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Model Railroads/n guage track wiring question


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I have a simple oval shape with 2 switches so I can "yard" one train then run the other back onto the main oval and vice versa. The first switch branches off the main oval then the second switch immediately follows. Both of these tracks are what I consider the "yard". I would like to park a train on one track, turn off the power to that track, turn on the power to the other and run that train through both switches to the main oval. I was told to use a plastic insulator on one side of both "yard" tracks and run the power wires on the other side to a Atlas #210 twin and then power the twin to the train side of the transformer. I have all the power wires on the same side of the track so I don't backfeed to the transformer. This didn't work so I asked the same person again and he suggested to straight wire from the yard track to the transformer and it still didnt work. As soon as the train passed the insulated track it stopped. Obviously Im a newbie to the hobby and would greatly appreciate any help you can give me. Im going to try and send 3 pics. the first shows 2/3 of the track. The second shows both switches and the insulated/ power wires location. The third shows a close up of the isulated/ power wires. If you need any more info let me know. Thank you!!!!  Well I can only send 2 so I'll send the first and third pics. Thanks again!!!

Electricity is like water. It flows where you want it to. A faucet controls water to flow and to stop.
A switch acts the same way controlling electricity to the fixture or in your case, a track circuit. On
with the answer to help you get through this.

My first response is; can you remove all that wiring and remove the twin switch from the layout too?

The easiest way to create "blocks" on your sidings is to use a simple on-off switch. The Atlas #205 Connector
is so easy to use. The folks at Atlas drew a nice diagram on the back of the carded blister pack. Here we go.

First establish a common rail. This will be for your "hot lead" or (+) connection for power to the rail(s). When you're
looking at your layout, the common rail is the one always furthest away from you. Yard track one can be gapped with an
insulated rail exactly as yard track two. If you do that with your "blocks" in the future; you should eliminate any shorts
or cross-feeding. I would place the insulators 6"-9" away from the switch track frogs. Thats the area on the switch which
is in black plastic. Electrically, it's better to leave some room between the track leading to the frogs than right on top of
it. Take a look at the drawing on the Atlas Connector #205. If you notice the power feed on the side of the Connector will
connect to the power side of your transformer. It completes the circuit. You may need to do trial and error to get it right.
Once you master this, you're on your way to understand the basics of wiring.

I hope this make sense to you. You will need the Atlas Connector to do the job correctly. Work also with the minimum of
20 gauge stranded wire for your hot leads (+) for all the common track feeds. Use red wire to create the color for those leads.
Use black wire for your grounds.

Any further questions, you can reach me through ask an expert.

Good Luck,

John Schaub

P.S. I've been there myself at that was a long time ago

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John Schaub


I can answer the following questions: Almost anything about the hobby, except complex electrical questions. Anything about table construction, model kit building, layout scenery, weathering and painting, adding lighting to structures and scenery. I cannot answer questions about the value or appraisal of an item through an e-mail question. The only true method to valuation is having the item in front of me. I will not answer any questions about complex wiring for signals, DCC, or switch motor installations.


Model railroader since childhood. And that's quite a few years ago. My experience includes: Planning, Design, Benchwork Construction, Trackwork, Conceptualizing the placement of the basic scenic shell and future structure placement. Developing a "vision" of what the layout' them will be. Historical research. Model builder. Painter, Detailer and Weathering. Scenery Artisan, Model train room decorator. Freight car builder. Engine detailer. Turned my passion for model railroading to a full time career in 1998. I now design, build and construct model railroads. Focusing my skills on planning and design, model kit building services, scenery and structure installations, painting, weathering and detailing.

Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Rutland Railway Association.

Classic Toy Trains, January 2013

Self-taught Model Railroader turned professional consultant New York Institute of Technology, Communication Arts Degree C.W. Post College, Computer Graphics-Desktop Publishing Certificate Program Molloy College, MacIntosh Computer Studies-Certificate Program

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