight and curved sections were shipped from Italy. A month or so in the hull of an ocean-going vessel brought the problems to light. Prior to this, the samples were sent via air-mail, and thus the oxidation wasn't caught until later.

As Lou N pointed out earlier, the big dealers at the time wound up with large quantities of the track for sale. Lionel actually published a Service Bulletin in October 1976 offering the track for sale to service stations, but they advised it was NOT for layout use -- only for display. This included the straight and curved sections, as well as the matching roadbed.

I've never really discovered how the other pieces -- the switches and terminal track -- made it to market. I'm not aware of any paperwork to indicate they were officially sold, but on the other hand, there are too many examples of these items out there to indicate that just a few "snuck out."

Lastly, both Super O and TruTrack were evaluated while designing FasTrack.

TRW

 

I recall this when made in the '70s.  I once purchased a layout of Lionel O72 tinplate track in 1976 from a guy in Seabrook, Tx. that was building his new one with Tru Track.  I remember getting a great deal, including switches, and all mounted on two 8x4 3/4" plywood.  Never heard how his new layout turned out, but I hope it was better than these posts may indicate.   I have looked at the advertisements for this in my Lionel catalogs from the '70s.

Jesse  TCA

The aluminum track just looks too flimsy to work correctly.

Aluminum does conduct electricity but not as well as copper, so a larger size wire was needed for the same current carrying ability but most electricians didn't know that back in the mid 1970's, and that is why there were more house fires associated with aluminum wire.  Aluminum does oxidize over time but very slowly, in other words it does what steel does over time it will rust or oxidize.

Gold works best for electrical current flow but who can afford it?

Lee Fritz

I seem to recall a period of time when aluminum wiring was popular in home building, especially manufactured housing (trailers.)  The problem with fires was eventually tracked to the device connection screws gradually working loose from minute vibrations when power was turned on.  For a while, aluminum was banned but I think the industry might have developed new connection methods to eliminate the vibration problem.  Aluminum is still used for high voltage lines (on the tall towers we see from power plants to cities.)  

The big problem with copper when prices get so high is that thieves can steal it from air conditioners and electrical wiring, sell it to the scrap yard, steal if form the scrap yard, sell it ..... in a circle.  When I worked for ADT many years ago, the two types of customers with the most extensive alarm systems were pawn shops and scrap metal dealers for that reason.

Somebody correct me on this, but I believe the manufacturer may have been Casadio of Italy. AHM imported and sold their brass rail HO track which included, if I recall, exotic double slip switches and 3-way turnouts. It was comparable to and completely compatible with popular Atlas HO track.

MPC had the right idea and recognized the market wanted a more realistic track system.

@mowingman posted:

I was looking through some old Lionel literature and found a mention of the Trutrack System.

The literature has no date, but does say Lionel of Fundimensions, a division of General Mills.

Can anyone provide more info about this type of Lionel track. I sure do not remember ever seeing any on a layout.

Jeff

The Stout June 6th, 2020 auction had several lots of this system for sale.

https://connect.invaluable.com...LE-MORE_FTMUIYW7KV/#

Last edited by prrhorseshoecurve
@texastrain posted:

I recall this when made in the '70s.  I once purchased a layout of Lionel O72 tinplate track in 1976 from a guy in Seabrook, Tx. that was building his new one with Tru Track.  I remember getting a great deal, including switches, and all mounted on two 8x4 3/4" plywood.  Never heard how his new layout turned out, but I hope it was better than these posts may indicate.   I have looked at the advertisements for this in my Lionel catalogs from the '70s.

Jesse  TCA

Seabook?   That is right on top of Galveston Bay.   Salt water!

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