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A cheap home alternative to electroplating

After decades of hard play, the shiny tin plating on old electric train parts can wear off, leaving a dull surface that doesn’t look great, and is prone to rust. You can get plating kits so you can replate the parts, but the kits are expensive and can involve chemicals you don’t necessarily want to keep laying around. Here is an inexpensive alternative to replating that you can do at home to restore old tin parts.

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Lionel scenic plots

Lionel scenic plots debuted in 1927 with the #195 illuminated terrace, a 19×22 inch platform built to provide a landscape for three houses, two #56 lamp posts, and a #90 flag pole.

The plot, and the various others that followed, solved two problems. They provided instant scenery for temporary floor layouts, and instant scenery for more permanent layouts for those who didn’t have the ability or confidence to attempt to scenic their layout themselves.

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What the build dates on Lionel trains mean

Here’s a question that comes up from time to time on train forums. What do the build dates on Lionel trains mean? In the Lionel postwar era, not a lot. At least not if you’re looking to figure out the actual age of the model.

The build dates on Lionel postwar trains, and largely for MPC-era trains as well, indicate when the model was first released, not when the example you hold in your hands was built.

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Set up a Marx train set

If you’ve lost the original instructions, it’s certainly not obvious how to connect a Marx transformer to track and otherwise set up a Marx train set. Especially if someone else always set it up. But don’t be intimidated. It’s low voltage wiring. And it can be as few as two connections. Here’s how to set up a vintage Louis Marx electric train set.

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