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.
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.”