I like Fastrack but it has a couple design flaws that often lead to "dead" spots or even more sneaky "slow-down" spots. Lionel came up with the recommendation to laterally bend each center-rail pin to create a positive friction fit with the adjacent track pin/rail end.

                     IMG_3518

Bend a few degrees to the left, towards the screwdriver tip in this pic. It takes a couple tries the first time because too much and it is impossible to join track pieces while too little doesn't address the problem.

 

Under each track piece is a flat jumper between the outer rails which depends on a crimp-fit  with tabs under the rails. Sometimes these are either loose from the factory or from vibration of trains running over the rails. Some people solder these connections.

                   IMG_3519

Solder the tab to the plate.

 

Fastrack track switches have similar jumpers and I plan to solder any that come up for maintenance.

                  IMG_3520

This track switch has been parted out so most of the guts&wires are missing making it easy to see the jumpers.

                   IMG_3521

There are four jumpers in an O72 switch,

Lew

Lew

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

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For reliability, I solder all the functional connections in Fastrack switches. This is especially true for permanent installation, you don't really want to be ripping up a bunch of track to extract the switch for repairs.

The shorting bars across the outside rails I don't spend much time worrying about, there are tons of them, so the ones that are not functional are covered by all the ones that are.

Ya, I have one track switch with continuity issues. When running Conventional the train slows there. Of course that particular switch is buried in a mountain but one of these days I'm going to extract it and solder all the connecting bars.....Come to think of it, the one Fastrack track switch failure I have had was because a bad solder joint allowed a switch motor wire to dis-attach from the motor.

Lew

Lew

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

Yep, it's always the switch that is out of reach that has the problem, Murphy was an optimist!  On my new layout, I'm endeavoring NOT to have switches in inaccessible places in case I have to get to them.  Bad enough to have track where it's difficult to get to!

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