The layout was built in 14 modules, the "seam" in the picture is one of the module joints. Were I to sell the house and want to move the layout it can be done. All the electrical uses jumpers to cross the module joints so that is about 30 wires to be lifted at each joint. The modules are bolted together so the bolts are easy to remove. The final challenge is the track since all the joints are soldered. I would just cut through the rail joiners at the module joints. From that point it just requires some strong and talented movers.
The scenery lifts out for access to the hidden track. Here is a picture of that module joint with the piece of scenery to the left removed. Kind of destroys the illusion. I take these out to clean the track. While hard to see them all in this picture there are seven hidden tracks there.
Here are my three PRR Tuscan engine choices. I do not have a GG1. The first is the ES44Ac, a Legacy diesel that is the best performing engine but from the wrong era to be pulling these coaches. Next is an E8, likely prototypically correct. Finally an American Models PA/PA set. Personally I think the PA/PA set has the best appearance in front of the long coaches. Still no parts from AM, but they have been sent. Perhaps USPS routed them through Fairbanks.
PAs looked good. I prefer E8s for looks. E8s were much more dependable engines.
Long after all PAs were retired E8s were still running. I have 4 sets of PA-PB-PAs.
All made by Lionel. They all look good and have matching passenger cars.
MoPac, C&O, UP, and SP. 3 have can motors and one has open frame AC motors.
Ok boys and girls, I received two packages of parts from AM this afternoon. After a lot more fiddling, trial and error, cursing and adjustments I have one car on the track and working. I am not sure this will be the final configuration for the trucks and couplers. The new heavyweight trucks fit on the cars but the design is slightly different so the coupler is about 1/16” too high and hits the KaDee mounting pad, not good. There is no easy way to fix this so I will likely need to cut through the long glue joint on the lightweight trucks to get the old couplers off without breaking the long coupler (Talgo?) arm.
What I have done is replaced the interior printed paper with new replacements Dick included. I then put in a new AM circuit board with LED lighting and a large capacitor for flicker free lights. The pickup wipers are also new in the new correct size. The front has a new high rail coupler to connect to the engine. The rear, on the left, has a solid scale coupler, barely visible. I think this will couple the cars too close together so that also needs more development. Wish AM had done a bit more testing and development before these cars were made.
I am done for today, maybe more tomorrow.
Here is a progress report on my project to improve the original AM full length (84’) passenger cars to what should have been made by AM. In addition I have replaced the original incandescent lighting with LED’s and a capacitor to eliminate flicker. The capacitor is good for 1/4 to 1/2 second of illumination which is plenty for minor pickup interruptions. The problem with these cars was two-fold. The trucks are unsprung but the sides can rotate on their mounts causing the couplers to move slightly, plus the long, flexible coupler mounting arm caused the couplers to droop. The net result was couplers whose bottom weight hit the turnout points and either uncoupled or derailed them. The “flexible” trucks were an abomination, fortunately no longer made. Unfortunately the newer two axle trucks mount the coupler too high for the under floor design of these old cars and there is no simple fix. I was forced to use the old trucks.
Following arrival of the parts from AM two cars are now done (at least I sure hope.) The coupler mounting arms were shortened 1/4” and the couplers remounted using glue plus a screw at the end of the arm near the coupler to prevent the coupler from drooping. New axle wipers were also installed. the high rail couplers were used rather than scale because the top to bottom thickness of the scale couplers was less than the flexibility in the truck and mounting arm. I could see these things continually uncoupling. The scale couplers worked fine with the new design trucks but they would not fit on these cars.
Here are some pictures.
The issue with the scale couplers mounted to flexible trucks rather than body mounted is apparent from the picture of the two couplers side by side. The next picture shows the as-built by AM spacing. The third picture shows the much closer spacing after the modifications. The improvement in the coupled train appearance is amazing. The last picture shows the clearance between cars on my minimum 30” curve radius. Pretty close, just as I wanted.
One last picture today. Three cars are now finished and test run, all is perfect. The cars are on a 34”R curve for this shot. Track power is on so the cars are lit, there is no flicker at all with the new LED boards and new axle wipers. The close coupling makes a big difference and the oversize KC are now hidden under the cars for the most part.
Looks great on your curves; would need to be different for 20" radius. Probably shouldn't even think about running scale length pass cars on standard AF track. How about a picture of the trucks and coupler from below.
How did you do the LEDs? Does AM have a LED board? I take it Legacy is DC track power, so capacitor is OK. Any brightness control? Resistor?
Those full scale cars will not run on 20"R track. AM designed them for their 27"R track. These cars are equivalent to 21" cars in O gauge and 11.5" cars in HO. I will post some pictures tomorrow. The 34" curve is equivalent to an O-90 or in HO it is a 25"R.
The LED lighting is a pre-made AM circuit board that attaches to the truck mounts with just two nuts.
Legacy was initially designed for engines that run on standard AC track power. The S gauge Legacy engines beginning with the Y-3 will work with DC track power if the operator chooses. By far the best transformer for Legacy layouts is the Lionel ZW-L. Also beginning with the Y-3, S gauge Legacy engines also work with DCC systems out of the box.
What an outstanding job! You have done justice to a terrific looking set of passenger cars. AM was ill-advised to produce these cars with such inherent manufacturing flaws. You deserve much credit and I am glad they are in your possession. They have found a good home.
Dick, this is taking far more time than I anticipated to devope the fix. No parts from the new heavyweights will interchange with these cars so I had to replan all the fixes. The actual mods are simple now that I have it worked out.
Here are some pictures that should tell the story. The first is the underside of the car with the as-built truck and coupler on it. The coupler is glued to the mounting arm and the axle wiper AM used appears to be one designed for the 3 axle trucks but installed upside down. The ends are supposed to cup the axles.
The second picture are three lighting circuit boards. At the bottom is an early incandescent, no capacitor. Middle is a newer incandescent with capacitor. This was ineffective because the Cap was not big enough to stop the flicker with incandescent bulbs. Top is a new LED board. There is no brightness adjustment but fortunately the brightness is just about right for these cars. Third is the underside of the board that shows the circuit contacts for the truck mounts. The next picture is the truck mount screw inside the car floor, the lighting boards sit on these nuts and are fastened down with one more nut to provide electrical contact. The last picture shows the long, unmodifed, very flexible coupler mount arm. I just cut 1/4" off the end of the arm, then glued and screwed the coupler arm to that truck arm. I also put new axle wipers on the trucks.
Dick, I will be happy to provide lessons learned to others, I may charge a consulting fee. The cars look good and run good, they are very free rolling.
I tested the cars and found two problems. The lights were not working on one car, so I replaced the axle wiper and fixed it. I have learned on these cars there is a secret trick to keeping the pickups working that is different than the heavyweights. Second problem is two couplers were low that were not low last night. I have decided to just clip off the plastic uncoupling pins since I will never remotely uncouple these cars. The head end coupler to the engine works fine so it can be remotely uncoupled.
So what I have done is:
Replaced the paper inserts in the cars with new ones Dick provided.
Modified the paper insert in the dome car to allow light into the dome area.
Shortened the coupler mounts and remounted the couplers to reduce the gap between cars to the bare minimum.
Installed new axle wipers for better pickup.
Installed new LED lighting circuit boards from AM.
Installed a PRR drumhead from AM on the Observation car.
Installed a scale coupler on the rear of the Observation car to enhance appearance
Still to be done is locating a red lens for the upper rear red light on the Observation car, similar to what is on the AM Budd cars. AM does not sell that as a replacement part.
Here are some pictures. This PRR passenger train looks great traversing the layout behind the AM PA/PA set. It also runs great.