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Author Topic: "y" type junction  (Read 3184 times)

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« on: May 19, 2010, 11:52:05 AM »

I have a bit of a unique situation.  I have a large Nightclub that I have 2 HO scale western diaramas in.  I'd like to connect the 2 diaramas & run one train on both.  They are about 100' apart, & I don't want to have to run 2 tracks.  Is there any type "Y" connector that would allow me to run a single track between the 2 diaramas?  Also, I'm not set up for DCC & a manual switch would be out of the question.  My grandfather had a similar set-up and he used a "Y" on his.  He actually used a switch with a weak spring that would allow the locomotive to force a switch as it went thru.  I've tried this method, but keep derailing.  Any suggestions?Huh?

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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 12:25:39 PM »

If I understand your problem correctly, you are setting up two reverse loops, with 100 feet of track in between the loops.

You want an "automatice reversing circuit".   It looks like this...

It has an optical sensor, that would be set up on the reverse loop.  When the train travels over it, the long, connecting track would change polarity, allowing the train to travel back on the same track from which it arrived.

I don't know if you can connect two sensors, or if you will have to get two units to cover the two reverse loops.

I don't do reverse loops, but my grandfather swore by them.  He thought they were the answer to all life's mysteries.

Additionally, Circuitron also makes an automatic turnout control unit. (TC-1?) Works on the same principal.  When the train passes through the detector, the turnout is thrown.

By the time you buy all the gadgets, and figure out how to install them,  it may be more efficient to add the second track, setting up a simple dogbone.  Just an opnion.  Hope this helps. 


« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 01:01:43 PM by jonathan » Logged
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.

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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 01:55:05 PM »

Spring switches work well enough in large scale up to life size, but are finicky in small scales.  I built a layout in the 70's that was loop to loop with spring switches.  I found there were two conflicting requirements:
(1) make the cars heavy enough to avoid derailing at the spring switches yet light enough to avoid wearing the locomotive out too quickly.
(2) set the springs weak enough to not derail the cars coming out of the loops but strong enough to close properly and not derail the cars going into the loops, especially when the track got dirty.

My advice:
(1) avoid spring switches.  Use detectors as Jonathan has suggested and throw the switches positively.
(2) use good quality switches and switch machines.  I recommend Tortoise machines for this job.  They throw the switches gently and will do so for 200 to 500 thousand times.
(3) Using switch machines with reliable, built in contacts (such as Tortoise) you can simplify the hardware requirements.  You can use two detectors, one on each loop, to set the polarity of the single track and use the polarity of the single track to set the directions of the switches, or you can use the detectors to set the directions of the switches and let the contacts in the switch motors reverse the polarity of the single track.  The latter may well be the better choice.
(4) use magnetic detectors, typically a magnet mounted under the locomotive and a reed switches between the rails, in preference to optical sensors unless the sensors are out of reach of the patrons.  It is surprising how quickly they will figure out that interrupting a light beam is what causes the switches to move and will thereafter take great pleasure in waving their hands in front of the sensors.  You may also have problems with patrons derailing trains by leaving business cards on the track.  The smarter ones use someone else's business cards.  The not so smart one use their own.


Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.

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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 03:57:20 PM »


I'd do exactly what Jim suggests except I'd add another level of security to the set-up: put the whole thing behind glass or plexiglass.  Patrons will not only wave their hands over light sensors, they'll fool with everything including picking the train up, putting keys on the track to see if it reverses the train like on their old Lionel set, and anything else you can think of.  (And quite a few things you would never think of.)  This won't be malicious; it will just be fun, possibly more fun for those who are well lubricated by what's for sale in the establishment.  But I'd make the same suggestion about protecting your trains even if you planned to put them in an AA club.

« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 04:38:02 PM »

Then again, you could hire a bouncer who loves trains Grin Grin

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2010, 11:55:11 AM »

Thanks for all the inputs.  As for customers messing with my trains....not really a problem.  They are about 10 feet high and along outside walls.  It would be really hard for them to get to the trains.  Yes, I do have some really big, ugly bouncers, who frown on folks messing with my trains!  After hearing your feedback, it probably would be simpler to just run the extra track.  Thanks much!!!

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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 03:05:45 AM »


If your trains are up high, i.e., above windows, doors and other obstructions, you can simplify things for yourself by just running them in a big loop all around the whole space.  That has the advantage, versus a double track between the diaramas, of keeping the trains visible at all times.  HO trains are pretty small so the trains on the track nearer the wall on a double-track run would probably not be seen from below.  One full loop would allow you to keep the track near the edge the whole way, thus maximizing visibility.  Of course you will want perfect trackwork and sure-footed trains or a clear fence because NO model train can survive a ten-foot fall to what is surely a hard floor, maybe even concrete.  I suppose you could use wide, clear acrylic for the shelves in which case visibility and falls wouldn't be problems.

Don't allow our overanalyzing your plans (me included or maybe especially) discourage you from displaying your trains.  It is very feasible for you to display them with or without glass fronts; with return loops, dogbones or full circles; and in any gauge you want.  I'm sure I can speak for all who have commented here that we have been well intentioned and trying to enhance your modeling effort, not discourage you.  So you don't have to throw in the towel and surrender to the dogbone unless that is what YOU want to do.  As various people say on this board all of the time, "It's YOUR railroad and you can build it any way you please."  I guess the idea is: Have fun with it, first and foremost.

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