I found a 1944 Popular Mechanics article on making your own Lionel train track. During World War II, toy production all but stopped, so short of buying from stores like Madison Hardware that sold old stock, making your own was all you could do. Even Madison Hardware had to resort to creativity, building a machine […]
Here are some train-related questions I’ve been seeing from Google searches that I really don’t think I ever answered adequately elsewhere. I don’t know where they’ve been landing before today, but hopefully this will help.
A common question is whether transformers for vintage American Flyer, Lionel, and Marx are interchangeable, and what to do if a transformer won’t work. The simple answer is, yes, a train from one of those makes will run on a transformer from any of the others. They all ran on 0-24 volts AC. There are […]
A frequent complaint I see about the Plasticville buildings that people have been using with Lionel and American Flyer trains for more than a half century is that they don’t stay together well. This especially seems to be a problem with the modern reissues. Maybe the old molds are starting to wear out after all […]
It’s that time of year again. Time to get that old Lionel (or Marx or American Flyer) train running before the winter holidays sneak up. More often than not, that means fixing up the track.
On Sunday, I went to Target largely because I had a coupon, but I also wanted to get a gift for my son.
I had heard Target was selling Lionel trains, and I’d seen a picture of the endcap, which included a Lionel teddy bear in addition to the trains. I wanted one.
We have a metal chair and table we keep on the front porch. My mother in law gave them to us a year or two ago. They were a bit rusty but usable. But they’ve started looking a little too rusty lately, so this week I repainted them.
I spent $6 and about an hour doing it. They don’t quite look new, but they look a lot better than $6 would indicate.
Clive Thompson: I’m sitting on the floor of my apartment, surrounded by electronic parts… It’ll look awesome when it’s done. If it ever gets done — I keep botching the soldering. A well-soldered joint is supposed to look like a small, shiny volcano. My attempts look like mashed insects, and they crack when I try to assemble the device.
Why am I so inept? I used to do projects like this all the time when I was a kid. But in high school, I was carefully diverted from shop class when the administration decided I was college-bound. I stopped working with my hands and have barely touched a tool since.
I can relate a little too well.
Modern Lionel train sets come with a new, more realistic track called Fastrack with integrated plastic roadbed and lots of ties with simulated wood grain that to many eyes looks better than the traditional three-rail track with just three metal ties per section, and it’s a lot easier to assemble and disassemble.
Unfortunately it’s also a lot more prone to manufacturing defects. If your new Lionel train slows down at some point on the track, or it has trouble tripping your accessories, you’ll have to either return your track, or do a fast and easy DIY repair.