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Railyard, new layout

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I understand track occupancy and the many different options and systems and manufactures, but am looking for advice...

I am building a system to run trains, we went against all good advice and decide to lay more track and have far less scenery, because running trains around and around is easy, we dont want children decoupling models and breaking rakes, climbing over scenery, and anyway 95% of all the track near us is in open countryside.

The layout so far is about 100m of double crossed looped track and a few end to end routes within, a few engine sheds, all in a small attic.  4 m x 2.75m ,  I have spent two years research and have only mid winter to build.

It just fits 3 x 8x4 boards with an extra few meter runs both sides in holes in walls into more small side attics.adding a few more meters in hard to get to spaces,

2 levels built, 3rd is planned (with code 100, a wee bit of code 75 and electrofrogs),

the already constructed section is mostly peco 100 track, star shape bus wire, 2.5 and 1.5 twisted bus, most is divided into power div' block wiring two-rail isolated gaps, 7 metre = longest runs including track, both rails gapped. far too many insulfrogs (some will be DCC contrled other manual) , part of level 2 and all level 3 will be electrofrog and mainly for the dearer locos best wagons and adults as those sections will be at my height, when ever, that is I can get to build those sections.

Unusually.. i think, but for good reason, 80% of layout is wired above baseboard, as the base is 50cm from floor, due to low angled attic ceilings and the many children who will use the layout.. i kept it low to their height.

while I understand 'booster divs and'  'power divisions' and the difference circuit breakers add to blocks i am getting bogged down in track occupancy

as I say I have kids and designed most as manual turnouts, these are mainly close to the front edge so they could learn how they work, and how to operate them. this also allowed me to isolate many of the turnouts in power division groups ready to attach all the circuit breakers.

We had a hornby select, to start, but now that we have run trains and more, we have moved to Z21 and have great fun with it, got to run six trains for ages with two children, no crashes or derailments.

We also have dr5000 (a presie) for the entire accessory bus, which will remain seperate from Z21, used to run the trains.

question???????? whats the best 'hardware' detectors for track occupancy, (we will not have many signals) mainly just at tunnels into those side attics and all signals will be on the outer mainline by the walls so that kids wont crush them if they reach over. we realy wish to control sections of track occupancy.

I think a hybrid system would suit me, some 'current detection' esp' where i havent yet laid tracks, some infrared and maybe a reedswitch here and there. Its very confusing 'common rail' or not, but i choose not, i think the current dectors go on the negitive power side and not the positive..?

I mainly wish to introduce block detection to stop trains running into each other, and occasionally to change the more remote signals and on the lowest 1st level dont have any real space for long sections of track with slowdown sections and stop sections, but will have on the yet unbuilt 2nd and 3rs levels. 

the remote point motors will be a mix of cobalt and peco surface motors, (yes i understand the differences). some of these will be linked to block detection. there is so much choice main stream manufactures and small firms making so many varied products i am lost and seek advice. .

Sorry about the poor quality track plan photo, red is' UP' the loop, to Dublin, blue line 'down the loop, everything else is secondary

< East..............................chug chug..........................west>


heres a part of layout , west side note the very tight space under the ceiling slope, the green foam is sound barrier , made job very easy and disappears after ballasting with sand0004-west.thumb.JPG.ca8c479620438a8d3176b18d905f1fc2.JPG

below, the ballast is just finished and still wet



below shows lower and upper level, upper level in shot, upper level with wiring below base board20190206_182933.thumb.jpg.0099d64f4623b3dbc7ffdec6629adc4f.jpg base board 20190202_145545.thumb.jpg.ae5c3380bfd18e8f7d12e2e5636851f5.jpg

above shows east end , wired above base board

below is old shot before upper level was finished, but taken on tab with better camera..



north west , shows incline into hidden attic, not shown on track plan, but in an above photo you can see it emerge onto mid level

an engine yard, has since been build in oval space 


give us abreak, its my first ever layout, see more pics on my profile, ..

thanks for viewing, i'v learnt alot form this site... keep up the great work


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Two more pic, after first attempt at ballast in with washed sand, fire ash, a scatter of ballast n tiny weed seeds from dust in the combine harvester.

It's my first attempts,, never done any of this before.

northwest corner20190208_215146.thumb.jpg.e0391205ef722e66bef0fcc9412d2b0a.jpg

Southwest corner. In such confined space, I have to work from outside walls back into middle .

My plan is to rough ballast everything on outside mainlines, as it's hard to get back into those spaces.......


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