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Newbie in NEED of help

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  • Member since
    September 2021
  • 1 posts
Newbie in NEED of help
Posted by TheHastyTerrainMaker on Monday, September 27, 2021 4:07 PM

Hey there, VERY NEW to the hobby of trains... I picked up a decent set off Kijiji last spring, JUST got to it weeks back... HAD a loop working... Redid it to include some turn offs, worked well... Decided to go bigger and having issues now... Seems ALL my track is joined well together BUT have two areas that short out on either side of the track feeding the power and NO clue why...

IF I push on the area of track I lose power at the light dims green and some sparks... 

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • 1,394 posts
Posted by NVSRR on Monday, September 27, 2021 7:06 PM

Welcome aboard.  Posts will be slow to appear for a while because of moderating.   


Give it a little time as it takes a while for all of us to get to the posts.  we will all ask a bunch of questions to help sort it out for you. 


When you went bigger, what changes did you make?   

So the track that the power feeds to is ok until you push on either end of that section?




A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Central Vermont
  • 4,497 posts
Posted by cowman on Monday, September 27, 2021 7:14 PM

Welcome to the forums!

Sounds to me llike you have a reverse loop, think of a tear drop with the train going up one side and coming back the other to the tip,  It takes special wiring to do this because what you  have done is connect the two sides of your current to the same rail.  

I have an Atlas track book that tells how to do it, there are other books too.  Since I have avooided having one, I'm not good at explaining the method.   (Electronics is my weakness.)

To get your trains to run again, take out each new sectionn you have put in until they work.  That will get you a temporary fix until you undderstand and get the necessary electronic needs.

Have fun,


  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,551 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, September 27, 2021 10:48 PM

Welcome aboard! Welcome

Years ago, I had the reputation of finding obscure problems in software design reviews.  Someone asked me how I did it.  It was simple, really.  Every mistake I find is one I've made many myself times before.

Yes, my first guess is also an inadvertent reverse loop.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 8,484 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 2:02 AM

A lot of guessing is going to be done until we can see a track plan.

Posting pictures in this forum is unlike any other forum I belong to.  You have to follow the instructions, or you might be the only one that can see the picture.


The type of turnouts might be important to solving the problem as well.

If it is a reversing section, this article will be useful.  As you are new, you see "Automatic reversers"  These are meant for DCC operation, not DC.

In the future, a more specific title, like "Short on the tracks"  attracts the electrical geeks, "Help creating a river" draws the scenery gurus.


COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: AU
  • 681 posts
Posted by xdford on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 11:09 PM

Hi there,

It will not be YOUR track plan but given the presence of a short circuit and possibly being a return loop, have a read of the following thread on the Your Model Railway site

and see what applies to you including the "hasten slowly" approach with building and checking your railroad as you go...

Hope this helps

Regards from Australia


  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,887 posts
Posted by wjstix on Thursday, September 30, 2021 2:51 PM

I'd suggest working backwards. If the last thing you added was a turnout, remove that and replace it with a straight track and see if the layout now runs OK. If not, remove the next thing you added. Keep doing until you find what change caused the problem.

Note that even if you don't have a reverse loop, depending on the brand of track/turnouts you're using, you may still have to add a plastic insulated rail joiner in order to avoid a short circuit. Some turnouts are "power routing" and can cause a problem that one or two insulated joiners can solve.

BTW if you only have one place where power is connected to the track, you probably will need to add more as you expand the layout.


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