Thank goodness for MPC. There would be no Lionel if they didn't take over the trains when they did. General Mills realized Lionel still had a great name and reputation. The guys that had Lionel Trains when they were kids, now had kids and they wanted them to have a Lionel Train. MPC had a huge job ahead of them when they took over. They did some impressive stuff to get trains out for Christmas, like the GP-9 Illinois Central. For handrail posts they used the metal posts from the old Lionel log cars. They later changed them. Once they got going they really moved right along. A GP20, fast angle wheels for really long trains, SD18 with six wheel trucks and some of the older style steam engines appeared. The Trainmaster in black widow, GG1s, U36C, dual motor F-3 and the aluminum passenger cars that everyone was waiting for. High cube box cars and something new called Standard "O" series cars with sprung die-cast trucks. There seemed to be an endless flow of new boxcars, and billboard reefers. Boxcars sold for $7.20 Even a new track system called Trutrack, but it never came out. Yes, MPC came along at the right time. DonDSC_6869

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This subject has come up before and I posted that I thought the stuff of that era was crap.  The trains generally had nice paint jobs and looked great but the two engines I bought my son couldn't pull there own shadow.  They wobbled down the track like a duck once you helped them get moving.  The trucks had seams in them like they came out of a mold.  That killed what little interest my son had in model trains.  Myself, I waited until MTH came out with some real quality stuff in the late 90s before I got back in the hobby.

Dennis

I'm retired. Now I work at being a pain in the butt.

TINPLATE ART, I agree - great thread.  MPC brought some great color to the hobby too.  My favorites were the Blue Comet and the Chessie Steam Special.  They had the ‘Mighty Sound of Steam’ and the Chessie Berk introduced an electronic whistle. Archaic by today’s standards, but compared to the traditional whistling tenders of the post war era, my Dad, brothers and I thought it was great.  So much so, my Dad added a whistle to the Blue Comet as well.  Here is a clip from Christmas last year with both train sets racing around the tree with the whistles blaring away   

- Rob 

 

LCCA Member

TCA Member

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Dennis posted:

This subject has come up before and I posted that I thought the stuff of that era was crap.  The trains generally had nice paint jobs and looked great but the two engines I bought my son couldn't pull there own shadow.  They wobbled down the track like a duck once you helped them get moving.  The trucks had seams in them like they came out of a mold.  That killed what little interest my son had in model trains.  Myself, I waited until MTH came out with some real quality stuff in the late 90s before I got back in the hobby.

Dennis

What engines were those? 

I had (and, in some cases, still have) some MPC items I got in the 70’s - 80’s and they put out some great stuff. I have a GG1, and Pennsy and NYC ABA sets. Each had no issue pulling 7-8 aluminum passenger cars (I believe they are 15” cars) - the GG1 was the best puller.

Paul

Techno-Peasant of the First Order

Provisionary Member - Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 TCA 15-70689

LCCA RM-39621

LOTS RM-9326

Dennis posted:

This subject has come up before and I posted that I thought the stuff of that era was crap.  The trains generally had nice paint jobs and looked great but the two engines I bought my son couldn't pull there own shadow.  They wobbled down the track like a duck once you helped them get moving.  The trucks had seams in them like they came out of a mold.  That killed what little interest my son had in model trains.  Myself, I waited until MTH came out with some real quality stuff in the late 90s before I got back in the hobby.

Dennis

Well, I tells ya...

Back when I was hot 'n' heavy into MPC (and Postwar) back in the 80's, it was the most fun I had with model railroading either before or since.  Warts and all...

Pundit 0281 009 SFPundit 0281 010 SF

scan0014 SF

Rusty

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When I got back into the hobby around 1990, MPC items were the bulk of what I bought, because it was relatively cheap and plentiful. Steam, GPs, U Boats, N5c cabooses and all those colorful boxcars and reefers. I still love the stuff.

John 

 

 LCCA PCA TCA

 ILLINOIS RAILWAY MUSEUM        

 www.irm.org   

 

 

 

Rusty Traque posted:
Dennis posted:

This subject has come up before and I posted that I thought the stuff of that era was crap.  The trains generally had nice paint jobs and looked great but the two engines I bought my son couldn't pull there own shadow.  They wobbled down the track like a duck once you helped them get moving.  The trucks had seams in them like they came out of a mold.  That killed what little interest my son had in model trains.  Myself, I waited until MTH came out with some real quality stuff in the late 90s before I got back in the hobby.

Dennis

Well, I tells ya...

Back when I was hot 'n' heavy into MPC (and Postwar) back in the 80's, it was the most fun I had with model railroading either before or since.  Warts and all...

Pundit 0281 009 SFPundit 0281 010 SF

scan0014 SF

Rusty

I had very good luck running MPC era stuff, and I had a lot of it. I agree, it was some of the most fun I've had, too.

