S gauge FlyerChief GP7's are arriving from dealers...tell us your views and/or reviews.

Well Santa's elves and Fed-ex must have been working overtime as I received my new GP7's  (and 2 PE cars) 2 days earlier than expected.

The Santa Fe GP7 is beautiful and responds perfectly to the remote. The electrocouplers do open wider than those on the AF SD70's and ES44's so using these type engines as a switcher is fun and easy to do. I had a few tiny paint nicks in the yellow on the handrails and a wee bit of paint creep from the blue to the yellow color on the engineers side of the front of the engine. I had some craft paint that matched perfectly and touched up all the nicks with a few dots of yellow color. The sound is a bit loud from the factory but it is easily changed by holding down the announcement button while turning the speed dial left for quieter and right for louder. The speaker sound quality is "OK " and it's doubtful there was any spare room inside the engine for a more robust speaker.

My UP GP7 is also a good runner with one nit to pick. For whatever reason when running short hood forward I can hear a "tick tick tick tick" sound from the wheels (rear truck I think) when rounding an r20 AF Fastrack curve. All my curves are r20. But....it doesn't do it on all of them...just maybe 6 or 8 out of more than 50 or so of them. Kinda sounds like the wheels may be touching some of the ties? That's a mystery. I put some gear lube on the gears and oiled all the axles so maybe it will quit soon. There were 2 tiny paint rubs on both sides of the short hood in the "Armour Yellow" color. I don't have a paint to match but I'm sure there's one out there. Sound was identical to the Santa Fe unit.

The thing I like best is now I can run two remote control smallish engines on my point-to-point switching track. While one engine is dumping logs into the log loader another can pick up barrels at the barrel loader on the same track at the same time.

The addition of these two engines now gives me 4 FlyerChief engines so it's time to heat up the Universal Remote and I'll be able to control 3 of them with one remote at the same time. Originally I thought the Android APP would be the way to control all the engines but then I found out you can only operate one engine at a time. You have to completely stop and disengage from the first engine to access another using the APP. Bummer. The Universal Remote is the way to go for now.

While I'm here I'll just mention the new PE cars. They are great! The add-on coach perfectly matches all the original cars as to paint color. You can see that the wiring has been upgraded so I don't expect any lighting/wiring problems with these new cars or the single bulb inside. Maybe next month I'll get around to changing the lighting over to LED like all my other PE cars so that they will all match. I also received the PE wood sided reefer. It is a neat car. As has been noted in many other posts these reefers don't have the detail of an SHS or MTH reefer but that's OK by me. This car will be my "Santa's Express Reefer" carrying all those perishable treats we receive at Christmas and will ride prominently as the first car behind the tender.

Well that's my report. How do you like your new FlyerChief GP7 engines?


Original Post


FedX is definitely working overtime. I received my Chas. Ro delivery late yesterday morning. It arrived as we were leaving on a shopping trip so I did not get a chance to operate yesterday. This morning I opened the boxes and found as Mark mentioned a beautiful add on coach for the P.E. and a pretty nice looking P.E. refer. I also ordered the Santa Fe Blue Bonnet locomotive. I was a bit disappointed in the packaging of the engine, as I pulled its shipping box out of the larger box which the three items came, I tipped the box and heard the engine inside of the box go clunk, the box did not have the usual Styrofoam lid on it allowing the engine to float inside of the box, this may be the reason for some paint chipping as Mark mentioned. I ran the GP this morning and did notice some surging of the speed, that may go away with some break in time, I also notice the side frame on the power truck is a little cockeyed, high at the front and lower toward the rear. I ran the two cars behind the engine and did have them both derail a few times, checking the gauge of the wheels showed they will need some adjustment on both cars. The new P.E. coach will in the near future get the LED lighting as all of the rest of my P.E. cars have. Happy to have this before Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all



As I said on another string mine arrived too.  It works great and pulled 20 Gilbert freight cars easily on Gilbert track and switches.  16 cars up the Gilbert trestle set on my layout.  21 cars is all I ever do as the weight pulls the cars off around the corners.

No rubs or scuffs on my UP version.  Very well done.

Mark, the manual on page 16 gives you a different way to adjust volume.  It doesn't work as written.  Your method of holding down the Shift/Announcement key does work. This should be noted to people so I have used red here.   

On the PE car the wires are longer to the trucks where they are soldered.  Earlier cars had shorter wires and that was part of the problem.  With shorter wires it pulled at the solder on every turn.20171218_150309


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Thanks Bill, I meant to mention the bad directions in the manual for sound adjustment. To be truthful I didn't even open the manual...(most men shun directions!)...but earlier this year I received an O gauge LionChief+ Mikado and it too had the INCORRECT sound adjustment directions in it's manual.

