How to wire a n scale model train

Written by rich finzer
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How to wire a n scale model train
Power up your N scale model train. (toy train image by pearlguy from

For model railroad enthusiasts with a limited amount of space to dedicate to their train layout, N scale, or N gauge trains and track can become a very attractive hobby option. Built on a scale of 1:160, an intricate N scale layout can be built in an area as small as 3-feet-by-5-feet. Like all other 12-volt model train layouts, before the engines and rolling stock can be put into operation, the tracks must first be connected to the train transformer which supplies the electrical power.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 N gauge straight or curved terminal track section
  • Small slotted screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • 2 strands of common bell wire long enough to reach from the terminal track to your transformer

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  1. 1

    Acquire or locate the terminal track section on your train layout. If you don't already own a terminal track section, one can be purchased at most hobby shops.

  2. 2

    Loosen the two screws on the terminal track using the small slotted screwdriver. Do not remove them completely.

  3. 3

    Use the utility knife to strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from both ends of both strands of bell wire.

  4. 4

    Bend the bare ends of the wires around the screwdriver shaft, forming a small hook.

  5. 5

    Slip the hook around one terminal screw on the terminal track. As you view it, the open end of the hook should be facing to the right.

  6. 6

    Tighten down the screw on the terminal track until the wire is secure. Repeat this same action with one end of the second wire and tighten down the screw in the same manner.

  7. 7

    Turn off or unplug your train transformer.

  8. 8

    Loosen the screws on the power contacts located on the transformer. Depending upon the model you own, they may be labelled simply as "Track." On a dual-control transformer, the power contacts will be labelled "Track 1" and "Track 2."

  9. 9

    Connect the free ends of the wires to the power contacts in the same manner employed when you connected the opposite ends to the terminal track.

  10. 10

    Power on the transformer. Place an engine onto the track and apply power. Your N scale model railroad engine will begin to move.

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