help please

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by temler, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. temler

    temler New Member

    Aug 30, 2013
    Likes Received:
    the more i read the more confused i get. i am new at this and i just starting my layout again. i have about 20+ post war Lionel steam engines my brother gave me, he was tired of collecting them, so i would like to use them in the setup. i would like to control it with computer i think. so here is my questions.
    what should i use 2 rail or 3 rail and why?
    I am going to hand lay all track and make my own turnouts.
    what decoders to use?
    what control units are best and why?
    what couplers should i use and will they work on old Lionel?
    I want to be as close to prototype as i can be. 1/48
    I don't mind laying the third rail if that makes a better setup, what is the pro and cons of 3 rail to 2 rail?
    I am going crazy trying to decided what to use. the only thing that i am fixed on right now is i want to use my brother 15 or so Lionel steam engines and convert them.
    Please any help would be great. i need to get settled on this since this is all that is on my mind and i have to decided soon.
    I have about 5000 8'6" ties ready to go, have several hundred feet of 148 scale rail and 200' feet of .125 rail that i thought i would use for the center rail.
    thanks for the help and ideas.
    please explain why you chose what you chose to run. i know this will help
  2. Lighter

    Lighter Member

    Jun 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Converting older Lionel for two rail operation is not quite impossible. But close. The locomotives are not insulated for 2 rail DC power. It would mean new motors, frames and wheels - all all the wheels. Plus some machining ability.

    You have set some goals that are going to be very difficult with Lionel. Not only operation, but visual. Just one of the many factors - Lionel is not 1:48. And the superstructure is not necessarily the same scale as the running gear.

    Think this through. If you want to preserve the nostalgia of the older locomotives than that is one approach that will have to go along with what you have. If you want a contemporary "method" scale layout, than that is a different approach to the hobby. You might not be able to satisfy both goals. Some folks have done it, so it can be done. But it ain't easy.
  3. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

    Apr 6, 2013
    Likes Received:
    I personally would set the goal of getting the whole collection back to working the way intended. You could always build a "modern" system and have them interact by clever track layout. Some people use "N" scale to simulate trains far away in the background. Changing trains like that could and most probably would destroy their value. Just polished up and painted nice, they look great on a shelf or mantle! :)