I think somebody said one time that some of the early Thomas locomotives had loose power pickups or something? I'm sorry, I don't have the answer for you. If everything looks tight and "normal" and it doesn't run right, I'd ask to exchange it at this point - don't open it up. If you feel they won't do that, then I'm sure there is a Lionel service station near you and you can get it fixed, but might cost a few $$$. Since it's new and won't run out of the box, if they won't exchange it, call Lionel direct (number is on their website) and see if they will let you mail it in for repair or to be replaced - they have always been very helpful to me! TomPM - I had that easy dcc rig from Bachmann during my brief try with HO scale before I switched to O gauge. I think I might have had that same diesel locomotive? Can't remember now, I gave it away to a guy for his son to play with, but I did keep the controller and stuff in case I do some On30 later for a mine or logging operation. It is very easy to use and I had a conventional loco and a DCC loco running all around the floor on that ez track in about an hour knowing absolutely nothing about it when I started. Sounds like everyone had a great Holiday. As Chief said, Grits! Er, no, I meant, God Bless us Everyone!