How to test 1930's Lionel Standard gauge Locomotive?

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fairbro

Member
Hi, I was lucky to get this heavy pair at an auction yesterday. They seem to be in good condition - no corrosion. My question is how do you test it? it's not the regular Lionel, it's the Standard Gauge, I believe, as Lionel dubbed it.

I do have Lionel transformers from the 1950's, is it okay to use these to test to see if the engine is running? I think they are 12 volts. And how to test it? Put the AC leads on a pair of the middle wheels, one on each side?

Did they Lionel Standard gauge transformers of the 1930's use a greater amperage or wattage?

Thanks for the help.

IMG_3496a.JPG

IMG_3501a.JPG
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
My question is how do you test it? it's not the regular Lionel, it's the Standard Gauge, I believe, as Lionel dubbed it.

I do have Lionel transformers from the 1950's, is it okay to use these to test to see if the engine is running? I think they are 12 volts. And how to test it? Put the AC leads on a pair of the middle wheels, one on each side?

Did they Lionel Standard gauge transformers of the 1930's use a greater amperage or wattage?
Yes, okay to use the 1950s one. AC power hasn't changed much over the years.
Yes, one wire to of of the center rail rollers and other wire to an outside wheel.
I would guess the wattage could be different, but for just testing it isn't going to make any difference. I'll see if I can locate my standard gauge set from about that same time period and see what it's wattage is.
 

fairbro

Member
Would you say this is "'standard" gauge, too? I haven't been able to locate anything like it on Google. It looks like a "steeple" may be missing. That's the "regular" size Lionel in front of it. looks a little small in comparison, doesn't it?

IMG_3583.JPG
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Would you say this is "'standard" gauge, too? I haven't been able to locate anything like it on Google. It looks like a "steeple" may be missing. That's the "regular" size Lionel in front of it. looks a little small in comparison, doesn't it?
That is a really nice looking station. It is not in the Standard Catalog of Lionel Trains 1945-1969. Just looking a the doorway I would say it is too large to be O, but Lionel wasn't too picky about making things to scale either. Someone with better Lionel references than I have will have to answer that question.

The locomotive is an O-27 model (made to go around the smaller 27" curves), so it is going to be about 13% smaller than a "regular" size Lionel. Another way Lionel was not picky about keeping things to scale. But even at that, I agree thee station doorway makes it look too large, and possibly standard gauge.
 

longbow57ca

New Member
Hello I have a Lionel Standard Gauge 390E with tender 390-T engine, I would use a ZW or KW or 1033 transformer to test with 2 leads one on pick up and one back wheels it should work the drivers to see if it works or not or should be repaired. Make sure you use AC transformer not DC transformer. I hope this helps you my friend. Thanks longbow57ca.
 

fairbro

Member
That is a really nice looking station. It is not in the Standard Catalog of Lionel Trains 1945-1969. Just looking a the doorway I would say it is too large to be O, but Lionel wasn't too picky about making things to scale either. Someone with better Lionel references than I have will have to answer that question.

The locomotive is an O-27 model (made to go around the smaller 27" curves), so it is going to be about 13% smaller than a "regular" size Lionel. Another way Lionel was not picky about keeping things to scale. But even at that, I agree thee station doorway makes it look too large, and possibly standard gauge.
Just to follow up... I saw another one of these stations at a model trains auction, complete with spire on the tower in the middle. There was a label on it somewhere, that indicated it was Marx.
 
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Bruette

Well-Known Member
Yes, okay to use the 1950s one. AC power hasn't changed much over the years.
Yes, one wire to of of the center rail rollers and other wire to an outside wheel.
I would guess the wattage could be different, but for just testing it isn't going to make any difference. I'll see if I can locate my standard gauge set from about that same time period and see what it's wattage is.
There is your answer and you can always trust the esteemed Iron Horsemen to be precise.

The only thing I can add is watch out for an overload. Those old transformers are slow to react to short circuits and overloads in general. The ability of Lionel transformers to react to shorts has a tendency to diminish over time. Occasionally an old one will not react at all. Some old time Lionel fans refer to them as welders. A reputable Lionel service center can check and replace if necessary the overload system. It should be done when ever an old Lionel transformer is refurbished, but often times it is not to reduce the cost therefore increase the profit.

Beautiful set by the way, congratulations! Can ask what you paid for the pair?

Sorry I can't provide any help with the station.

Iron Horsemen is also correct in regard to scale. It has only been I'm modern times that Lionel has been to be true to scale. Hence the term "Standard O" rather than "Scale O" as they use now. They did however come close with several items. Some were close to scale by happenstance as with the 1970s version of the EMD GP7.

Most of Lionel's items were "Traditional O" and even today Traditional O still makes up the majority of their product line.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I would guess the wattage could be different, but for just testing it isn't going to make any difference. I'll see if I can locate my standard gauge set from about that same time period and see what it's wattage is.
I had forgotten about this, but as fate would have it I just happen to be in the location (Kansas) where my standard gauge set is stored. Unfortunately, Going through the box it does not have a power supply included. Darn. Sorry, I'm no help in this regard.
 

fairbro

Member
I had forgotten about this, but as fate would have it I just happen to be in the location (Kansas) where my standard gauge set is stored. Unfortunately, Going through the box it does not have a power supply included. Darn. Sorry, I'm no help in this regard.
Are you near Emporia?
 

fairbro

Member
There is your answer and you can always trust the esteemed Iron Horsemen to be precise.

The only thing I can add is watch out for an overload. Those old transformers are slow to react to short circuits and overloads in general. The ability of Lionel transformers to react to shorts has a tendency to diminish over time. Occasionally an old one will not react at all. Some old time Lionel fans refer to them as welders. A reputable Lionel service center can check and replace if necessary the overload system. It should be done when ever an old Lionel transformer is refurbished, but often times it is not to reduce the cost therefore increase the profit.

Beautiful set by the way, congratulations! Can ask what you paid for the pair?

Sorry I can't provide any help with the station.

Iron Horsemen is also correct in regard to scale. It has only been I'm modern times that Lionel has been to be true to scale. Hence the term "Standard O" rather than "Scale O" as they use now. They did however come close with several items. Some were close to scale by happenstance as with the 1970s version of the EMD GP7.

Most of Lionel's items were "Traditional O" and even today Traditional O still makes up the majority of their product line.
Never answered your question. I think I paid about $280 for the pair...but it's worth a lot more I think.
 




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