Friday, December 23, 2011

Lionel New York Central Flyer Train Set - No Squealing Brakes *Update*

  Growing up I really did not play with model railroad sets all that much. However, as time goes on I noticed that I really do enjoy the craftsmanship that goes into these model trains.  Taking a trip to a few hobby shops with my Dad during the past few weeks made me realize that I could browse the model railroad section of a hobby shop for hours.  I just love the look of the trains chugging along on their suspended tracks up near the ceiling as well as browsing through all of the different rolling stock that is available.

  I figured since Christmas is almost here and I have a 2 year old that I think would love to see a train circling the Christmas tree, why not invest in a RTR (Ready-to-Run) set.  After some digging around and comparing prices, the model that was most appealing to me was the New York Central Flyer (pic above). Model number 6-30156.  The few main reasons why I chose this model were because it included the TrainSounds system with the tender and the locomotive was equipped with upgraded rods/linkages on the wheels which look fantastic compared to other sets in this price range. Check out the pic below.
  Lastly, I found a hobby shop online that was selling these sets brand new for more than $76 less than what I could find at any local hobby shop.  Keep in mind when I purchased online, I did not have to pay tax, plus shipping was free which made the deal even better.  Below I will list all of the features taken right off of Lionel's website so you will have an idea of what was included with this particular set.
 FEATURES
     Set Includes:
  • 0-8-0 steam locomotive and tender
  • Boxcar,
  • Gondola with canisters
  • Helicopter launch car
  • Work caboose
  • Three straight FasTrack track sections, eight curved FasTrack track sections, a FasTrack terminal section, a FasTrack uncoupling section CW-80 Transformer
  • Smoke fluid
Locomotive Features:
  • Transformer controlled forward, neutral, and
  • reverse operation
  • TrainSounds sound system with steam chuffing, steam whistle, bell, squealing brakes, and operator-controlled multi-part crew dialog
  • Operating headlight
  • Puffing smoke unit
  • Die-cast operating coupler on front of
  • locomotive
  • Operating coupler on rear of tender
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor
  • Traction tires
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body and frame
  • Upgraded drive rod assembly
  • Silver metal rims on wheels
  • Engineer and fireman figures
Rolling Stock Features:
  • Die-cast metal sprung trucks and operating couplers
  • Non-sprung die-cast metal trucks on caboose
  • Opening doors on boxcar
  • Four "Pacemaker" canisters on gondola
  • Operating helicopter flies from helicopter launch car
  • Interior illumination in work caboose
  Upon setting up the layout, I really did not run into any problems however I did notice that the manual was lacking in some areas and could have included a bit more technical information.  In any case, everything went together without a hitch and ran fairly smoothly.  The testing of the TrainSounds system was pretty straightforward as there is not much required other than pressing the common "whistle" and "bell" buttons on the transformer to get the desired effect. Where I did noticed a problem however was when trying to get the "squealing brakes" sound to function.  I had read the manual multiple times and looked online for hints however nothing I was doing seemed to initiate this particular sound. While reading through various forums I found that I was not the only one with this issue but most people suggested to simply forget about it because the sound itself was a bit annoying.  Be that as it may, I still wanted to confirm whether or not my train set was operating 100% as intended.  I figure if I paid for something, it should work as described whether or not it is has the potential of being "annoying".

  From what I had gathered online, this "squealing brake" sound is extremley hard to initiate for whatever reason. At the same time, a few people mentioned that when you try to lower the speed of the train to activate this sound, you need to do so extremely quickly. In the manual it states that you need to have the sound volume set at its highest setting and you need to run the train at high speed for 10 seconds or more then drop the throttle down at least 50% or more to activate the squealing brakes sound. Since I read the suggestions in the online forums, I have only been able to activate this particular sound maybe 2-3 times total while trying over and over. For me to get this to work the first time I actually removed most of the rolling stock cars except for 2 and then ran the train at full speed for the recommended time and dropped the throttle as fast as I could and low and behold, I heard the squealing brake sound. I was happy to hear the sound and know that everything was working normally.  I then added all my cars back to the track and a few minutes later I was able to get the squealing brake sound to activate again.

*Updated 1/3/2012*
I recently had taken my train set down and noticed that when I removed some cars from the track, it appeared to make the squealing brakes sound much easier to activate.  I am guessing this has something to do with the overall amount of voltage being drawn.  So if you are experiencing this same issue, try to remove a few cars from the set and try again.

  At this point I do not really care to use the sound however in the back of my mind it does give me some peace to know that it DOES actually work. I seem to have the best results by flicking the throttle down really fast and then raise it back up just enough so that the tender has power to play the sound.  I can't stress enough how fast you must flick the throttle down to get this to work either. While looking at the light on the front of the engine when attempting this, it does appear as though I am cutting almost all power to the track at first because the front engine light does appear to almost go completely dark. Either way, I hope my explanation helps someone who encountered this same problem so you too can have the peace of mind that yes, your train set is functioning at 100% as well.

Overall I am extremley satisfied with this train set as it provides a lot of great features that I simply was not able to find included with most other sets in the same price range.  I know my kids will love this addition to our Christmas tree for years to come.





Merry Christmas and Happy Railroading!!



-TanthT