Guide to Troubleshooting your Electric Train Set

One of the most fulfilling hobbies around, model train sets has been a staple of many homes for the past hundred years. Layouts for model trains evoke a sense of nostalgia and history rarely found in other hobbies.  Sets like Eggliners for Aristocraft, LGB trains and garden trains are more than just hobbyists lingo but are household names.  If you have a model train or thinking of getting one, here are some troubleshooting tips for your electric train set.

Test Track

Establish a test track by connecting a separate feeder track and at least a couple of feet of flex track to your transformer in order to check the engine’s integrity. Once the engine is on the line, add some power slowly. If it does not run, then you have a faulty engine. If it runs quite slow it is possible the motor may be dirty or is about to give out soon.

Testing the Rail Connection

Wash your hands first and then slowly run two fingers along the track in order to check for rail connection problems. Some of the issues involved may be dust and debris and even glue left over. Feel the track and look for gaps and bumps. Check and see if there are any mismatched or disconnected rails. Problems with electric trains can sometimes be traced to mixing different rail codes or uneven surfaces, which cause loss of power and the ubiquitous derailment.

The Engine

Remove the shell of your G scale train and then look for dust and debris that could clog the motor, axles and the wheels. Remove or brush off any foreign particles found inside.  Poor train maintenance or lack of knowledge thereof often is the root cause of performance issues found in most electric train models.

Troubleshooting the Layout

Inspect and note areas of your layout where the engine seems to lose power and then correct them by adding supplementary feeder tracks. Power normally degrades as it travels the rails so the longer your track, the more electrical feeder points you need to install.