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I am very interested in what you, my Forum friends, think about whether modern loccomotives and Postwar operating cars are a good combination. 

The modern locomotives I have in mind are those like MTH Proto 2 and 3, Lionel LC+, LC 2.0 and Legacy and other modern locomotives that have speed control and  run slow and smooth.

The Postwar operating cars I'm thinking of include the Lionel operating coal dump car, operating milk car, operating log dump car and other operating cars that have a sliding shoe on the bottom of each truck to trigger the operating feature.

I just spent 2 tedious hours repairing 3 Postwar operating coal dump cars that either had loose wires that needed to be soldered back on the top of the sliding shoe, or had frayed or defective wires that needed to be replaced. Replacing the wires required me to disassemble and reassemble the car. This disassembling and reassembling was particularly tedious and tested my patience to its limits. My goal is to never need to do that again.

It occurred to me that one way to accomplish my goal may be to only run these Lionel Postwar operating cars with a slow and smooth modern engine with speed control.

What do you think? Is that a good strategy?

Arnold

 

 

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 "....a slow and smooth modern engine with speed control."

Always a good idea under any circumstance for any reason with any equipment.

Simple, proper gearing actually eliminates most of the need for speed control anyway (oh, if only we had gone that way), but we in 3RO have seldom been offered locomotives with the "adult" gearing, such as the 2RO crowd generally got/gets.

....which then lead to expensive 3RO electronic complication that was not necessary....but I've beaten this drum too often...sigh.

@MELGAR posted:

Slow running behind a modern, speed-controlled locomotive model probably is better for the durability and operation of postwar cars. Let us know what you find...

MELGAR

I believe that the slide shoes of  Postwar operating cars are much less likely to snag in O22 switches if pulled by modern engines that run slow and smooth. 

My plan is to test this hypothesis over time, and I will report back here.

 

I just spent 2 tedious hours repairing 3 Postwar operating coal dump cars that either had loose wires that needed to be soldered back on the top of the sliding shoe, or had frayed or defective wires that needed to be replaced. Replacing the wires required me to disassemble and reassemble the car. This disassembling and reassembling was particularly tedious and tested my patience to its limits. My goal is to never need to do that again.

It occurred to me that one way to accomplish my goal may be to only run these Lionel Postwar operating cars with a slow and smooth modern engine with speed control.

What do you think? Is that a good strategy?

Arnold

 

 

Hmm...I'm not sure that the speed at which a given car is used would have much bearing on whether the wires might wear faster and need to be repaired more (or less) often.

Plus, if you find that working on these cars is so "tedious", to the point of never  needing "to do that again", then perhaps running post-war is not for you.  I think the fact that these cars were meant to be repaired, not simply replaced, is part of their appeal...and I bet I'm not alone in feeling that way.

Opinion, of course.

Mark in Oregon 

Last edited by Strummer

Mark, the idea is that if the track work, like mine, is not perfect, a fast ride will be more rough and bumpy than a slow smooth one. As a result, the fast ride IMO is more likely to have the sliding shoe get caught up in the switches.

For now, my plan is to run the Postwar operating cars with slow smooth running locomotives.  

Regarding the repairs I made today, although I did not enjoy doing them and I would prefer to have avoided them by not having the sliding shoes get snagged in the switches, ironically it gave me a sense of accomplishment to have succeeded in making the repairs, and it was pleasing to know I saved the money it would have cost to have someone else repair them.

I love the Lionel Lionel Postwar operating cars because they are my roots, they are crowd pleasers, children love them, and they are charming and mechanically sound. Arnold

 

Arnold,

I missed out that it was a siding shoe problem.  My cars may not be post-war since all of them have the electro-mechanical plungers in the middle of the bottom of the car.  I bought most of them at one time 5 or 6 years ago.  Since I had HO trains from the time I bought my first set at age 12 until 2012 when I switched to O gauge 3-rail, all of the operating accessories and control was new to me.  I can see exactly what you are saying about running fast on less than smooth trackwork would cause the sliding shoe to catch.  I always had trouble with trackwork in HO and even now.  I can't say I was all thumbs, but I could never be considered a craftsman either.  No matter how much effort I put into some things, I am less than happy with the results.  O gauge track and wheels are much more forgiving than HO; a definite plus as my limited dexterity deteriorates.  Run them at whatever speed satisfies the modeler.  

If you are running a modern loco with TMCC / DCS remember there is going to be high voltage at the rails and UCS tracks if running un-modified wiring. That may be too high and the plungers of the dump cars may stick. And coil couplers will overheat if the car (if equipped) is operated too often. Something to plan for.

Thanks, Chuck

 I don't have DCS or TMCC, but I have run LC+ locomotives in remote mode at 18 volts pulling Postwar coal dump cars, and so far there have been no problems.

