Sunday, May 15, 2011

Simple Staging Yard Control

As noted in other places on this blog, I like to keep things simple (and inexpensive). So it's no surprise I applied that approach to controlling the two six-track staging yards on the M & M Sub.

Staging yard tracks on the layout are all tied into the same electircal block. (The layout is DC.) How, then, to keep the trains from all moving when power is applied?

The answer is in the photo above: Light switches. I simply run a wire from the block's main power supply throught one end of the light switch and back to the track. When the switch is off, there's no power to the track. When it's on, trains can move. In the photo above, track 3 is powered.

The result? All trains can be lined up and ready to go for an operating session. When a train is ready to depart, the switch is thrown, power is applied, and the train moves.

It's the reverse when a train enters the staging yard. After lining up the switch for the appropriate track, the dispatcher (who also runs the staging yard) flips the switch to provide power to that track.

Stopping trains in the stub-ended tracks is also easy. I use a dead track at the end of each staging track. These tracks, which are two engine-lengths long, are gapped in one rail. The first unit over the gap introduces power to the dead section; the second one also keeps moving over the gap. When both have passed the gap, there's no more power and the train stops.

For operations, the locomotices are picked up by the old 0-5-0 and put on the other end of the train.

Of course, none of this is necessary with DCC. But, if you are using Dinosaur Control, like me, it's a simple solution, and cheap, too.

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