Severe continuity issue: How do I go about switching out fastrack for something else? is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


New Member
A month ago I bought a Lionel starter set complete with fastrack. Worked great for three weeks. I have used my set heavily. I quickly expanded my layout by investing some $280 in track.

But over the last week, a severe continuity problem developed. I’ve tried doing that “tab” thing on several pieces still not fixed.

it seems that the locomotive light goes on and off each time I tap the locomotive with my finger... I think I’m done with this and want to know how I can offload my fastrack and then invest in Atlas track.. how would I control my Lionel with atlas track? What do I need to do here? Any help is appreciated thanks as I’m new to this hobby.

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I think I’m done with this and want to know how I can offload my fastrack and then invest in Atlas track.. how would I control my Lionel with atlas track?
The control is independent of the track. Your current controller can be hooked to any track. If you are going to continue to be putting it together and taking it apart often and frequently you might want to consider the pre-FastTracks tubular type track. It is much more sturdy for frequent changes.


Well-Known Member
Power to the rails is power to the rails. How it gets there is not so important, provided what does get there doesn't exceed specs for the motor/decoder. So, if you get lights when you tap the locomotive, you can't really blame the power supply or the controller to which it provides the power. And for it's part, the loco seems to want power and gets it when you tap it. So, tapping changes something.

Tapping can:

a. Reconnect joiner contact ephemerally;

b. Reconnect internal locomotive wiring or solder contact ephemerally;

c. Reconnect decoder pins to their sockets ephemerally, or even a component on the decoder that can be lifted off (jumpers, for example); and/or

d. Reconnect feeder wires to their contacts ephemerally if that's where the tapping takes place.

You have poorly supported track elements, or worn/splayed/oxidized/soiled joiners, incomplete or intermittent contact where the feeders connect to the tracks, or your locomotive's internal wiring is suspect. Sometimes a component on the mother board needs to be secured better.


Same Ol' Buzzard
Good Morning Sherman. I have read some of your other threads as well as this one. First of all, there is nothing wrong with Fastrack. The problem is probably twofold. You posted in another thread that you take the layout apart and rearrange stuff frequently, on a carpeted floor as shown in several of your pictures. It doesn't matter what brand of track that you use, you will get the same results. Continual assembly and disassembly loosens the rail joiners which causes intermittent electrical contact. This is made worse by the carpet; the weight of the train passing over them allows the track/joints to flex and contributes to the issue. Secondly, and I am only assuming this, you do not have enough power connections to the track. You really need a connection every 10'-12' or so in O scale. But even this won't always help if you keep assembling and disassembling without crimping the joiners tightly each time. All of your continuity issues in your various threads are most likely the loosened joiners, not your power pack or engine. I hope that this helps.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.