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IMG_1845First time poster here. I have been poking around and trying to find an answer, but am still a bit unclear.

100 percent newbie here other than the fact that I've always liked trains and always wanted a set as a kid. I recently found a Lionel trolley cheap, which started me looking at other trains.

i don't have the real estate or the wallet for any serious layout. But I stumbled on this San Francisco street car and had to have it. It has proto 1 sound, which seems like it can be problematic based on what I've read.

So it just showed up and I love the looks of it. I replaced the battery with a BCR, based on the good info I gleaned here. Now my question that I haven't found a solid answer to.

What is a decent transformer for a guy on a budget who just wants to run his little street car around and hear

the announcements etc? I was hoping for instructions to come with it and a list of compatibles, but no such luck.



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Welcome Ryan!   I'm guess the NH is New Hampshire... I grew up next door in Vermont.

We like New Guys & Gals here... we think they are Awesome!   That's a very nice looking trolley!  Ditto on what Artie said and I'm sure you will get peppered with responses shortly from folks who are more familiar with what you have and what your needs are.

Thanks for Joining!@!


I just got a lightly used Z-1000 with original box and paperwork last week.   So far, I am very happy with it.  It was only about $100 plus shipping. 

As with you, I read all of the reviews about them getting spotty after several years.  I decided that for such a low price, I am fine with it lasting  only a few years.   No need to start out big with a real expensive transformer when you are setting up and learning.  In a few years, you will be know enough to decide if you want to buy a large expensive one, and what model you will want and what features you will need.  You should view the Z-1000 as possibly a disposable item, about the cost of a good meal and wine with your wife at a really nice restaurant (which will be totally forgotten a week later).  :-)


Welcome Ryan,

I run all my MTH Subway sets with my Z1000, best purchase so far I have made. Until the new DCS Tiu arrives I will continue to use it.  My R42 Subway is PS1 and as such you have to manually press the Bell button for it to activate the stop. manual is easy to understand and setup is a breeze. I also have the CW80 for my Lionel LionChief engines and I prefer the Z1000 over the CW80 anytime.

"Here is a picture of the MTH link: Go to the MTH website, open product locator, enter the stock number in search bar, click on stock number to go to that item’s web page, then click on support, next, click on the open book/American Flag icon, and you can download a manual for this item."

I did find this last night, thanks

Welcome to the forum Ryan. I'm going to address your "layout" comment. You know, it is absolutely possible to do a small layout (which tend to be more affordable), and a portable one at that.

Now I see you have a piece of FasTrack in your streetcar photo above. Yeah, FasTrack is more costly and has some limitations. But Lionel now offers FasTrack in a 31 inch curve, though you always need to consider the extra space of the molded roadbed.

But there's plenty of tubular track on the secondary market, which is certainly more affordable than FasTrack. According to MTH, those PCC Streetcars should negotiate a 027 curve. As far as actual layout sizes and designs, well the following website links are now available again in large part due to our forum member, Dennis La-Rock, who made a comment above.

Go to the following link, scroll down to where it says "0/027 Pages" and see the listings on the left. Starting with the 7th item down on "Doorway Layouts" there are several listings that are all on doing a small space layout.

I've always had small layouts and I assure you, I have as much fun as anyone. Sure, there are limitations: There are bigger sized and/or scale proportioned trains you will not be able to run. On the other hand, this can keep you within budget. The smaller sized traditional 0 and 027 train models do look better on a small sized layout. And I don't let the "toy" trains I buy stop me from having a certain amount of what I like to call "suggested realism" as you could see by clicking the link at the bottom of my post here.

@GG1 4877 posted:

Have fun with your streetcar!  Mine has ProtoSounds with the San Francisco station stops, but it looks like this    Someone swapped the shells before I acquired mine for the wrong coast.  Welcome to the greatest hobby ever!

SF Muni has a fleet of cars painted in "historic" schemes; I do not know if an NJ Transit one was done but if so, yours would be correct.

Last edited by PRRMP54

After poking around for an MRC, I ended up with a Z1000 new in the box. Just got it tonight and ran this around. I know it's pretty basic compared to everything out there, but man it's cool. I love the station announcements. After giving the BCR a minute to charge, all seems to work as it should.

I realize I didn't do enough homework before buying and maybe a proto 1 engine isn't the best fit for a guy who knows nothing, but I love it.

Thanks again for the help and comments here so far.

I'm back with another question. I apologize my lack of knowledge. I bought another PCC car. Both run well with a BCR installed, but sometimes  the announcements act up a bit. Example would be where I get the bell instead of the announcement, or the announcement randomly gets cut short before the bell and door closing sounds etc. I got a squeaking brake sound instead of the horn a couple times.

Is this an issue with the old Proto 1 sound, compatibility issues with a Z1000 or.... not sure?

Any insight is appreciated. I can certainly live it for the amount of running I do, but wouldn't mind looking into it either.

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