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Are the lionel fastrack operating track sections troublesome?  Have 3 and all 3 work about 5 percent of the time correctly.  Unloading button which is the one I desire to use 99% of the time maybe works 1 out of 50 tries.  The uncoupler seems to work most of the time.  Trying different cars yield same results.  Just acts like the unload button receives very little power most of the time then once in a while it will dump 6 logs easily.

  Took the panel off the back of the button switch and everything looks fine although very cheap looking internals at best.  Any suggestions?

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With regards to the operating track section, I'm having a problem: when an MPC GG-1. When the gg1 passes over the track, the trailing truck coupler opens.  No matter which direction it's going, the trailing coupler opens. I've not tried another GG-1, basically because I have only one GG1.  This does not happen on any other engine that I have.  I'm not trying to hijack the thread, I thought it might be helpful with the subject problem.


I have the same problem with the Fastrack 6-12054.  I bought in new in 2016 and only use it every Christmas season.  Each year when I set up the track the unloading button barely works.  I've brought it in to my local Lionel dealer in 2017 and this year.  He takes apart the controller and said the the contacts on the 4 brass tabs look like they arced and don't make a good connection.  He has sanded then with emery cloth and also used a small wire wheel to clean the tabs.

The track is only used for about a month per year and the unload button is not used excessively or held down for a long time at once.

I've had the older 027 uncouple\unloading tracks and never had a problem like this

Looking inside controller it appears all 4 contacts are used to make unload function work while 3 contacts are made when button is pressed for uncouple function.   Do not really understand how all 4 wires that go from track to controller touching each other make unload function work.

I would just like to figure out how to wire unload function to aftermarket switch like a doorbell.

The FasTrack controllers are junk and the wiring is grossly inadequate.  You can substitute a DPDT center off switch of your liking for the Lionel controller and 4 conductor wire(even bell wire would be better than the original wires).

Because some operating cars work with the uncouple button(using car chassis for ground/common) and some with the unload button(isolated from the car chassis), a DPDT (on)-off-(on) switch can be used to replace the bulky controllers. 6019 illustrated, RCS/UCS, GarGraves/Ross, RealTrax, FasTrack similar. If you really don't want the magnet energizing, just don't connect it or cut the connection.

DPDT detail connections... three terminals on the left, three on the right, toggle/slide up & down, as viewed from the bottom. Sorry the numbers aren't very big.

SW Mod


Last edited by ADCX Rob

mth 40-1008 wiring

Rob's diagram shows what you need to know but I already made this diagram for a previous thread albeit for the Realtrax operating track.  In this case MTH used a sealed standard (ON)-OFF-(ON) DPDT toggle rather than the "brass tab" style apparently used in some controllers.  I found it somewhat amusing how they fabricated custom mechanical parts to maintain the look and feel of a traditional O-gauge lever controller mechanism with a "modern" toggle switch buried within!

The WTS-6303 appears to be a Korean company with a 125V/3A rating...a functionality readily available in switches that cost, say, $2-3.

Or, to your point, separate the integrated toggle into separate doorbell-style pushbutton switches.


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  • mth 40-1008 wiring

Same frustrating problem for me with 12054 operating/unloading tracks----have 3 of them and with all three the uncouple works perfectly but the unload is something else!!!! I use for power a ZW and despite varying voltage to test the unload function it is extremely sporadic in working to unload cars if at all-----example is post-war milk cars---no matter even if I turn ZW voltage to full it still does not seem to get enough power to have car function to even unload cans---have tested many a car etc...frustrating to spend so much for the track and not have it work as it should and having this problem with all 3!  In fact I am going to buy fastrack transition pieces and use in between them my reliable older post war uncouple/unload tracks which always work ----and supply plenty of power for unloading operations.  Seems from other posts these tracks have a lot of problems with unloading functions. Guess for sure they don't make em like they use too!  Thanks for prior posts as I know I am not alone.

@DL&W posted:

Same frustrating problem for me with 12054 operating/unloading tracks----have 3 of them and with all three the uncouple works perfectly but the unload is something else!!!!

Did you have occasion to try a DPDT replacement switch and beefier wire (as suggested earlier) in place of what I call the brass-leaf contraption in the stock controller?  In addition to the DPDT examples provided earlier, the up-down control button for power-windows (momentary center-off DPDT) is widely available and quite inexpensive:


If you are not familiar/comfortable with switch terminology, don't hesitate to ask here before ordering!  Terminology like DPDT, center-off, momentary, (ON)-OFF-(ON), and so on apply to what you want - in other words, alphabet soup!


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Last edited by stan2004

Its that time of year when I get frustrated with my 12054 track section - love the fast track otherwise, but losing the ability to activate the dump cars really kills the benefit. I was getting ready to graft my working 027 operating track section in to a section of fast track when I remembered this thread from last year. Switch update looks easy enough. I was then compelled to look at what is inside the dual button housing connected to the fastrack operating track. The series of cantilevers contacts is indeed a bit silly, but I quickly realized that fully pressing the "unload" button did not bridge all of the contacts. The last (lowest) contact was not bridged. If, instead, I pressed on all of the unload contacts from the backside (ensuring they were all touching), the track section now worked flawlessly. So, it does not seem to be an electrical issue, it appears to be mechanical. The button doesn't have enough throw to press all of the cantilever elements together. To solve this, I simply bent the last contact arm up slightly - it was a bit tricky to do this given the flexibility of the arm, but if you wedge a small screwdriver blade under the arm at the bent section, biasing the arm down, you can then push the end of the arm up (at the contact). Its a little finicky to bend it just right to make sure it isn't connecting in its relaxed state, but doable with a bit of patience.

I closed up my housing after bending the arm, and now the track section works perfectly. After I closed it up, I noticed the two small indents on the backside casework plate. I suspect these are supposed to be the end stops for the cantilever arms - helping all of the contacts push together when the button is depressed (but not successfully doing so). I didn't try this, but instead of bending the cantilever arm, I suspect that these indents could be built up on the inside of the plate with tape or thin rubber sheet - effectively moving the stop up closer to the button. A bit of trial and error with added thickness will likely result in the same improved performance as bending the arm.

Hopefully this makes sense, let me know if you have any questions.

Pic attached for reference - last (lowest) cantilevered arm has already been bent/biased upward in this photo (there is a gap when in the relaxed state, tough to tell from this angle).


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