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Christmas trains are all set up and ready to go.  The question is,  how long do you let your  trains run?  1 hour, 2 hours, all day?  Does how fast they are running play into the decision?  I like to run my trains slow, almost as slow as they will go.  How about the number of cars being pulled?  Longest train has 18 cars, shortest has 5.

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My longest sessions have been, before this year, around 4 hours at a stretch at our Kennywood holiday set-up.  This year, they extended the hours, first to 5 hours (at which I ran two days), and now to 7 hours on 11 of the remaining 18 days of this event, and 6 hours on another 4 of them.  I'm kind of leery about running my engines for 6-7 hours straight.  At 5 hours, they get just a little warm, but not hot.  At other shows, we usually run engines for 2-3 hours at a stretch and swap them out, but I have been running 2 Polar Express consists (white roof/black roof) on the same line at the same time.  Will have to do some thinking on what to do here.

Andy

Interesting question, Dusty, and replies so far.

The reason I find it interesting is that I generally don't run any locomotive on my layout for more than a few minutes at a time, and my longest run might be 10 minutes.

I can understand however, the need to run trains at public displays for several hours at a time. It's good to know that our locomotives can handle that. Arnold

Thanks for all the replies.  I think the most amazing reply is from Harmonyards.  Also Patrick B with another MTH running long hours.  What a statement to the durability of the trains and the manufacture.  I would never guess trains would hold up to that amount of continuous run time.  All my locomotives are Lionel.  Both old and new.  Anyone with long run times with Lionel?  The conclusion I draw here is that as long as they are not getting hot and well serviced running them for a couple hours shouldn't be a problem. Guess I will not  worry so much about wearing them out to soon. I do like the thought of letting them run longer.

Thanks for all the replies.  I think the most amazing reply is from Harmonyards.  Also Patrick B with another MTH running long hours.  What a statement to the durability of the trains and the manufacture.  I would never guess trains would hold up to that amount of continuous run time.  All my locomotives are Lionel.  Both old and new.  Anyone with long run times with Lionel?  The conclusion I draw here is that as long as they are not getting hot and well serviced running them for a couple hours shouldn't be a problem. Guess I will not  worry so much about wearing them out to soon. I do like the thought of letting them run longer.

My locomotive is far far from stock,….I picked the most indestructible parts known in the industry, and put them all in a pot and mixed them together……it’s a Railking chassis and boiler shell, but that’s where the MTH parts stop,….I stripped all the wheels and axles off, machined the drive block to accept press in ball bearing axle bearings, then used old Lionel Postwar Berkshire drivers ( the hardest ones known to man) ……then I installed a 8000 series Pittman full ball bearing motor, rare earth magnets, and silver graphite brushes ….I set the gear pattern to achieve the best mesh I could, and also achieved back drivable gears …..I did all of this cause I was tired of burning off flanges from cast zinc drivers, and burning up cheap Mabuchi motors found in the smaller Railking & Lionel locomotives,…..I’m hoping to get 5000 hours out of it before it will need a major overhaul, ( rebuild or replace the motor, new ball bearing axle bearings, gears, and another set of Postwar drivers from a donor ) ….she even looks more at home at her current job than the original puny Pol-Ex locomotive…..

Pat 86E76C2B-DE8A-451D-A72F-1C3FDDB61957

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In the past I would run a pair of engines for around 5-6 hours a day during the week and 12+ on the weekends. All are ERR, Legacy or PS-2. In the past I have ran my scale Js and my scale A on the outer loop and a scale legacy diesel or two on the inner loop. A couple years back I ran the same Railking J that I am running this year and a Williams NS diesel that was EER converted. I am getting away from running my scale engines at Christmas just because the semi scale cars look silly behind them and the family would rather look at the holiday cars vs typical rolling stock. This year I running a Railking J with the Christmas boxcars that is ERR converted and Pat (Harmonyards) build a Railking Mowhawk with a Pitman and ERR conversion for the Polar Express cars.

The tree should be decorated this weekend.73E3188D-C1B3-4316-9469-5B6D691FEA1B

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Some years ago, a friend asked me to repair his USTTC aluminum BART train powered with a Marx motor. The motor was not powerful enough to run the train. Experimenting with it, I installed a can motor where the Marx armature had been.

Taking it to the mall where we had our own layouts for years, the train ran its initial test for 7.5 hours without stopping. Outstanding success!

Since then I have re-powered many Marx diesels and electrics with can motors and run them for many carefree miles.

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