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Hi everyone,

I am reaching out to those of you who have gotten the new Lionel Acela. I recently purchased mine and started running it this week. Everything works fine except for one issue. After initially setting up the Acela on my Layout using the Legacy control system, The pantograph on the trailing engine will not move anymore.  The pantograph raised up and has stayed that way.  The one on the lead engine moves up and down fine responding to when I run forward or (goes up) when I reverse it it goes down. The Legacy remote also can raise and lower the pantograph on the head engine. When I try and lower the pantograph on the real engine with the Legacy remote, it makes the sound but does nothing.   So my question is does anyone have any tricks or tips to get it functioning? Like I said, everything else is working fine. I have not had an engine automatic pantographs before, I don’t want to touch them without some guidance.  thanks to anyone who can provide some assistance.  

R. Scott Kelly

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1. Did you take off the engine top hatch to check that all pantograph switches are in the "Run" position?  If so, try jiggling the switches off, then "Run", just in case it is a questionable contact.


2. Not sure this will help in your particular case, but the Acela engines should be run as a pair using the same ID's. The pantograph controls will look like this:


3. Try resetting the engines.

i. With power on track, press the “R” with the octagon around it. The engine should respond with a short whistle.
ii. Turn off power to track
iii. Turn off command base power…to stop TMCC/Legacy radio frequency from reaching the track
iv. Wait about 30 seconds.
v. Restore command base power
vi. Restore track power.
vii. Turn speed wheel to move forward

Try to see if CAB2 pantograph commands work

4. Other possibility is that there is a malfunction in the linkage from the pantograph motor to the pantograph itself. I would try to raise and lower it a few times from the CAB2 control to see if the mechanism can grab and fix itself.


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Last edited by Bruce Brown


If requesting a Return Authorization (RA) from Lionel becomes your only option, suggest waiting until you thoroughly run and exercise the set (e.g.; through many loop rotations) to make sure there are no addition problems that might need repair. 

While the pantographs are a very cool and impressive feature, I keep mine always locked down to avoid any risk of snagging on scenery, tunnel entrances, bridges or wires hanging down from my 2nd level (avoiding damage to a $2300+ purchase !!)

I think it is connected.  It is in the up position now. When I initially set the train on the tracks, turned on power and did the Legacy address and set up, the rear pantograph went up, both of them.  They just have not come down yet.  I checked to make sure the switch  was not locked, and that it was in the run position under the cover.

The motors that drive the pantographs are flat slider mechanisms (see pic 1 below).

The pantographs engage a slot on the slider motor with a tab (see pic 2 below).  If you took them apart, you would see it is impossible for them to jump out of the slot.

If you do not hear the motors running when you activate the pantographs, then it's not mechanical.

There is a driver board for the pantographs.

I know someone who bought the new Acela and had the same issue.  Seems to be another issue with the new ones.

I would ship to Lionel to correct.



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for the price you paid for the set. I would send it back to get it fixed. one of my engines had issues. it went to lionel. just got it back. it works great now.

fwiw, as bruce stated run these as one unit. I just realized and discovered that this weekend. I had them on my cab2 as two seperate engines. then was running them as a train ID the whole time.

this is the best way to set these units up. first set both engines on the track unpowered. slide both run/program switches to program. power up the track then set the tmcc ID #. then slide switches back to run. this will set both engines to the same tmcc ID#. then make sure the unit pair switches are set to pair on both engines. this way the sounds play out of each engine correctly when going forward and reverse.

I just discovered this and trust me this is how to run these. they now run as they should and ground lights operate on both units now.

one other note the engine with the IR sensor should be the lead engine. if you try engine 2024 as the lead unit. for some reason the sounds are backwards. they play out of the rear engine when going forward and play out of the lead engine going in reverse. not sure why,but trust me they do. just make sure you have the engine with the IR sensor as the lead engine.

they now work as advertized for me and I am very pleased now.

still waiting on my add on set from charles ro. should be here this week.


Here is where I am at.  I have the Lionel Amtrak Acela Concept set. My lead engine is number 2000 and the rear engine is 2002.  After doing an engine reset, I believe I have the Pantographs somewhat working. Maybe this is how it should be.  There are two pantographs on on each engine.  On the lead engine, the rear pantograph responds to the cab2 commands (to raise and lower)  and when I run in forward or reverse ( when the engine engages to go forward, the rear pantograph goes up, the other one on the lead engine does nothing) As a matter of fact, that forward pantograph does not respond to anything it is stuck in the lowered position.

Now on the rear engine the forward pantograph is stuck in the raised position and does not do anything, the rear pantograph responds to command by cab2 to raise or lower and when the train is going in forward or reverse. So are both pantographs on each train supposed to work equally? (Responding to commands to raise or lower or when the train runs in forward or reverse? Or is just the rear pantograph supposed to respond?  Let me know your thoughts and experiences with your set.  As always, thanks for your help!

R. Scott Kelly

I would think maybe your manual should help, but on the Original Acela, all 4 pantographs work.  Both units should have one pantograph up when running.  Which one is up depends on the direction of the train.  As you switch directions, one should lower and opposite comes up (this happens on both engines).

Thats how the original worked to be prototypical of the pantograph used depending on direction.

The new version could be different if they changed it.   Does your manual tell you?

A call to Lionel might be best bet.

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