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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Lionel Fastrack corner layout that I would like to spruce up with a shared block between a consist (train) and a trolley. (see attached diagram)

The consist (about 4 or 5 cars) would run clockwise on the main track starting at point A; switches S1 and S2 are straight, allowing the consist to get to point B. When the consist reaches point B, the track is activated at point C. The trolley runs on the siding from point C to switch S1, which throws the S2 switch to curve (out position) allowing the trolley to reach point D. (Of course, the switches S1 & S2 would have to be sychronized; if one is straight, the other will be straight too.)

The consist would continue on the inner loop and stop at point A and wait until the trolley clears the shared block between S1 and S2. Once the trolley returns to point C, the consist would continue, crossing S1, which would throw S2 to straight, allowing the consist to continue on its route to point B.

I would also like to place block signals to show red when the shared block is occupied, or green when it is clear.

Sound doable? What would I need to make this happen?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Rob
 

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Rob

A very interesting plan.

But a few questions need answers before any
valid solutions can be meaningful.

Will you be using the 0 gauge form of DCC?

If not, will you have 2 controllers?

I read that you want this to operate automaticly,
is that correct?

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: A very interesting plan.
Thanks, Don! And thank you for your prompt reply.

Re: Will you be using the 0 gauge form of DCC?
I do have TMCC-enabled locomotives and a CAB-1, but my trolley is conventional, so I don't think so.

Re: If not, will you have 2 controllers?
I have an old Lionel ZW 275 watt 4-controller transformer.

Re: I read that you want this to operate automaticly,
is that correct?

Wouldn't that be awesome, yes!
 

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Next question, what kind of trolley? The engine will work best if set to forward only. The trolley is the harder part of the plan. You can set up insulated track sections to cut off and restore power to start and stop the trolley and train. Speed is a factor here. You would have to test it out and tweak where the insulated sections go. If the trolley passes the insulated section before the train gets there it might be a problem. Also cutting power will cause the e unit to drop into neutral, so the trainhas to be in forward only or you need to set up some thing that trickles a bit of power. Just enough to stop the train and not activate the e unit. This is why I asked about the trolley. Is it a bump and go?
 

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I'm not that familiar with current day Lionel turnouts. Haven't I read
here on the Forum that they have a 'non derail' feature that, in fact,
throws the turnout? Something will have to do that for your layout
to run on auto. There are
various ways to sense a train that would throw them. Some of the
0 gaugers here on the Forum would know more about that.

You mentioned that your loco is digitally controlled. Can it also
run AC only?

Don

Don
 

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Yes Don, the anti derailing feature makes the wiring of the switches easy. One witch has to be wired to the other so they change directions together. When the train makes the outer loop and hits the switch it will automatically change the other one so the train runs the outer loop. When the trolley starts the switch will automatically change. Since the switches will be wired together, essentially one controlling the other. The trolley will stay on its inside track. The problem lies in figuring out the insulated tracks, they will power up and down the blocks. It will work automatically, in theory anyway. I would also directly wire the switches for a constant power. They will be more reliable that way.
 

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With the turnout question resolved, the next problem is
controlling the train and the trolley.

Now the trolley is AC only, while the loco is digital. The isolated
track section would need to be powered through a double pole,
double throw switch so that it gets AC for the Trolley, but the
digital power for the loco.

Can the turnout 'non derail' current be used to trip a latching DPDT
relay that would do that?

If that can work, then the only remaining factor is the timing of
the train so that it permits the trolley to complete it's trip through
the isolated section.

Don
 

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The loco is ac too, ( I think). In conventional mode, no TMCC it should work. Adding the TMCC and insulated blocks I'm unsure of. The signal to control the train rides on a outer rail. If this could be done on the rail that isn't the neutral, you might be able to have the command control on the train too. This is if I remember correctly. I don't have command control set up yet(it's in the works).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
SJM: Next question, what kind of trolley?
Rob: Conventional, bump and go (goes back and forth)

SJM: The engine will work best if set to forward only.
Rob: Definitely.

SJM: The trolley is the harder part of the plan. You can set up insulated track sections to cut off and restore power to start and stop the trolley and train.
Rob: Can you diagram this solution where the track would have to be insulated?

Don: You mentioned that your loco is digitally controlled. Can it also run AC only?
Rob: Yes, the train can run in conventional mode, forward only, like most Lionel engines.
 

