I'm removing the Lionel post war 3356 Horse Corral and 3656 Stockyard and looking for something interesting and almost fool-proof to operate in their place. The horse corral and stock yard sat side by side, so I have at least three O gauge straight track lengths to work with. Suggestions are welcome.
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Milk car and platform
Probably one of the most interactive and popular is the 282 gantry crane, as it gives you the most "hands-on" control and therefore arguably the most "fun" of all their postwar operating accessories.
For more automated type of accessories, I'd say the most foolproof that you're looking for (meaning operates with the least amount of mistakes) is the 264 forklift platform, hands down.
The Lionel 3662 milk car & platform, while not as foolproof as the forklift platform, will work fairly well with the unloading of the milk containers versus it shooting them out like a cannon if you set the operating voltage on the control track just right. I would say that holds true for the 3356 horse corral and car you want to replace (again, voltage is key)
Another vote would be the 352 Ice Depot (as stated previously, voltage makes all the difference like the milk car on whether the ice goes in the car or thrown like a football like the milk car).
American Flyer 779 Oil Drum Loader
I agree with John. The forklift platform is a great visual and works perfectly.
The MODERN version of the icing platform would be my second choice. The use of a can motor makes it almost foolproof.
Sawmill might be next, if there is room for it.
Overhead coal station. It is the #497. Only needs one section of track and a side dump coal car. Bill Makel
Barrel loader or an 364 lumber loader!
Thanks Carl. I'll look for one on eBay.
A few thoughts on postwar and modern era remakes of postwar accessories --
I like the 497 coaling station. It's reliable, self-contained, and easy to repair/maintain. Furthermore, the simulated coal generally falls where it's supposed to. I like the 397 coal loader; however, it delivers the simulated coal not only to the car but often to the area surrounding the car. My 3356 Santa Fe horse corral has always worked reasonably well. The floodlight towers (8 and 16 bulb versions) make for good lighting.
Due to can motors, modern remakes of postwar accessories are often good additions -- generally they work more smoothly/reliably than the postwar versions. Nonetheless, the PW 497 coal loader's growling motor is satisfying.
Examples of modern era remakes: The TMCC only (no hook up wires needed) Bucyrus-Erie triple action gantry crane (6-82097) is fun and reliable, but expensive. The crane comes with motorized wheels; consequently, it can move back and forth. The modern era #38 water tower (6-14086), burning switch tower (6-14104), and operating control tower/weather vane/rotating men tower (6-24153) are all good additions. Finally, at York, you can buy die cast 1/50 vehicles, e.g., police cars, fire engines, ambulances, trash trucks, etc., that have been wired with red/blue/clear/amber flashing lights. Perhaps, these modified cars, etc., are available on online.
I parked the emergency vehicles around the burning switch tower. The Lionel Line radioactive waste car (6-29829 remake of the 6805) and Menards nuclear disposal box and hopper cars are parked in front of the burning tower. Makes for a nice nuclear disaster scene.
Thanks Rodger. I already have the Coal Loader, Coal Elevator and Coaling Station and I also have the Automatic Milk Car and Platform, the Cattle Stock Yard and Car and the Horse Corral and Car. I don't seem to have much luck with any of the vibrating accessories. I thoroughly cleaned the Horse Corral ramps and soaked and cleaned the horses with Dawn dish washing detergent. My thought was that the little rubber "fingers" underneath the horses were grimmy and greasy. It seemed to help a lot. I can get the horses up the ramps and into the car now. I'm thinking about the Fork Life platform and the Sawmill.
My vote would have been for a milk car and platform, but you already have that. I also have many other vintage PW operating (I use that term loosely!) accessories, so the only advice I will provide is that if you want something "almost foolproof" you should consider some of the modern reissues of the original. I am not interested in paying high costs for the TMCC operated versions, but I have replaced the bascule bridge and 164 lumber loader with button-controlled reissues and they run far better with little/no tinkering. Finally got tired of replacing worn parts. Also reasonably priced.
Whatever you decide, enjoy it!