Just finished the track work for a small oval "permanent" layout for my grandsons. It has 0-36 curves at the ends, four 0-36 switches - one at each corner - leading into the curves through the curved leg and into four very short sidings through the straight legs, and an 0-72 switch on one straight section leading into a siding parallel with the "mainline." It is screwed down through the holes provided in the sections into a very solid base.
When we tried to run the Lionel Alco S2/4 switch engine and a short train Christmas morning, we ran into a series of electrical problems, which seemed to involve the switches. Sections of track simply went dead. There was no indication of a short visually or on the transformer. If we banged on the track near the switch, the track usually came back to life. It didn't matter which way the train ran or whether it was running forward or reverse. It only happened when the engine ran over one of two switches. Then the track "ahead" of the engine (or maybe the switch itself, hard to tell) went dead along with some pieces ahead of the switch.
I am a scale railroader and have not had experience with Lionel since my 1950's magna traction and tubular steel track days. But I do not remember anything like this sort of problem.
So, questions: (1) Have any of you had problems with electrical continuity with Fastrack? If so, how did you resolve them? (2) In two-rail scale we drop feeder electrical lines down from each "piece" of track so that current is not carried by rail joiners alone. Does one do this with Fastrack? How?? (3) Has anyone had this sort of problem with Fastrack switches?
I'm planning on talking with the folks at the local hobby shop who recommended Fastrack over Atlas for their take on this tomorrow. Any help from your experience would be deeply appreciated by both this novice and his grandson!