My “wanted list”, at a recent train show, was the purchase another Lionel General and tender and some of the General cars especially a passenger car to complement my General 1862. The idea was to get enough cars for two civil war era trains and replicate The Great Locomotive Chase and also the meeting of the east and west for the joining of the railroads at Promontory Utah.
All I could find was a Lionel General 8005 set, a real low quality Lionel starter set. It had a Railway Express Agency sort of passenger car, a flat car with rails, a stock car with outlaws poking out the side and a tiny DC transformer. The cars had plastic wheels and the 8005 ran on DC. The price was low and I figured the agency car would do and I could convert the engine to AC with a bridge rectifier (only in one direction). The 8005 was minimal with two colors of molded in plastic red and few details (see picture, sorry about the poor picture of "before" below, this is the only one I took).
I installed a 4 amp bridged rectifier and added a mini double pole, double throw slide switch to allow reversing by throwing the switch installed in the rear of the engine cab. The rectifier and switch were found in my electrical parts box but came from the closing of a local Radio Shack.
I added some lead from an automobile tire weight to the boiler and in the bottom near the power pickup. I also add a couple of washers to weight down the 4 plastic leading wheels. It runs pretty well but is short on low speed operation.
I dressed up the 8005 engine by masking and spray painting the boiler with Walmart gloss black spray paint, painting the front wheels red and silver, adding gold foil bands on the boiler and making cowcatcher support rods. I also installed a mini 12 volt bulb in the head light. It now looks much more handsome.
I removed the plastic wheeled rear truck on the coal tender and replaced it with a metal fast angle wheeled truck with remote uncoupler. I like all my coal tenders to have remote uncouplers.
This was an easy project, with no worry about lowering engine value as that was low anyway and now it will operate on my AC powered layout while looking great.