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The instructions are sometimes a bit vague: for example, once switched on the train needs to sit and charge before it runs, but that is not very evident from the instructions and many folks spent some frustrating minutes wondering why the train wouldn't move.
It sounds like the gears have worn out or come adrift somehow. You will be able to get replacement gears from any of the Lionel authorised dealers Lionel Authorized Dealers or their replacement parts service Replacement Parts
Look for a small opening with little white tabs that can be moved up and down, on both the train and the remote. All the tabs must be in the same position. ( Same thing on a garage door opener.)
If that's not it, make sure the batteries are in correctly in both items, reversed batteries will run lites and such, but not remote controls.
This goes back about 40 years for me. Both Lionel and TYCO had "smokers" in their train sets. My recollection was that the "special smoke oil" was a mixture of very highly refined kerosene and parafin wax. Try a hobby shop such as Hobby Town or some such.