Milling About at Home: David Heick

David Heick, who exhibits his model steam engines and 1956 Chevy at the Antique Engine Jamboree, tells us about restoring his father’s model train.

Restored Lionel electric locomotive, circa 1926.

Model railroading is something I have been doing since I was a young child. This is a prewar Lionel electric locomotive that belonged to my Dad. It was a wreck. I rebuilt the whole thing.

“I love model trains. I have a lot of them. This toy train was made around the time when Hanford Mills was in its heyday, about 1926.”

It took me a while to decide if I should restore this locomotive because I can remember as a child my dad told me that when he was a kid he took it apart and painted it. It is sentimental to me.

I had to clean off all the paint, I could tell it was house paint that was brushed on. I polished all the brass parts. I found reproduction parts that were missing on eBay. (You can find anything, you just have to look.)

I found green spray paint that was pretty close to the color that this locomotive might have been.  I completely disassembled the motor to clean all the dirt, dust and old oil out of it. I rewound the motor armature and installed new brushes. I replaced the broken wheels. I also rewired the whole thing.

“It is a really nice running locomotive now. I’m glad I decided to restore it.”