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At Christmas each year we set up the old Lionel set under the tree, along with houses and other buildings, people, automobiles, farms with animals, etc.

The old freight cars, though still in decent shape, have been replaced with new, themed cars.

But the old Lionel engine is tired and temperamental. The brushes need to be replaced. The reverser switch won't work unless you smack the engine a few times. And anyway it looks wrong with the newer freight cars.

BTW, the set was a mother-in-law hand-me-down from 1953. It'll be seventy years old next year!

So it's time for a replacement, right? We want a diesel, not another steamer. But the prices I see everywhere (both in stores and online) are out of sight.

We don't need anything fancy, and I just cannot see spending hundreds of dollars for new engine.

Is there anywhere I can buy a new engine for less?
 

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Hobo for Life
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Replace the brushes and spray some contact cleaner in the e unit? Paint it red to fit the cars? Ebay has loads of stuff, if just for x mass a lion chief engien may be nice. Everythibg is $$$ now. Maybe ask in the for sale wanted section on the fourm? What engien do you have, someone may trade?
 

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"... unless you smack the engine a few times. " Man, there should be laws .... :)

You have two routes: (a) a newer replacement; or (b) maintenance on the current loco. That's not as hard as it sems. I have 90+ year-old Loco's running like a top. And it will be lots less money than a replacement. They can run from a $100 used to $2,000.

Any pics of the current Christmas trains to guide us?
 

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Model train shows are a great place to find deals on all kinds of model train items. You might be able to find an older diesel, in like-new condition, with very little run time, at a decent price. With a bit of luck, there might be a parts dealer there that has parts to refurbish your old steamer. Or maybe even meet someone that can do it for you. You might even find an entire diesel-powered set at a good price.

You just never know what might pop up at a model train show, which is why I like to attend them every chance I get (within reasonable driving distance, of course).
 

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Don't overlook your local hobby shops (if any). Many buy up old equipment from estates, etc. and offer them at reasonable prices and varying degrees of testing, renovation and warranty. As others have said, there's plenty of on-line stuff available (primarily on eBay, Etsy and other such sites), though with shipping costs and delays, and the inability to physically inspect the merchandise, it's clearly a caveat emptor situation and IMHO best reserved for when you know exactly what you're looking for! Good luck, in any event . . .
 

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We don't need anything fancy, and I just cannot see spending hundreds of dollars for new engine.

Is there anywhere I can buy a new engine for less?
Trainworld usually has the best prices for Williams locos. You are probably not going to find anything lower for NEW O gauge locos.
O Scale Model Trains (trainworld.com)

Menards may have a loco by Christmastime, but it will probably be priced about the same as the lowest in the Trainworld link (aboout $150).
 

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My only issue with using Williams and not MTH Rail King is actually that Williams are true 1:48. That is good for us running them conventionally on a regular layout but on an under tree seasonal layout the shorter the better. You can go with scale switchers but for me, that's a $250 + investment.

I like Ron's idea, and it can be applied to ebay. (I think) You can set up searches in eBay to stop at a particular price point and bid to your budget.
 

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Williams Golden Memories Steam are reproductions of Post War Lionel. Their 773 is scale size but the 2056, 671, and 726 are semi scale and easily handle 031 if not 027. Pretty sure all of their Diesels will likewise handle 031 if not 027.

Pete
 

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Williams Golden Memories Steam are reproductions of Post War Lionel. Their 773 is scale size but the 2056, 671, and 726 are semi scale and easily handle 031 if not 027. Pretty sure all of their Diesels will likewise handle 031 if not 027.

Pete
I have a Williams scale F7 ABA. It ran fine on a O-27 test loop.
 

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Look at Williams Diesels at the auction sites. Reasonably priced, near bulletproof and simple. Many are reproductions of Lionel Post War.
MacMacMac ditto what Norton said! I just picked up a Williams Milwaukee Road GP-9 for $35 at an Estate Sale from a Collector who recently passed. It was half price on the last day and they kept dropping the price from the original $125..which was marked pretty low for this quality Locomotive. Due Diligence Youngman and you will find a replacement also Train Shows are terrific as well...I kinda like the Christmas paint scheme SJM 9911 came up with, kinda keep the Old Girl running and in the Family!! Good Luck, Bud!
 

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Come back when you want guidance on cleaning the engine. A set only run at Xmas could last another 70 with the proper maintenance.
Any train show with a $135 in your pocket, you can find one.
 

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MPC era diesels on eBay are cheap, I have several and they are pretty bulletproof. I have a soft spot for the RS-3s, underdogs but they just look right. Auctions and estate sales are pretty good, too. My brother-in-law took me to an auction in North Carolina while my wife and I were visiting. For $90 I got a prewar #145, 2 box cars, 2 switches (manual), a load of track, a bridge, the corral AND an American Flyer #300 4-4-2, 3 passenger cars, a loop of track, a manual switch, a bumper, an uncoupler track AND 4 or 5 transformers - Lionel, Marx, AF.

BTW, the Williams switchers on Trainz - GE 44 ton, GE 70 ton and NW2 are small enough for your Christmas trains.

Good luck.
 
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