Lionel Electric Trains Identification Guide Sub-Title
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This Identification Guide for Lionel Electric Trains covers the "Post-war Era" only from 1945 until 1969.

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Lionel Trains Mail Pickup Set No. 161 LIONEL TRAINS MAIL PICKUP SET No. 161

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Lionel Trains Mail Pickup Set No. 161

Lionel Trains Mail Pickup Set No. 161The Lionel Mail Pickup Set No. 161 is unique among the accessories that Lionel produced. It is the only accessory that would transfer any load to a passing car. It was designed to do this with the clever use of a magnet attached to a RED plastic painted GRAY mail bag and the use of an electronic coil contained in the stand than moved to mail bag transfer arm. Another magnet (No. 161-23) is attached to any car to grab the bag. The Mail Pickup Set was available from 1961 until 1963.
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The placement of this accessory is critical to its proper operation and some shimming or other alignment of the base may be necessary. The instruction sheet says it should be 2-1/4 inches from the track. This is why it operates best on a permanant layout. Lionel included in the parts envelope (No. 161-31) a magnet (Part No. 161-23) and special glue capsule (Part No. 3330-102) that was to be used to attach the magnet to a car. As the train passed by, and the rotating arm on the No. 161 was activated with a No. 90 Controller, the bag was detached from the arm by the magnet that was on the side of a designated car. This magnet, and the glue to attach it to the car (No. 3330-102) are often missing from this accessory.

No. 90 Controller

Only one instruction sheet was printed for this mail pickup set and it uses BLACK ink on BLUE-GREEN paper and is numbered 161-32 and dated 9-61.
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See a catalog illustration of this accessory.
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The mail bag (Part No. 161-17) is not the same as those that were used by the No. 3428 Mail Car (Part No. 3428-11 or 3428-22) which is smaller. This mail bag assembly is also often found missing.
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The plastic TAN base has a RED post and arm and a RED and WHITE semaphore. There are no variations.
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Dimensions: 4" long, 1-7/8" wide, 8-5/8" high when the semaphore is pointing up.
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No. 161-31 Parts Envelope
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No. 161 Mail Pickup Set Box End
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