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Locomotive Only Runs Backwards

Christine models N scale and asks readers:

“I just bought Kato track cause it’s pretty…so that tells you about my expertise. I also got a double crossover and it is not connected to any transformer as I only have it to go in a permanent figure 8 like configuration. My loco stopped running forward. I can turn it around but it still goes backwards. I do not see any switches on the loco. Did I short it out? I would really appreciate help. Thank you!”

10 Responses to Locomotive Only Runs Backwards

  • Dalesays:

    Ok, the first thing I would do is take the locomotive and put it on a separate length of track that is not connected to anything else. Attach the transformer to it and see if you get control in both directions. If yes, then the double crossover is likely the problem and you’ll need to look at the wiring of the points and frogs.

  • Anthony Germagliottisays:

    Take the loco off the track an run it straight from the transformer if the engine goes forward then check your track, since its dc when you switch the polarity on your transformer the engine should rum in each direction if not hook up a meter and check that the voltage goes from + ro – from your
    transformer if you donot have a meter then use another engine to check your transformer to see if is working properly.

  • Frank Bsays:

    1) Just to check, are you using DC or DCC ?

    2) If DC, have you checked the output from your controller is working in both polarities ?
    Does the loco even twitch when you set the controller to forward ?

    3) I recommend you get a book on model railroad electrics. This will give you a basic understanding of electricity (which is incredibly useful when running electric trains).

    4) Take the loco and drop in to a local model railroad club, they will be delighted to help.

  • Tom Osays:

    If you are using DCC there is a function that will make the loco run in the reverse direction when commanded to go forward. This is used in consists of more than one loco. They can be connected together tail to tail and you would set one to go in reverse and one in forward. Check the track as recommended if DC if not then look at this.

  • John Lebsanftsays:

    Frank B. You had me worried until I kept reading No. 4. Take loco and drop it in. Drop it in where, Trash bin, river / lake or somewhere else. The local model railroad club is the best start to sorting out your problem.

  • David Stokessays:

    When problems like this arise there are four options –
    1. Ask a friend
    2. Read the best book on the market on model railway electrics – from Kalmbach
    3. Read, read, and more reading – subscribe to the popular MRR magazines
    4. Join a MRR club in your area and the NMRA (National Model Railway Assoc.)

  • Peter John Penningtonsays:

    The magnet in the loco is the wrong way round


    The magnet in the loco is the wrong way round .

  • nelson t stahlsays:

    Since you are working with N scale you have a DC motor. The train will go in the same direction around the track no matter what way you place the engine on. There should be a switch on your transformer to reverse direction or the speed control will turn both ways. Short of finding this, reverse the wires to the track. If you are working with DDC this should still reverse direction and you should try reprograming your loco.

  • Don Petersonsays:

    Oh come on! It was running okay before so it cannot be anything physically wrong!

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