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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Lionel has brought us three sets of NYC subway trains among which is this classic R30 from the IND/BMT lines, painted in red as these cars were in the late 1960s. Although most of the so-called "Redbirds" were on the IRT line, the R30's sometimes are considered part of that group as well. From 1967 to 1973, the QJ name applied to trains that largely ran through Brooklyn. Lionel takes us, through the Legacy sound effects, along the line, allowing us to stop, open and close the doors, make appropriate announcements, and operate the horn and conductor's buzzer. All of the sound effects are quite genuine, with the start-up whine, brakes, and buzzer duplicating the original sounds of the R30's. Small incandescent lights are used to light the car interiors, which are themselves excellent renditions of the actual car innards. LEDs are used to light the side and forward destination signs.

The four cars included in this set include one powered car and three cars without an internal motor. The four cars connect to one another with a linking-pin and an electrical wire connector. The connectors are probably the weak link in the system and probably will not withstand frequent plugging and unplugging. The front and rear cars both have a single coupler to allow additional two car sets to be connected. One could easily add two more cars from the R27 or R16 sets; that would certainly be more like what one would actually see in the NY subway all through the 70s and 80s.

A 9volt battery can be added so that the train can be used with a standard transformer rather than with the Legacy controller, but opening and closing the car is difficult without damaging the plastic attachment brackets. Further, the sound effects are not fully operational with a standard transformer so I wouldn't recommend this unless you're planning to operate it with the Legacy controller. With the controller, one can record a repeating sequence so that the car will automatically run through a series of activities; however, this sequence didn't allow for the doors to open and close, at least with the firmware (1.4) in my controller, so we'll probably have to wait an iteration or two for that to work correctly.

The tricky part with the Lionel subways is ensuring that your layout has some design features that accommodate them. You wouldn't, for instance, want to see the subways going through mountain passes or alongside an old western town. (Or maybe you would, but others might find this jarring). And you'll want some platforms so that the door opening occurs next to something that looks like a subway or elevated platform.

This set worked well out of the box. An excellent rendition of the mid-century NYC subway.
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on March 19, 2015
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