Hi all:

A few years back I got a Lionel Phantom III set off of EBay, and since I have done some research on the different sets in the series. It was quite interesting to find that even Lionel only had one car from one of the sets in there entire archive. I was surprised when I visited the Lionel headquarters and only one employee on the design team ever recalled the Pratts Hollow series. I know from reading that they aren't to terribly rare, but those who have them either want an arm and a leg for them, or simply won't sell. Every once in a while, a set in good condition will appear on EBay. I was fortunate to find one in perfect condition-- it hadn't ever left the factory shipping box. It has been an interesting addition to my collection.

My interest was refreshed when I looked in the 2016 catalog from Lionel, and I found that the Phantom has been coated in carbon fiber, stripped of some of its special details, and re marketed as a Batman set. 

I have seen a few other products marketed as Pratts Hollow, such as the Pratts Hollow Seed Dump car and the Pratts Hollow Crew Bunk car. Can anyone tell me if they are related in any way to the PH Phantom sets? Does anyone have any background on the story of these trains?

Thanks,

Troy 

Original Post

Imaginary place and story involving art deco models and alien mystery.  Predecessor to the Area 51 set and models.  You can check the catalogs from that period for the back story, the details of which escape me at this point.  People either loved them or hated them.  I thought they were inspired lunacy.  I have a set somewhere.  Locomotive didn't pull all that well.

 

Here's what Lionel has on its website about the Phantom IV:

 

"THE LEGEND CONTINUES...Two decades ago, a cache of mysterious documents, renderings, and diagrams were discovered in an old farmhouse in Pratt's Hollow, Missouri. To this day, we know very little about where the original papers came from, but it appears they were the work of a highly secretive railroad group called the Pratt's Hollow Design Society (PHDS). It is our belief that this clandestine group of professional railroad designers secretly collaborated in the 1920's to develop a modern locomotive that would replace the automobile. To the Pratt’s Hollow group, efficiency, new technology, and uncompromised modern style was paramount for their "revolution" in transportation to be successful. Until the plans could be completed and patented, these new ideas were carefully, even fearfully, guarded from public knowledge. Mysteriously, their plans came to a quick halt. And the only trace that appears to remain of the extremely secretive Design Society are the cryptic papers unearthed from the Pratt's Hollow farmhouse.From this repository of fascinating train designs, we are proud to bring to life another fantastical Phantom locomotive. The Phantom IV is equipped with a unique selection of updated RailSounds sound effects. Four matching passenger cars-a baggage, vista dome, coach, and observation car-are also available.The Pratt's Hollow story is imaginary, and the spectacular trains in the Pratt's Hollow Collection never really existed-but they should have!"

I have the original, and with a single AC motor in the front, the traction is non-existent!  I solve that problem by adding a motor and converting it to use the ERR AC Commander, it was a major improvement!  When I started, it couldn't pull the original four cars around on a level layout properly on Atlas track.  When I run the upgrade, it will haul 20-25 freight cars or eight passenger cars around, including a 2% grade with no problem.  Note that it has no traction tires, and magnatraction isn't useful on non-ferrous track, so it's just basic metal on metal traction that moves things.  Here's the thread on the motor upgrade:  Improving the Lionel Phantom Locomotive

I saw that non working unit on eBay. It started out low and I got excited, but then the price went too high. I was lucky to get the cars and the engine together for a good price. My engine does seem to have a bit of trouble getting started, but it can pull the phantom cars just fine. 

I  did a little more reading on this years "Batman Phantom" and it is certainly an improvement on the old one, but I don't know if I would be able to enjoy batman themed features. The old phantoms were all CAB 1 compatible, but this one is LionChief. I really wish Lionel would allow the LionChief system to be controlled by the Legacy remote, or even the LCS app.  

 

Another locomotive and set that was considered "junk" when it was released, yet has been highly sought after lately.

