MARX help

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  • Member since
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MARX help
Posted by traindaddy1 on Monday, January 01, 2018 10:35 AM

Awhile back, I posted a question about the Marx Signalman Shanty with Crossing Gate, namely the illuminated version, # 1440.

Last week, we were able to get one at a yard sale.

We need some MARX expert's advice. 

The operation is fine except that while the door opens and the light goes on as the train approaches, the crossing gate "labors" as it goes down. (Recovery after the train passes, is fine)

Question: Should the crossing gate go down as swiftly as the door and light reacts or is the slow movement a normal Marx operation? If not normal, what do you think might  be the problem and can it be repaired? 

We did try hooking it up to a test track with a direct power feed but the result was the same.

Appreciate your advice.  As always, many thanks.


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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Monday, January 01, 2018 11:22 AM

I don't have that piece but I'm guessing a coil pulls the gate arm into position.  That being said if you are using track power to operate the coil the reduced power may be less than the accesory power and make for a slow up motion.  It returns with gravity. 

You may also see if the iron core in the coil moves freely.  I've seen where people have used oil in the coil to lubricate the movement and after time gets gummy.  The core could be rusty.  If so remove the core and polish with fine emory cloth.  If gummy clean with solvent.

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Monday, January 01, 2018 2:07 PM

Sturgeon-Phish: Will check it out. Thanks for the reply.

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, January 01, 2018 2:39 PM

I’m not sure if it’s the case here, but most of Marx’s crossing gates do NOT return to the “up” position, via gravity. At least, I’ve never seen one yet, but I haven’t got enough experience to know for sure. Marx’s gates usually have a little spring that does this job. My guess, is that the slowed behavior of the gate, is due to there not being enough voltage to combat the force of the spring effectively. It could also be, that the spring is too strong, or there’s bad wiring/ broken wire insulation somewhere in there. 

See if you can open up the base of the accessory, and have a look around inside. I’m certain this works off of one, or two Solinoids, the fact that the door operates well, but the gate does not, suggests to me that they are actuated separately. Once you have it open, try to test the mechanism from the inside, and see if there is any kind of resistance in the mechanism. Lubricate any moving parts, where there are any gear teeth, pivot points, or surfaces rubbing against eachother. 

Marx made their toys inexpensively, but robustly. In general, Marx trains are very resilient, and it’s highly unlikely that whatever is wrong, can’t be fixed. They used simple, but clever mechanisms, so even if this is a new experience, it’s probably a good idea to take that leap of faith, and see what makes it tick.

"If it don't work, then gosh darn it, get a' fixin!"

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

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Posted by sir james I on Monday, January 01, 2018 7:28 PM

Most Marx trains will run on about 12 volts and their coils were designed for that voltage. Try cleaning or live with how it works but don't crank the voltage up.


"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks 

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 8:49 PM

Leverettrainfan: Sir James I:  Thanks for the advice.

Will follow-up.

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Posted by Papa_D on Thursday, January 04, 2018 1:04 PM

 As I noted in response to your earlier post on the 1420 crossing shanty with man (the 1440 is the same as the 1420 except for the illumination and plastic windows), disassembly to inspect or fix anything is between difficult to impossible. The base cover plate is fastened via dimples vs tabs.

Crossing Shanty Bottom


Bottom Cover Dimple Attachment

My 1420 operates just fine at 12 Vac, although it sounds like a buzzer. Probably would operate quieter on 12 Vdc. As Sir James I pointed out, you need to be careful on not applying too much voltage as the Marx solenoids have very fine wire which is easily damaged. 

One thing I noticed on mine is both side of the gate need to be on both pivot pins for it to come down all the way. On mine at least, the plastic gate sides have spread over time.

Gate Pivot

Papa D


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Posted by traindaddy1 on Thursday, January 04, 2018 3:09 PM
PaPa D: Yesterday, I took off the underside plate and was going to follow-up on the suggestions. Got interrupted by "family" gremlins. As soon as I get a chance, I'll get back to the accessory. One thing, the operation does sound like a buzz. Thanks.

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