Hopefully Lionel will someday get this corrected as they continue to publish INCORRECT DIRECTIONS for this SOUND ADJUSTMENT feature.





Way way back on this forum there was a post about the proper method to adjust the sound and it stuck in my brain so when I wanted to adjust the sound on my new Geeps I used the hold down the announcement button + rotate dial method and it worked.

As Ray mentioned the foam cradle for the engine could have provided a foam lid to keep the engines stationary to prevent paint rubs. Maybe next time. I'm not gonna complain too much as now that I have received the Geeps and like 'em I want them to issue some Katy Geeps!

Image result for red MKT GP7



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Mark and Bill,

As I remember on my P.E. Berk and my Nickel Plate Berk I adjusted the volume on those by holding down the two buttons and turning the throttle knob, am I missing something?Universal remote 001

On the GP7 I did adjust as per instructions in the universal remote manual.


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Older LionChief products (pre-BlueTooth) used the two-button-turn method. The current production Bluetooth enabled engines and the Universal Remote use the newer method. Apologies for the out-of-date info in some of the owner's manuals, I've made a note to get this corrected going forward.

Rudy Trubitt

Past Director of Audio, Lionel, LLC (2011-2018)

I received mine too, the North Pole Central version just for running under the tree.  Runs well, sounds are good, electrocouplers actually perform intended function. Most impressive to me is the app. With the lionchief app I get almost almost all of the functions I make use of with Legacy engines.  I lose connectivity though when I am about 15 feet away.  A little annoyance on the app is that I do have to hold my finger on the slide bars for a while to get them to move.

I received my UP today and it has a broken roller on the rear truck. It does run that way but it has a lot of gear noise going forward and is silent in reverse. The blue tooth connection is VERY slow to respond. Has anyone compared the  Apple vs Android to see what worked better? I used Android......

I will be sending it back. No fun under the tree with it this year....



I have not done a comparison between the two but I have used the android app and it seemed to work fine, I would say definitely not slow. Because, though, I could only control one locomotive with the app I now have the universal remote, updated by some very nice Lionel Reps. That works very nicely with my three Flyer Chief locomotives.


Mine had all kinds of varying issues. After close inspection i believe the screws on the trucks were not tightened all the way in the factory. (I found a screw on the track and then tightened the remaining truck screws , they were loose.) allowing the truck to arc on the track damaging the board. That's my working theory to explain how erratic it was acting. My replacement should be on the way. 

Received my NP GP7 yesterday. After about an hour of running on and off. The front head light went dead.rear light and cab light work ok. Tempted to remove the shell to see what may be wrong. Better to leave it alone and return it to Charlesro.

Mine had all kinds of varying issues. After close inspection i believe the screws on the trucks were not tightened all the way in the factory. (I found a screw on the track and then tightened the remaining truck screws , they were loose.) allowing the truck to arc on the track damaging the board. That's my working theory to explain how erratic it was acting. My replacement should be on the way. 

Thank you GREEKCHIEF, I checked the screws on the trucks on my GP, they were loose.,now my side frames are level. I did find one screw that was not holding at all, not long enough but I will replace it.

I will say the Railsounds on the GP is very loud, if the first run Berks had volume like these I would have never chaged the speaker.


While some know I have more or less left S (I am keeping some fastrack and a few pieces of Flyonel) I did make that decision after I ordered the UP unit earlier in the year.  

I took delivery of it on Saturday, but just got around to running it tonight.  My thoughts;

I ran it with just the Bluetooth app, for me I don’t much see the use in the remote anymore.  

The paint was without flaw, I have seen a report or two of smudges, no issues with mine.  All the screws were pretty tight, I did maybe get a half a turn out of one, but I don’t think they would have come off without attention. The Railsounds were all good.  The locomotive functioned as advertised and the electro couplers actually released the attached car.  The packing is also an improvement in my opinion, this has a lid on the box like a shoe box, more in line with what you see in the high end HO world. 

My only negative, the motor noise was louder than I would have expected.  Both in forward and reverse. It is well  disguised when the rail sounds is turned up, but still, I have older Flyonel engines that made less noise. 

Considering the price point of this and it’s features....I give it a solid “B”.  


Chuck K posted:

I received mine too, the North Pole Central version just for running under the tree.  Runs well, sounds are good, electrocouplers actually perform intended function. Most impressive to me is the app. With the lionchief app I get almost almost all of the functions I make use of with Legacy engines.  I lose connectivity though when I am about 15 feet away.  A little annoyance on the app is that I do have to hold my finger on the slide bars for a while to get them to move.

