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I hope this may help both Matty and James Turkin who have posted items about the Hornby live steam in other topics in this part of the forum.

I've just finished testing the first layout that I've built for 40 years. It enables me to run both the traditional 12volt low current locos (not DCC) and Hornby's live steam which runs at 15volts and over 6amps at maximum. The wiring used for feeding power to a layout is only rated at, usually, 0.5 to 1amp. So feeding the Hornby 6amps into this would:
(a) cause the wire and associated plugs and sockets to overheat;
(
cause excessive voltage drop and stop the steamer from working properly.

I've tried running a pair of 'bus-bars' for the live steam loco round the layout in 10amp (1sq mm) cable connected at baseboard joins with suitable heavy-duty plugs. I've used 8-pole connectors and added further bus-bars for the common return for the 12volt system, the 0volts line for points and signals and a pair of wires for the building lights. The live steam has it's own 'fiddle-yard' and here the busbars are connected via droppers every couple of feet direct to the track. There are four sections at present in the station which can take either the live steam or the 12v models. Double-pole relays are used to switch the track between either system, the bus-bars for steam being connected to the relay which is placed close to the track feed. Rotary switches on the control panel select the system required by turning the relay on or off - in effect a form of 'Cab Control'.

I use rotary switches to avoid accidentally switching over from one system to another; in addition the two switches contolling the entrance/exit to the fiddle-yard also automatically operate the points so that trains are sent into the correct fiddle-yard.

Using relays saves running a number of heavy-duty cables from control panel to each section and with the need for heavy-duty connectors, and the relays are operated by 12volts at a few mA, for which the usual light cable and connectors are adequate.

I hope this may be of interest to others who want to run both the new live steam and the older 12v models.
 

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DT
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I have set up my new layout for DCC, but as I have wired it, I can easily switch to Live Steam - which I will do every now and then. The first attempts worked well, but the Live Steam does leave a layer of oil all over the place. Intense cleaning is required to prevent build-up of grime.

The Live Steam is restricted to the flat section of the main line around the perimeter of my boards. I have found that it has a problem going up grades pulling anything.

John, do you have any photos that you can post of your layout?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dear Doug,

Not at the moment - and in any case it is literally the bare baseboards and track - I only finished track laying ten days ago and the wiring at the weekend. Yesterday was my first attempt at running the live steam which showed that the idea worked, but there are a few things need sorting out before it is reliable. In particular I'd used a couple of older Hornby points and the steamer regularly derails on them, so they've got to be changed.

I'll try and get some pictures on in due course.
 

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Herewith, I hope, a few photos. Sorry for the delay but I had some problems setting up the photos and referencing them from the Forum. Could you (or someone) let me know if the photos actually appear, please.


A general view of the layout, or at least as much as I can get in!


The control panel in its entirety.


Close-up of the two platform roads with one set for live steam and the other for the traditional 12v system.

I hope this throws a bit more light on what I'm doing.

Regards,
John
 

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I fixed the images. The best way to display photos like this is to right-click on the image that you want to show, select 'view image' from the menu, then copy the full URL and paste between the
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the image fixing. I'm still learning about the Internet, I must admit.

A bit more detail. The station is supposed to be on a passing loop forming part of a preserved railway somewhere in the southern half of England. This means I can run virtually anything I like from any reasonable period. Locos and rolling stock will be renumbered if necessary to represent preserved items. It also means I can run a much more intensive service than a real branch line probably had. Some of the stock will, I hope, be older models as well - 'preserved' in the sense that they are from a forty-year old layout I used to run with my father - when my sister can find the boxes in her loft that they are in!
The station signals and points are worked from the little lever frame on top of the control panel - if I have any railway modelling friends round we can split the operation between 'driver' and 'signalman' for a bit more fun. The layout is called 'Ashboughton' - completely fictious. This is derived from 'Ash' in memory of steam locos, 'bough' - well, it is a branch line.....

In the second photo the section to/from the fiddle yard on the left is set for a live steam train into platform 2 and the similar section on the right is set for a conventional 12V train into platform 1. It is possible to see that the LEDs on the left are showing red and those on right are showing green. Common point positions are shown with yellow LEDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Right, sometime since this thread was active!

The new edition of 'Railway Modeller' for June 2007, published this week, contains an article (by me) which goes into more detail on the arrangement of my layout described above. They've only had the article for just over a year, I don't know why it took so long to get into print!

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Peter,
I was literally a day away from writing to Peco to say that it was now a year since I'd sent it to them, could I have it back, please, when the new copy arrived. I had every intention of trying it out on the new Hornby magazine if Peco had not published it.
Regards,
John Webb

PS Congrats on reaching 1000 posts!
 

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It's a good article John - might even have a bash at doing a similar thing on my new layout, but I think I had better get one of these Live Steam sets first


Regards,

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dan, thanks for your compliment - a complete set seems to be nearing £300 from several of the usual bigger suppliers, so it is getting a bit cheaper.
Regards,
John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's some while since I posted anything here, and on reviewing the original found that the photos had disappeared!

In view of the large number of newcomers in recent years, I'm reposting my pictures with some additional information.

My system is a form of 'Cab Control' which allows me to switch between 12volts for traditional locos and the 15+ volts high current requirements of the live steam, so I can actually run them on the same tracks, but obviously not at the same time!

General view of the layout:


It represents a passing station on a single line 'preserved' railway with small goods yard - the latter does not take the LS locos.

Control Panel:

The two lines at the top are solely for the live steamer to use; the rest is a traditional 12V fiddle yard.

Close-up showing rotary switches to select the LS/Trad 12v and the normal two-way ond off toggle switch to select one of two 12V contollers:


LEDs show the selected system as a visual reminder; Red for steam (as at Platform 2) and Green for the 12V (as at Platform 1). Yellow LEDs show the lie of the points.

Under the baseboard are relays:


Close-up:


These connect each section of track either to the trad 12V system or to the LS 'bus-bars' taking the LS high current round the layout - these are the Blue and Brown wires; the White is a Common Return for the 12V system. In this way the control panel does not need to handle the high currents and the usual connecting wire for the trad 12V system can be used to switch the relays.

Regards,
John
 
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