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Recently picked up a set of Elliot Welz Metroliners. While these things were state of the art back in the early 80's (while Lionel was churning out ad-laden toys for General Mills), they could certainly benefit from modern enhancements.

What follows are some potential areas of improvement, feel free to comment or add your own suggestions:

1) The trucks. With plastic sideframes, and a vague double-drop equalizer appearence, they're somewhat in the ballpark, but not quite there. Since there are no other O scale Metroliner trucks, we'll have to look for a suitable replacement. GSI Horizon trucks were based off the Metroliner trucks, and used on the Horizon, Superliner II and Viewliner cars. Lionel's 630-9124-050 Superliner trucks are based on these, not the earlier Superliner I's MD-76 trucks. They also have power pickups, but I have no idea if their mounting is compatible, or if the length of their couplers is suitable. Actual Metroliners didn't use knuckle couplers, but I don't know of any O scale Tomlinson couplers which could be "borrowed". Of course, that leaves the problem of power trucks...

2) Lighting. While the original flicker-free design was ahead of the game, marker lighting is just molded on. These could certainly be replaced with LEDs, however directional operation would require some sort of signal being transmitted along the length of the train to reverse polarity when direction changed. Also, since Metroliners were never operated with the blind ends exposed, in actual operation there'd be no need for functional LEDs on the blind ends, just on the cab ends.

3) Roof electrical detail. While the Faiveley pantographs are outstanding, it'd be nice to be able to lock them down on the cars which aren't "using" them (prototypically, only the cars with cab ends forward would have their pantographs raised). There's also a ton of other insulators, wiring, etc. which simply isn't there which could be added.

4) Car ends. Again, outstanding work for the early 80's. However, many of the originals have some shrinking and/or warpage, leaving the doors not sitting flush against the extruded aluminum bodies. The blind ends are also a compromise between Metroliner and Amfleet designs (since he used them on both). As a sample exercise, I've got a blind end mostly designed for 3D printing, just have to tweak the shape a bit to conform to the aluminum extrusion, but the cab ends require a good bit more work.

5) Power. I believe (haven't taken it apart yet) that these are powered by a single AC Pullmor motor. Adding an ERR AC Commander would be a start, but a potential DC upgrade would be ideal. Not sure how possible or practical that is.

6) Underframes. Not sure why, but the original underframe detail (and truck sides) were made from black plastic. Metroliners, in PRR, PC and Amtrak Phase I paint had gray underframes and truck sides. Out of everything, this is obviously the easiest fix.

Thoughts?

Last edited by Magicland
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The collector in me wants to keep my set intact.  The pantographs do lock down, so I'm not concerned there and the warping on the end caps is not bad.  The set runs fine and I have no complaints.  However, that is just me. 

If you are going to make the change, I might suggest MTH Railking truck side frames as they might be closer in scale to the Welz cars.  Scale superliner trucks as found on Atlas Horizon cars or K-line cars would be a bit large compared to the cars in my opinion.  The same is true for the Williams trucks and side frames.  The cross section of the Williams cars is a larger than the Welz ones.

I'm holding out for scale cars and I suspect I they will yet become available in my lifetime.

@GG1 4877 posted:

The collector in me wants to keep my set intact.  The pantographs do lock down, so I'm not concerned there and the warping on the end caps is not bad.  The set runs fine and I have no complaints.  However, that is just me.

If you are going to make the change, I might suggest MTH Railking truck side frames as they might be closer in scale to the Welz cars.  Scale superliner trucks as found on Atlas Horizon cars or K-line cars would be a bit large compared to the cars in my opinion.  The same is true for the Williams trucks and side frames.  The cross section of the Williams cars is a larger than the Welz ones.

I'm holding out for scale cars and I suspect I they will yet become available in my lifetime.

I completely understand the collector viewpoint, especially since these weren't mass produced. Every set has a serial number. I'm just curious what can be done, without spending a fortune, to improve performance and appearance. They don't even fit the era I'm modeling (mid 40's to mid 50's), but I've always loved the Metroliners. Had a concept art poster of them when I was a kid, released before they were built. If I thought I could get the Amtrak stripes off without a ton of work, I'd love to get them in the original PRR livery. Only set of these I've ever seen for sale like that was Elliot's own, being sold by him. Not that I don't like the Amtrak paint. The only thing I can't stand is anything with a "PC" on it. For as short a time as they were in operation, it seems they blew their whole budget on repaints.

Anyway, I was able to pick these up for a stupidly low price (way less than a set of K-line MP54s run these days). I suppose I'm just one of those type people who loves to tinker and modify things.

After reading your reply, I was like "the pantographs lock down"? I guess I was expecting something like on my GG1 or MP54s. Color me surprised when I was able to hook the top of the pan and keep it down! I don't have any other Faiveley pans, so it never occurred to me. Lesson learned...

After seeing the MTH Amfleets never delivered, I'm not so sure about seeing scale ones in anyone's lifetime. Probably just as well, as I doubt I'll ever have enough space to run scale length ones.

Are there any Railking GSI Horizon trucks?

Pic of an early prototype blind end (end detail left off to increase print speed, no point printing it when the part will just end up in the trash after I check spacing. The shorter it is, the faster it prints). Not sure what happened to the detail at the top of the door. And the door window is coming down and getting smaller...

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