Wanting to know how to wire for 2 trains on same track

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Starman, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Starman

    Starman Member

    I need to know how to wire for the running of 2 trains on one 4x8 layout.I know you have to use a block in order to due this but how do you wire for it and do you need more than one selector to do this or what do you need.I am wireing this for DC and the track plan that i am useing said that this could be done,but i am not sure where to start.Also do you have to gap the rails or can you just use plastic rail joiners and where should they be placed.I am not very good at soldering so if i don't have to i would rather not.I do have the 2 power pacs that it say's you need but just not sure where to start.Please help with this problem and all suggestions would be great.
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Easy question first: gapping the rails means an electrical gap; the space between the rail ends is uaually filled with some insulating material. A plastic rail joiner does just fine.
    Is this an Atlas layout you're building? It sounds like Atlas electrical components.
    A block gnerally had a gap at each end, between it and the next block. Depending on the layout, you may be able to get away with gaps in just one rail (called common rail wiring). I think the Atlas components may do this.
    You'll need a switch for each block to select the power pack. (I don't know how many switches there are on a Selector). Number of blocks depends on your layout. I say you need at least one more than the number of trains (this gives the dullest operation: move train to empty block. Move next train to new empty block. ...) but a lot more is handy. If you have a double track line, it is different, and yards generally get their own blocks.
    Are you confused yet?
  3. Starman

    Starman Member

    Yes i am very confused.
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Starman,
    Can you post your track plan? I'm sure the wiring could be laid out for you if
    your requirements are not too complex. :thumb:
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The basics of DC wiring are that you need one controller for every engine you want to run simulateously, and you need a minimum of twice as many blocks as engines.

    Then it is a matter of using double pole-double throw switches so that you can assign either power pack to any block of track.

    If you are using Atlas track components and electrical switches, the easiest way for you to get this going would be to pick up Atlas' wiring book. They explain everything with reference to the specific Atlas parts you need to make it work. However, if you want to post a diagram of your track, I am sure you will get the help you need.

    Two other points:

    If you do not intend to run two engines simultaneously, you only need one power pack, and you need a few sections of track that you can turn off and on to "park" the locos not in use.

    If you ever plan to expand, it gets quite complicated and you might be better off with a DCC (Digital Command Control) system like the Digitrax Zephyr or even Bachmann EZ-DCC.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Starman

    Starman Member

    Hey cidchase,
    I tried to post my track plan but to no use[not very good with the camera either]anyway the track plan i am useing is from the [ATLAS BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO HO MODEL RAILROADING] and the track plan that i am useing is called[THE YARDMASTER]which if you have this book by any chance the plan is on page 40-41 of this book.It has a diagram to wire for DCC and also for DC but like i said i am not to smart when it comes to doing this so i need help.I have everything that this call's for but just not sure where to begin with wiring for 2 trains.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Does the diagram in the book show wiring for two trains, or something else?

  8. Starman

    Starman Member

    Yes masonjar it does show the wiring for 2 trains on this plan.But i am lost as to where to start.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    What state is the layout in? Do you have the table/benchwork built? Is the track laid?

    If you are using sectional track, try putting everything together without fixing it permanently. (If you have flex track, this is somewhat harder, but not impossible to do.)

    The blocks can be isolated by using the plastic insulating rail joiners. This creates the "gap" that is called for. The other way to do this, especially when using flex track, is to fix it all permanently, and then saw an actual physical gap through the rails so there is no electrical connectivity.

    If you don't like soldering, you can use "terminal joiners" to supply power to the rails. They are basically rail joiners witha length of wire crimped to them. Just be sure that they are tight so the electrical connection is good. For other joints, you can use suitcase connectors, or with the Atlas electrical components just use the screw terminals that are built in.

    Honestly, the best way to do this is to dive in and do it. Just make sure that you don't wire a short into the system by crossing your wires somewhere. Colour coding can be useful here. You can get electrical tape in a variety of colours to help keep things straight.

    Hope that helps. If you need to post some pictures, follow the link in my signature to an explanation about how to do it.

  10. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Starman, do you have the complete and exact Code 100 Required Products list for the Yardmaster?
  11. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

  12. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    here is a diagram I made to make it easyer to understand. The red Is the common rail I drew in jumper wires between the sections to show that they are not insulated the black wire is what turns the block on, off or switch between powerpacks, this side of the rail needs to be insulated between each block

    Attached Files:

  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Starman, the reason I'm asking whether you have Code 100 is that the terminal joiners (code 83) require slightly different hookup than the connector sections (Code 100). It states this on the plan. I'm sure we can detail the wiring for you, actually it's exactly as shown in the book, although I can see where you would want a little better detailed information.
  14. Starman

    Starman Member

    Thank you all for our help and i did make some head way on this matter.Sorry i could not post reply sooner but had some bad weather here yesterday and knock power out until early this morning.Cidchase i use all code 100 and i do understand the diagram in the book a little better than i did when i started.

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