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Hello all, I am quite new here but posted a while ago about building my first layout with my father's O27 set and adding a new Fastrack layout with a LionChief + Disney locomotive and train.  I am having a problem with one of the Lionel 1122E switches.

I added a video that shows the leading truck of the 6466WX tender sparking as it crosses the moveable plate on the switch.  The train shorts and then stops.  It only happens when the train is entering the switch from the curved side.

I know it may be hard to see but it appears to me like the switch plate that slides seems to move and wiggle when the train is going through the switch.

Any ideas?

Thank you for your help.



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Videos (2)
Switch Short Super Slow-motion
Lionel O27 Loops
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Does the tender have two pick-up rollers on its front truck, or a second roller, on the rear truck?

If the tender has two rollers, ("yes" to either of the two situations in the question above) the front pickup roller of the tender (which is energized with "hot" from the middle rail, via the second roller), is shorting across the side of the movable points.  The points are energized with the "outside rail" side of the circuit. Try to place a small piece of tape (something that is really sticky) along a short section of that rail.  You don't need to run the train to test it. Take all the cars and the loco off the track, leave the tender on the track, and with the track power turned on, slowly roll the tender along the route by hand. You will soon be able to see exactly where to place the tape.

I have tried all kinds of tape in situations like this, and I have found that they all seem either to fall off or wear out after a short while. I finally decided to use a small section of a "peel-n-stick" type mailing label. Some of those have adhesive that really is tough.  You can also try gluing a piece of thin plastic with really strong glue.

There is a more scientific way of testing the trouble, using an ohmmeter. You didn't say if you have one handy, so try the above method first.

Last edited by Arthur P. Bloom

Judging from the video of the switch anti-derail operation, I would say that he has them in the correct places.  I don't think the presence or absence of insulating pins determines if the swivel points are continuous with the outside-rail side of the track circuit. I believe that they are always connected to the outside rails.

A pretty good indicator of steel pins being installed where the need is for insulating pins is a constant operation of the switch motor, with attendant buzzing and release of the magic smoke. I see no evidence of that in the video.

Last edited by Arthur P. Bloom

I believe the pins are correct.  Although it shows missing a metal one, it is on the mated track.  The plastic pins are white and black. Here is a pic of the turnout.

My dad had a great suggestion. He said, "Don't cha have another whistle car?" He's a retired cop from NY. This is his old Lionel set.

We ran the second tender on the track and no problems! There might be a wiring issue in the first tender.PXL_20210421_005108571PXL_20210421_004201526


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A common issue is that the top of the TT-234 collector roller rivet contacts the frame of the tender truck in the area shown by arrows due to the roll loosening over the years. The right way to fix it is to roll the rivet tighter with a press, but you can stop the shorting by using a piece of electrical tape on the underside of the truck frame tang until making a permanent repair.

Last edited by ADCX Rob

The tenders are both Lionel 6466WX so they both have two rollers, one on each truck.  They are essentially identical.

InkedPXL_20210421_013539421_LIRob, I added electrical tape.  I should have stated, when I had this tender on the track by itself, there is a hum coming from it. I added the tape but it did not change anything. The second tender did not hum at all when it was on the track.  It seems to run fine.

I'll start working on rewiring the malfunctioning tender later this week.  She may become, what maintenance in the Air Force calls a cann bird.  Meaning cannibalization. I might just use her for parts.


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Hi, I too am renewing my childhood trains and have run into some issues with the 1122E switches, but learning as I go along. It looks like yours are insulated fine and are working as they should with the non-derailing feature. I had the same issue with a couple of engines that would actually reverse direction when they went over the switch. I used a piece of Scotchbrite pad, rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth to really clean all the rail tops on the layout and especially the center rail on the switch that was creating the issue. Also, I made sure all the wheels and pickup rollers are just as clean to make good contact for even power and ground supply to the engine and lighted caboose. I noticed the light in yours was flickering a little. It will help that condition and totally fixed the issue for me as well as the sparking problem. Another problem I had with the 1122s is the proverbial question of track versus accessory power, not having quite enough power to throw the switch fast enough and/or not going into the locked position all the way. These switches can be modified for constant accessory power if you want and will eliminate the problem. But the biggest problem I had with one of the switches is that it did not lock in either direction, even on full track power (without a train on the track).  It would slowly drift from fully open or closed and activate the coils in the switch motor and then really vibrate and hum. It may have just been from wear and old age, like me! I ended up using a short piece of really small gauge insulated wire, maybe 24 gauge, and put it through the hole in the rack and pinion as a shim to hold the motor plunger back. I used another piece of just insulation, stripped from the wire and flattened with pliers, to put through the bracket on the other end of the same bar for a little added friction. Problem solved, if only temporarily. I hope this helps. Good luck and have fun.   

Dave A

Dave thanks for the input. I am noticing now that I will add an accessory only line as the switches and semaphore really do draw power. I do need to give the tracks a good once over.

Rob, so I am trying to verify where the tape should go.  My apologies for mistakenly placing the tape on the truck frame, hope you got a chuckle on my expense. Did you mean spot 1 circled in yellow or spot blue 2, at the top of the rivet? The last photo does show the bottom of the rivet where the roller may be hitting when the spring is compressed.




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Rob, so I am trying to verify where the tape should go.  My apologies for mistakenly placing the tape on the truck frame, hope you got a chuckle on my expense. Did you mean spot 1 circled in yellow or spot blue 2, at the top of the rivet? The last photo does show the bottom of the rivet where the roller may be hitting when the spring is compressed.


Scott, I think Rob is talking about where the red arrow is in this picture indicates the travel of the collector assembly; where the collector assembly can be pushed up into the upper part of the truck frame, above where the rivet attaches the wire to the top of the collector bracket. I would think that tape on the bottom of the tang should prevent grounding the hot wire to the truck common (unless there is some other possible path for shorting).

@ADCX Rob Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding your intent.

grounding collector rivet 3


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  • grounding collector rivet 3

Steve and Rob,

Thank you both.  The tape on the tang worked for the rear truck. The front truck still has a problem. I added tape and then taped bottom of the rivet so it would not contact the the roller. Not sure what is happening or why that truck still sparks across the switch. This tender does have a light hum to it when it is on the tracks.  My other 6466WX does not have that hum.  As I hand push this tender, I see the plunger plate for the whistle solenoid try to engage every so often.  This will take some more exploring on my end regarding the wiring and all contact points. I gather there is something trying to complete a circuit via a short.


Rob, thank you, I have some cleaning to do. I really appreciate your expertise. I'll let you know if I have more questions regarding the tender.

On another note, I am contemplating a new CW80, the new improved version coming out in the late summer to fall, to power my separate Fastrack line with the new LionChief + locomotive. I currently use my father's KW transformer using the A Line for the O27 track with a postwar 2026 Locomotive and the B Line for the Fastrack with a new 2019 Disney LionChief Plus 2.0 Berkshire locomotive.

I have to read some more on your posts and I need to reread and understand transient voltage spikes.  In your opinion, would the new CW80 be a better option for the new locomotive and its electrical components?


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