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I've heard different opinions on this subject and I want to do this right the first time.

With Gargraves track, should the outer rails be connected together. I run DCS, TMCC and conventionally. It would be nice to just connect one outside rail for power and utilize the other for signal and accessory triggering, but I don't want to have issues with the control systems.


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I recall discussing this with Marty Fitzhenry, and I'm pretty sure he told me connecting the outside rails will help the DCS track signal. I only have about 3' of Ross track on my layout on a bridge (the rest is all traditional tubular with metal ties), but I connected the outer rails on that section before installing it, and have perfect 10 track signals all the way around the layout.

@NJCJOE posted:

Did you guys just install a jumper wire between the outer rails or did you run separate wires back to the power source?

I soldered jumper wires to tie the outside rails together. On the 3-foot section of Ross track on my bridge, I installed a jumper on each end and one in the middle if the section. That's probably overkill on 3 feet of track, but it works and like you, I wanted to get it right the 1st time.

Last edited by BlueComet400

I made a bunch of these for my track connections.  I connect this to the track (blacks to outside rails, red to center) and underside of the table, then power from the transformer to the right side.  I add a 1.5KE36Ca TVS to each.



Here is an old schematic that shows how to maintain the TMCC signal on the isolated track.

Insulated Track for TMCC

Hope some of this helped.


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  • Insulated Track for TMCC
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Last edited by CAPPilot

I have both outer rails tied together only on yard tracks.  Elsewhere, one is tied to common and the other is open for accessory/signaling use.  But the TMCC RF signal reaches both outer rails.  Track is fed at one point on each table section (tables are =<8').  At each feed point, the two outer rails are connected together by a 0.1µF 50V ceramic disc capacitor, located at the track drop feed block under the table surface.  As construction is ongoing, I've only powered up the inner track of the 2-track mainline, but I had no problems running a Lionel TMCC Mohawk continuously.  Keep in mind that as soon as a train enters a new accessory/signal block, the wheelsets will connect the outer rails together.

Hi guys, I like all the listings above, I plan on installing DCS, TMCC, Legacy and Conv.  For various reasons I plan on using Cappilots' 3 rail wiring scheme (connectors), this looks good to me.  The next step in the plan is to think about my powered loops.  I plan on having 3 separate powered loops plus a powered switchyard.  A this time, I'm not concerned about my powered yard. My question???  Is there a tutorial or guide lines posted on this forum that outlines a wiring schematic  (Voltage drops) for a single loop with (using) some GG track and using some RCS.  At this time, it appears the each powered loop will be about 125 feet in length give or take some.  Any help or directions from you folks would be greatly appreciated.


For DCS, you should use isolated blocks of about ten track sections and install a power drop for every block.  You need the blocks so that the DCS signal doesn’t crash into itself.  Ideally, wiring to each block will be roughly equal in length.  If you don’t isolate the blocks, you might hear the crossing signal twice when you push the SXS button once.  So you need about 4 drops for the 125 foot loop if you are using GG flex track.  More if you are using sectional.  That will also work for conventional.  Not sure about any requirements for the Lionel systems.

Last edited by Lehigh74

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