Multiple Swtch Engines

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Pitchwife, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    The link at the bottom is of my proposed switching and staging yard. I was working on the wireing blocks when I came up with an idea and thought I'd run it by the experts.
    Would it be practical to run two switchers on the yard, one to break down incoming trains and one to assemble outgoing trains. This would add to the action of multi person operating sessions. With two operators running trains on the mainlines (red and blue lines) as well as another one on an adjacent industrial interchange and switching yard.
    I realize that it would involve a more extensive wiring setup but I would be willing to work it out if it is practical.

    Yard Pic
  2. sounds very do-able with a DCC setup.

    You'll need a really large yard though, or the two engines might end up tripping over each other
  3. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Sorry SS, no DCC in the forseeable future. Everything will have to be DC. That could add even one more position, a yard master to determine the priority of each move. If one car from an incoming train has to go out on the next outbound it gets priority, If it is just going into storage or waiting for another train going in the right direction it gets a lower priority.
    Wiring could be tricky, but if you look at the yard I think it could be done. Would also have to be able to be converted to a one man operation if necessary with a flip of a switch. Interesting challenge but I like that sort of thing.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I know you said DCC is not likely in the future, but would you reconsider if the cost of wiring DC blocks and electrical switches adds up to the same as a simple DCC system?

    The situation you describe is made for DCC, or rather DCC is made for it...! At our local modular club you can see the Castor River RR, which is a 4-module industrial switching district. It is truly amazing to see the switchers come out and work both ends of a string of cars that has been dropped by the road engine. With blocks, it would practically impossible to do, but with DCC, you are running the train, not the track.

    I have ordered a Digitrax Zephyr, which has the interesting feature of being able to use standard (DC) power packs as "jump" throttles. You can plug two additional power packs into the Zephyr to run three engines, each with its own throttle. I plan to do this until I can add additional Digitrax throttles, as old MRC power packs can be had for as little as CAN$20 (and I already have one anyway...).

    I apologise if you have already taken this into account when making your DC decision.

    As far as the yard master - this is a great idea. Again it is something we do at the modular club. We have a 24 foot long yard with 6 tracks where trains are staged for east or westbound running, and the yard master and the dispatcher work together to get trains out on the main... Lots of fun!

  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    That's quite true. Some of the first generation DCC can know be had cheap used. Fred
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    You could wire that layout with a Atlas controllers and selectors for your yard and can easily run both yards at the same time..However,by adding another controller with selectors you can run the yard and trains on the main line at the same time..You would need 4 power packs.
    As far as DCC you can find some fairly good deals for your basic sets..Now as is my
    routine I will tell you up front there is some hidden costs to DCC.You may need a power booster and to run 2 switch engine in your yard you will surely need a second throttle.You will also need to run a bus wire and feeder wires every 6-8 foot as is recommended..You may need to change out light bulbs in your locomotives as well.Now you will need decoders for your locomotives as you know..
    Is DCC worth the extra costs? In my opinion yes and no.Yes in your case due to the operational potential of your layout and no in my case due to the fact I can only run 1 locomotive on my industrial switching layout..I do have DCC with sound in HO..However the N scale industrial switching layout that I am building will be DC..I will be using my old MRC CM20 with selectors.Reason? Simply put none of my Atlas N scale locomotives is DCC ready and I will need to mill the frames in order to install the decoders and to my mind since I will only be running one engine at a time I see no reason to use DCC....
  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    First, thanks everybody for your input. I have not yet made a decision, but as brakie said there can be a lot of hidden costs with DCC. Another aspect to take into consideration is that at least the arrival and departure tracks will need to handle the engines that run on the mainline as well as the switchers. In that case if I went with DCC I would have to go whole hog with it. At some point I'm sure I will, but economically right now it isn't an option.
    I have two MRC 260 dual controlers, figuring using one for the two mainlines and one for each yard. I also picked up, in a lot I bought on ebay, an older MRC controler, Don't remember the model number offhand, but I thought I might use it for my "tourist" RR when I build my dream layout in the shop trailer. I could use it for the industrial yard and one of the 260s for the switch yard. I know that wiring it for DC operation is going to be tricky, but I think that it will be possable. Once I come up with a block layout for the yard I'll post it and see what you think.

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