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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is the Line Clear.........

With all the discussions about blocks, staff and sections it got me to thinking as to how I was going to control or prevent head on meets between crossing loops on my layout.

Now that there is actually something to see on the home layout, I can let you know that the backdrops are 600m high and there is no way you can see over them or around them when you are following your train so I felt this was pretty important.

Now I am not the sharpest tool in the shed so I wanted something either of the shelf or pretty easy to wire and use. After our last Tuesday nighters and Blog reading I thought the simple two way switch idea (like in your house) with a meter at either end of the block would do the trick.

In the examples shown the train is heading to your right as you look at the screen.

This shot shows my "block instrument" indicating the next section is clear. The train can depart knowing the line is clear.

As the driver departs the station he flicks the switch to show the line is "closed".

At the other end of the section the "block intrument" indicates line closed.

When the train arrives "complete" in the station or loop the driver then flicks the switch on the "block instrument" to show the previous station or loop the line is clear.

The train heading right will have to wait in the loop as a train is approaching (heading left on screen).

Having said all that, simply put when you enter or leave a section you just flick a switch. As there is a meter and switch at either end of the section this could also be controlled by the ASM if your operating session has enough people.
This circuit is powered by any power supply you like and is totally independant of the track power. I have used 240volt light switches because they are easy and cheap to get second hand but more importantly are very robust.
This mock up panel is powered by a 9 volt battery however when installed on the layout I will use 12 volts. The meters are simple Micronta ones with a resistor in series to the positive. Depending on the power supply you use will depend on the resistor.
I have then made up stickers to cover the meters with the wording from the "General Appendix".
Anyway enough of my ramblings and thanks again to all who started the discussions.
I look forward to catching up at the New England Convention.


  1. Darren,
    Looks Good. I'll see if I can have a block or two open for Tuesday Night!

  2. Darren,

    Very interesting. Might be of interest as an article for the Australian Journal of Railway Modelling (AJRM) that Stephen Ottaway and I are putting together (rather slowly, I'm afraid).

    What do you think?

    And speaking of Stephen, were you at the New England Convention by any chance? Stephen met a couple of Darren's up there. Stephen Ottaway was my special correspondent who reported on the Convention on my blog last week!

    Thanks again for another interesting post on The Nimmitabel Extension.


  3. Thanks Brad, sorry for the delay in replying, yes I did catch up with Stephen, we had a good chat about section cars. I think it is a great idea for AJRM. I am an avid follower and have all 10 issues. Again thank you for the positive comments. Darren