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Sounds like most of your issues are resolved.

I wonder still, if it would not be a good idea to use the
double pole double throw latching relay to control
what power is on the isolated section. That way you
can have one of the controls on the transformer for the train the
other for the trolley and their speed could be set to make
the timing work out.

Would love to see a video of this in action when you get it
built.

Don
 

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SJM: Next question, what kind of trolley?
Rob: Conventional, bump and go (goes back and forth)

SJM: The engine will work best if set to forward only.
Rob: Definitely.

SJM: The trolley is the harder part of the plan. You can set up insulated track sections to cut off and restore power to start and stop the trolley and train.
Rob: Can you diagram this solution where the track would have to be insulated?
Since the trolley is bump and go auto reversing, you only need to have it
stop if turnouts are set for train. That could be simply resolved by having
a short section of track just before each turnout that is 'dead' when the
train is using the isolated section.

This would mean that the latching relay would need to be 3 Pole double throw.
When set for the train in isolated section the 3rd pole would shut off power
to the two short isolated tracks next to the turnouts in the trolley route. That
would keep the trolley from smashing into the train.

To make this work we would need some form of 'sensing' that the train has
cleared the isolated track and restore power to the 'dead' sections so
the trolley can proceed. Have to think about that. Ideas anybody?

Don
 

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There is no problem running TMCC/Legacy or DCS on an insulated track section. Our modular club only has one active outside rail the other rail is reserved for signaling, and we have no problem in that regard.
John

I think he intends to run his loco in AC mode. The trolley is ac only.

If we used a short section with one outside rail isolated and located
just beyond the last turnout, the wheels
could contact and use track power to pull
in a relay that cuts power to the trolley 'dead' sections. Then when
the train clears that spot there is no contact and relay releases
restoring power to the trolley. Is the wheel contact good enuf
that the relay would not 'chatter' or go on and off? Also, is there
a Lionel compatible 2PDT latching relay that would work off their
non derail feature.

Don
 

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I have a few ideas. I'll get them posted soon. The trolley is the biggest problem. As I can get it started and stopped, in theory. The problem is on the siding as it restarts will it have enough speed to bump and change directions. Good news is you can still hook up the TMCC on the other rail.
 

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John has triggered my brain juices.

I think I have the whole thing figured out.

Since Fast track is being used, I'm under the impression that
the two outside rails are not connected electrically by the track
itself. That being the case one outside rail becomes an
occupancy sensor in the isolated shared section. When the train wheels transfer
power to the insulated rail it pulls in a relay that kills the power to
an insulated section just beyond the 2 turnouts for the trolley,
and just below the right turnout for the train. That way when
the trolley is in the isolated section the train is stopped and
won't collide. The Trolley would be stopped if train is in the
shared section.

The non derail feature of the turnouts will also trigger a
Double pole, double throw relay that will transfer the isolated
section track power from controller A to controller B. That way
the trolley only get's it's power and train only get's it's.

The two turnouts become part of the isolated 'shared' section,
as will a trolley length of track on the left side of left turnout and
the right side of the right turnout and before each 'dead' section.
This will keep the trolley going when it leaves the 'occupied sensor' section and the
relay turns power on to the 'dead' sections.

This would be a totally automatic system. After adjusting the two controllers
so that both the trolley and the train are running at a desirable pace, the
relays then keep it running or stopping it as needed to avoid a collision.

The relays should be something around a total of 10.00 or so...gasp...

The Trolley is self controlled for bump and reverse, and the loco would
have to be set for AC and the lever set for Forward only so the
E unit does not ratchet.

OK guys, I'm fair game. Fire away.

Don
 

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Text Line Parallel Pattern Drawing Point b is an insulated track section. It will control insulated track section c. When the train passes over section b it will compleat a ground circuit powering point c. This starts the trolley. The problem is if the trolley will have enough speed to activate it's reverse mechanism. After the train passes through insulated track section b, c will go dead again. By this time the trolley should be reversed and out of the siding. When the train reaches point a it will stop, as point a will be dead until the trolley reaches point d. Same idea here but you might need an ir switch as the wheels of the trolley probably will not activate an insulated switch. It's too short. The trolley will hit point c and stop. The train will start moving when the trolley activates it at point d. It will automatically switch s1 which in turn will switch s2. In theory it works but the problem is the activation of the insulated track by the trolley. Someone here might have a better idea.
 
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