All posts tagged lionel

Model railroading as fan fiction

Dan Bowman sent me this a couple of weeks ago, and I found myself agreeing with it: Model railroading is a form of fan fiction. It seems like a good way to look at it. Every model railroad is a compromise. By my rough estimations, it’s 4.1 miles from Dupo, Illinois to Cahokia, but even […]

Finding a connection to my Dad in a suburban St. Louis estate

Yesterday I wrote about my greatest estate sale find ever. Well, the very same month as that one, I found another estate sale featuring a Lionel 1110 locomotive, which happened to be my Dad’s first train. So of course I put that sale on my list. The 1110 wasn’t among Lionel’s finest moments, but I’ll […]

How I freshened the paint on a Lionel RW transformer

I have a Lionel RW transformer that I would like to put on Christmas tree duty next year. I had a KW on that duty last year, which is a nice transformer, but it’s overkill, and my sons find it easier to operate the whistle with a button like the RW has than with the […]

The Greenberg Marx saga continues: The case of the side-smoking Marx 666 locomotive

One of the best steam locomotives Marx ever made was its unfortunately-named 666. I have heard, but have no way of verifying, that Marx named it that because the locomotive “smoked like the devil.” And, compared to its contemporary offerings from Lionel and American Flyer, it definitely smoked better than anything Lionel had, and at […]

The high-dollar cardboard box

There was one other interesting quote in the Post-Dispatch’s Top 10 collectibles for value this week: 10. Boxes (yes, simple boxes!) For a starter, wooden boxes of all types with and without locking mechanisms, souvenir boxes, tea boxes, cigar boxes, jewelry, knife boxes and the list goes on for value. If you can put something […]

The Marx connection to Hafner

Hafner was a Chicago-based maker of clockwork-powered O gauge trains during most of the first half of the 20th century. The trains were inexpensive but durable. William Hafner developed the clockwork motor as a hobby around the turn of the previous century and put the motor in toys. Eventually he decided to make a train–perhaps […]

How I fixed a Lionel RW transformer

I had a Lionel RW transformer that I bought nearly 10 years ago, at one of my first estate sales. I’m sure I remember using it after I bought it, but it was far from in working order when I found it this time. The accessory posts all showed voltage, but the critical A and […]

The safest way yet to clean your train track

The subject of the best way to clean train track sure does ruffle some feathers. Everyone, it seems, has their favorite elixir to swab down their tracks and some favorite material to wipe it back up with. When it comes to Lionel, Marx, and American Flyer track, all of which is tin plated, it’s best […]

An easy fix for a Lionel ZW with dead posts

I helped someone troubleshoot a Lionel ZW transformer this week, because my Lionel ZW transformer had exactly the same problem. It seems like it’s pretty common, so maybe others have the problem too. The Lionel ZW, as you may know, has four pairs of posts on the back for power. You can use it to […]

Can you mix Lionel and Marx track? Yes, pretty much.

Here’s a question from the search engines: Can you mix Lionel and Marx track? Generally speaking, yes you can. Just stick with O27 track, and you can mix Lionel, Marx, and K-Line as needed. Dad had a mixture of Lionel and Marx track in the 1950s–my theory is that someone tipped my grandfather off that […]