model train set on track

COUNT your Train Laps with the Lionel A221E Lap Counter

e*Train Issue: Feb 2008   |   Posted in:

By Mike Stella

You go to your train room.  You turn on the trains.  You watch them circle your Main Line Loop time and time again.  At the end of your running session you wonder how many times the Time Freight circled the room?   Now you can keep track (a little train pun).

Lionel #128 Newsstand and the #221E lap counter.

The Lionel A221E Electric Lap Counter is just the ticket (another pun).  Made in the early 1960s, this neat little building, the same size as the #128 Newsstand, automatically keeps track of every time your train passes.  There are two circuits inside the structure so you can monitor two different train loops at the same time.

Inside shot showing control coils.

Each time the circuit is triggered the counter will increment.  I have not seen one of these Lap Counters for sale ANYWHERE in the four decades I’ve been collecting Lionel so it might be a real challenge to locate one for your Lionel layout.

Front view of the lap counter.

But isn’t that a big part of the “FUN” of collecting?   Before the Internet came along, you used to hear great stories regarding “THE HUNT.”  Car trips across State lines in the middle of the night to be the first to arrive at a garage sale.  Weird descriptions of “Old Tin Trains” over the telephone that made your heart pound.

Now most of what you hear is last minute “sniping” on the Internet.  Beating another bidder by just a few cents.  Big Deal.  No fun.  No Challenge.

Happy HUNTING however you practice it.