How to Troubleshoot a Lionel Train

Check to ensure that the transformer is not unplugged if the train will not run. This is obvious, but it often happens when you are so experienced, that you overlook the obvious. Also ensure that the wiring is correct between the track and the transformer. Your owner’s manual will explain proper wiring (See Resources Section).

A short circuit may exist on the track. This is mostly caused by a derailed car or locomotive. Metal objects, such as tinsel, can also cause a short circuit (especially after Christmas). Make sure all wheels of the train are set on the tracks and that all metal items are removed.

Ensure that all track connections are secure if the engine hesitates. The track may also be dirty. Clean off any dust or soil that may have accumulated. The pick-up contacts may also need to be cleaned.
Clean the engine wheels if the engine runs very slowly or overheats. The engine may also need to be lubricated. You can purchase a lubrication and maintenance kit from any Lionel dealer. If you haven’t purchased such a kit, use a pin to dab some oil where needed. Never lubricate to excess. Do not lubricate the running surfaces of the wheels or the rails.

if the cars won’t uncouple ,verify the manumatic uncoupler is installed correctly. It can be installed on any piece of straight track. Depressing the button causes the prongs to raise and the uncoupler to work. Your owner’s manual will provide an illustration on how to install it correctly.

Check to see if a light may be burned out if the train light does not work or check to see if it is loose if flickering. To change the front lamp, unsnap the front of the broiler by pulling straight forward. You can then remove the lamp from the adapter by pulling it straight out.

Your owner’s manual will tell you which number lamp you need to buy for your particular locomotive. Please note that the rear lamp needs to be replaced by a Lionel Service Center.

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