K-line/Lionel O-72 switches

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  • Member since
    November, 2004
  • 45 posts
K-line/Lionel O-72 switches
Posted by 71835 on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 3:24 PM

 I decided to re-work my layout ( track screwed to plywood, with lots of accessories and no sceanery) and replace all my O42 curves with O-72 and O-96 curves. I am alco replacing the O-42 K-line switches with O-72 K-line switches on my main lines.

I have just gotten enough track in place with the necessary fitter sections cut, and now it seems that some of these switches seem to short the track power when haveyweight passinger cars go over them. but others do not have this problem. Is this a problem with these switch tracks?

FYI, all my track is sectional, a mix of super K, shadow rail, and wide radius Super snap curves.  I find that the plastic ties do not transmit as much sound as the traditional Lionel type all steel tubuler track.  I have used regular tubuler track for most fitter sections because it costs less, and when making transiton to or from super snap sections I don't have to cut away all the additional ties which are on the super k style track  Maybe half of the track was purchased used, but mostly in excellent condition.

Layout is U shaped,  the bottom of the U is 4 by 16 feet with one leg 20 by 8 feet and the other 12 by 6 feet. 

What can you suggest?

  • Member since
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  • From: north carolina
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Posted by catdoing on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 5:17 AM

i had some lionel switches that on the bottom under cover screw had worked out and was shorting track. these were brand new out of box hope this helps

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Posted by 71835 on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 2:54 PM

 Additional information:

I just came up from the celler...er...ah...train room, and after pushing a caboose and a couple of heavyweight passenger cars through the switch very slowly it seems that the roller pickup on these cars, as well as on at least some locos shorts the center power rail to the fixed continuation of the outside swing rail, thereby connecting to  ground. I am assuming that the fixed continuation of the outside swing rail is supposed to be electrically isolated. This is only a problem when the straight path is taken. This seems to be a problem on 3 of 7 switches that I have installed.  At least two of them are new switches(or at least unused when I got them a few weeks ago..

K-line switches do not have a removable bottom cover like lionel's do.

I guess I could coat offending rails with paint or laquer to insolate them.  

Does anyone have some GOOD ideas, cause I don't think mine would be effective for long.

  • Member since
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  • From: Watkinsville, GA
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Posted by Roger Bielen on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3:11 PM

I know someone who is taking out all his Lionel O-72 switches and replacing them with K-Line.  If I recall correctly, he's tired of trains acting like they hit a speed bump with the Lionel switches.  Also he comments that the K-Line operate more smoothly.

Roger B.
  • Member since
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  • From: Virginia
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Posted by TRAINCAT on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:48 PM

Im not sure how to help you with shorting, but if your switches are bumpy you can smooth them out nicely with a dremel. Look at the old 022 Lionel switches and see how the reliefs are cut in the plastic near the frog and rails. Take the dremel and add them to your new switches. Works great.

Roger S.

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    November, 2004
  • 45 posts
Posted by 71835 on Thursday, August 13, 2009 8:32 AM

 Thanks for your suggestions.  I agree that they are smooth operating and I also found my O-42 k-line switches to be excellent and derailment free, which is why I went with threir O-72 switches.

I was thinking about stripping some insulation from a wire and slitting it lengthwise to glue over the offending rail. or maybe try heat shrink tubing cut lengthwise.....


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  • From: St. Paul, Minnesota
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Posted by Boyd on Friday, August 14, 2009 11:22 PM

How about cutting and putting electrical tape over the areas that short out? I think I've even heard of a liquid form of electrical tape that you just paint on with a brush? By chance are you selling any of your K-line 42" switches? I have 9 of them right now. I have taken apart all my Lionel 42" switches and unhooked the wires going to the plungers and removed the plungers.

Modeling the "Fargo Area Rapid Transit" in O scale 3 rail.

  • Member since
    November, 2004
  • 45 posts
Posted by 71835 on Saturday, August 15, 2009 7:07 AM

 I have not decided what I may be selling at this point.  I must confess that I am more of a saver than a seller as my boxes of Standard gauge and ho trains would testify. 

But what are you planning to do with the O-22 switches after you have seeminly gutted their innerds?

Thanks for the tip on liquid electrical tape, I'll look for it.

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    February, 2007
  • 928 posts
Posted by bfskinner on Sunday, August 16, 2009 9:20 AM

Try the electrical aisle at Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware and other fine stores in your neighborhood. I wouldn't be without the stuff. You can also find it (or very similar products) in several colors to aid color-coding.






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