Trouble-shooting track electrics tip

A simple little tip from MRE regular Tom P. for troubleshooting track electrics.

“Hi, if you have trains that don’t run on some parts of the track, here’s an easy way of finding out if its dirt on the rails or a nearby electrical connection that’s spoiling the fun.

Grab some wires with crocodile clips at each end and attach them to the rails where the train works and to just before or after the rails where it does – but after where the wires connect, in my case to the track joiners. Then try the train on the stretch of track.

If it still doesn’t run smoothly, it’s likely to be dirty rails. If it does run smoothly, you know it’s the electrical connection at the joiners or where they attach, that’s come lose.

It’s not foolproof of course but has saved me getting the soldering iron out a few times. I thought I’d cleaned the track but apparently not and was about to resolder the rail joiners!

Thanks, Tom.”

Useful tip Tom that I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate.



Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.