Lionel Accessory Activation – 153C

In addition to the outside insulated rail track block, Lionel offers options to have your accessories turned on and off by a train as it passes the accessory directly. There are three variations of the number “153” switch. The oldest and most simple of these is the 153C.

153C switch

153C Switch

The 153C (or Contact) switch uses the weight of the train to complete the electrical circuit and turn on – or off – the accessory. This simple activation switch has been around for decades. It’s sturdy, reliable, and easy to install. It is designed for use and performs best with traditional tubular track. (FasTrack users may want to consider the 153E or 153IR instead for better performance.)

The 153C is included with most of our operating accessories. You can also purchase these directly from customer service. The part number is 690-153C-001.  You can call or order directly through our website.

The 153C features a spring-loaded lever that fits beneath the track. You can adjust the sensitivity of the lever to compensate for the weight of the track. This is connected to two clip terminals. The upper terminal (1) is normally live when the lever is in the raised, or “closed”, position. The lower terminal (2) is energized when the lever is depressed or “open.” A third terminal is used to attach the common AC ground feed from your power supply.

This switch can be used to control both single and dual animation accessories. For example, the “closed” terminal could be left empty and a single animation accessory wired to the open terminal. It will activate when the train passes. Or, a dual animation signal could be wired to both so that it the green light is on when the train is not present and the signal changes to red when the switch is activated.

To see all of this in more detail, watch the following video:

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