Dennis posted:

This subject has come up before and I posted that I thought the stuff of that era was crap.  The trains generally had nice paint jobs and looked great but the two engines I bought my son couldn't pull there own shadow.  They wobbled down the track like a duck once you helped them get moving.  The trucks had seams in them like they came out of a mold.  That killed what little interest my son had in model trains.  Myself, I waited until MTH came out with some real quality stuff in the late 90s before I got back in the hobby.

Dennis

My experience with MPC was quite different. Yes, there were problems here and there, but some nice trains were produced and when I got back into the hobby in 1986, I bought up a lot of them.  With few exceptions, they looked good and ran well for me. 

I am a “toy train guy,” in no way a “Hi-rail enthusiast.” Perhaps our different expectations account for our difference of opinion.

(And they sure were very reasonably priced, too!)

Macy's had the very last Lionel (MPC) sales layout I ever saw. It was a simple 4x8 layout in the San Rafael store. Don't know if Lionel made it or the store. I looked at it every time I went in the store. Wanted the GP9 IC engine. It was still there after Christmas and I got it for $18. Should have bought everything on the layout. Those engines ran very well. Never had a problem with them. I became a dealer the next year and can't recall ever have a return on any of the MPC engines. Don

The B. Altmans in White Plains had a Lionel layout up through the mid-80's. They had it up right after Halloween until Christmas. I remember it had two trains running and one of them was the Reading Yard King set, so I think that was 83 or so. It was not big, probably 4x8 but it was fun anyways. Also, the Abraham and Strauss in Paramus had a large Lionel layout as well during the MPC era. Sadly, both stores are gone...

I've never owned much of the cheaper mpc engines.  My only complaints were: 1 the non repairable engine trucks that had the side frames swedged on, 2- plastic gears in the engine drive train.  So I stayed away from them.  I don't mind buying the shells and using them on mpc magnatraction chassis.

The higher end stuff usually didnt have that.  Some GPs, GG-1s, steam engines, FMs, were remakes of postwar and were fabulous runners for me. 

Now that they are so cheap its harder to resist picking up additional pieces.

I've never had an mpc-LTI  engine: fail to respond to the remote; get 3 clanks; get stuck in reverse; etc.  They just keep running.

My 8020 Santa Fe alco  I put a postwar  200 series motor in it in . the  b unit I put a Williams true sound  LOVE it! same with my  GP Illinois 8030 MPC I added postwar magnet traction and postwar motor..

Bought these engines  back in the day (70's) when Mom threw all postwar trains out thinking they were bad..So I made sure they were just as good when I  got them as they are today..

The MPC later Fundimensions trains were enthusiastically welcomed by many in the hobby. I bought mostly rolling stock at first to run behind my childhood postwar Locos. I started buying some of the better diesel locomotives in the late 70's and purchased 4 or 5 of the larger steam locos before the prices got crazy. I still have the SP and Virginian FMs,the Green 8150 GG1 and the SP Daylight,UP and NYC F3's with matching passenger consists. The 8100 (746) N&W J and matching N&W cars are a favorite and a high point for that era. 

As I reflect on those times,I remember a lot of greedy speculators were buying up the better items and therefore drove the prices of the better items way,way up in the late 1980's. I remember going to meets and seeing the crazy asking prices for the 783,785 and 785. The SP GS4's were nowhere to be found for less than 2K. As Karma would have it, all of these can be found like new for less than $300. So many of those trains were just collected and sadly never run or enjoyed. Today, All that product is hitting the market as collections come to the market and the prices are very affordable. 

Ricky 

This IS the world's greatest hobby!  Formerly "Boomer" on the OGR forum 2001-2018.

DanssuperO posted:

My 8020 Santa Fe alco  I put a postwar  200 series motor in it in . the  b unit I put a Williams true sound  LOVE it! same with my  GP Illinois 8030 MPC I added postwar magnet traction and postwar motor..

Bought these engines  back in the day (70's) when Mom threw all postwar trains out thinking they were bad..So I made sure they were just as good when I  got them as they are today..

My 8020 still has the original motor and gears (new brushes), runs like a champ, and has more hours on it than the real one probably did.

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

Cincytrains posted:

The B. Altmans in White Plains had a Lionel layout up through the mid-80's. They had it up right after Halloween until Christmas. I remember it had two trains running and one of them was the Reading Yard King set, so I think that was 83 or so. It was not big, probably 4x8 but it was fun anyways. Also, the Abraham and Strauss in Paramus had a large Lionel layout as well during the MPC era. Sadly, both stores are gone...

