Track review - Lionel vs Menards

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Track review - Lionel vs Menards
Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Saturday, October 12, 2019 11:18 PM

For those who don't know, Menards has been making O gauge track for a few years.  I thought I'd compare it to Lionel and show you all the differences!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t751QKK3wS8

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Posted by fifedog on Sunday, October 13, 2019 5:29 AM

Darth - Well done review.  Appreciate the effort, I did.

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, October 13, 2019 11:07 PM

Nifty- have you tested their compatibility with Lionel track clips though? My guess is, like Marx track, the ties on the ends of a section are too far in to be compatable with Lionel's clips.

"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 Darth Santa Fe on Sunday, October 13, 2019 11:46 PM

I haven't tested them, but yes, the ties are farther in, so I assume the clips won't work.  Some black rubber bands make a good substitute.

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 6:27 PM

Adding another note to the Lionel vs Menards, I just purchased a few Menards freight cars to go with my Lionel 2343 set.  They look nice, but have some quality control issues.  I had to remove and loosen at least 1 wheelset on most of the cars before they could even roll, but they do at least roll smoothly now and have metal wheels.  The metal couplers work fine with the classic Lionel, but some of the Menards freight cars instead come with a cheaper plastic coupler.

The plastic couplers are some of the worst I've ever used in any scale, and wouldn't even connect to the metal ones until I filed them down!  The latch system is weak, so freight cars with these plastic couplers should be placed towards the back of the train.  If you're looking to purchase any, make sure to look at them in store first.  The biggest visual difference is that the metal couplers have a large blackened steel plate on the bottom of each truck, which is used for releasing the knuckle, while the plastic ones have a small post with a magnetic disk on the bottom.

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KRM
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Posted by KRM on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 8:11 PM

Seems to me most here know all of this as well as the fact that for 1/3 or less than the price for Lionel, the very good looking Menards stuff of your comments are not close to apples to apples.

 I have many examples of new Lionel products that just plane SUCK for the money. A case in point, my BNSF LionChief Plus GP20 Diesel #2050 Out of the box with a smoke unit that sounded like a cat that has his tail getting stepped on and now less than a year later, the E-board sends it to wide open when ever it wants. With no care or help from Lionel?  Seems they are in a glass house to me.

 Guess you need to look at both sides? At this point I wish Menards would take a shot at motive power as well as train cars and track.

 

Joined 1-21-2011    TCA 13-68614

Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by BigAl 956 on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:56 AM

Very hit or miss with the tightness of the fit. Early batches would not fit tightly together even when I squeezed the open ends shut with a track pliers. Newer batches of track in the stores last season, 2018, appeared to correct the problem but I tested a few sections in the store the other day, 2019, and the loose fit problem appears to be back.

To me it appears that Menards track metal is a mil or so thinner and a track pliers does not make the track pin fit tight enough for good electrical contact.

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