A question the other day caught me off guard–how long is the Lionel 6-12053 accessory wire for Fastrack? I know a lot of random stuff off the top of my head, but I had to do some digging to find out it was 26 inches long–approximately.
Intended to clip onto leads on the underside of a Fastrack section, you can use it to power an accessory, as an additional power drop, or as an extension if the stock wires on your terminal section are too short.
If you need a different length, or need several and just don’t want to pay Lionel’s price, you can also make your own.
All it takes is two pieces of wire and two .110-inch vinyl quick disconnects, which come in sizes for 18-22 gauge wire and 14-16 gauge wire. Cut your wire to length, then strip about a quarter inch of insulation from each end, twist the ends a few times, then crimp the connector onto the wire. If you don’t have a set of crimpers, you can do a good enough job with a pair of pliers. You can leave the other end bare, or you can crimp a spade or ring connector onto the end that connects to your transformer or accessory.
The connector slides easily onto the leads under the Fastrack, just like Lionel’s product does, while giving you a cost advantage and the ability to size the wire for your application. I think the wires Lionel uses are a bit thin; 18 gauge wire is a better size to use, especially if the wire is going to be reaching 8 feet across the layout.
If the wires on your existing terminal section are too short, I think you’ll get better results by replacing the wires with a new set, but you can attach your homemade wires to the existing ones using a 6-32 machine screw, a #6 toothed lock washer, and a 6-32 nut. The lock washer reduces the chances of the wires pulling apart but won’t completely eliminate the possibility. Use a ring terminal on the end of your wires for the best results.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, and that it saves you a few dollars or perhaps allows you to adapt your train layout to fit better into the space you have for it. If you enjoyed it, please share a link, whether it’s on your own blog, a forum, Twitter, or a site like Facebook.