How to Wire a Model Railroad Track

Updated May 30, 2018

Wiring a model railroad track is easy to do with most systems, provided you have a terminal track and a transformer suitable for your railroad. A terminal track is simply a piece of train track with two screw connections on the side for wiring. A transformer plugs into a power outlet and transforms the high voltage from the outlet to a lower voltage suitable for your model train. Low voltage wire connects the track to the transformer, and can be found in most hobby shops or hardware stores.

Unplug the train transformer.

Locate the terminal track section for your railway and attach it to your track system.

Loosen the screws on the terminal track using a screwdriver.

Strip a half-inch of sheathing from both ends of two low voltage wires, using wire strippers or a utility knife. Bend the bare wire of all four ends into a small hook shape, using needle-nose pliers.

Hook one end of one wire around a screw on the terminal track. Tighten the screw down, so that the screw head secures the wire into place. Then repeat this process with the second wire by hooking it to the second screw on your track terminal and tightening the screw down onto the wire.

Loosen the two screws on your transformer's power contacts. Then, as you did in Step 5, hook one wire to one screw, the second wire to the second screw. Tighten the screw heads down onto the wires.

Plug in the transformer and place an electric model engine on the track.

Turn on the power of your transformer, and watch your engine begin to move along the track.

Things You'll Need

  • Transformer
  • Terminal track
  • Low voltage wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
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About the Author

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.