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Model Railroads/lionel diesel engine


QUESTION: i just received a 75th anniversary u36b diesel. when i turn it on it sounds very loud and scratchy. it runs but sounds bad. what would be some of the causes. thanks so much

ANSWER: Hi William,

First question to you, is this a brand new engine or a used engine?
Are you running it in a traditional mode (transformer) or in command control (digital)?
Typically, when a Lionel engine has that issue. It's dirty track. Or dirty pick-ups on the
engine itself, Be sure to clean both items properly, the problem should resolve itself.

Other issue could be the volume control is way up to full. The knob is usually a steel
pin with a slot in the middle of it. Just like a slotted metal screw. That controls the volume.
Turn it about a 1/4 of an inch either way.

Recheck the sound.

That should solve the problem.

Good luck and me know how it went.


John Schaub

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: It's from 1975 and it is run from a transformer. The track and contacts are good, but not sure where at on the train is the volume control. Also,what are the signs of a motor going bad of any

Check your instruction book that came with the engine. That should help you find the sound volume adjustment.
An engine from 1975 might need to be overhauled at this time. All low-voltage electric motors need to be cleaned
and lubricated. The internal parts of the motor on a toy train do wear out. Please check on-line for a qualified Lionel
Service Center. There's a directory in OGR O-Gauge Rail Magazine. You may find a good source to have the engine taken
care of.

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John Schaub


I can answer the following questions: Almost anything about the hobby, except complex electrical questions. Anything about table construction, model kit building, layout scenery, weathering and painting, adding lighting to structures and scenery. I cannot answer questions about the value or appraisal of an item through an e-mail question. The only true method to valuation is having the item in front of me. I will not answer any questions about complex wiring for signals, DCC, or switch motor installations.


Model railroader since childhood. And that's quite a few years ago. My experience includes: Planning, Design, Benchwork Construction, Trackwork, Conceptualizing the placement of the basic scenic shell and future structure placement. Developing a "vision" of what the layout' them will be. Historical research. Model builder. Painter, Detailer and Weathering. Scenery Artisan, Model train room decorator. Freight car builder. Engine detailer. Turned my passion for model railroading to a full time career in 1998. I now design, build and construct model railroads. Focusing my skills on planning and design, model kit building services, scenery and structure installations, painting, weathering and detailing.

Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Rutland Railway Association.

Classic Toy Trains, January 2013

Self-taught Model Railroader turned professional consultant New York Institute of Technology, Communication Arts Degree C.W. Post College, Computer Graphics-Desktop Publishing Certificate Program Molloy College, MacIntosh Computer Studies-Certificate Program

Past/Present Clients
Sorry, I can not reveal their names. I will tell you that my clients range from 5 year olds to 75 year olds. My layout commissions are in private homes, hobby shops, hotel lobbies, libraries, museums and historical societies.

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