After about 20 minutes of run time, it's a different story. Two truck screws have fallen out. Threads are stripped and they will not stay in.  Also gear noise is very loud, esp. in reverse. It is emanating from the worm gear.  Lastly, because of the comments above, I checked the side frame screws. One is in at an angle and another has the hex head stripped and cannot be removed, a necessity when replacing the traction tires.  Off to Concord it goes.

The QA elf on the paint line can't read English either.  At least not the letter "O".  Also expected the black plastic pivoting end steps to be gray to match the frame. 


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  -  Clarke's Third Law"

Chuck K posted:

After about 20 minutes of run time, it's a different story. Two truck screws have fallen out. Threads are stripped and they will not stay in. 

I checked both of my engines. The UP engine had loose screw shown here: (Photo by Greekchief in another post)

On my unit these tiny #4 X 3/16 screws do nothing that I can tell. They cannot be tightened as there are no threads to tighten them into. I inserted a 1" long #4 screw and finally felt like I had found something to thread into. BUT THIS WAS ONLY ON THE UNPOWERED REAR TRUCK. The front truck had no loose screws. However there is a gear mesh noise present and a "tic tic tic" noise when rounding r20 curves sometimes either forward or reverse. I think this unit needs to go back to Ro for a replacement.

My ATSF unit had no loose screws, no gear growl, and no "tic tic tic" noise. That tells me that the UP unit has factory defect issues and I'm not going to get stuck with it.

I did not leave the 1" long #4 screw in the UP truck. I only mention it to show that there doesn't seem like there is anything for the tiny 3/16" long screws to attach to.




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Mine (UP) is on the way back to Charles Ro as well for lettering error.  They called me to say just send the shell, but it was already on the USPS truck. Shucks! My haste to not miss out on a replacement worked against me. Ah well.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  -  Clarke's Third Law"

I've been running my ATSF GP7 #2849 long hood forward (use "reverse" on the remote) and I kinda like it better that way as to looks anyway. I know that early on some roads (or maybe just the engineers) ran new Geeps that way even if it limited visibility like the steam engines did. Most felt that in a wreck all that extra steel in front of the crew would help protect them.

Most roads always have a letter "F" painted on the end of the loco deemed the front  and that end was usually the lead end when in operation. Lucky for me this new model doesn't carry the "F" on either end so I can choose which end is the forward end with a clear conscience. 

pssst...Don't tell Lionel They are in violation of the FRA rule about this...


49 CFR 229.11 - Locomotive identification.

§ 229.11 Locomotive identification.

(a) The letter “F” shall be legibly shown on each side of every locomotive near the end which for identification purposes will be known as the front end.

(b) The locomotive number shall be displayed in clearly legible numbers on each side of each locomotive.


The prototype #2849 looks like it was painted on the short hood end but is very faded:

ATSF GP7 2849 

So if you want to add a little variety to your new Geep's operation give the long hood forward operation a few spins around the layout and see how you like it. You won't get in any trouble!





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I finally got to run my ATSF units.  The units looked good, no issues.  I had no loose screws.  The dedicated remotes worked.  One remote will control both engines in unison.  Universal remote - I put the first engine on the track - the universal remote connected right up.  I removed that engine and put the second engine on the track and the universal wouldn't connect.  I cleared the remote but still no connection.  Not sure what is going on there.

I wasn't planning on MUing the two but tried it anyway.  I set them on the track, but not coupled, and ran them to see how well they matched.  The two engines didn't accelerate the same.  There was only one particular throttle setting where they were relatively close.  Maybe after break-in runs they will match better.

I was able to pull 15 flyonel 40 footers with one engine before the engine started to struggle.  

The biggest issue is that both units growl going around my R27 fastrack curves.  It sounds like the traction tires are dragging.  I don't have any R20 track setup to test with, yet.  



Timpix posted:


I was going to order one today, should I wait?  UP or SF?



There's not much to be gained by waiting because at this point it's a toss-up as to whether you'll get a unit with problems. While Lionel may make another run of these locos there's no guarantee they will. Sometimes new products have issues that are addressed in later production runs but in this case that could be another year at the minimum if ever. Lionel is pretty good at making things right if you have issues.

So like all things in life "Youse pays your moneys and youse takes your chances!"

I bought both the UP and ATSF. The UP has issues while the ATSF does not.

The BLUE/YELLOW of the ATSF unit is beautiful while the UP YELLOW/GRAY is historic in it's longevity. You decide! 


