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Among the accessories on my layout is a Lionel 342 Culvert Loader and the matching 345 Culvert Unloader. These are both the modern reissues as I wanted to avoid some of the problems with these temperamental accessories. Unfortunately after several years on my layout I discovered that the modern reissues have their own issues.

There is a photoelectric sensor on the Culvert Loader to make sure that the metal culverts can only be dropped into the train car when the car is present on the track. The sensor sticks out quite a bit and it catches on some of the engines that I use in the switching operations. If I move the track out enough so that a particular engine does not strike the sensor the culverts are not loaded into the center of the car. This breaks up the action.

In looking more closely at the 345 Culvert Unloader I noticed that the sensor on that accessory was pushed in so that it was flush and does not interfere with the operation of the train. I then looked at photographs of accessories on eBay and noticed that all of them were flush with the wall of the accessory so that they would not interfere with the operation of the accessory.

I have owned this accessory for well over 10 years. Making a warranty claim is not really an option. I guess I will have to try and fix it myself. Before I take this on I thought I would put the question out on this forum as to whether anyone is ever pushed one of the sensors back into the accessory so it doesn't interfere with train operations?

Thank you in advance for any help.


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  • 342 Culvert Loader, Sensor
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Success! The  342 is now fixed and operating. I used a wood clamp from the shop to put pressure on it to get it into a flush mounted position. It is not something that can be  pushed back in using just fingers. As I applied pressure, there was a loud pop, so loud in fact that I must have broken the base to the accessory. I removed the wood clamp and inspected the accessory. The sensor was where it should be and there was no damage to the 342. Mission accomplished!

Last edited by 1114vontagen

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