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Contributed by Barry Richardson

Is your old lionel train falling apart? Wouldn't it be good to see it chugging around on its path again, glowing with the same glory as the day it was discovered that Christmas dawn so long ago?

Mending and reestablishing your old Lionel train can be very satisfy. You can relish in the warm glow of memories past, and so make young memories to go on with them!

You can do this yourself with just a little patience and know-how. By and large, a drop of oil in the appropriate places will keep it operating smoothly.

How do you repair Lionel trains?

The first step in restoring an old Lionel train is to clean it. Wipe it all off with a soft cloth to get rid of dust, debris, and stains.

You can get rid of rust with rust remover or very fine sand paper. If you see green or ugly white spots, that is oxidation, and you can remove it with oxidisation remover.

The final part in your cleaning is to wipe down the tracks, the wheels of the cars, and any moving parts with a light oil spray. Use Q-Tips soaked with the oil to get into smaller areas, like the wheels, and use a soft cloth soaked with the oil for the tracks. Buff it all up with a clean part of the cloth. Don't put oil on rubber parts, though, as it can and probably will damage them.

Put a dab of the oil on some running gears in the engine, and run it in so that they move smoothly and easily. You can utilize a toothpick to drip tiny pieces of oil for the tiny parts.

Now that it is clean and beaming, you can start your fixes.

Make sure all the areas of the track fit together tightly. If they don't, then curve the connectors back into position with a pair of pliers. It might take a few attempts to get them just right; strive yfor a tight fit.

Take the bodies off of your cars, and check the insides. Clean them as described above, and look for broken parts. It's actually easy to replace any broken bits yourself. You can buy them at a Lionel trains speciality store, numerous hobby shops, or get them from Lionel trains catalogues. Just unscrew them and screw in the substitute part.

In conclusion, does your train run? Check it after you've cleaned it completely, because built up stain and dirt could make the link between the train and the track to be so bad that it prevents it from moving. If it's clean and still doesn't run, check to see if the transformer plug is OK and that the transformer is putting out the correct voltage. Use a volt meter to check. It could be that the transformer requires fixing or replacement.

You can find detailed directions about how to fix the transformer, and all the other areas of Lionel trains at They have a two CD set of full guides, blueprints, and plots for each Lionel train made up from 1906 through 1986. The set also includes a parts and accessories catalogue for your convenience. Use the repair manuals to complete any other necessary repairs for your train.

In order to preserve your Lionel train, simply keep it clean and buffed, oil the moving parts every so often and it should give you many more years of enjoyment!

Do you want to learn antique train repair with over 2000 pages of illustrations? Learn step by step how to repair ( HO model trains and download prewar and postwar ( Lionel train catalog now.

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