​​Lakes and Pines Division - Train Collectors Association

Roundhouse Rick’s RR Ramblings
Email Rick at Rick@usjet.net
Lakes & Pines Web address is www.tcalakesandpines.com

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was ready to attend our October meeting at Murzyn Hall. Then it started snowing, and snowing and snowing! I put on my galoshes (or dickersons, gumshoes, rubbers or overshoes) and headed outside to my car. I made it to Columbia Heights and attended our Lakes & Pines
meeting. The crowd was light on this day. But our crowd will be MUCH LARGER on November 11th when we have our OPEN MEET. The doors will open at 11:15AM and the public will be invited in at 12:15PM. I’m expecting to ‘sell out’ (HA, HA, HA) or at least hoping to make a dent in my pile.

There are lots of selling opportunities in November, and buying opportunities too. November 3 & 4 is the Great Train Show at Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, Minnesota. This is a big show with many outside vendors. Time is 10AM to 4PM both days. November 10 is the Granite City Train Show at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St Cloud, Minnesota  from 9AM to 3PM. Info: Call 320-255-0033.

We have to give an honorable mention to TRAINFEST in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 10 & 11 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. That’s reputed to be the largest operating RR show in the USA, but November 11th is also our OPEN MEET in Columbia Heights. Roundhouse Rick will be at L&P TCA.


November 17th is the Greater Upper Midwest Train Show & Sale at the Century College, West Campus, 3300 Century Avenue North in White Bear Lake from 9AM to 2PM. Call Greg Beckman at 651-808-8556 for table information. Even Roundhouse Rick will have a table for this one.

On December 1st the North Metro Model Railroad Club Railroad Flea Market & Open House takes place at the Coon Rapids VFW Building, 1919 Coon Rapids Boulevard in Coon Rapids from 9AM to 2PM.

One more show. Albert Lea Area’s 23rd
Annual Model Railroad Show and Swap Meet is being held in a new
location. National Guard Armory, 410 Prospect Avenue in Albert Lea, Minnesota from 9AM to 4PM on December 1 and 10AM to 3PM on December 2. For info call 507-473-0303.

I thought I would dust off some of the Marx articles I have saved from Al’s extensive writings.
There are two main variety of wheels and gears on Marx electric locomotives. The early locomotives almost all have what we call single-reduction drive gears on the wheels that come all the way out to the edge of the flange. This is true of most 4-wheel steam and diesel motors and the 2-wheel drive diesels. After 1955 the
cheaper locomotives with no reverse units continued to use that single-reduction wheel style, but the more expensive locomotives mostly had what we call double-reduction gearing where the gears are recessed behind the wheel and do not come out to the edge of the flange. The main exceptions to the above are the pre-1955 #333 and #1829 six-driver steam locomotives which have double-reduction gearing and recessed gears like the later motors, the pre-war double-reduction electric
sparkling Mercury locomotives, and a handful of Jubilee locomotives with the same basic motor as the sparkling Mercury and cam in sets with 10 or more cars.
Because the wheel flange is so fat (with the gear included) on the single-reduction motors, those Marx wheels will not go through any reasonable modern Lionel, Gargraves or Atlas switches without derailing. The gear climbs the guard rails, or the frog if any, and derails the locomotive. The deluxe, reversing Marx motors made
after 1955 all have recessed gears and will go through those switches.
Looking at Lionel’s FasTrack, none of the special accessory pieces like the 45 or 90 degree crossings will work with the Marx wide-gear locomotives. The regular straight, curved, insulated and terminal sections will work just fine. Here are Al’s invaluable instructions for lubricating Marx trains. You can save money by using Vaseline Petroleum Jelly for lubricating Marx trains. It is a lot cheaper than the Labelle products and it seems to work better. If you are an occasional operator, the lubricants you choose probably don’t matter too much as long as you don’t use oil. For heavy constant operation, like at the toy train museum, using Vaseline seems to make the trains last longer. Now we need to talk about oil. On a Lionel motor there are places that must be lubricated with oil. On a Marx motor oil should not be used, except possibly on the wheel bearings on the large
motors, and even there Vaseline may be a better choice. The reasons are primarily two: 1) On the pre-1955  motors and on the one-way fiber side frame motors, the single large gear between the drive wheels is made out of powdered metal. The solvents in post 1940’s oils will break down the bonds in that powdered metal
gear, and it will eventually lose it’s teeth. Then 2) the Marx reverse unit is open on the bottom end, and any oil
that gets on the armature will be thrown about within the motor. Some of that oil will go into the reverse unit. When oil gets old it gets gummy, and if there is oil in the reverse unit, the solenoid plunger will not fall all the way down when the power to the motor is cut. If the plunger does not fall all the way down, the motor will not
reverse unless you bang it on the top. So both ends of the armature shaft in a Marx motor should only be lubricated with Vaseline or another grease. Marx recommended Vaseline or a pre-1940 medium thick oil for lubrication of their motors. But on Lionel motors, you must use oil. Whether one uses Vaseline or another
grease or oil on wheel bearings in the motor and on axles on rolling stock is probably personal preference. I prefer Vaseline to Lubriplate for grease because Vaseline ages better and is cleaner. Now Al talks about the unique Marx tilt couplers. The easiest way to insure metal tilt couplers are at the right height is to get a deLuxe plastic car with die-cast wheels and the roller-bearing style plastic overlays. Check to
be sure the coupler has never been in a place where it has started to melt and sag. Then bend the metal fork coupler up or down until it aligns perfectly with the plastic coupler. I have found that bending the hang-down tab to try to get it at the correct height or angle never works. Every time you bend a piece of metal it gets
longer, so the more you try to fix a coupler that shorts out on the center rail, the more it shorts out. Just get a bottle of Plasti-Dip (intended for the handles on tools) and paint a bit of it on the tab where it is shorting out. It will last a long time, and when it finally wears through you can just paint a bit more on the tab. For high-
mileage metal fork couplers where the tab no longer holds reliably, put a high quality paring knife under the lip on the tab with the coupler points pressed down against your workbench, and force the knife under the edge of the tab just a tiny bit. Don’t bend the tab so far that the tab can hook under the edge of the hole in the mating
coupler. Wear safety goggles in case the knife chips and a piece flies up at you.
Thanks Al.

Now here is a list that someone compiled of all the Classic Toy Train magazines with Marx content
from 1990 through 2018. * 1990 – Feb, June, Dec. * 1991 – Feb, Apr, Aug. * 1992 – Feb, June, Aug. * 1993 –
May, June. * 1994 – July. * 1995 – Jan, Mar, Nov. * 1996 – Mar, Sept, Nov. * 1997 – Jan, Mar, May, July, Nov.
* 1998 – Jan. * 1999 – Jan, Mar, July, Oct. * 2000 – Mar, July, Dec. * 2002 – Feb, Mar, Nov. * 2003 – Feb,
May. * 2004 – Mar. * 2005 – Jan. * 2006 – Feb, July, Nov. * 2007 – Nov. * 2010 – Mar, May, Oct. * 2012 –
Sept, Dec. * 2014 – Sept, Oct. * 2015 – Jan, Feb, Dec. * 2016 – July, Oct. * 2017 – Jan, Sept. * 2018 – Jan,
Mar, July.
That wraps up this special Marx Ramblings. For this holiday season, check out Scale Model Supplies, 458 North Lexington Parkway, St Paul, for Lionel, including lots of previously loved items.

So we will see you all at our OPEN MEET on November 11th
Sincerely, Roundhouse Rick Krenske