Train runs better backward than forward

What would cause a train to run better backward than forward? If it can go one direction it should be able to go the other just as easily, right?

When a train runs better backward than forward, that’s an indication of uneven wear. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an expensive repair though.

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What can damage a Lionel train?

What can damage a Lionel train?

What can damage a Lionel train? Neglect and abuse, basically. When well cared for, they’re pretty bulletproof.

There’s not a lot that can damage a Lionel train, as long as you store it in conditions that wouldn’t make you terribly uncomfortable, run it within spec and maintain it occasionally.

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Make your own train backdrop

Make your own train layout backdrop

Sometimes you may not be able to find a commercial backdrop for your train layout that you like, for whatever reason. You can make your own train backdrop more easily than you may think. Adding a backdrop makes your layout look finished, and larger. Adding a thin backdrop makes my 8×8 layout look more like 10×10, or perhaps larger.

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Marx caboose values

Marx caboose values

While we’re discussing Marx values, I might as well go ahead and write about Marx caboose values too. It’s only a matter of time before someone will want that information too.

Cabooses are much like any other Marx train. The most common Marx cabooses are worth around $10. There are a couple dozen Marx cabooses worth more than that.

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How to maintain Lionel trains

Lionel trains have a reputation for high quality, but like any machine, you have to take care of them. Here’s how to maintain Lionel trains to ensure they last another generation or two.

Even if you run your trains a lot, your trains should only need maintenance every few years. For about $30-$35 worth of materials, you can ensure your Lionel trains have a long, productive life.

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What is a Magne-Traction train?

What is a Magne-Traction train?

Lionel enthusiasts, especially postwar enthusiasts, talk about Magne-Traction a lot. But what is a Magne-Traction train, and what makes it special?

Magne-Traction was a feature Lionel introduced in the 1950s. By putting magnets in the driver wheels, a Magne-Traction train can pull more, climb steeper grades, and run at higher speeds without derailing on sharp curves.

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North Pole Express Christmas train set

North Pole Express train set

For the last couple of years, in early November, retailers started carrying the North Pole Express Christmas train set, an inexpensive battery-operated train set. But there are two distinct, and very different North Pole Express sets. Here’s what you need to know.

The North Pole Express sets are made by Scientific Toys/Eztec, though the branding may or may not appear anywhere on the box. The trains are made mostly of plastic and operate on batteries, and sell at price points of $10 and $50.

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Lionel tubular track vs Fastrack

Lionel Fastrack is certainly popular, but tubular track retains a cult following even as others love to hate it. Let’s take a look at Lionel tubular track vs Fastrack.

Lionel tubular track was the standard on Lionel layouts for nearly a century until Lionel introduced Fastrack, a track system with integrated plastic roadbed and a wider radius. Both track systems have their uses, though Fastrack has proven immensely popular.

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