I run most of my postwar Heavy duty action cars with postwar locos without problems. I did eliminate the five rail track on the main loops.  You can Always run your postwar locos at a moderate pace ( I have seen your postwar engines pulling long lines of these dump cars without derailment or anything obviously out of kilter) did you check your five rail remote track for irregularities ? Maybe something other than speed is the issue. Speed can exacerbate the underlying problem. I had one that had a loose enough rail that overtime deteriorated the sliding shoes. 
and yes, they can be a bugger to fix or replace if it’s not your bag. Lol.
let us know what you find.

Btw: the mood up here in Maine is Severely altered when Yankees vs Red Sox is in favor of Yankees. 
ask me how I know! There are three former New Yorkers here at work. That’s it! We are in Red Sox territory. I will find out tomorrow. Enjoy the game.

all my best.

leroof

Here is my experience with this issue, as it relates to a train becoming caught on an obstruction.

A postwar engine's drive wheels with or without Magne-Traction will often slip, preventing further damage.

The typical modern-era engine can have far greater traction as they generally have traction tires, higher gear ratios, and multiple powered trucks. These engines can exert a greater force on the ensnared component. Furthermore, with speed control, when one of these engines becomes caught and the tach strip detects a slow-down, the engine will try even harder to accelerate and apply more force, causing greater potential for damage. And, with the often tighter curves found on postwar style layouts, stringlining on curves can happen very easily. And, if you're lucky enough to have one of these can motored engines stall without causing damage to your cars, the stall condition itself may cause a surge in current that can potentially overload, overheat, or damage electronic E-units or other command control components.

Running cars with sliding shoes very slowly can sometimes result in more snags. It has been my experience that under some conditions, when operated at faster speeds, a pickup shoe will "bounce" upward to clear an obstruction.

Leroof, good to hear from you. All of my remote control tracks are on sidings, where trains are run very slowly. I'm sure that is not where my sliding shoes got snagged. 

I may try on occasion to tin some of my Postwar operating cars with Postwar locomotives, but only those that are geared down like the 736 Berkshire steamer and F3s from th ed ratly 19950s with horizontal dual motors. Otherwise, I will run those cars with my slow smooth modern engines for the foreseeable future.

Lately, Aaron Judge of the Yankees has been phenomenal. He had another big game tonight in the Yankee victory. Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

My modern coal dump car had a habit of dumping unexpectedly when going slow over a switch that was on a hill. My grandpa's old log dump car? Never ever dumped unless I was over the accessory track. I like the post war cars in general and I'm currently pulling them around my test loop with postwar and modern locos. I think the weight is more fun to pull than a lightweight car. It seems like they track better. My 3472/3462 (I think) milk train is one of my favorites to pull. 

I would venture to guess you'll be needing to repair less shoes going slower though. 

One thing to watch out for when running postwar operating cars with modern locomotives that contain electronics, is voltage spikes. When a solenoid is energized there is energy stored as magnetism.  When the voltage is interrupted this energy is released as a voltage spike. Spikes as high as 100 volts have been recorded on Lionel layouts. Model train people protect against this by installing TVS (transit voltage suppression) diodes.  The best place for these diodes would be in the loco needing protection.  Next best place would be across the two wires going into the solenoid coil.  The easiest place to put them is between the center rail and outside rail.  This can be as simple as connecting the two wires on the TVS to the two terminals on a lock-on and just snap in onto the track.  No other wiring is needed. I like to use the LCS, lighted lock-on, as the light bulb also will absorb additional energy.  A typical TVS recommended on this site is from Mouser, (Little Fuse) 576-1.5KE36CA.  When a device like this sees a excessively high voltage spike, it shorts the two wires it is connected to together converting the voltage spike to heat.  These devices are cheap, maybe less than $1 each.  

There has been lots of discussion on this site over the years.  Use the search engine and search for “TVS”. One of the early documents on this problem can be found at the following thread:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...tage-spikes-and-tvss

 

 

 

 

One thing to watch out for when running postwar operating cars with modern locomotives that contain electronics, is voltage spikes. When a solenoid is energized there is energy stored as magnetism.  When the voltage is interrupted this energy is released as a voltage spike. Spikes as high as 100 volts have been recorded on Lionel layouts. Model trai...

Wow! I didn't know all that. That would be a real bummer if it happened. Could you remedy this with isolated blocks? You would have to push the operating car onto the isolated block but that could make for more interesting operating scenarios. Or tedious depending on how you look at it.

David, I think your point is well taken about the possibility of voltage spikes when pressing the unloading or uncoupling buttons of the remote control track section.

