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I am looking for a simple, old school looking, automatic crossing gate, with maybe a light on the guard. Nothing fancy or high tech.

I see lots of them for sale, and the Lionel and MTH versions look pretty good, but none of them I can find show a switch in the package, or explain how the switch works. 

Several of the postwar ones for sale just show the gate, with two terminals on the back side, with no explanations.

If it just uses a standard Lionel pressure switch, then can you really get them working properly and reliably?  (I have heard that those switches are eccentric.)  Not looking for another headache. 

Thanks for all advice.


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Any application that uses a pressure switch can use an insulated track section and relay instead.  That way, there is no weight adjustments to be made, with the attendant mental stress, and the operation will be more reliable and exact.

Simply, you can wire the track section and relay to operate when there is a train car present. More sophisticated schemes will allow a locked-in relay, and a release relay. This type of scheme, and similar ones, will allow realistic operation regardless of train length.

Hi Manny,

I have several different crossing signals.  Two include crossing gates.  I typically use insulated track sections but have used the "pressure switch" contacts.  You are right that the pressure switches are finicky.  They are affected by the weight of the car passing over it.  A locomotive will activate the switch then the hollow boxcar following will not be heavy enough and the gate will start to rise only to drop down when the next heavier car arrives.  Insulated tracks eliminate that problem.  I picked up the crossing gate with lights on e-bay only to find that the lights don't flash!  They both stay lit while the gate is down.  I thought about adding the flashing circuit from the Highway Flasher to get the light to flash, but that's a project for another day.


You can buy insulated track or build your own.  It's pretty easy with tubular track.  I can provide some info if you're interested.



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Got a crossing gate set for Christmas.  It came with a modern Lionel pressure switch.  Couldn't get the pressure switch to work properly no matter how I adjusted it.  Absolute junk.  Dug out one of the two old pressure switches I had as a kid in the fifties.  Worked perfectly.


Last edited by Craftech

I plan to use Lionel's Fastrack grade crossing with flashers and gates. I want to know if there is a way to wire the lights and gates to a fixed 12-14V power supply. It should be possible.

If you're talking about 6-12052 there is a youtube video which suggests you splice your 12-14V external power into the red wire that comes connected to the "hot" center rail.

Jump to 7:40 in the video if the link doesn't automatically start there:

Good point; at the price point of the item it surprises me they did not pony up the ~25 cents of connectors/components to allow the user to use either track power or external Accessory power like they do for so many other track pieces.

I suppose you could cut the red wire, strip it 1/4"-1/2", twist-wrap it to a similarly prepared wire carrying your 12-14V soldering that is.

Last edited by stan2004

As cautioned earlier in thread, be sure you get the 3-wire (not 5-wire) version.  The identical SKU (6-14098) was used but the installation/wiring instructions changed.


For example, right now on eBay, if you search for "Lionel 6-14098" there's a pre-owned unit auctioning but a photo clearly shows 5-wires.  There is nothing in the listing description that otherwise tells you this.  I looked at some of the New-In-Box listings (only external photos) for 6-14098 and there's no obvious (to me anyway) indication of which version you're getting.

5 wires

Of course if the price is right, it may be worth $10-$15 for a relay module (no soldering required) that would effectively convert the 5-wire gates(s) into 3-wire gates!  There have been many OGR threads on using a relay and insulated-rail triggering to drive 5-wire gates.


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Last edited by stan2004
@Mannyrock posted:

OK Guys, it looks like I can construct a piece of insulated track very easily.

So, it looks like the Lionel Mainline gate is the way to go.

But, Vinny, am I to understand that if I get the Lionel Mainline gate, I don't need to buy a relay of any kind?  I just hook up the wires as you described?



no relay is necessary.  As was said   Make sure you get the newer ones with just three wires    You will not believe how easy they are to install    

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