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Folks,

Just joined, and excited to be here! I'm new to Lionel Trains, and looking to set-up a semi-permanent display layout for the holidays. I have a few Lionel trains from the 50's, and a huge transformer (Type ZW). My plan was to select one of the Lionel Display Layout track plans, and re-create that. I have a huge box of track, but alot of it is rusty.

My question is, can I still use the ZW to run trains, and can I use any 3 rail type track? Will that still run the steam engines I have from the 50's? Is there a better track to consider? I saw Super O, which looks nicer than the track I have, but not sure that is still made?

I'm still trying to figure out which layout to re-create, but leaning toward a 5x9 or slightly larger due to space constraint. I like the Addams Family setup, simply because it's interesting to look at, but certainly not married to it, and open to suggestions.

I honestly have no idea how to wire all this up, once I decide on a plan. Any beginners section or tutorials out there?

Thanks in advance!

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The ZW should be fine BUT have it checked out.  The cords tend to become brittle and cracked.  The track you have should also be fine with some TLC.  Clean it up with some scotch bright and clean and tighten the pins.  Check to make sure the center rail insulator is still good.  Super O is not made and can be hard to come by.  Menard's makes new tubular track still but there is plenty of fine older tubular out there at train shows and even Forum Sponsors.  Check out Tin Man 3 Rail.

Last edited by MartyE

N734WS, welcome to the forum. MartyE gave good advice. Have the ZW checked out. Once check out it should be good to go to run those trains. However if you may buy newer trains down the road it may be better to buy a newer transformer. The older transformers did not have a quick circuit breaker which is needed for the newer electronics in the newer engines. Also if you have not run those trains in quite a while it would be good to clean and lubricate them. Track is a personal choice. Super O looks nice but hard to find and you are limited to curve sizes. This forum offers a lot of information to anyone. All you have to do is ask. Take it one step at a time. It is a hobby that can be very rewarding and fun...................Paul 2

Welcome to the forum!

The link below is to the 1954 Lionel operating instruction manual.  It describes many fundamental aspects of the hobby that you will need, such as lubricating your engines, trackwork, wiring, etc.  I find it very useful.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...sories%20%201954.pdf

There is also an older thread with a lot of postwar dealer displays, it is one of my favorites:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...stwar-layouts?page=1

The ZW is a great transformer.  As others suggested, ensure the cord isn't a fire hazard and get it replaced if it is cracked.  Also, test the internal breaker by shorting on of the A, B, C, D binding posts to any of the common binding posts with a screw driver.  After a few seconds, the internal breaker should click and the red light should come on.  If it doesn't, you should have the breaker replaced. Forum member @Tranz4mr has a nice webpage detailing a ZW inspection:

http://www.tranz4mr.com/ZW_Checkout.html

Last edited by JD2035RR

Thank you for the links. That is a very cool layout. Is it two 9x5's? If so, it may be a bit larger than the space I have, but I will see. I like being able to run 2 or more trains at the time if possible.

The only upside to being an airline pilot at the moment, is that I have plenty of free time to plan and build this! (It's a wonderful distraction)

N734WS,

Welcome. I have a Lionel Dealer Display Layout. It is a 5x9, two levels. It's based on the D-105. It's mostly faithful to the original but with some tweaks of my own here and there. Lots of fun in a small space with plenty of accessories and signals.

I'd be more than happy to share build ideas and suggestions. My email is in in my Profile.

Edit...meant to add some pics.20200831_114946

20200831_115019

20200831_115002

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Last edited by johnstrains

And there are external fast acting circuit breakers and surge supressors to protect newer engines when running with a postwar ZW.  But if your going to stick with older non sound equipted engines, as long as the internal breaker is working correctly, you will be fine.  Several places specialize on refurbishing the ZW transfomer and its best left up to someone such as this that has the books and the know how to rework one of these.   Cant wait to see pics of the dealer display you choose to recreate!    Welcome to the forum!    AD

And there are external fast acting circuit breakers and surge supressors to protect newer engines when running with a postwar ZW.  But if your going to stick with older non sound equipted engines, as long as the internal breaker is working correctly, you will be fine.  Several places specialize on refurbishing the ZW transfomer and its best left up to someone such as this that has the books and the know how to rework one of these.   Cant wait to see pics of the dealer display you choose to recreate!    Welcome to the forum!    AD

Thanks. I'm still trying to figure out which plan to use. I'm negotiating space with my spouse as I type this!

@johnstrains posted:

N734WS,

Welcome. I have a Lionel Dealer Display Layout. It is a 5x9, two levels. It's based on the D-105. It's mostly faithful to the original but with some tweaks of my own here and there. Lots of fun in a small space with plenty of accessories and signals.

I'd be more than happy to share build ideas and suggestions. My email is in in my Profile.

Edit...meant to add some pics.20200831_114946

20200831_115019

20200831_115002

Great looking layout!

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