Electrical track short?

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New Member
Hello, my daughter and I bought a nice N scale track and misc from a estate sale.
We decided on the train layout.. When we put it together it ran fine. There were no problems...So we laid the cork bed put on ballest and wired up all the switches..
Then when i went to turn it on No power to the track but there was power when i checked the screws on the transformer..I Unhooked all the wires ie switches..etc...went to do it again and the same problem... I then put new wired couplers on the tracks.. and then Yes!! we got a positive light showing there was power to the track,... But that was it....alll other track did not show power.... I tried another transformer same problem.. sometimes the transformer would not even show it was working I had to remove the wires running to the rails.. then the transformer would show it was working..
I have like 3 or 4 problems from the same thing. What am i doing wrong,
Thank you for reading this.

Red Oak & Western

Active Member
First - congratulations on being able to work on the railroad with your daughter!

Being an HO scaler, I'm not all that familiar with N scale. But in HO some switches route power and some don't. It could be the same in N. Try setting all the switches for the main route, then check the power. If that doesn't work, we'll probably need more information: how many feeders, how many switches, etc.


Firstly: All HO and N scale model trains which run on older analog DC, which I believe is what you have, the controller is referred to as a 'power pack', not 'transformer'. 'Transformers' control trains which run on AC.. Lionel O scale and American Flyer S scale are a couple of makes which do...
~~To test if your problem is either with the power pack, the engine, or the track, take a few separate pieces of track and connect them together without any switches..Hook the power pack up to these and see if you can run the engine back and forth (you don't need a loop)...If this goes OK your problem could be you had a polarity reversal via the switches.....Please report your findings with this test before I and the group can continue ...


Section Hand
Good advise from MHinLa, but perhaps tell us what brand and model power pack you're using. And, are you using just one engine that could be the problem child.

Did you attach the power leads to the Variable Power terminal on the power pack or the Accessory terminals by accident?

Keep us posted.



New Member
Thank you all for your advice. I found the problem....(kinda).. I have 3 left hand turn tracks in a row. I removed one of them and tested the track.
They ALL worked. power to all the track.. I put that turn back on and sure enough no power showing... So I switched places on 2 of the turns and now they ALL work .It is really weird how just switching places with another turn made the difference.
Again Thank you for your great help..
PS Greg and MHinLA When i went to check if my track worked. my POWER PAK was working. :):) And i would never...ok maybe once or twice in hooked the AC leads to the track... Maybe.. :):)

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