How do I get 2 locos to run at same time

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Highlander1, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Highlander1

    Highlander1 Member


    We have our lay out which is a 16 foot long oval with 4 sets of points which bring the track
    into the middle to create something like my rough sketch as shown.

    Trains run at different speeds so how do you run 2 or more at once.

    Regards J&D

    Attached Files:

  2. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.


    Well, the only method is to make "sections" in your track, by isolating them (Make gaps in the rails). You will then need a transformer for each section.
  3. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    Only other option is to move to DCC (digital command control) where locos are fitted with chips and can then be controlled individually. With DCC several locos can be run simultaneously without the use of isolated sections. However, you have to pay for and fit (or get fitted) the chips into each loco and then buy a new controller system - not cheap!
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The 3 common options for control of 2 trains on the same track:

    - DCC is the easiest to operate and wire, but requires your locomotives to be fitted with decoders. The system components are more expensive than traditional power packs, as well. Costs for a starter DCC system, plus a second throttle will run $220-$300 depending on exact components and discouts. This cost does not include decoders, which come pre-installed in some locomotives.

    - DC block wiring. You divide your track into electrically isolated blocks. Each block is wired to an electrical switch (commonly a toggle switch on a control panel) which controls which power pack is linked to which block. Each train is independently controlled by a separate power pack. The power pack is connected to the same train where ever it goes on the layout by aligning the block toggle switches correctly. Your sketch would probably call for 6-7 blocks to give the 2 trains room to move without getting into the same block at the same time. Once 2 trains are in the same block, they are under the control of the same power pack, and cannot be controlled independently.

    - Section wiring/control. Commonly used on toy train layouts where there is very little sharing of track between trains (not your situation). Each section of the layout is independently wired, and has its own power pack. The drawback to section control, aside from the expense of extra power packs, is that when a train is crossing from one section to another, there is a moment of electrical confusion with both power packs supplying power. Since you can't match the power packs perfectly, there will be surges or slowing at the section boundary. In addition, when the wheels span the section insulator, there will be a fault current flowing through the wheels and wiring that is proportional to the voltage difference between the 2 power packs. This fault current is often not protected against by circuit breakers, and may cause damage to delicate electronics. It also tends to pit the wheels.

    DCC or block control would be the normal 2 choices for your situation. There are many threads on the forum about selecting DCC or wiring for block control.

    yours in wiring
  5. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    pgandw that third one you are speaking of is intersting, don't ever remember hearing about it.
  6. Highlander1

    Highlander1 Member

    Thanks everyone sounds like it will be one at a time then for us until someone who is really daft on railway electrics comes to stay.

    I think If we spent that much more on this hobby MRS Highlander would be moving to the lowlands.

    Our idea was to have one running around the outside stopping at the points to let the inner ones pass then follow on that kind of thing but wiring isn't my forte.

    I could just about follow a very simple wiring diagram
  7. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    It's really not as difficult as you may think. Basically you're just giving yourself the ability to control the power in certain zones of the track, rather than the whole track at the same time. With a little more effort you can even choose between multiple power packs to power each zone. The work is definitely worth the payoff. I highly suggest investing in a model train wiring book, though I have no recommendations, and getting yourself setup for dual cab operations. It adds a whole new level to model railroading - more than double the enjoyment factor.
  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Dito to what LoudMusic said. The Atlas Wiring Book is a very easy way to learn ( but is based on using Atlas electrical switches. For a more generic approach and more detail, see Easy Model Railroad Wiring ( at the site.

    Understanding basic DC electricity and wiring is yet another skill and knowledge base you get to develop as you progress in the hobby. This is one of the wonderful things about model railroading - you get to develop and learn new skills and subjects that you never would have bothered with otherwise.

    yours in wiring
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    So John Hielan'man: what type of points are you using? Peco Insulfrogs or Electrofrogs? With these you could put one train into the siding, turn BOTH points against it and run the other train by. An insulated gap near the end of the loop would let you stop the train when it gets to the point set against it.
    Two insulated gaps, one each end of the loop and a switch lets you stop the train there until the other passes it, or stop the fater until the other gets well ahead of it.
    We run a big layout based on Lostock Junction, with piles of loops and circles and the junction. Our aim there is to get 12 trains running at once (with 4 or 5 operators only) and only a few on-off switches and a buch of speed controllers to do it.

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