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     I have a Lionel 85267 Niagara purchased soon after they were released  that I had been running on my layout for a long time.  I removed the shell and replaced the smoke wadding in  both the stack and blow off smoke.  When I placed it back on the track, the blow off smoke would not shut off.  I removed the shell again and removed the plug from the blow off generator.  The engine continued to run ok  but without blow off smoke. I sent this engine for repair to a well known service station that I will not name in this post.  They had the engine for over a year and I spoke with the service person at least six times during that time.  He related to me problems getting the right boards, and boards that worked and this was why it was taking so long.  Finally, I asked to have it returned to me and it was suggested I return it to Lionel.

     I wrote Lionel about it and told them the above story and asked to return it to them for repair.  No Reply!

    I  the mean time, I tried running the engine and found that it ran and responded to Legacy signals but neither smoked or made any sounds.  Different situation than before.

I called Lionel service and related the above story.  They suggested another repair service station and told me they could not repair out of warrenty products.  I took it to a second repair station and related all the above details.  After a few weeks, I got a call from them that they could not fix it and I should contact Lionel.

I am open to suggestions about what to do here.  Sell it as is to someone who could get it running?  Phil


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Beyond smoke unit batting replacements, I do not have the skill to attempt further repairs.  The operation of this engine changed for the worse after being at the first service station but I believe they were trying their best to get everything right.  I am trying to contact Alex as some of you suggest and get his read on my options.  Thanks to all of you.  Phil

Regardless of whether Phil's locomotive was out of warranty or not, my take-away from Phil's trials and tribulations is that it reflects very poorly on Lionel's Service Stations in particular and on Lionel generally.  It also occurs to me that perhaps this type of situation may have contributed to Lionel's recently announced 'new' policy (effective Feb. 7/22) that any product requiring service during the warranty period must be returned to Lionel for their in-house staff to deal with.

I agree with everyone above, and i thank you all for your kind comments. Phil has contacted me and i will certainly get to the bottom of this issue for him. His Niagara will be up and running on the tracks once again.

Due to Lionel's new policy, I am no longer on their service station list so if anyone needs me, feel free to reach out directly to me.  My email address is in my profile and it would be my pleasure to help you.

Thanks, Alex

Last edited by Alex M


if anyone can fix your engine it would be Alex M.

Trust me. My post on the 3rail forum “The New York Central and Alex M to the rescue “ just touches on the amount of work he’s done for me. With never a comeback.

i sent a station sounds car back to Lionel because it stopped working. The lights worked but no sound. After they sent it back to me it went back in the box with the set. I finally took it out of the box after a few years as I don’t have a regular layout. So I took it out to run around my Christmas tree and guess what? It didn’t work. This time the lights didn’t work or the sound. Not just the sounds as before. I took it to Alex he opened it up in front of me. In about 15 minutes he found that it was wired incorrectly from the factory. Lionel didn’t catch it or didn’t want to be bothered rewiring the hole car. Knowing the boards probably aren’t available anymore for this particular car, he rewired the boards with confidence and now it works perfectly.

This is just one of many things he’s done from me over the years. Use him you won’t be disappointed.


The dealers don’t have the time or the talent to actually repair the engines except maybe a smoke unit repair. Trust me I know. As you know, I owned a store in New Jersey year’s ago, and when I saw something that needed too much work I would tell the customer either I could send it back to Lionel or they could. I didn’t have the time to try and figure it out. Back then Lionel did out of warranty repair.

Mike R

Last edited by Mike R

It seems to me that the first repair place that kept tinkering and throwing parts at it should take some of the financial responsibility. When you sent it, only the smoke was an issue.

Then he spent a year(?) messing with it, and when he put it back together it came back to you in worse shape.

FYI  those parts are in stock.

Mike R - Interesting when you say "I would tell the customer either I could send it back to Lionel or they could" because in Lionel's recent Warranty Repairs Notice to Lionel Service Stations and Dealers it basically says the same thing... "You can still choose to act as a drop-off location and contact Lionel on behalf of your customers for warranty service if you so choose." 

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