American Model Trains - Damaged Dome

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American Model Trains - Damaged Dome
Posted by Bob.M on Sunday, August 26, 2007 12:22 PM

Above is a picture of my AMT Buena Vista car. 

Here is a closeup of the cracked dome. Is there anything I can do to repair or replace it? I see a set of these cars on eBay with a similar crack in the plastic dome. My thought is if I can't get a replacement dome, I may buy a lionel or other similar car with a dome to replace this car. I already have one Lionel car (Silver Cloud #2533) next to the engine as it has working couplers, whereas AMT has fixed couplers.

Just for info, here is what a "real" one looks like. At the Miami train museum.

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Posted by rlplionel on Sunday, August 26, 2007 6:00 PM
The crack in your AMT Vistadome passenger car is common for this model. It would be difficult to find a junker car with a good dome to replace yours. I wonder if you could take the dome off your car and try to epoxy the two cracked pieces back together? I'm not sure that would help, as the dome appears to be warped and may crack again when installed back into the car. Finding a Lionel dome substitute may be the way to go if you don't mind not keeping your car all original.
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Posted by Bob.M on Sunday, August 26, 2007 6:53 PM

 rlplionel wrote:
...... Finding a Lionel dome substitute may be the way to go if you don't mind not keeping your car all original.

If I could find a Lionel dome I would give it a try. Better than retiring the car. It was given to me in the late '40s or early '50s. It is one of the few parts of the train set that did not survive the 50 years.

Searching around for info about AMT, I see that the shiny roofs that my cars have were replaced by the scored roofs similar to the Lionel "Streamline" cars fo the time.

I notice the pictures I included "strobe" annoyingly. If you click on one, it clears up.

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Posted by watinva on Sunday, August 26, 2007 8:39 PM

Bob M

 I have a few of the AMT passenger cars including 2 of the Vista Domes. The plastic domes on mine are distorted like yours, but not cracked. I have a picture I found somewhere on the web with a AMT Vista Dome using a Lionel 2500 series passenger car dome. Looks pretty good, I think the Lionel part number is 2532-16. One of the Lionel parts dealers on line had this part listed, maybe Brausser (sp?) in Michigan, I called a while back, but they were out of them but thought Lionel or someone was going to make some more in the future. You might try some of the other postwar Lionel dealers on the web to see if they have any. I am not familiar with posting pictures on the forum here, but I can email you the picture I have if you like, let me know. I really like the AMT smooth top passenger cars. I have about 8 or 9  Santa Fe ones I use behind my Williams F3 Santa Fe Post War Lionel look a like. Also have a bunch of the more common AMT freight cars with the cast aluminum bottoms and a few of the cabooses. Nicely made trains.

Dean

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Posted by watinva on Sunday, August 26, 2007 9:08 PM

Ok, lets see if this picture thingy works.

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Posted by Jumijo on Monday, August 27, 2007 6:38 AM

I was going to suggest vaccuforming the dome, but the Lionel dome looks better than the AMT original. Go with that.

Jim 

See the Scenic Jumijo Railroad in CTT and OGR magazines! 

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Posted by Bob.M on Monday, August 27, 2007 8:03 AM

 jaabat wrote:
I was going to suggest vaccuforming the dome, but the Lionel dome looks better than the AMT original. Go with that.

I agree. It looks more like the "real" dome I saw in Florida. Thanks to all who responded.

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Posted by Bob.M on Monday, August 27, 2007 8:12 AM

 watinva wrote:

Ok, lets see if this picture thingy works.

It worked very well. I see black couplers on that car. Mine have non-operating light grey couplers, which is why I have a Lionel passenger car at the front of the train. I wonder if the owner retrofitted some operating couplers? (Not really needed, though). I use an MTH E-8-AA Santa Fe to pull them.

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Posted by Bob.M on Thursday, August 30, 2007 3:32 PM

I found a Lionel Dome at Stan Orr Train Parts. I am amazed that we can get parts from a product made 50 years ago. Now I have to figure out how to install it. He did not know if the 2532-18 spring was needed to install the dome, but I will figure something out. First thing is to get the old Dremel fired up and remove some metal from the AMT car roof.

www.stanorrtrainparts.com

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Posted by Jumijo on Thursday, August 30, 2007 5:43 PM

Tread lightly, Bob. Think it through carefully so you don't do any damage to the car.

