We have taken a Tyco HO crane and combined it with an HO Bedford water tower.  We added several motors and electronic circuitry to make our Tyco HO Motorized Magnetic Crane.  The crane is controlled with a Sony TV remote (also DCC very soon).


This Tyco crane is the most common HO crane available.  It is a track crane and comes with a work caboose.  Over 90 percent of them are Santa Fe and are red in color.  You can easily spray paint the cab to match your particular railroad color scheme.                                   


You may also want to paint pieces of the crane and tower.  Any wooden pieces are still unpainted wood.  The tower is white and you may want to paint it black.  Of course you will be in charge of the painting. 


You can see the crane mounted on the water tower in the pictures.  The crane also comes with an electromagnet.  This is useful and Lionel has offered magnetic cranes for many years.  FYI: There is also a clam shell bucket available made by Marklin.  The clam shell bucket will work with our Tyco crane.  The clam shell bucket is solenoid operated.  If the clam shell bucket interests you please contact us.  The Marklin clam shell bucket sells for about $40.  You are welcome to buy the clam shell bucket yourself.  The Marklin part number is E326665.


We removed the Tyco crane from the railway car.  The car and caboose are not used. The crane was then mounted on a circular wooden wheel. 


The black pulleys that came with the crane were removed and new working pulleys were installed.  In the picture they are orange in color. 


The water tower needed to be modified and the water tank was removed. 

The crane’s hook was replaced with the electromagnet. 

The electromagnet can be energized and metal objects can be picked up and dropped.  The crane can rotate and the boom and hook can be independently raised and lowered.



Two motors are used to do this:  one to raise/lower the hook; one to raise/lower the boom.  A third motor rotates the crane on a central axle. 


The crane can rotate slightly less than 180 degrees, which is about half a turn. 


All of the controlling electronics and three motors are mounted under the base of the tower in a wooden structure.  There is a brass tube in the center of the crane that acts as a path or conduit for control cables and electrical signals.

The crane’s cab is not very big and there is not much room for anything.  There is a light (or led) located in the cab that is always ON.  The gear motors used are quite strong.  Damage to the crane was a real concern.  Damage may happen when either the boom or the hook pulls up on the boom and causes it to smash into the cab.  A limit switch is located in the cab to prevent this from happening.


The crane is controlled with a Sony TV remote.  The IR sensor picks up the signal from the remote.  It is on a length of cable and it should be pushed through a hole in your layout.  It is surprising how well the remote works.  


If you have a universal remote you can use it with our crane.  It has to be configured for a Sony TV. 



DCC?  We plan to have a DCC control interface very soon.  Control the crane with your DCC digital command controller.  If you are interested contact us.  Contact us.


The dimensions of the wooden base structure are as follows:  The top board is 6 inches square.  The bottom board is 5 inches square.  The height is 7 inches.  The assembly is meant to be placed in a 6-inch square hole on your layout.  This design allows the crane to be easily serviced and adjusted.  Just lift the crane assembly up and place the assembly on your worktable.  It will operate there and all the inner workings can be observed.


In the pictures you will notice that the base of the crane's tower is small and you can run track close to it.  You can have bins of metal parts and pick them up and drop them into parked hopper cars.


The crane linkage picture shows how the two gear motors for the boom and hook are connected to the cab with two tiny brass tubes.  The string runs up to the cab through the two tiny brass tubes inside the main center brass tube.  There are also electrical wires for the magnet and leds in the center brass tube.




This crane is made with readily available parts and can be easily serviced.  As was stated above the whole unit can be set on your worktable and the mechanical workings can be observed, adjusted and repaired.  Good quality parts have been used in the manufacture and assembly of the unit.  An illustrated manual is included.  There are three motors used.  Two of them are made by Tamiya and are sold on ebay.  The motor that turns the crane is a Hitec HS-311 servomotor.  This motor has received great reviews on the Internet.  We are happy to give our Tyco HO Crane sold here, a 1 year warranty.  If you have problems and they can't be resolved through email, please return the unit to us and we will repair it free of charge.  You need to pay the return shipping.  This warranty excludes the strings that are used to raise and lower the boom and magnet.  These strings can be easily replaced and the procedure is described in the manual.  The warranty also excludes any parts that were broken through misuse, stress or neglect.    


The system includes:


Tyco HO Crane

Water Tower

Wooden Base Structure

Three Motors


Electronics Controller Boards

12-Volt Power Supply

Sony Remote

IR Sensor






This system includes all the hardware necessary for you to operate the Tyco crane.  An installation and operation manual is included. 


This system costs $179 and includes everything described above.  The shipping costs are $15.


Please allow two weeks for delivery.  We ship using USPS Priority Mail.


Click on the button to purchase this item:






If you already have a Bedford water tower or a Tyco crane, you could have us use your parts and save money.  $10 will be deducted for your crane and $10 will be deducted for your water tower.  You will need to ship your parts to us at your expense.  Please contact me if you are interested in doing this.   If you have a universal TV remote and want to use it rather than our Sony remote, we can also deduct $5 and not send you our Sony remote.


If you want to use your crane or tower parts to save money as described above then the items will be modified to work in the crane assembly.  Plastic pieces may be drilled, cut or removed and you must accept the fact that these items cannot be restored to their original condition.  No replacement of these parts can or will ever be made. 


You can watch a video of our crane below: