Introduction: How to Fix 1948 Post War 736 Lionel Train

The other day I visited my Grandfathers house on the afternoon in Monterrey Mexico. I told him about my Instructables project and how I need to restore something old. I told him about how I wanted to restore the antique train set he had locked away in a room in his garage. He loved my idea and we went on to that room and took out the big box that held the train, its wagons, tracks, and controls. We found the original receipt, and instructions manuals that belonged to the train. He told me the whole story of the set, let me explain... When my Grandfather was a small boy in 1955 living in Mexico city, his father and uncle bought a train set, a "Lionel Electric Train Set" this specific set was already 7 years old (1948 post war set). When he grew up he inherited the train. My Grandfather stored the train away in his garage for more than 45 years. Not even my father has seen the train run on its tracks, and now it was finally time to restore it which was something my grandfather had been wanting to do for a lot of time. I did all the cleaning at school and all the electrical work at home with my father and grandfather. I remember when I was small and my Grandfather talked about the train, and how we would restore it when I grew older. That time came, and I restored it. Heres what you will need to do.


Step 1: Materials

The Materials you will need for this project are:

  1. WD-40
  2. Extra cables
  3. Cleaning cloth
  4. Old tooth brush
  5. Screw drivers
  6. Connector cleaner

Step 2: Clean the Outside

For this step you want to clean the outside of the train, I am using WD-40 for this part, because I realized it needed oil in the wheels. You will want to use the long plastic straw that is included, because it will help get the liquid really in the wheels and make them turn smoothly and maybe even take some rust off depending on your train's condition. Apart from oiling the wheels the WD-40 also cleaned some parts of the train it takes some dust off, it takes rust off, (like I said before, depending on your train's condition,) but the most important thing it does, it makes the wheels spin smoothly. Remember, what I am doing is not entirely cleaning, I also want to make the train run on its tracks again like it used to back in the 50's.

Step 3: Clean the Control Box

Your control box is probably dirty, since it's so old. Open it up and then with an old toothbrush and connector cleaner fluid (3 in 1) clean everything inside. When you know it is clean close the control box.

This step will help the next step a whole lot.

Step 4: Connect the Cables

Your control box probably does not have any cables connected to the outside. What you will do is connect a wire to the A screw, and then put a nut (tool nut, not an edible nut) on top of it. Then do the same but in the U or D connector (Either work) . After you have that insert the top of each cables (make sure you have clipped the edges of the rubber) to the track connectors, to do so, push down on the metal clip until a circle with a hole comes up, insert the cables through the two of those clips and that way you will get electricity running through the tracks.

The train will not run on the tracks if the control box is not cleaned, since the electricity will not flow as well.

Step 5: How to Make the Train Run on the Tracks

Finally you want to place the train in the connected tracks, connect the control box to the wall. Then when the train is on the tracks, start moving the black lever in the control box up, listen as the electricity starts flowing through the tracks and the train, then, the train will start moving either forward or backward. If backward hit the black "Direction" button and start again. Be careful not to touch the tracks when they are connected to power, or you could get electrocuted.

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