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I have my eye on a Lionel GP-7 set from the early 90's with magne-traction, dummy unit with rail sounds. To date all my locomotives are MTH (not against Lionel per se, I've just stuck with what's worked so far) and PS-1 from the late 90s. I have a couple PS2 and PS3 locos as well, and strictly run conventional. 

This set is within my budget, in a road name I like, and as far as I know - compatible with my Z 750/Z-1000 transformers (confirmation here appreciated).   

If I go this route, am I missing anything versus getting another PS-1 loco in my budget? Any pitfalls to this, or things I should know? Any hearty go for it and here is why thoughts? 

Thanks in advance 

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it depends on what you like really, i prefer to run conventional, and i enjoy early sound systems for their uniqueness, charm, and relative simplicity. it seems like most people either love or hate sound, so they either go for the best or nothing. there doesn’t seem to be a lot of love for the early stuff.

rail sounds 1 was pretty basic, chuff, whistle, and bell, no crew sounds or anything. its “better” than sound of steam at least. the diesel units sound pretty ok in my opinion, but the chuff sound for the steam engines always seemed a bit “off” to me. 

your transformers should work just fine for running most anything conventional, except the odd DC unit of course. 

Last edited by Signalwoman
aussteve posted:

Couldn't really say without knowing the number.   Pullmor or Pittman motor?  Electric e-unit or conventional?   Year it was made?  What version of railsounds?

But if you like it and the price, buy it.


Pullmor Motor 

Not sure on year, 1993 maybe? Also unsure on what version of railsounds. 

I got back into trains around 2000, while I was in college. My local shop had a set of these in the display case, and I always liked them. My Dad had bought a couple of MTH starter sets, and that's ultimately why I ended up getting an early Rail King Berkshire, and then a SW-8 switcher.

I have a couple of RK GP-7's, PS1 - how would these compare? Will the stamped handrails be noticeably different? 

Thanks again for the help guys!  



That set is one I've wanted for a long time myself. One of these days...

Be prepared to tear down the engine and re-lube everything. Sometimes the grease on these older Lionel engines hardens, and it will really affect the performance. Be cautious of hardened grease in the crevices of the worm gear (on the armature). Once lubed, these modern pullmor-equipped engines run very smoothly and quietly, especially since (according to my guide) that engine has the electronic (not mechanical) e-unit. It is true, though, that they do not have much in the way of low-speed performance, if that is important to you. (It was never important to me... life's too short!)

I do not know anything about MTH transformers. I do know that many systems use "pulse power" (short bursts of higher voltage) to coax lower-than-designed speeds out of engines with can motors. Perhaps your MTH transformer is of this sort (again, I don't know). With a pullmor motor, pulse power helps the low speed performance only slightly, and makes the motor noticeably noisier. They are just plain happier on something with a pure sine wave output. Even so, I have many times run my older Lionel engines (with and without electronics) on pulse power (from Lionel's TMCC) and nothing has broken yet...


Well I may be the last person to give advice as I generally like the prewar stuff, no sounds and lots of noise!.  I do recall an article however in "Classic Toy Trains" by Lou Palumbo of Underground Trains where he compares the ease of repairing the old pre/postwar Lionel with the difficulty of modern trains.  Primarily his concern is that the older "electronic" trains have circuit boards that are no longer available and that no one builds spares for and of course like all printed circuits they are difficult if not impossible to repair.  So if you take the plunge, make sure all of the features that you are looking for work before you buy.  However, I have had sound effects disappear after one loop around the track under my ZW power. Luckily in my case, the loco still functioned so it was OK with me, but you may really want sound.  All in all, from my perspective I tend to agree with those who say...if the price is modest, you like it, and it appears to operate - go for it.  If it ultimately proves unsatisfactory, you can normally move it on to someone else who can use it or put it on a shelf (that's why the investment has to be reasonable, if the worst happens you don't have too much in it).


RickO posted:

If it says "PULLMOR POWER" I highly recommend you avoid it.

Seeing as you've only owned can motored MTH stuff, you will absolutely hate anything with a PULLMOR motor.

Nothing against the guys on the forum that love them, I just  prefer to leave the coffee grinder for making coffee, LOL!

OK, I see you guys are putting down the Pullmor motor. I had an original Lionel 2333 with magne-traction, I believe those had Pullmor, horizontal drive motors on the trucks. Is that correct? That engine was a great puller! The sound was loud, but that was fun too. I wish I kept it. I bought a fancy new MTH engine with a can motor and PS/2. I like it and it pulls fine, because it has traction tires, but I still miss that 2333. 

The answer really depends on what you want. Scott said he is a conventional operator. For conventional operations, this engine should be very solid. I bet with the magne-traction it could pull and climb very well. It seems like the knock against the Pullmor motor is the noise. Well, that could be a plus or a minus depending on what you like.


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