Model Railroads/testing


QUESTION: How can I test an o gauge switch to see if it works properly before putting into my layout?

ANSWER: Larry,
I need more information. Is this an O-scale two-rail switch track or a three-rail switch track?
Will also need the brand name, catalog number or type of switch you're planning to use.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


It is an O scale three rail track switch.  The information on the switch is as follows:

Remote Controller
No. 022
O gauge Switch



Thank you for supplying the information on your question about "bench testing" a turnout before installation.
All Lionel tubular track turnouts work in either two ways; one is via track (transformer power) when trains are
operational at variable voltage. Or, at fixed voltage from a secondary source connected to the external post
located on the side of the black plastic housing adjacent to the marker light on top. There should be a plug-in
part that goes in the side "port". Okay? Lionel has used this system for more than 60+ years. I've learned how
to use them as a layout builder.

I presume you either got this from a relative or purchased from an outside source. No instructions or any paperwork
came with the switchtrack? What you need to do is the first step to make sure the "switch-points" turn freely when you
swivel the marker light from clockwise to counter clockwise. If there's little to no resistance, chances are the switch track
will operate properly. Even at low voltage when the train is operating on the track. Should there be any form of resistance,
it's probably due to long term storage. On the single track section of the switch is two metal pieces at the same height and
location as the black railroad ties. The metal pieces are contacts and aid in the movement of the switch track points for a
train to go straight or divert to the left or the right. Make sure they're clean of debris.  A small drop of 5W oil on both sides
will help make the points move smoother.

Next step. Attach the remote control switch to the three posts on top of the black plastic housing. Get some 18 gauge wire and
some alligator clips. From your transformer, connected to the variable posts; follow this carefully. One wire to the center rail on
the single track end. Thats your power lead. Next, clip the second wire to either the left or right outside rail at the same location.
Slowly turn up the throttle on your transformer. The lantern light on the top of the switch track should start to glow. The remote
control switch will light up also. Try switching the remote and turn up the throttle till the switch track shifts quickly. Then, if all
of it works, you're ready to install it.

If things work out this far. Let me know. The outside post is another process to follow. It all depends how large your layout is
and what type of power pack you're using. Good luck with the track testing.

John Schaub

Model Railroads

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John Schaub


I can answer the following questions: Almost anything about the hobby, except complex electrical questions. Anything about table construction, model kit building, layout scenery, weathering and painting, adding lighting to structures and scenery. I cannot answer questions about the value or appraisal of an item through an e-mail question. The only true method to valuation is having the item in front of me. I will not answer any questions about complex wiring for signals, DCC, or switch motor installations.


Model railroader since childhood. And that's quite a few years ago. My experience includes: Planning, Design, Benchwork Construction, Trackwork, Conceptualizing the placement of the basic scenic shell and future structure placement. Developing a "vision" of what the layout' them will be. Historical research. Model builder. Painter, Detailer and Weathering. Scenery Artisan, Model train room decorator. Freight car builder. Engine detailer. Turned my passion for model railroading to a full time career in 1998. I now design, build and construct model railroads. Focusing my skills on planning and design, model kit building services, scenery and structure installations, painting, weathering and detailing.

Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Rutland Railway Association.

Classic Toy Trains, January 2013

Self-taught Model Railroader turned professional consultant New York Institute of Technology, Communication Arts Degree C.W. Post College, Computer Graphics-Desktop Publishing Certificate Program Molloy College, MacIntosh Computer Studies-Certificate Program

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Sorry, I can not reveal their names. I will tell you that my clients range from 5 year olds to 75 year olds. My layout commissions are in private homes, hobby shops, hotel lobbies, libraries, museums and historical societies.

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