Looking at the 2 different cars seen above, it does appear that the Lionel dome is longer than the AMT one. What I would do is wait for the dome to arrive. When it comes, place the dome on top of the car. Place masking tape under the edges of the dome, make sure it's straight, and trace the edges with a pencil or marker. Cutting the lines with a fine blade hack saw will ensure a nice smooth line. finish the sides of the roof carefully with the dremel. Then polish those edges with fine sandpaper.

Jim

See the Scenic Jumijo Railroad in CTT and OGR magazines! 

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Posted by watinva on Monday, September 03, 2007 5:43 AM

Bob M

Could you give us an update on what you had to do to get the Lionel dome to work on the Amt passenger car? I think the Lionel dome does look better than the orginal AMT dome. I always thought the Lionel dome would just fit on dome of the AMT car and cover the hole. Would appriciate any info and a picture if possible. I am thinking of doing the same to my 2 AMT dome cars. Did you need the Lionel springs or did it just "pop" on.

Thanks

Dean

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Posted by Bob.M on Sunday, September 09, 2007 7:58 AM
 watinva wrote:

Could you give us an update on what you had to do to get the Lionel dome to work on the Amt passenger car? I think the Lionel dome does look better than the orginal AMT dome. I always thought the Lionel dome would just fit on dome of the AMT car and cover the hole. Would appriciate any info and a picture if possible. I am thinking of doing the same to my 2 AMT dome cars. Did you need the Lionel springs or did it just "pop" on.

I will give an update when I get a round toit. I received what looks like a brand new Lionel dome from Stan Orr Train Parts in Stormville, NY. He does not list the spring, nor does he know if it is needed. It will involve cutting. It certainly does not just pop on. The car is sitting on my bench with a cloth dust cover over it, waiting for a rainy day. We are in a drought here in CT. Been at Cape Cod for the past week.

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Posted by Bob.M on Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:48 PM

Here is how the new Lionel dome looks just sitting on top of the AMT car. Looks like I will have to cut about 1/4" off each side of the opening in the roof. Cutting the dome would leave the two holes in the roof showing that were used for the original dome.

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Posted by watinva on Monday, September 10, 2007 5:33 AM

Bob M

Thanks for the update. Yeah, I see what you mean, no way that dome is going to "pop in". Should look great when you get it fitted in. Let us know how you did it when you get it done.

Thanks again

Dean

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Posted by Bob.M on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:19 PM

We had 3/4" of rain today. Time to do some indoor work. I marked the opening with a pencil, using a carpenter's square to get it, well, square. I made the opening about 1/16" too small, then filed it using a 1" wide "Mill ***" file. Sorry, that is what it is called. As it turned out, I did not need any method of holding it in place, as it is a snug fit. I did grind off the projections that were molded into the Lionel dome for use with the spring, as they no longer served any purpose, and were in the way.

After finishing it, I realized that you could add a dome to any car, and it does not need to be centered. The "Real" car earlier in this thread was an observation car, sort of like a passenger train caboose, and its dome is offset to the rear.

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Posted by watinva on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:15 PM

Nice job Bob, looks good. Did you use a hacksaw with a fine tooth blade to cut the opening and just 1 cut or 2. Looks like you centered the dome and cut a little off each side, 2 cuts. Thanks for sharing. Looks better than orginal.

Dean

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Posted by Bob.M on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 7:55 AM

 watinva wrote:
Nice job Bob, looks good. Did you use a hacksaw with a fine tooth blade to cut the opening and just 1 cut or 2. Looks like you centered the dome and cut a little off each side, 2 cuts. Thanks for sharing. Looks better than orginal.

The hacksaw was 24 teeth per inch. I don't know if that is fine or not, but I used a new blade for the work. 2 cuts were made, about 3/8" each. The horizontal cut was made with a Dremel cutoff blade.

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Posted by rlplionel on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 6:17 PM
You really did a super job on that dome, Bob. Looks like it came right out of the factory that way. I'll keep this procedure in mind should I ever come across a similar car in need of a new dome.

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