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Parts, Service and Repair Hints for Lionel Antique Toy Trains -
Factory Experience 

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November 2011

Modern Era Lionel Trains Use Capacitors on Their Pullmor Motors
Lionel started using motor brush capacitors on their Pullmor Motors starting with the MPC era and continuing into the present day. These electronic devices you see on the brush plate are used to minimize the "noise" generated by the AC motor which can effect the proper operation of the “new” electronic sounds when operating the trains.  This effort was largely successful but as in every fix, there is a drawback.  In this case, the capacitors do have a limited shelf life.  Read more

April 2011

Why 3 Prongs?

Have you ever wondered why the electrical cord on your appliances now have the three prong plugs?  The later appliances approved by the Underwriters Laboratories with the ground plug, appeared on our gadgets a few decades ago.  Notice that Lionel Transformers produced prior to 1970 had only two 110V plugs.  When MPC, General Mills, took over Lionel, all transformers grew another plug at the insistence of the UL.  Some operators who have large layouts requiring multiple transformers, have requested power cords with the ground plug.  This makes sense because when more than one transformer is added, the grounds need to be aligned, starting at the wall plug and proceeding all the way to the track voltage.  The addition of a third prong allows the transformers to be utilized with common grounds from the start. Read more

Website Concerns
Some may have noticed that Dr. Tinker's Website was shut down for a few days in early September.  Happily, the site is once again up and operational.  A number of our friends noted that the Website was offline and some even pointed out that the content had become dated in recent times.

When we discussed additional articles with OGR Magazine a few years back, the publisher pointed out also, that the Dr. Tinker material was "old", not relevant to the trains of today and not of interest to the readers.  True, the writings of Dr. Tinker, in general, deal with Prewar and Postwar Lionel production.  Consequently, no more contributions have gone to OGR.  Likewise, material for the Dr. Tinker Website is rarely related to currently produced Lionel Trains.  However, the writings, comments and hints contained in the Website have value in areas that many are interested in and deal with subjects not related to the new imported trains.  Dr. Tinker is not versed in modern train repair in fact, and prefers to write about the trains that he is familiar with instead.  This policy will continue and we appreciate the continued support of our readers.

Train Repairing Today
The model train hobby is clearly a happy and thriving leisure time enterprise. This is evidenced by the plethora of replacement parts dealers that one sees. In the 70’s, Dr. Tinker (Dave Laughridge) was repairing Lionel trains for fun and relaxation. At that point in his career, he was heavily involved in toy and game development.  Away from the office, repairing toy trains provided a nice contrast for him, but locating parts was a problem, hence the heavy involvement presently.

You can’t really fix old trains if you don’t have the parts to do it with. We have been stocking Lionel replacement parts for over 35 years to date. Many people ask if Lionel still makes replacement parts.  I must admit, this is not being pursued as enthusiastically as we would like. We buy out old Lionel Service Stations when possible, to get original Lionel parts and there are many sources for excellent reproduction parts available. Our inventory is quite wide, actually. We handle parts that enable us to repair trains built in 1903 up to the 90’s. Some parts are not being produced for trains produced since then, but there is little demand for those parts fortunately.

We get many calls from folks with broken trains or tired old Lionels. We make every effort to advise on the best course of action. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Tinker if you need help in this effort. Preferably via email: dave@drtinkertrains.com


bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Information: Introduction to Dr. Tinker®, Contacting Dr. Tinker®, Payment Policies

bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Features Page: Includes Dr. Tinker's Train Repair Hints, New Products, Reader Repair Questions and Commentary.

bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Parts List: Your source for Original and High Quality Replacement parts for the repair and restoration of Lionel toy trains. The Parts List shows what we currently have in stock, listed numerically by Lionel Corp. factory part number.

bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Parts Order Form

bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Publications: of interest to the Lionel hobbyist, including Dr Tinker® Repairs Toy Trains, Volume I and Volume II , back issues of  The Coupler® newsletter, and recommended repair manuals.

bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Service and Repair: Lionel Factory Experienced Repair Recommendations, Vintage Lionel Bought and Sold, contact us by e-mail at dave@drtinkertrains.com

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bullet.gif (141 bytes)  Find out about Dr. Tinker's Other Related Activities

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Please note that we do not carry HO parts or perform HO repair work.

How to Contact Dr. Tinker®:

Please send a hello and your short repair question.
Email : dave@drtinkertrains.com
Call 781-862-5798, 9 - 5 weekdays, or write to him at:   

Please send a SASE ( 9" x 11") and $2.00 for Parts List. This Parts List contains over 20 pages of parts.

Dr. Tinker®'s Antique Toy Train Parts
P.O. Box 242
Lexington, MA 02420-0003

Or, if you need a street address to mail to:

Dr. Tinker®'s Antique Toy Train Parts
1 Belfry Terrace
Lexington, MA 02421- 4909

Copyright 2002 - 2009 Dr. Tinker. Send comments and questions on this website to: webmaster@drtinkertrains.com