Steve...Gimbels also had a layout in Cross County Centre....See you at the county centre??....joe

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON...W.S.CHURCHILL

 

Joe Krasko LCCA 17199

palallin posted:

My 8020 still has the original motor and gears (new brushes), runs like a champ, and has more hours on it than the real one probably did.

MPC's revision of the postwar 200 series motor was one the best things they ever did. I have one MPC Alco, and a few GPs, with this motor, and they run beautifully. Although it's not considered the "better" motor, it's hard to find fault with something that works so well.

I, too, could never understand what was so wrong with plastic gears. At least not plastic idler gears. They are quiet, and I have never had one strip on me. And Lionel Corp used them, too - we have a 2245 Texas Special F3 with a plastic idler gear in the horizontal motor housing. And it, too, works just fine.

I grew up with the MPC era, and still have my first set from '78 (I was 2).

Everything still works, and I still run the engine regularly.  After many miles, it has only needed tires and oil.  It sounds great (all the mechanical noises), it looks great (the wheel sparks) and it even smells great (ozone and graphite from the motor).

My only complaint is that the chuff is super loud and artificial, so I usually leave it disconnected.  Actually thinking of bringing it into the 21st century by installing an ERR Steam Railsounds board into the tender.  Despite the very solid engine, the cars are lightweight plastic.  They have survived great, but I prefer other rolling stock, like postwar and K-Line.

Getting ready to once again pair it with some nicer cars in preparation for the holiday trips around the tree.

IMG_1950

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I have a large tube of a product called "Lubraplate". It used to be advertised in OGR, but I have not seen it in there in a while, anyway, I use it on my plastic geared MPC engines. It seems to work fine. Lubraplate is supposed to be formulated just for plastic gears. I have no reason to doubt that. I cannot recall having any problems with the plastic gears either. 

Seacoast posted:

Are the MPC  F3's New Haven # 8851 any good? Are they metal or plastic gearing etc? Thanks

I really don't remember if the gears were metal or plastic, but way back when, I used the drives with repro CP shells and pulled 5 Williams 15" streamliners for hours with them at train shows.

Rusty

"Lubriplate" (with an 'i') has been around a long time.  Some, but not all of their products are branded as plastic-compatible.  So for the last 25 years or so, I've been using Labelle 106 with Teflon.

The MPC New Haven F-units are very high quality trains, and were GREAT runners when they came out.  I would endorse them with or without plastic gears.

I played with MPC trains growing up, and for a long time afterward.  Even after a decade of childhood abuse, high-speed reversing, etc., we personally never had any failures of the nylon worm wheel, or the nylon spur gears on the side of the truck.  I'm not saying that it never happens, but metal gears can split too.  I've come to conclude that the plastic vs. metal thing is more about the perception of quality than actual performance.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

JBuettner posted:

Every era of Lionel has treasured gems, so I'd like to know what people consider the best of the best of the MPC years, you know the "must haves," the top performers whether you collect or run.

 

Certainly the “Famous American Railroads” series would count. The Blue Comment and the Southern Crescent and the Alton Limited passenger sets. The Burlington Zephyr F-3 aluminum passenger set, too.

The SP FM Trainmaster, Green GG-1, UP F-3s (if color matched). Some nice stuff!

Dave Warburton posted:
JBuettner posted:

Every era of Lionel has treasured gems, so I'd like to know what people consider the best of the best of the MPC years, you know the "must haves," the top performers whether you collect or run.

 

Certainly the “Famous American Railroads” series would count. The Blue Comment and the Southern Crescent and the Alton Limited passenger sets. The Burlington Zephyr F-3 aluminum passenger set, too.

The SP FM Trainmaster, Green GG-1, UP F-3s (if color matched). Some nice stuff!

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha

"What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."

tncentrr posted:

JBUETTNER,

The Chessie Steam Special set should be at the top of anyone's MPC "must have" list. I bought mine new 40 years ago. I still treasure it to this day.

I don’t disagree but the Blue Comet has some Lionel legacy that’s hard to beat. I still have both.

8165577E-E5A5-46C4-BBAC-DF33FD938054

- Rob 

 

LCCA Member

TCA Member

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I'll add the engines available only from the J C Penny Christmas catalog (except for the infamous Santa Fe Chop nose GP), and the first 12 or so Standard O cars. Producing those cars really put Lionel on the path to Hi-Rail sized engines and other rolling stock.

Chris

LVHR

Daniel Raible posted:

I grew up with the MPC era, and still have my first set from '78 (I was 2).

Everything still works, and I still run the engine regularly.  After many miles, it has only needed tires and oil.  It sounds great (all the mechanical noises), it looks great (the wheel sparks) and it even smells great (ozone and graphite from the motor).

 

IMG_1950

I bought that same set for my son the year he was born ('78). He still has it.

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