Hello Everyone,

I am new to the forum and I am seeking some advice. 

I am contemplating purchasing a used Lionel Acela set.  I love the modern Amtrak trains and the Acela set appears to be the best there is in O scale.

I have seen a couple of used sets for sale that are being sold as "untested."

 With everything I have read about the sets, I must admit that I am hesitant to pull the trigger.  Sounds like trouble waiting to happen. 

I was hoping that some of you have some wisdom to impart to me on this.

Thanks!

Steven.

 

Original Post

Admittedly, I have never owned an Acela Set. However, I clearly remember when these forum pages were full of problems, issues, and much frustration with this offering.

Untested? I wouldn't touch it.

It is a really beautiful set that had a number of technical difficulties. I bought one from a buddy that he had serviced and hardly ran it. He gave me a "$50 blue comet York deal" so even if it ends up not working, it is great looking on the shelf and/or siding. 

Most of the problems I have found with the 9 sets I have serviced were caused by dirt and operator error.

 

Run Forrest, run!

Whatever the price is, I'm confident you can find something else that will cause you much less heartache. Anything I see that is listed as "Untested", I assume to be "BROKEN". It's a way to parse words to cover your southside when selling something that you know doesn't work. My price-point for "Untested" is 25% of list.

If you want it for a Shelf Queen or for spare parts, go for it.

Last edited by Gilly@N&W

As with anything, it always depends on price. 

Yes the Acela was a problem plagued set.  For me though, it is such a unique train set that I'd buy one at a good price and disable most of the features just to have a good running train.   

Hello,
 
The Acela set is a complicated model train system. It has many, many built in systems for protection of the electrical components. 
 
The learning curve has many basic steps.
 
First each car and engines picks up its own supply of power from the track. Therefore the pickups and wheels on each car must be CLEAN.
 
Once you are sure that each car and engine can receive good clean power, move on to the next step.
 
The couplings only transmit and receive the serial control signals between engines, and the cars in between them.
 
Place the 2026 engine on the powered track, supply power 18VAC.
 
Address the engine with the number you have selected.
 
If all the functions work, sound, lights, pans, motor control, then move on to the next step. If they do not work correctly, Reset and Reprogram the engine as follows. Move programming switch from Run to Program, Apply power to track, Press (Eng #xx - Set - Eng #xx - Aux1 - 76) #xx = a number you select. Turn off power to track, move (Run/Prog) switch to Run, reapply the power. Press (Eng #xx - Aux1). Check for proper operation of engine. 
 
Place a passenger car on the track, and connect the coupling to the engine, it should connect with a positive snap, and if the car is lifted slightly it should stay connected to the engine. Reapply the power and address the engine for startup functions. All functions of the engine and attached car should work, if not, the coupler between the car and engine is not aligned correctly.
 
If all things check out repeat the above steps with each of the cars in the set, and finally add the 2029 engine.
 
If a car does not add to the consist, remove it and Tag it, replace it with a different one. If a car performs correctly, lights, doors, tilt, mark it with a tag to identify it.
 
The cars have a motor control board to control the doors and tilt functions. It looks at the time it takes to open a set of doors, left or right. If a door does start to open in about a second it goes into the fault mode, the step lights on the car start to flash. This means that the motor for the door is stalled and can not open the door. You must reset the consist to clear this fault on one or more cars.
 
If a door starts to open, but stops about a quarter of an inch open, the safety system has detected that the limit switch on that door has failed to open to indicate that the door has opened correctly. The open door will not close if you start to move the consist. This fault must be reset as described above.
  
If the doors open and do not close, they will probably close if you command the set to move.
 
Under the roof hatches, are the switches to control lights, doors, and tilt functions. A tilt check can be triggered by having the powered set at rest and pressing the brake button on the controller.
 
The café or bisto car is a bar, so lights are low for atmosphere. “Stay Frosty My Friend”
 
Good luck with the above steps, I am here for your questions, and concerns.
 
The Acella Fella,
 

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It’s a beautiful set, you do Need wide radius curves, suggesting 096 and up curves for the best leaning effect. There are folks on this OGR Forum that can repair most of the issues, depending on the availability of parts.  (25 motors in the powered unit) If your purchase seems like a deal to good to pass up, go for it.  Lionel, which is hard to really predict, could make a Legacy version in the future do to pin up demand, but do not hold your breath.  At one time I had the entire set, had issues Lionel repaired it, had more Issues, sent it back and while I had warranty, I Sold the set, and that person had to return it for Repair.... Now, if I had the set, I’d send it to Alex M, here on the forum. Good luck, go for it. Happy Railroading 

choochoopaul posted:
The Acela set is a complicated model train system. It has many, many built in systems for protection of the electrical components. 
 <>
 Good luck with the above steps, I am here for your questions, and concerns.
 

