SSPRR Run Room

Playing with Toy Trains

Toy Train Layout Wiring - Soldering


Basic Intermediate Advanced Wire Management Bus Wiring 120V Train Room
Glossary Wire Sizes Switches Load Calculations Soldering Troubleshooting
Soldering skills are handy for toy trains and track wiring.  There are many on line and magazine articles with in depth soldering information. 

Assure Good Electrical Connections when Soldering

  • Clean and tin new tips.  Discard bad tips that won't tin.
  • Have clean surfaces for best solder flow.
  • Denatured alcohol can be used for cleaning surfaces to be soldered and is a universal train cleaner.
  • Surfaces must be in contact with each other before soldering.
  • Apply heat to both surfaces to be soldered.
  • Solder is applied to heated surfaces, not the iron or gun tip.
  • Keep iron or gun tips clean and tinned.

23 Watt Pencil Soldering Iron
Homemade stand from scrap pine and a broom handle clamp, spool of solder,  replaceable tips, and wet sponge for keeping tip clean.  Use a small iron on or around electronics and for pickup shoes.
Solder spool has 0.015" diameter wire, RMA (rosin mildly activated), and alloy of 62%SN (tin), 2%AG (silver), 36%PB (lead).

Small Soldering Iron 

Use the small iron and pointed tip on electronics components such as the MTH DCS Filter to the right.  Wires were twisted together, soldered, and trimmed with diagonal cutters. Electronics 

40 Watt Pencil Soldering Iron
Solder spool, replaceable tip, and commercially made stand.
Solder spool has 0.032" diameter wire, 3% RA Flux, and alloy of 60%SN (tin), 40%PB (lead).
 Use this size soldering iron for postwar engine repair, operating car repair, accessories and most transformer

40W Solder Iron

The 40 watt iron easily heats these controller tabs and wire.


240/325 Watt Weller Soldering Gun
Replacement tip, solder, and wet sponge for tip cleaning.
Use to solder wire to track and for a few transformer repairs.  (This was Dad's gun.) 

Soldering Gun

The Run Room track was laid first then wired.  Solid #16 cu wire tails go to the bus bar under the tables.  Drill holes in table surface, drill holes a little larger than the bare wire in the sides of the track, insert hooked wire taps, clean surfaces, and solder.
Gargraves and 031 Lionel Track

Gargraves and Lionel

Two Gargraves  The Gargraves tracks to the left are 10' and 9' curves.  With wood ties both outside rails are tapped on the outside of the rails.  The center black rail solder surface is sanded or scuffed before drilling for best adhesion of solder.

When soldering is needed on modern track with plastic ballast, heat sinks may be needed to protect the plastic.  These joints had worked loose at the bottom and solid copper wire was soldered across the joints.
Modern 3 Rail 

Preparation and Soldering Aids
Sandpaper, flux, and alligator clips for heat sinks

Surface Prep Materials

Remove Solder
 desoldering pump, desoldering braid, and toothpicks

Solder Removal Tools

Question? Contact the SSPRR COO (Chief Operating Officer) using the email button to the right.  (If email link is absent, please enable JavaScript.)