BLOCKS

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idiot

Member
I know this is simple for most of you, but could someone help me wire a layout for 2 trains using block control. There are 5 blocks on the attached layout...do I need more? You can just tell me which wire(a white or green one) would go on the outside/upper rail or inside/lower rail in each block. And then....which wires go to the 2 power packs. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
 

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dave1905

Well-Known Member
Personally I would make block 5 part of block 2 unless you are planning to park an engine on block 5 and have trains orbit on the two loops.

In order to do block control with 2 power packs you really need a DPDT (double pole double throw) switch (or an Atlas Selector) for each block. Each DPDT switch has six electrical contacts on the back. Look at it so a switch is 3 contacts wide and 2 contacts. On every switch attach one color wire to the bottom contacts and the other color wire to the top contacts. On every switch connect the left contacts to one power pack and the right contacts to the other power pack. Attach the center contacts to feeders to the track, one switch to one block only. You have 5 blocks, you need 5 switches. It really doesn't matter which color goes to which rail, as long as you are consistent. All one color to one rail all over the layout.

Then you use the DPDT switches to assign a controller to each block, any controller can control any block. You use your reversing switch on the controller to control the direction of the trains. DPDT switches come in two varieties, regular and "center off". Regular the switch is one side other. With center off there is a middle position not connected to either throttle. They are handy to allow you to kill a section of track. They wire up exactly the same.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Let's first make a few assumptions, the white wire will be the (-) and the green one will be the (+). I also assume that by blocks that you mean independent on/off control for each block. OK, for a layout of this size, you do not need five blocks for independent control, two should be sufficient, one for the inner loop and one for the outer loop, block 5 is not necessary even if you were to go for four blocks. All of the white wires from each loop would go to the (-) DC variable terminal on their respective power packs. If using four blocks, the green (+) wires should go to an Atlas #205 Connector (click on the name) or a similar type device. The white wires could also go to the Connector but that isn't necessary. The power wire (+) to the power pack connects to the lower LH terminal and the green wires to the track go to the RH (of each pair above the slide switches). If going with two blocks, then the green wires would go directly to the power pack's (+) DC variable terminal and you don't need the connectors. Use one power pack for the outer track and the other one for the inner track. This gives independent control for two trains to run simultaneously on each track. Make your connections to the track as close to the center of each block as possible. If you determine that you want just two blocks, then just make duplicate connections to two places on each loop. It really doesn't matter if you make the green go to either the inner rail or the outer rail of either loop, just make sure that you match both loops. I am also assuming that you understand the use of insulating rail joiners to separate each block. If not, please post back.
Hope that this helps.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Looks like Dave posted at the same time as I did. His method using Selectors will allow either power pack to be used on either loop. This is a bit more complex (only very slightly), but that is how I have my layout wired. As he also alluded to, block 5 is not necessary, just don't isolate it from another section, make it part of block 2.
 

idiot

Member
Looks like Dave posted at the same time as I did. His method using Selectors will allow either power pack to be used on either loop. This is a bit more complex (only very slightly), but that is how I have my layout wired. As he also alluded to, block 5 is not necessary, just don't isolate it from another section, make it part of block 2.
Thanks..... I SEE....combining block 2 and 5 makes sense! Now more, if I want the train on the inner loop go to the outer loop or vice versa.....I know in one direction it could go in a forward direction onto the other loop, but if the train is going in the other direction the train would have to go in reverse to get on the other loop........that would be ok for me......but if the inner loop and outer loop aren't divided into 2 blocks each ........then when the train #1 changed loops the train #2 on the loop would be moving.......with an extra block I could stop the train #2 from moving on the block I was entering.....then enter train #1 and stop it....then start the train #2 and move it out to the other block........Sound like I'm a "block head" Thank for your help.
 

Patrick

GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
I agree with Willie in that all you'd really need is 2 blocks. I have a similar layout design with 2 independently connected loops, each loop is a block. I also have a couple of passing sidings and entrance to a yard on the inner loop which gives me a total of 9 blocks using the Atlas selectors. I have a common ground on all the blocks and then use selectors to determine which DC power controller runs which train on which block.

As currently set, I have all blocks turned to be controlled through one power pack as I've painted my rails and working through getting the paint off the rail tops. Makes finding dead spots easier, but I can run a total of 2 trains in 2 different directions on the inner and outer loops (1 train each).
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Thanks..... I SEE....combining block 2 and 5 makes sense! Now more, if I want the train on the inner loop go to the outer loop or vice versa.....I know in one direction it could go in a forward direction onto the other loop, but if the train is going in the other direction the train would have to go in reverse to get on the other loop........that would be ok for me......but if the inner loop and outer loop aren't divided into 2 blocks each ........then when the train #1 changed loops the train #2 on the loop would be moving.......with an extra block I could stop the train #2 from moving on the block I was entering.....then enter train #1 and stop it....then start the train #2 and move it out to the other block........Sound like I'm a "block head" Thank for your help.
Then the four blocks are necessary. Again, either Dave's way or mine would work.
 




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