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Prewar Lionel

Re-attaching prewar Lionel trucks

This past weekend I scored a poorly repainted Lionel #602 baggage car (made from 1915-1923) and an Ives #71 passenger car (made 1923-25) at an estate sale. The Ives was in good shape and original, but one of the Lionel’s trucks was detached and one of the hook couplers was broken. Fortunately I was able to find the loose truck, and the repair was as simple as you can get.Read More »Re-attaching prewar Lionel trucks

Installing trucks on junker train cars

Sometimes a train car breaks, and sometimes you get a good deal on a train car that’s missing its running gear. Whatever the reason, sooner or later most hobbyists find themselves needing to attach trucks to the underside of their train cars, and if they’re like me, they soon find that using a regular nut and bolt doesn’t cut it–the nut works itself loose after a few times around the track, which leads to wobbly running, which leads to derailments.

There’s a solution other than expensive riveting tools, if you’re just interested in making cars run well, rather than restorations that are as historically accurate as possible. For about 15 bucks, you can get enough parts to do 50 cars.

Read More »Installing trucks on junker train cars

An easy coupler height fix for prewar American Flyer

So I picked up this oddball car at Marty’s Model Railroads a couple of weeks ago. It’s a Lionel/American Flyer hybrid: A Lionel 807 cattle car on a prewar American Flyer 8-wheel frame. It has the awful prewar Lionel latch coupler on one side and the oddball AF hook coupler (with the funny-shaped tab) on the other. It’s compatible with everyone else’s hook coupler, fortunately. The Lionel coupler is compatible with nothing.

It was intended as a conversion car, but it rides too high, so the Lionel coupler won’t connect with a Lionel car. Bummer.