Add another line to your pike.

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 layout.

What you need: two bumpers, two accessories with an automatic stop mechanism, a locomotive with a two-position E-unit.

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 and train.

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.