I never ruined a circuit board in a modern locomotive for that reason, probably because I rarely use those remote control track features when running my trains. I only use them when I run my trains for children and other guests, and they love to see the Lionel Postwar operating cars do their tricks.

Even though I rarely activate these operating cars, it is very important to me that they are in good operating order so I can play the role of the Wizard of Oz, pressing buttons, pulling levers, and letting the kids and my guests do so when they see my layout. LOL, Arnold

Arnold, if I read one of your posts correctly, I sense you do have some PS2 and/or PS3 locmotives. Have you ever considered the "lite DCS" through the use of Remote Commander?

Never even heard of "lite DCS,"  but if it's user friendly, I might go for it. Thanks, Raising4daughters, for mentioning it.

I have 2 Proto 2 engines, and 3 Proto 3 engines, which are terrific locomotives that run on my layout powered by 2 Z4000 transformers. Arnold

After watching that clip of your turbine pulling the dump cars, I think part of why it looks good to me is because of consistency. I think mixing postwar and modern rolling stock can be tricky because the brain notices the difference. But when it's 90% of one and just 10% of the other, the brain doesn't seem to mind. I think you can get away with a lot of "unrealistic" stuff as long as you're consistent. It will look like it belongs and that's what works.

That's my two cents. Doesn't really matter though. You can run whatever you please because it's your railroad and that's one of my favorite parts of this hobby. A creative backstory satisfies any beef someone has with how I've done something haha

I think you are correct, Bill. My layout is laden with Postwar accessories (barrel loader, log loader, animated newsstand, coal elevator, etc.) and scratch built structures (ball parks) than are caricatures, not scale models. For instance the MTH Proto 2 turbine and Postwar coal dump cars roll past the giant early Postwar #97 coal elevator (a caricature if there ever was one) in the above video. 

What about those Postwar coal dump cars? I know next to nothing about real coal cars, but to me, those Lionel coal dump cars seem like they might resemble the real thing, maybe simply because they are black. Arnold

 

 

Never even heard of "lite DCS,"  but if it's user friendly, I might go for it. Thanks, Raising4daughters, for mentioning it.

I have 2 Proto 2 engines, and 3 Proto 3 engines, which are terrific locomotives that run on my layout powered by 2 Z4000 transformers. Arnold

Lite DCS is my term, not formal MTH, but here's a link to their Remote Commander. I haven't used it, but it enables you to run PS2 and PS3 engines with the smaller, less complicated remote (also in picture) as compared to the DCS remote.  https://mthtrains.com/50-1033

I think you are correct, Bill. My layout is laden with Postwar accessories (barrel loader, log loader, animated newsstand, coal elevator, etc.) and scratch built structures (ball parks) than are caricatures, not scale models. For instance the MTH Proto 2 turbine and Postwar coal dump cars roll past the giant early Postwar #97 coal elevator (a caricature if there ever was one) in the above video. 

What about those Postwar coal dump cars? I know next to nothing about real coal cars, but to me, those Lionel coal dump cars seem like they might resemble the real thing, maybe simply because they are black. Arnold

 

 


Side dump cars like the Lionel 3469 are very common on railroads. They are used primarily by the railroads for maintenance and new construction.  They are also used in open pit mining, like the Kennecott pits in Nevada  and Utah.  Real side dump cars can dump from either side.  One problem with these cars is the floor is very high above the track to allow them to tip the hopper way over to get everything to slide out. This made the center of gravity very high.  Sometimes when clearing a slide, a full load would be just one large rock. It was always a risk when dumping such a load that the entire car would tip over. Because of the high C of G these cars usually move at restricted speed when loaded. 

I doubt coal was ever moved in these cars once it left the mine.  Mostly what I have seen, in addition to copper ore, is mixed fill and large rocks. Most railroads have strings of these cars parked loaded with rock so they car respond quickly to a stream scouring a bank or a wash out.  

Getting back to the initial inquiry, one thing I don't see mentioned is the wire leads can harder or otherwise deteriorate over time and this could cause them to become less flexible. Additionally, a PO could have found the disintegrated wiring and performed a repair with incorrect wire not designed to stand up to the flexing and/or could have applied solder such that it had flowed further up the wire than expected again reducing flexibility. Ensuring superflex wire (sometimes listed as SW-22 and SW-24) is utilized and properly soldered will likely alleviate all but the more extreme cases.

Good modern locomotives for pulling Postwar operating cars with sliding shoes are not limited to those with speed control like Proto 2 and 3 and Lionel LC+, Legacy, etc.

There are K Line and Williams engines without speed control that are also slow smooth runners, especially pulling a heavy load. I had my K Line GP38 Chessie System diesel pulling 11 Postwar coal dump cars and caboose this morning at a snail's pace without risk of snagging any sliding shoes. Will post a video showing this later. Arnold

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