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Just purchased my first set a LionChief Pennsylvania flyer, was wondering about how many cars I’ll be able to use with it. Thanks in advance for the help
 

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If you're using free-rolling modern freight cars with needle-point axles, you should be able to pull 18-20 on level track without too much issue. The rolling resistance and grades are the major determining factors in how may cars you can pull.
 

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Tim I think for your first train. The Pennsylvania Flyer lion chief was a great choice. I also got a lion chief set for my first train. The polar express.
 

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Tim. Did you buy a full ready to run set or just the lion chief Pennsylvania flyer engine.
Also since my polar express lion chief rtr set is my first train, and its running on a single 4x8 sheet of plywood on top of saw horses. My whole thing is how to expand.
 

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Tim. You and I are in the same boat. Both just starting out. Also we both got a loin chief ready to run set as our first set.
Tim we can learn a lot from each other. Thanks.
 

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Tim. Another thing my ready to run set came with Lionel fast track. I really like it. It snaps together and you do not have to make any holes in the plywood/platform.
 

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If you're using free-rolling modern freight cars with needle-point axles, you should be able to pull 18-20 on level track without too much issue. The rolling resistance and grades are the major determining factors in how may cars you can pull.
Gunrunnerjohn, I am curious about your reply.
To my recollection, in the fall of 2016 or '17 I asked on the OGR forum how many cars my Hallmark Lionel Toymaker Express 0-8-0 Lionchief set could safely pull without over heating and being damaged. I was advised by many, including you, that because of that engine's small motor I could add only 4 or 5 cars to the set's original 3 cars to advoid possibly overheating and permanently damaging its motor. I was also told it would depend on the size of the wall wart power supply that was included in the set.
But you're now saying a similarly sized 0-8-0 Lionchief set can pull twice as many cars as you and other posters had originally recommended to me? Why? Is it because the PRR Flyer Lionchief 0-8-0 set now has bluetooth or that the 0-8-0 set engine now has a larger, most robust motor? What has Lionel done to their newer sets to warrant a two fold increase in pulling power?
 

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Well, I'm going to take back my comments! I thought they had moved to the larger locomotive like the Polar Express Series II locomotives, but it appears the current PA FLyer still has the small set motor! My bad, shouldn't assume! I'm bummed they don't upgrade to a decent motor in all of these sets!

Make that 9-10 cars. ;)


The current Polar Express set has this motor, it's twice the size of the flat sided set motor and has no problem pulling a significant load.

 

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I have gone as far as 8 cars with no issues but I will do some switching around tonight and try to see what I can get.

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In the instructions with the Lionel 4-4-2 and 2-4-2 steam engine starter sets, they recommend pulling no more than 10 cars. And those engines have a slightly bigger motor than does the 0-8-0.

Though my 4-4-2's will certainly pull more than 10 cars, I'm guessing the advisory might be related to the smoke unit (as well as prematurely shortening the life of the motor). The longer the train, the higher the voltage you are putting to the track, and therefore the smoke unit is going to get hotter, faster.

My oldest 4-4-2 is now 30 years old with the original motor. But I had to replace the smoke unit after around 13-14 years. That indeed could be normal, but I also suspect I might have shortened its' life by routinely running longer trains. Even with the puffer type smoke units, the Lionel Premium Smoke Fluid is a huge improvement in smoke output for these sorts of engines, not normally noted for such.

Needless to say, modern types of rolling stock with fast angle wheel sets are going to be less stress for the locomotive than postwar style trucks that typically have more drag. Of course, keeping those clean and the wheels lubricated certainly helps.

Your layout configuration is probably also a factor. Level track is better than elevated up and over types of designs. More curves, as with a figure-8 are also more work for the locomotive to pull a train versus an extended oval. And probably the 36 inch diameter curves of FasTrack is easier on the locomotive than the tight 27 inch curves that I use.
 

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I stopped at 10

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Did you notice overheating or other adverse effects to the engine pulling 10 cars? Also was it a diesel or steam engine? Were they freight or passenger cars? Asking because I assume the tender on a steam engine counts as a car and aren't passenger cars generally heavier than typical freight cars and have slightly more drag due to the electrical pickups for the interior lighting? Of course not all freight cars are equal in weight either. :)
 

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Mine is a 0 4 0 NYC Flyer in a Strasburg shell that was pulling 10 freight cars. Modern light Lionel stuff. It's a starter set loco I converted. I didn't notice any overheating but I only ran it for about 5 minutes.

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