I had a set I bought from the Lionel visitor store, brought it home and everything John said was correct. I returned it the next day and bought something else. I then saw them at local  train shows and you could not give them away.

Who knows... next it will be the Nascar sets will be highly sought after?

I wouldn't pay the prices they're asking today for them, but I'm glad I got mine.  I'd like to find another passenger car or two, I found one on eBay, but I haven't seen any more separate cars.  I'd like to have six or seven behind it, that would look cool.

I have 2 of the original engines. First engine when they came out, and the second a few years later for $150. or so. My solution to the weak pull power was a push and pull set of engines in a lash up. Later versions came with a traction tire. I bought 2 sets of traction tire assemblies from Lionel and swapped them out. Much stronger. I DO like the looks and stereo sounds of the 2 engines pushing and pulling though.

oscalerail posted:

Which Phantom do you have, John? Which color is it?

This is mine from my thread on adding a second motor.  I thought about the traction tire truck, but since I got the old motor and chassis for free, it was a pretty easy call.  Besides, having power on on the rear makes a huge difference, not to mention the added weight of the second motor is really beneficial.  The ERR AC Commander in place of the LCRU also made a significant operational difference, much smoother low speed performance.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
oscalerail posted:

Which Phantom do you have, John? Which color is it?

This is mine from my thread on adding a second motor.  I thought about the traction tire truck, but since I got the old motor and chassis for free, it was a pretty easy call.  Besides, having power on on the rear makes a huge difference, not to mention the added weight of the second motor is really beneficial.  The ERR AC Commander in place of the LCRU also made a significant operational difference, much smoother low speed performance.

Very nice! That is the same one I have. 

If you find an old chassis with the AC motor, you can steal the motor and mounting plate and add the second motor.  With the addition of the AC Commander, it's a very nice package. I was very surprised how much better the low speed performance is with the 100 steps and probably the better logic of the AC Commander.

I've added some additional lighting to the front as well, blue lighting in the turbine vent and a red LED below the headlight.  I also replaced the headlight with a white LED for a much brighter light.  On the tail car, I added LED's to properly light up the rear lights.

Well, I tried the EL wire on the engine, but the 100V signal that drives them really played havoc with the TMCC.  I had in mind doing exactly that.  I'm thinking of perhaps using fiber optic side glow cable to do the trick, that wouldn't pose the same issue.

I was just on E-Bay. There is an engine for sale by itself, and another listing for the four passenger cars. Current bidding is $22.50 for the engine and $1.25 for the passenger set. Who ever is bidding against me is doing it in small amounts. Since I not for in favor of bidding in small increments for this engine and passenger set, I might as well wait until it comes out again, this time with Legacy as I did not read that the engine is Command Controlled.

Presently a member of the T.M.B. Model Train Club, Farmingdale, New York located in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. The website for the club is as follows: www.tmbmodeltrainclub.com

 

MartyE, since the club I belong to has installed the Legacy System, and having to learn how it works with my two Lionel ES44AC Engines, I feel that I would be taking a step back to learn how to get the TMCC engine to work. Besides, I also have become very proficient in MTH DCS System. Only so much I can learn at my old age.

Presently a member of the T.M.B. Model Train Club, Farmingdale, New York located in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. The website for the club is as follows: www.tmbmodeltrainclub.com

 

Santa Fe Mike posted:

I was just on E-Bay. There is an engine for sale by itself, and another listing for the four passenger cars. Current bidding is $22.50 for the engine and $1.25 for the passenger set. Who ever is bidding against me is doing it in small amounts. Since I not for in favor of bidding in small increments for this engine and passenger set, I might as well wait until it comes out again, this time with Legacy as I did not read that the engine is Command Controlled.

Yeah, whoever set their max bid has set it well above 150$...

gunrunnerjohn posted:
oscalerail posted:

Yeah, whoever set their max bid has set it well above 150$...

How are you determining that?  Looks like it's at $22 and change.

