Lionel Trains: Power & Control logo

Lionel Power and Power Controllers!

Since Lionel’s beginning in 1900, every train has been powered by electricity. In order for your locomotives to run, they need to be powered by a transformer or wall pack that connects directly to the track. Lionel offers many power options that fit your model railroading needs.

There are 3 tiers to layout power that are determined by your layout’s needs:


This includes DC wall-packs and the AC-powered CW80. These transformers are perfect for those starting in the hobby, operating only a couple of trains at one time. The CW80 is also the perfect transformer for powering a layout’s accessories.



For those with moderate-sized layouts looking to expand on a budget, the PowerHouse 180 and GW180 are perfect power upgrades to run numerous locomotives at time. The PowerHouse 180 is designed for command-controlled layouts where power is either on or off. The GW180 gives conventional control of a PowerHouse 180 and also provides a separate constant-voltage accessory output.

Both products output AC power.



The top-tier transformer product is the ZW-L. This transformer was designed to meet any and all model train layout needs. This product outputs AC power.

What do I need?

The following chart lists example train layouts and recommended power products to meet those needs.

Note: for connecting accessories to power, we recommend the Plug-Expand-Play system. 

Example Layout Power Recommendation

Loop of track around a Christmas tree with a single engine, 1 to 2 operating/lighted accessories

  • DC Wall Pack included with Ready-to-Run set
  • 72W DC Wall Pack
  • CW80

Small-sized layout: 1 to 2 powered switches, 1 to 3 engines, 1 to 3 operating/lighted accessories

  • 72W DC Wall Pack
  • CW80

Medium-sized layout: 1 to 8 powered switches, 1 to 7 engines, 1 to 8 accessories

  • PH180
  • GW180

Large-sized layout: 8+ switches, 8+ engines, 8+ operating/lighted accessories

  • 2+ PH180
  • 2+ GW180
  • ZW-L

Accessory power only (bus line): 1 to 9 powered switches and/or operating/lighted accessories

  • CW80

Accessory power only (bus line): 10+ powered switches and/or operating/lighted accessories

  • GW180