model train set on track

Lionel Repurposing: ♫”Bring in the Clones”♫

e*Train Issue: Jun 2022   |   Posted in: ,

Lionel Repurposing: Bring in the Clones”

By Tim Ring, TCA# 06-59760 and Bob Mintz, TCA# 92-35064

Repurposing is the use of something for a purpose other than its original intended use. Repurposing an item can be done by modifying it to fit a new use, or by using the item as it is in a new way.  See RadioActive Waste Cars, TCA e*Train, Spring 2022 at

This Waste Car article ended with the following thought: “Our next installment will include what Lionel race car accessories look awfully familiar but had different numbers and slight modifications to their train-related counterparts, in other words, they were REPURPOSED!”

Other than an HO version of the Executive Inspection Car (# 0068), the first time that I recall seeing HO racecars was the rear cover of the 1961 Lionel catalog shown above.

1962 Lionel Catalog, page 39

Page 39 of the 1962 catalog does give us some “need for speed”, as there appears to be a ghost Lister Jaguar sports car (see page 39) stopped at the New! No. 262 Highway Crossing Gate.  Interestingly enough, there are three accessories on this very page that made their way into the racecar realm.

1962 Lionel Catalog, page 46

    The next time we get a hint of things to come is on page 46.  Is it me, or does the asphalt track that these cars are running on end up having ties after the curve and looking like Super-O (The Very Best) track?

The 1962 catalog contained not just trains, but the Famous Inventor Series, Communications-Labs, Electronic-Labs, Plastic-Labs, Weather Stations, Lionel-Porter Microcraft, Lionel-Porter Chemcraft, Lionel-Porter Mineralogy-Geology, Lionel-Porter Biocraft, Lionel-Spear single, two-speed and four-speed acoustic phonographs, Lionel-Spear Tape Recorders, “Talking Teddy,” and Scalextric by Lionel-Tri-Ang auto racing.

There is no mention of the scale of the Lionel-Tri-Ang except under Buildings and Equipment, which stated: “1/30th True Scale”.

The 1963 catalog calls these sets “Standard Scale Motor Racing” and mentions “1/32nd scale”.

1963 Lionel Catalog, page 53

     Neither Item “A” (Trestle Set for Standard Scale) or Item “B” (Trestle Set for HO Scale) appear to have a train related counterpart.  The HO train graduated trestles #0110 & trestle set #0111 appear to be miniature versions of the #110 & #111 items.

Item “F” is the #5451 Electric Lap Counter Set for HO Scale and has no train associated equivalent.

But Item “G” the #5160 Officials Viewing Stand looks terribly recognizable.

In fact, this item was repurposed from several predecessor items, such as #365 Dispatching Station, #419 Heliport Control Tower and #465 Sound Dispatching Station in the Postwar period and remakes #14084 Lionel Heliport and #22999 Sound Dispatching Station in the modern period respectively.

#5160 Officials Viewing Stand (Postwar)
#365 Dispatching Station (Postwar)
#419 Heliport Control Tower (Postwar)
#465 Sound Dispatching Station (Postwar
#14084 Lionel Heliport (Modern)
#22999 Sound Dispatching Station (Modern)
#5158 Barrels

Item “H” #5158 Barrels appear to be the same as the barrels from #6343 Barrel Ramp Car.  Interesting how the description on the box calls it “H/O” rather than “HO”.

#5155 “Pacesetter” Time with Automatic Power

Item “L” #5155 “Pacesetter” Time with Automatic Power control seems to be a knock-off of the countdown panel from the #175 Rocket Launcher.

     Lionel Catalog #175 Rocket Launcher countdown panel
 #5159 Rail & Roadway Lubrication Kit (variation 1)
    #5159 Rail & Roadway Lubrication Kit (variation 2)
  #5159 Rail & Roadway Lubrication Kit (variation 3)

Item “M” #5159 Rail & Roadway Lubrication Kit came in three variations and seems to comprise of similar items to the #927 Maintenance Kit.  It was shown on page 16 of the 1964 catalog under train related items and renamed 5159-50 in the 1966 catalog page 15, the last year any racecars were shown in the catalog.

Item “N” #195R 8-Bulb Floodlight Tower is obviously the equivalent the #195 8-Bulb Floodlight Tower.

Item “O” #0310R Billboard Set for HO Scale, is a revised #0310 Billboard Set.

Item “P” #310R Billboard Set for Standard Scale, likewise, is a modified # 310 Billboard Set.

     #5153 Track and Car Kit

One item not on the list is #5153 Track and Car Kit.

Several other lubrication kits were sold, #5523 HO Car Maintenance Kit and #5163 Standard Car Maintenance Kit, but they were not illustrated in the catalog.

Hungering for a great new accessory?  How about  taking a classic heavyweight car and repurposing it into a diner?  “Link-in” next issue for the article.