Need feedback on low end Lionel train

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TOSSpilot

New Member
I recently purchased a new train set for the family. We were sold a MTH train set since it had the locomotive and cars that we liked. The store was good enough to switch the track to Lionels Fastrack. We are very happy with the performance and how easy the track sets up.

But, my son is a little young and he is rough with the trains. So, I went back to the store to buy a inexpensive locomotive that would be a little more durable. I purchased the Lionel Dockside for $110. When I got the loco home I was somewhat dissappointed in the performance compared to the MTS loco. It has poor low speed performance and extremely high speed performance. They must have put the bullet train motor in my little dockside by mistake.

My question- Is this normal performance for low end Lionel trains? Can you do simple upgrades to make the train perform decent? Or, should I return the train and spend just a few extra $$ for something that will perform much better?

Also, the dockside keeps uncoupling?

Some feed back would be appreciated.

Craig
 
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Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
By no means am I an expert on O gauge. It seems to me if your expecting better performance out of the dockside switcher you may want to consider returning it and going w/ a little more $. I am most certain the low end Lionel all perform this way. I bought a starter set for my 3 nephews (their 1st set ever) and they never noticed the difference. They only know stop and go real fast. If YOU are expecting the higher performance not your son...lol ummm I think it is up to you to decide. As for the uncoupling I do not think it is common. Good luck to you!
 

modelbob

Administrator
Just out of curiosity, how old is your son?

Is he at an age where he might enjoy Lego trains better, or if he's even younger than that, some of the other sets designed for the younger crowd?

Lego and some of the others have more play value, which is marketing speak for "there's more stuff to play with and do". While Lionels are great, many kids get bored just watching it go around and around. So then you try and see how fast it will go, typically resulting in a crash.

A set with more play options, such as one of the Legos, LGB starter sets, or even Thomas/Brio for the youngest group, will often be more enjoyable for the recipient.

As for the Lionel, I suspect that the low end sets may indeed run faster. Ask your dealer what he thinks it should work like. As for modifications, I'm doubtful there's anything you can do at a reasonable cost. By the time you remotor it, you could probably buy a different loco.
 

TOSSpilot

New Member
Thank you for the replies. I am going to call the shop and see what they say about the train that I purchased.

Also, my son is very young (just past 2) and he mostly plays with his Thomas trains. The O-gauge trains were for occassional fun with supervision. I would expect that he would use them more independently as he gets older.

My main question was about the typical performance and if there was something simple to do for better performance. Both of my entry level trains run dramatically different. Sometimes, things are improved with simple fixes or upgrades.

Thank you again.

Craig
 

modelbob

Administrator
I'd ask the hobby shop for some input, and see what they say. I'm not sure what transformer you have, and that might make a difference, though probabaly not. In any case, it won't hurt to at least ask.
 

TOSSpilot

New Member
I took the dockside locomotive back to the store and was told that they run this way and you need to spend more money to get a train that has smooth performance. The main difference is whether the train has a speed controller. Apparently, the loco that came with my entry set is fairly decent and has the extra stuff that makes it run good.

I must say, this is an expensive hobby. I thought RC helicopters was bad.

Thank you again for the help.

Craig
 

modelbob

Administrator
I must say, this is an expensive hobby. I thought RC helicopters was bad.
Lionel is generally a good quality brand, but they've never really been inexpensive. These days I think they market a lot more to collectors and price many of the sets accordingly. Even the "intro" sets are more expensive than what a good quality HO set would run. Of course they're a lot bigger and sometimes have cool stuff like sounds and smoke. It's also built to last.

I had some sticker shock of my own recently. I put a small circle of G scale track around the Christmas tree. After buying the track, I think I know why they call it G scale. When you get the bill, you say "GEE, that's expensive!". :eek:
 




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