I'm very new at model railroading so please bear with me. I was visiting my parents this past Thanksgiving holiday in Wisconsin and my mom asked me to help her set up a couple train sets she recently acquired from a garage sale. I've never set up a train set before, neither have my parents. I thought to myself that it shouldn't be too difficult so I went down into the basement and saw that my parents had already completed the bench work (plywood attached to 2X4 legs). I found a layout in one of the manuals and and we laid the track (basically and oval with a figure 8 inside). After getting everything set up we put one train on it and ran it a bit. All went well. Since my mom had two trains, we decided to put the second train on the track and were able to run both trains together... that is until one of the trains caught up to the other... or when they both met at a crossing . That's when we knew we had to make some changes. Our layout didn't have any switches, so running two trains at the same time wasn't working out. Since then, I've been reading alot and trying to learn more about model railroading. This is what I'm starting to realize. By installing some switches in the lauout, we can run two trains on the same track and avoid collisions. But the person running the trains would need to be on their toes so that they throw the switches at the right time. Am I right? But the thing I don't like is the human factor here... I mean we're all prone to error and one lapse in judgement and here comes another train wreck. So just recently I started reading about "Insulated Train Blocks", "BLock Signals", and "Semaphores". All these terms are brand new to me but it seems like this is what I need to learn next to accomplish what I want, and that is to run two trains simultaneously without them colliding. Am I on the right track? (no pun intended ). For me, the learning curve is quite steep right now, but I find it all very interesting and I enjoy the technical side of this hobby equally as much as the artistic side. I am really glad I found this forum and I hope you all don't mind some of my very basic questions.