Lionel Fastrack questions/problems

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Arc, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. Arc

    Arc New Member

    I mainly am an N scale guy but decided to get an Lionel set with fastrack to have something a little bigger to run. I bought the Lionel fast freight steam set and the crossing gate set. I've had the set for a week now and am having problems with the track. It's most noticeable as the train approaches the crossing gate because it uses an insulated rail to activate. The problem is the crossing gate will act eractically because the tracks aren't making a good connection with each other, even thought they are pressed completely together. It seems the problem is the metal connectors are loose and don't make good contact with the rail. I know it's the track to track connections because I can press slightly with my finger and see a small spark and everything starts working, at least until I move my finger ;).

    Is this a common problem? Are there any easy fixes? I really like the set and the track (the kids love it too) but I have a hard time believing Lionel would make track that is this unreliable. I've only taken it apart and put it back together maybe 4-5 times in the last week since I got it.

    Thanks for any help you can give. :thumb:
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Sounds like a bad connection.
    Lionel's quality control went into the crapper when they shipped production overseas.

    Did you buy the gate seperately?
    If so, take it back and get another.
  3. Arc

    Arc New Member

    Unfortunately it seems everyone wants to go that route to produce as cheaply as possible.

    Anyway, I'm having problems with several pieces of track, including the insulated rail tracks that came with the crossing set. Unfortunately, if this is as long as these last then I'm not going to bother to return them. I could just solder them, that will take time though.
  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I really thought the Fastrack was supposed to be more durrable than that. I still use the old school all metal track though so I have no experience with it. My daughter's HO set uses the EZ track which is about the same thing for smaller gauges. It goes together easy enough but it's a pain to take appart.
  5. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i got almost 100 feet of fast track, the only room i have to run my o- scale track is the floor, so im always taking it apart and putting it back together, never had one problem yet. but i dont have a crossing gate. whats the part # for the gate? i will look it up so i know what one your talking about.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    it sounds like the insulated section, not the gate. We haven't had any problems with it. Is it the outer rail that's not connecting? I think a little squeeze with pliers might fix it. Or wrap a bit of wire on the contacts underneath and join them up.
  7. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Sometimes you'll get a piece of Fastrack that has a loose track-to-track connection. Here's what I did: Flip the piece over, bend the tabs out to free the rail, lift the rail slightly, stuff a small, crumpled bit of aluminum foil over the pin, then push the rail back down into place and bend the tabs back down. I didn't have a problem after that. The foil was enough to make the connection nice and tight like it's supposed to be. Try that on any piece of track that's giving you problems and see if that helps.
  8. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    try having more then one power wire to, if you have a jumper every so many feet and you do have a loose connection then you will still have power on both sides of the bad connection.
  9. Arc

    Arc New Member

    You know what, that sounds like a great idea!
  10. Arc

    Arc New Member

    The part number is #6-12062. The crossing itself is fine, its the "pins" that stick out of the end of the track and fit into the next piece. Some have come loose and make a poor connection. I'm also using some insulated 10" tracks as well to activate the crossing sooner. Some of these have given me problems too.
  11. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    if you did not have these problems how do you like the gates? worth the money? at 139.99 i keep talking myself out of

  12. Arc

    Arc New Member

    I love the gates, especially with the sound. I wouldn't be without them. :)

    Here is a video I shot of my crossing gates:
    YouTube - Lionel Fastrack Crossing Gate 6-12062
  13. Geno

    Geno Member

    I bought one of these fastrack crossing gates to put on the 5 x 10 layout I built for my nieces- for some reason the gates wouldn't consistently retract to the upright position. I returned it - not reliable enough to be installed on a permanent layout.

    I will probably replace that with a Z-stuff croosing gate set- not a RTR-type of setup, but very reliable and more ideal for a multiple track crossing.

  14. Arc

    Arc New Member

    My first choice was the Z-Stuff crossing set (I just found a demo of it on youtube) but, as you mentioned it's not RTR. Something I really need at this point since my layout is not permanent. I haven't had any issues with the gates yet but have seen them "wear out" and have heard of the z-stuff gates wear out as well. It's probably just a matter of time given the size of the motors/gears inside them. If mine wear out I might just get a crossing set without gates, so there's nothing to wear out.
  15. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Just out of curiosity, have you had a chance to try the foil trick yet? I'm wondering if it helped any.
  16. Arc

    Arc New Member

    What I ended up doing was (on the underside) soldering a small wire from the tab (that is actually part of the rail) directly to the solid metal pin that sticks into the next track. That way I know it won't loose connection. I did this with the short isolated track sections that came with the crossing as well as the extra 10" insulated track sections that are used to activate the crossing earlier. I no longer have any problems. It just so happens that I have a soldering iron and figured I'd give that a shot. The foil trick should work too.

    Here's a picture of what I did to the tracks I was having problems with:
  17. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Soldering the jumper wire is a better solution, if you have a soldering iron and aren't afraid to use it. That copper wire is a better conductor than the aluminum foil. I took the lazy way out on mine, since the aluminum foil was upstairs, the track was upstairs, and the soldering iron was downstairs. :)

    I'm glad that solved your problem.
  18. Dr. John

    Dr. John Member

    I'm a little surprised by the reports of connectivity problems with Fastrack. I've not had any problems, and I've assembled and disassembled mine numerous times. I have had problems like this with Realtrax, though.

    Good solutions posted here - that's what makes this a great forum! :thumb: Nice to have this for reference if I do have issues with my Fastrack.
  19. RXRron

    RXRron New Member

    My crossing gate was simple to install and works great
  20. Geno

    Geno Member

    The Z-Stuff crossing gates are definitely not an RTR deal, but are very robust- we had a set on the AGHR club layout last for more than three years, and thats easily over a thousand hours of use. I doubt the Lionel Fastrack unit will last even half that, judging by what I 've heard from my LHS (alot of returns).

    I was thinking of doing the same- just getting the crossing with flashing lights. At least you get part of the effect without the liability of the gates.

    Good tip on the fastrack, although I 've never had any problems with the pins.


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