very basic layout question

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by ewwwgross, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. ewwwgross

    ewwwgross New Member

    just bought first set. i was wondering if i can loop the track so it would look something like this: o--------o
    1 track in the middle with the train looping around at each end and coming back.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Yes you can, but it will create reversing loops that require a bit of special wiring to avoid electrical shorts. I would suggest you do a search here, and/or visit your local train shop for a wiring book before going too far.

    Welcome to the Gauge!

  3. ewwwgross

    ewwwgross New Member

    thanks. what criteria would i search for? i dont even know what this is called.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    By doing this:


    you create a reverse loop. Try a search on "wiring reverse loop" or something like that.

    Are you using DC (powerpack that comes with a train set) or DCC (digital command control)? I will assume DC, since you just got a set. So for conventional DC, you will need to wire in some electrical switches to change the polarity of the track. It is not too difficult, but you do have to be careful to get it right, or risk frying your loco and/or powerpack.

  5. ewwwgross

    ewwwgross New Member

    can i buy a reverse loop switch, or do i need to wire it myself?
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you are DC, and you want to buy components, I would look for Atlas parts. They also have a book explaining which pieces to buy, how to connect them, and how to run the finished loop(s).

  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You can make a similar layout without the reverse loops by running two tracks down the center like a double track main with a loop at each end. That type of layout is called a "dogbone" because it is shaped like a dogbone. As long as you don't put any sort of cross over switch in between the two tracks , you have no reverse loops and no shorts. When you have more experience with model railroading, then you could add a crossover switch and wire the reverse loop accordingly.
  9. ewwwgross

    ewwwgross New Member

    problem with a dogbone is that im running the track along an I-beam in my basement from 1 end to the other. there is no room for double tracks. so id like to do this as simple as possible. im very mechanically inclined, im just unfamiliar with the parts and names.
  10. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi ewwwgross! (can't imagine ayone wanting to be called that) :D :D :D

    How high off the floor?? You probably have something between the track and
    the steel, couldn't it be made wide enough for two tracks? It would seem much simpler. You would be able to run continuously without having to constantly set the reversing switches.
    Is this O27? Sounds like a good project, can you show
    us a room layout , even just a rough sketch?

    If your locos are AC, I don't think the reverse loop problem applies.
  11. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Cid, you are partially correct about shorts and AC and reverse loops. With a three-rail system (like Lionel O27 or O, or Marklin HO) you can do reverse loops with no special wiring. Just hook it up and it'll work. 2-rail AC like American Flyer still has the same problem with shorts that N scale and conventional HO scale have.

    My O27 Christmas layout is a U-shaped track with reverse loops on each end. It was a very easy layout to put together.
  12. ewwwgross

    ewwwgross New Member

    this is o27. the I-beam runs from 1 end of the basement to the other about 7 feet off the floor. ther is ~4"ledge and i dont think there will be room for a double track, even if there were, you wouldnt be able to see the bottom half of the train while it was on the back track. the ends of the I-beam run into closets on both ends and i want to have the train loop inside the closet and come around back into view.
  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    So, eww, that's going to look slick!! :thumb: And you should have no
    problem with the reverse loop, since you're using AC (three-rail, thanks Dave!!)
    Just put a turnout at either end and loop the track back into it. :) :)
  14. ewwwgross

    ewwwgross New Member

    so i dont hve to worry about shorts, now where do i get a "turnout" , is that the official name?
  15. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    eww, your Local Hobby Shop (LHS :D ) should be able to supply you.
    If nothing else, they will have some basic books and information. :thumb:

    On-line resources for O-27 include:

    "Turnout" and "switch " are somewhat interchangeable, many model
    railroaders use "turnout" to differentiate a track switch from an electrical switch.
    I've also seen it said that "turnout" refers to the entire point, frog, and rail
    assembly while the "switch" is just the moving parts. I don't know for sure
    how accurate that description is.
  16. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    The most reliable O27 switches on the market right now are made by K-Line and they cost about $20 apiece. Setup is very easy. Make your long straight section, with a K-Line switch on either end, then use a combination of curved and straight sections to make it loop back onto itself. You'll need seven curves and two straights. Yank the pins out of one of the curves and put them in the other end (I use a pair of Vise Grip pliers to do that).

    Then hook up the power to a lockon on the track and to the power terminals on the switches (if needed; I can't remember if K-Line O27s operate off track power or accessory power). Put a locomotive on to test. The switch should automatically switch to the position the lcomotive needs to get through. I suggest setting up the two loops and switches on the floor initially to test things before building the layout for real.

    The great thing about three-rail O/O27 is that it makes a setup like this super easy.

Share This Page