General Tips & FAQs

From kitbashing ideas to dazzling TrainMaster™ magic, from wiring diagrams to spectacular scenery, the real expertise comes from you -- and so do many of these hints. To submit your own hint, please go to Talk to Us and drop us a line. It may show up on Lionel.com!

Meanwhile, this is the place to find the information you need to take your hobby to the next level of fun.

Locomotives with Rubber Tires and Lionel Non-derailing Switches

If you are experiencing difficulties because locomotives with rubber tires are not activating your non-derailing switches soon enough, try the following tip.

Just extend the insulated controls rails.

Remove the insulating pins from the end of the switch and install steel pins in their place. Now replace your existing straight section of track with Lionel number 6-12840 for "O" gauge track or a 6-12841 for O27 track. These sections will extend the point at where the switch will activate. Be sure to reinstall the insulating pin, on the outside rail, at the end of your insulted track section. If you need to replace curve sections of track, you will need to make your own insulated rail sections. Simply remove the outside rail by bending the tabs on the track ties to release the rail. Now insert a piece of cardboard between the rail and the tie and bend the tabs back into place to hold the rails. If you own the Lionel Train Book, refer to pages 54 & 55 for creating an insulted control track.

Positioning Tips for Installing Operating Remote Control Uncoupling Track Sections 5530, 6019,or 12746

Although you can place them anywhere on your layout, it's good practice to locate uncoupling track sections between two sections of straight track. This will allow cars and locomotives to be lined-up for coupling and uncoupling. This also eliminates the possibility of some locomotive center rail pickups from touching center and control rails at the same time. For these reasons, it is better to avoid installing these sections on curves or next to switches.

Lubricating Old Whistle Tenders

The old whistle tenders which come with the horizontally mounted motor use a ball bearing to support the end of the commutator shaft opposite the brush end. Instructions to lubricate this end are not in the old Lionel Operators Manual which come with the sets. Place one drop of oil on the bearing. Operate whistle. After several seconds the whistle motor will work like new. Periodically re-oil the bearing.

Mark Perlman
San Jose, California