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Hi all,

I am going to add TMCC (with a ERR Mini Commander) to a MTH Operating Car. Before I start I would like to Test it to make sure it's operating correctly. I do not have an OTC Track to achieve this.  My entire layout is either TMCC or Legacy Controlled. I guess what I need, is a Schematic of the OTC or what to connect to these slider shoes to test it.  Any ideas ??


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I previously posted this "schematic" of an MTH operating track:

mth 40-1008 wiring

And this one for the Lionel version:

ucs action

There are obviously a wide variety of operating cars that can have different trigger requirements.  But for several MTH operating cars I've examined, you activate it by applying power to the two slider shoes.  You only need to apply this "trigger" voltage for a couple seconds.  This starts an operating cycle such as the doors opening and worker pushing a crate out the door.  You can then remove the trigger voltage from the slider shoes and the cycle completes by itself.  It does this by drawing power from the normal center/outer rails.

There are some MTH cars (e.g., signalman caboose) which can be triggered by a momentary conventional bell command.  If you happen to have one of these cars then you don't have to mess with awkwardly attempting to apply voltage to the slider shoes.


Images (2)
  • mth 40-1008 wiring
  • ucs action
@Fredstrains posted:

Now I have two different answers! One says put voltage on  Two different slider shoes & One says Slider Shoe and Truck Ground!  Now I am really confused !!

You did say MTH Operating Car.  I was not aware that MTH made operating cars that required an OTC.    I don't believe MTH even sells OTC contactors; one would think they would sell what it takes to operate their cars.  I believe Lionel cars that required an OTC came with.

I assumed you might have been using "OTC" inter-changeably with UCS or MTH "Operating Track Section" as a means to activate an operating car via 4th/5th rail sliding shoes.   Perhaps a bad assumption on my part.

Take a look at the manual of your MTH operating car.  If the instructions reference the MTH "Operating Track Section" then apply voltage to the two slider shoes.


You are so right! The Car is MTH 30-79642 Operating Boxcar with Signalman. It requires a MTH Uncoupling/Unloading Track section (UTS) to operate it. It uses the 4th & 5th Rails (Which are in contact with the two "Slider Shoes) to operate.  SOOOOO, all I have to do is put a Voltage (12 to 16 volts) on the TWO slider Shoes to test it.  Sorry, I should have given more info. in the Beginning!!!

Thanks again for everyone's reply on this one!!!!

Putting voltage on the 2 slider shoes (for a about 2 sec or until the door starts to slide open) starts the operating cycle.  To fully "test" the car you should confirm it automatically stops.

To do this, you must apply voltage to a center-rail roller and outer-rail wheel/truck.  Th animation then continues, Santa will deliver a present, the door will reverse, and you should hear the gearmotor automatically stop when the door finally closes.  The action stops even if you continue to apply voltage to the center roller and wheel.  Start the next cycle by applying voltage to the 2 slider shoes.

I suppose one could argue that as long as the motion starts (via slider shoes) that the car "operates" and passes the test.  But the stopping mechanism, which is a mechanical lever limit-switch is an integral part of the cycle operation, should be tested.  There have been occasional OGR threads on this lever switch getting out of alignment, wire breaking off, etc.

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