Nicely done list, Paul!

TRW

"untested" is EBAY speak for "I know it is broken, but I don't want to tell you"
I tend to worry about missing parts, most train problems can be fixed or removed.

Even the Real 1 to 1 Acela sets are shut down due to low ridership.

Good thing 1 to 48 people do not get sick.

They just get (train) boarded.

Why wouldn't Lionel offer a "basic" set, using the same molds but configured for operation same as any other diesel set?  I imagine some folks really are willing to pay extra for automatic opening doors, but it just seems like there's a much larger subset of folks (like me) who would LOVE to have an Acela or a Euro-style bullet train just to run around the track with our other trains at a price point much closer to "normal" sets.  I'd spring a few hundred bucks for a 5 car set with a powered unit, a dummy and plain old lighted passenger cars.  But not >$1500 for all that fancy gadgetry that generally won't work.

Does such a thing exist?  Like a TGV, or ICE train?

As a day one acela owner I can give you my experience and opinion. 

1 the problem with the draw bar theather is a 3 piece set that over time gets lose leading to 90% of the problem I took every car apart to lower the trucks to take the draw bar out take small screw out and glue the 2 section that make up the draw bar makein it one this will fix the communication issue from the wierless teather. It will keep it strait .

2 powered unit non powered unit the hubs that hold the wheels some have zink rot my original one had 6 bad out of 16 to replace you will need to buy the dummy truck at a cost of $91 with tax and shipping this is only if th have a bad hubs .traction tires are not easy to change .

3 updated pentografs boards if not upgraded to new ones will cost you $100 

4  no grades or s turns but that is if you dont modification on the draw bars 

5 the set is beautifull if you can modify the draw bars that will take time and work 

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So this talk about S curves is making me worried.  I just posted my layout diagram. The outside is 084 and the the inside is 072.  Seems like the S curves may be an issue for the Acela, right?

sstadts posted:

So this talk about S curves is making me worried.  I just posted my layout diagram. The outside is 084 and the the inside is 072.  Seems like the S curves may be an issue for the Acela, right?

Diagram shows as "Image not found" on my end in your previous post.

-Dave

Good Day Mate,

Your layout posting is not showing up.

The Acela video I posted with the three running, notice the double crossovers, the Acela set crosses them with ease, they are 072. The concern is that the tilting function does not work in a "S" curve.

Last edited by choochoopaul
Jeff_the_Coaster_Guy posted:

Why wouldn't Lionel offer a "basic" set, using the same molds but configured for operation same as any other diesel set?  I imagine some folks really are willing to pay extra for automatic opening doors, but it just seems like there's a much larger subset of folks (like me) who would LOVE to have an Acela or a Euro-style bullet train just to run around the track with our other trains at a price point much closer to "normal" sets.  I'd spring a few hundred bucks for a 5 car set with a powered unit, a dummy and plain old lighted passenger cars.  But not >$1500 for all that fancy gadgetry that generally won't work.

Does such a thing exist?  Like a TGV, or ICE train?

MTH made the Turbo train. If you are not fixated on the Lionel brand as so many are, that could be an alternative.

I waited for the Acela to be produced my Lionel and preordered. It took several years as I recall. It was worth the wait in my opinion. It gave me and my youngest son time to change the layout and add an elevated section and move the city (Station, etc) to the top level, We were very excited when it arrived and enjoyed running it. However, we had built a tunnel for the elevated section and the pantograph hung on the tunnel. I sent the one car to Lionel and had a new pantograpg installed and when we got it back it still ran fine. The coupling is a little tedious but works with very little effort. All systems are go and we enjoyed the train even though we did not run it much because we added other large steam engines. We packed it up and was going to sell it but didn't after someone said they were going to purchase it and then tried to scam me so I took it off as a sale item. I have pictures of the train and everyone loves the look of the Acela. Not sure if we would sell it now. Not going to give it away anyhow. Great looking and performing engine.

Hey 1938Robert,

You should check the journals on the #2026/2029 engines. After a while in storage, they do crack and crumble do to a zinc pest problem.IMG_0641

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Choochoopaul is right I called them the wheel hubs lol but if you have bad casted hubs they will be all cracked but I have 10 on my original that are great just check as mine had 6 bad ones 

I had it on day 1  and the extra 3 cars. I can tell you the set was beautiful  but the best time I had with it was the day I sold it. 

imo don't even think about buying it, your only asking for trouble and frustration. Keep aspirin on hand ( a really big bottle) if you decide to buy it.

Dave

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