Lionel's Fastrack for O-scale (size ratio of 1:48) is meant to be an easy to set up and take down system, yet still look realistic enough for the model railroad hobbyist. It is a three-rail sectional track system that runs on alternating current, unlike two-rail tracks that run on direct current. Like any model railroad, extensive layouts can include complicated wiring. But the basic wiring to make a train go is simple.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Model railroad transformer for AC
- Double Pole, Double Throw toggle switches (optional)
- Single Pole, Single Throw toggle switches (optional)
Connect wires to the underside of a section of track and attached "ballast roadbed." One connection goes to the centre rail, the other to an outer rail. Some sections come with wires already attached.
Run the wires to a transformer, such as the Lionel CW-80, though you can use non-Lionel railroad transformers. Higher wattage transformers can more easily power larger layouts.
Insulate "blocks" of track to allow you to run two trains at once. Each block on a mainline should be long enough to hold one train of the length you plan to run. Insulate the rails by leaving a gap between sections, or using insulated connector pins.
Wire each block to a Double Pole, Double Throw toggle switch. Each pole goes to a separate controller on the transformer, while the centre connectors are wired to the track.
Insulate one rail in sidings to store a locomotive while another is on the mainline. Wire the connections for the rail on either side of the insulated gap to a Single Pole, Single Throw toggle switch that allows you to cut off power when you choose.
Tips and warnings
- Simplify your wiring by using Digital Command Control in your locomotives. It's more expensive, but DCC allows you to eliminate blocks, and a lot of extra switches. Locomotives are controlled by digital signals unique to each engine sent by a controller.
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