I've just started a project to make operable what's left of my 1953 Lionel trains. I dug out the cars and started to clean them. I'll just pass on a few observations. Who said metal wheels don't pick up dirt? I've scraped and scraped a thick layer of gunk from all the wheels. I took the trucks off and ran them through an ultrasonic denture cleaner which didn't make a dent in the gunk. I found a ring of rust under the gunk on a couple of wheels. There is also some rust on an underframe and on some track -- my father had a leak in the basement. I have some automobile deruster that I've used on this. There are some loose sideframes. I've used gap-filling ACC on a couple of them. Who knew the Lionel wheels were loose on the axles? One also seems to roll at an angle - can't see why. There is an interesting wear pattern on the wheels-- still black right next to the flanges. I think because of the tubular track. There's also some wear showing on the treads. One car has some wheels where the tire seems thinner, and there are bits where there's a bit of metal starting to move onto the face (like a casting line, almost). Problems: A few couplings have lost their spring. One caboose is missing a whole coupling casting (The sheel metal bits are still there.) I'm missing the frame of my tender -- have the body and the whistle. A few more nights work and I may be able to run them on my wife's Polar Express. Then a look at the loco.