by Joseph Stachler
Maybe your layout already has
more loops than it can handle. But thanks to some common Lionel postwar
products, you can add a single line of track and run another train on your
What you need: two bumpers, two
accessories with an automatic stop mechanism, a locomotive with a two-position
First, place the track where you
want it to go. It can curve around buildings etc. Make it interesting. Not just
a straight line of track. Install the bumpers at each end. Also install one
"automatic stop" accessory at each end. These accessories include the
115 City Station, 132 Freight Station, and the 253 Block Signal.
One end will need the stop
accessory to be placed far enough up the line to allow for some rolling stock.
You may need to assemble a train on the line to gauge exactly where the best
place for this accessory will go. Remember that the train will probably coast
about ten inches after having the power cut.
When power is applied to the
line, the locomotive with the two-position E-unit will move either forward or
backward until the automatic stop accessory halts the train at one end. This cut
in power serves as the "neutral" a three-position E-unit provides.
When the accessory automatically returns power to the block, the locomotive
reverses direction and heads for the block at the other end of the line. This
process repeats, adding interesting action to your layout.
Automatic stop accessories
usually work well, but they can be inconsistent when it comes to duration of
power breaks. Because a thermostatic strip controls the length of power break,
variables such as weather can affect the duration of the pause. Every time you
run this line, you will probably have to adjust both accessories and the amount
of power to the track in order to get the best performance from the accessories
Locomotives with two-position E-units include the 212 Santa Fe AA Alcos which head three matching passenger cars, and the 633 Santa Fe NW-2 switcher which would look perfect automatically shunting a few freight cars back and forth.