puzzle piece

Click to solve our online jigsaw puzzles!

puzzle piece

Lionel Transformers Instructions

Lionel trains are powered and controlled with transformers.
toy train image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com

Lionel transformer operation is simplified for children over 8 years of age to enjoy. The makers of Lionel trains recommend that an adult perform the wiring and track connection to install the transformer. Periodic parental inspection of the train, track, transformer, wires and connections is also advised for safety and continued service. The Lionel instruction manuals provide illustrated guidelines for installation and occasional inspection. Directions for use with Lionel trains and railroad layouts are also outlined.

Unplug the Lionel transformer while making all track and accessory connections. Select the appropriate gauge wire for connecting the transformer to the track. Use 18 gauge wire for a small or average size layout, 16 gauge wire for an extensive track layout. Cut two 16 inch wire lengths with different color insulation. Strip off 5/8 inch of the insulation from both ends of both wires.

Clip the Lionel "Lockon" connector pad to the track by slipping the bent metal fence next to the terminals over the edge of the outside track rail. Push the metal clip at the end of the connector pad open and snap it on over the inside edge of the middle track rail.

Attach a wire to the Lockon terminal marked with the number "1" by pushing down on the clamp terminal to open its wire loop. Slip the bare conductor into the loop and release the clamp. Gently tug on the wire to be certain the clamp is holding it securely. Loosen the twist screw over terminal "A" on the back of the Lionel transformer. Wrap the other end of the wire around the terminal post, or push it through the terminal shaft hole. Tighten the terminal screw to hold the wire firmly.

Connect the other 16 inch wire length to terminal clamp number "2" on the Lockon pad, and the terminal labeled "U" that is directly under terminal "A" on the transformer.

Strip the ends 24 gauge wires to connect any included accessories for Lionel transformer operation. Attach the accessory wires to the "B" terminal on the transformer and the "U" terminal directly below it. Attach the other ends of the wires to the accessory terminals.

Place a Lionel locomotive on the track with all the wheels contained on the rails. Plug in the power cord to begin Lionel transformer operations. Push the throttle lever forward to begin moving the train, and further forward to increase its speed. Pull the throttle all the way back and then forward again, or push the button labeled "Direction" on the transformer to stop the train and reverse its movement.

Push the "Bell" button to activate the bell sounds on Lionel trains, and transformer models with bells. Press the button a second time to stop the sound. Press and hold the "Whistle and Horn" button to play the horn and whistle sounds. Release the button to stop the sounds.

Things You'll Need:

  • Wire strippers
  • 16 or 18 gauge wire
  • 24 gauge wire- optional


Unplug the Lionel train transformer when not in use.

Set the voltage level for the accessories on Lionel transformers such as the CW-80 by pulling the throttle lever all the way back until the train stops. Depress the "Direction," "Bell" and "Whistle and Horn" buttons simultaneously and hold them. Push the throttle lever forward until the lights and other accessories have the amount of voltage you want. Let go of the buttons and pull the throttle lever back. Normal Lionel transformer operation will resume the next time the throttle level is pushed.


  • Inspect the Lionel parts periodically. Check the wires for cracks or nicks in the insulation. Check the wiring connections to see that the terminals are holding firmly and check the transformer casing to be sure it has not cracked periodically. Use electric Lionel trains and transformers indoors only. Prevent the track layout, train and transformer from contacting moisture at any time.
Our Passtimes