Normally I wouldn't be able to, but I bid on it, and I set my max bid at $100, but it said that I had been outbid by another user's max bid. I moved the max bid up until $150 out of curiosity, and it still would not let me, so I guessed that it must be more. 

I thought you actually had to bid to find out if your bid was the best.  I just went and bid $100 on it, and it told me I was outbid.  However, the price on it now is $100, my bid amount.  AFAIK, there should be no way to determine the maximum bid pending without actually doing the bidding, that's always been my experience.  That's also a hallmark of the eBay bidding system.

I get that, but the current bid price comes up to your last bid, just as it did for mine.  Maybe we're looking at a different engine?

I was looking at # 331853719941, and the price bumped to $100 when I bid $100, and it's still there now.

oscalerail posted:

Hi all:

A few years back I got a Lionel Phantom III set off of EBay, and since I have done some research on the different sets in the series. It was quite interesting to find that even Lionel only had one car from one of the sets in there entire archive. I was surprised when I visited the Lionel headquarters and only one employee on the design team ever recalled the Pratts Hollow series. I know from reading that they aren't to terribly rare, but those who have them either want an arm and a leg for them, or simply won't sell. Every once in a while, a set in good condition will appear on EBay. I was fortunate to find one in perfect condition-- it hadn't ever left the factory shipping box. It has been an interesting addition to my collection.

My interest was refreshed when I looked in the 2016 catalog from Lionel, and I found that the Phantom has been coated in carbon fiber, stripped of some of its special details, and re marketed as a Batman set. 

I have seen a few other products marketed as Pratts Hollow, such as the Pratts Hollow Seed Dump car and the Pratts Hollow Crew Bunk car. Can anyone tell me if they are related in any way to the PH Phantom sets? Does anyone have any background on the story of these trains?

Thanks,

Troy 

If anybody is still around on this thread ?? let me know how to take apart the cars. Want to add a light to the tail car and am not able to remove the shell. The 4 screws around the truck come out but do not come off the shell. Help!!!  

Thank you all, rjs. 

Repairpartsman posted:

If anybody is still around on this thread ?? let me know how to take apart the cars. Want to add a light to the tail car and am not able to remove the shell. The 4 screws around the truck come out but do not come off the shell. Help!!!  

Thank you all, rjs. 

Pretty sure it's just the screws.  I added a tail light to mine a few years ago, I don't recall any issue taking them apart.  I just looked at one, it's just four screws.  They're somewhat a PITA as they're hidden under the truck, you have to access them through the truck.

Interestingly, the TCA museum has a prototype phantom on display right now.  I think this on is pretty cool.  Its some where between the robot from lost in space, a Darlek from Dr. Who, and a classic train. I kind like the color.

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May God Bless us all.

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Landsteiner posted:

Here's what Lionel has on its website about the Phantom IV:

"THE LEGEND CONTINUES...Two decades ago, a cache of mysterious documents, renderings, and diagrams were discovered in an old farmhouse in Pratt's Hollow, Missouri. To this day, we know very little about where the original papers came from, but it appears they were the work of a highly secretive railroad group called the Pratt's Hollow Design Society (PHDS). It is our belief that this clandestine group of professional railroad designers secretly collaborated in the 1920's to develop a modern locomotive that would replace the automobile.

......

The Pratt's Hollow story is imaginary, and the spectacular trains in the Pratt's Hollow Collection never really existed-but they should have!"

Pratt's Hollow Design Society is abbreviated PHDS. I think Lionel's real meaning here was a subtle reference to someone who has a Ph.D. - a Doctor of Philosopy Degree - and in this case, in the field of engineering. Apparently, according Lionel's explanation, the design of these trains was attributed to a secretive group of "legendary" engineers with these advanced degrees. It fits with their claim at the bottom that the Pratt's Hollow story is imaginary. I think they were "pulling your leg" and the story is meant to be understood as "tongue in cheek." I'm not sure this reply was worth the time it took to write but I couldn't resist...

MELGAR

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