Update on my issue.  I tried to narrow down the growling.  As I ran the engines more, the sound actually sounds like part of the engine rubbing the ties.  It only happens on certain pieces of R27 track.  I moved the pieces around and the sound followed them.  When I get more time I will try to see the differences in track pieces.  i set up a loop of R20 and there was no issues.



The “first” batch of R27 curves had a defect of sorts, the simulated spike on the rails were to tall, and made contact with some of the flanges of highrail wheels.  This was a popular topic at the time (like 5 years ago) on this board.  Lionel advised at the time, that it did not effect the operation of the trains so they were not going to do anything about it (as far as identifying it as a defect).

I believe Mike R at the time had said that future runs of the track would have this fixed.  I don’t know if they ever did another run of track, and if so, if the issue resolved. This is something I have often wondered about.

Maybe Dave Olsen can chime in on that.  I personally purchased one loop of R27 track and was quite put off with the rattling cars that went along with it. Especially with the PE passenger cars with the glued on wiring! I would have bought more, but not with that defect. 


Brendan posted:

Thanks Ben.  That info saves me from investigating.  I'm glad it is not the locos.  I hadn't noticed it before with the equipment I run.  It is 4 pieces that seem to be a problem; got them about a year ago.  


Good catch by Ben. I am familiar with this same issue. I bought my son a flyonel Legacy Texas Special PA and discovered this issue.  It's not a fun one. No simple solution. 

To assure yourself that this is the issue, you could hold the Geep in your hand and roll the non-powered truck over a piece of your R27 track.

Our train club met today and there were 5 of the GP7s there.  Loose screws were on four of them.  One was so loose on the powered truck that is was sparking.  Luckily no fried board. Once the screws were all tight no issues were there. To me the screw thing is simply a quality control problem that should have been caught by final inspection at the plant.  At least it is easily fixed when you get the engine.

No gear noises with any of the engines.  All thought they were loud and I had to explain that the manual was wrong about adjustment and I showed them how to do it.

I had to go into some detail about how the Gilbert trucks were always wrong sized to fit the PA truck motor size.  All thought the ones on these engines were too small.  On the way I took a picture of a GP7 that is still operation near me on the Fort Worth and Western RR.  It runs from FT. Worth to Brownwood TX.  Attached photo here.20171223_081309_001in 


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OK here's a head scratcher about the wheel noise/ties issue. In the first post I mentioned my UP engine making that "tic tic tic" sound on SOME of the r20 curves on my layout but not all of them. So a little testing showed an even more hard to figure out reason for the noise.

When the engine was traveling clockwise (short hood forward) about 4 of the r20 curves in a certain area made the noise with no noise anywhere else in the loop. (Probably 30 curves total in the loop). I ran the same engine short hood forward in a counterclockwise direction and the original curves made NO SOUND but  9 OTHERS in the loop DID!.

That made my head hurt so I turned off the layout and went and had a beer. So if anybody solves the riddle of the wheel/tie noise they win the OGRR S gauge forum problem solvers prize of the year. (prize to be determined)



Rusty Traque posted:

Here's the nickel Plate Road version.  I'm currently working up my review which I'll post in it's own thread.

NKP 514 122317 010


That's a "looker". Found this pic on the web:

Nickel Plate Road

It shows #514 as a GP9. There were probably horsepower differences between the two as well as more or less rows of louvers on the side shutters and different radiator fan sizes but essentially they are pretty close to being the same engine. Hope it runs good for you.


Hello, I removed the shell on my new North Pole Central. I was curious to see what was inside. What I found was that the flywheel was and did cut into a lead wire to the LED. No problem it was still working. The insulation was nicked and had showing wire. Applied a strip of rubber tape to the LED wires that are in the cab close to the flywheel.

had a LED problem with my new NP gp7. I did not take the shell off to see what may have killed the LED. I just packed it up and sent back to ChasRo for a refund. Waiting for the Reading GP7. Hope I won't have trouble with it.




I got my Santa Fe GP7 and was able to give it a good testing this weekend.

I experienced many of the same issues others have:

First, my engine made a scraping sound going in both directions.  The cause of this was the wires to the front head light resting on top of the fly wheel.  Pressing these up into the roof of the short hood fixed that. 

Second was the grinding  noise made when going around curves. This was being caused by the fly wheel rubbing on the inside of the shell in the short hood.  I took my dremel to the shell on both sides to create a little more clearance. Noise is gone now. 

Lastly gear noise.  I have noticed a trend on the last few new Lionel locos I have gotten.  The worm gear is dry with no grease applied from the factory. I greased the gears and it improved the gear noise, but it is not completely gone. 



FlyerMike S gauge railroading on the floor


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