Common Rail Wiring

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by fishhunter, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. fishhunter

    fishhunter New Member

    I am planning my first real HO layout. I would like an oval within an oval connected by 4 turnouts. The ultimate goal being the ability to run 2 trains at once. After reading up on different wiring schemes it seems the easiest is common rail. I have multiple power packs that I can use. I must setup the same rail as "common" on both ovals. My question concerns the gaps. It seems like I will need 4 insulated gaps (one on each turnout). These gaps must be located on the control rail. Is there anything I am missing? I have read about "blocks" and other control mechanisms but they just seem confusing and maybe unnecessary. Any help or advice would be appreciated. I have not found any detail "white" papers concerning this on the internet. I just don't want to ruin my Dad's trains that he left me.

  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You need gaps in the rails beyond the frogs of the turnouts, on the rails where the frog is. Doesn't matter if you use common rail or not. You end up with 2 gaps per turnout, and some will be in the common rail.
    If you are using a crossover to move from one oval to the other, you will gap both rails between the turnouts.
    If you have only a single train running, but 2 power packs, the common rail lets you move from one power pack to the other if you have, say, pickup from one side on the loco and the other side on the tender. Not ideal, though.
    Blocks just mean an length of track with a switch on it; can be either an on/off switch or a multiple throw switch that lets you choose a power pack for the block. You may want to have a separate section so that you can stop one train while you move the other one from one oval to the second.
  3. fishhunter

    fishhunter New Member


    I plan on using 2 turnouts back-to-back for the crossover. So this will require 2 gaps per turnout? One gap on each rail? I thought when using common rail you would not want to gap the common rail - only the control rail?

    Ultimately I would like some spurs off the inner oval for temporary storage but I will be very happy just to get common rail working.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you use turnouts with insulated frogs, you may not have to, but if you have all rail frogs, you will have to. Reason is that the rail from the frog to the points shorts from the one rail to the other. Just add an extra feeder beyond the gap.

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