Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 11 of 23 Posts

· Registered
264 Posts
Right, here we go again.
No wonder there has been a few posts regarding getting pictures on the Forum. It is one of those 'easy if you know how' jobs.
I had to set up my freespace on my ISP, take photographs and load into editing progamme, reduce width, change .jpg to .gif, and then 'upload' to freespace.
All this being learned as I went along. Finally, I had to download the pictures to the Forum. (the worst bit)
My wife was getting worried about my mental state as I was heard mumbling around the house yesterday 'I am not letting it beat me'.

I bought a job lot of track, trains, points, point motors, DC controllers, point switches, lamps etc from a neighbour about 7 yrs ago, and promptly stuck it in boxes in the loft.
About 18 months ago, I decided to drag it out and have a 'play'. I had already boarded some of the loft at waist height, and used this to try a layout.
After starting to get interested, and being retired, I heard about the new Hornby DCC (as it was then). I purchased a DCC Goods set. Big mistake.
After six months of sheer hell, I returned it and stopped. Four months later, having read a number of posts on the Forum, I decided to give it another try and purchased a Prodigy Advanced 2 controller, some new trains (Vi-trains - just out), and fitted Lenz silver decoders. I haven't looked back since.
I do get carried away with my involvement sometimes, which led my wife recently to say 'it is supposed to be a hobby - not a job' So I have to do my 'tasks' first before I am allowed my 'pleasure' as she puts it.
Hopefully there will be seven pictures showing the layout. I will post more later explaining the control system I use.



· Registered
264 Posts
No, it started with the positioning of the main station, then grew from there. It has had a number of changes over the months, but as the points are all now wired down (more of that later), I think that will be it. There is an extension at the top right of the first picture that shows some rail coming off at the top. This will be going into a factory site-already built. I have really been concentrating on point control, and train control via Lenz BM1's.

· Registered
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your kind words.
To answer some of your questions:

Yes it is an emergency light.

A smoke detector is an added precaution as a loft carries a lot of house wiring to lights etc. There is also the danger of birds getting in (although mine has been 'birdproofed'),
and bringing in a lit cigarette. Better to be safe than sorry. You would need a 'wireless' one though otherwise you would not hear it. You can have a number of these (no wiring) on all levels. If one goes off, its beep is continuous, the others sound for seven second intervals on/off, so you know that they have not been activated due to smoke.
They are available from Screwfix. Be aware though that they are only recommended in lofts if they have been turned into a room.
The power supplies to all the train systems is supplied via the master switch seen on the left of the emergency light. It has a red light to remind me to switch it off.

There are 22 point motors on the layout that are the black squat things by the points. They are the old Hornby surface ones, and they are great. I shall be putting the wiring diagram on shortly to show how I operate them. The new Hornby ones are surface mounted with the trackside hut. When using the CDU to change the points, the old ones just click. The new ones go with a thwacking noisy thud that echoes around the room.

The boards are Contiboard, but the wood saple veener ones available from Homebase in 6' and 8' lengths, and widths from 6" to 2' A little bit more expensive (wait fot the 10% off week-end.) The main difference is that they take paint. I picked the colour from the B&Q ready mix.

Hope this helps

· Registered
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have designed my layout to be run by the 'signalman' approach, rather than as a 'driver. As a driver, you can only really be in control of one train. (as you did in DC). If you then change to another train, your first train technically has no driver and is running 'out of control' until you reselect it.
With the signalman approach, you are in charge of the whole network, and the passage of all the trains within it. 'The 'driver' has to obey you.
This is accomplished with the use of Lenz BM1's (Brake Modules), and integrated signal lights.
I designed a relay circuit which operates when a button is pushed on the control box. This changes the signal light, and the mode of the BM1. Total cost of each circuit is £11.
I start my 'session' by individually moving four selected trains out of the train bay and into each platform. Once there, all lights are set to red, and all trains are then selected on the Prodigy controller, speed set to maximum, lights on.
The speed each train will go is set when programming that engine for use with the BM1. CV's have to be set so that you have the speed you require for that engine when the controller is set to maximum, and that the engine will stop at the light in perfect position every time when the light is red. When a light is set to red, an approaching train will slow down into the station, and stop at the light.
When I am ready to go, I set three of the lights to green and off they go on their selected routes. The fourth has to wait as there is a 'pinch point' coming out of platform 2 and 4.
The trains will then run on until they reach the next red light at another station or at a track junction. At this point, I can change points at a junction, and then set the green light where they will carry on. All this time, the controller is standing idle.
If I wish, whilst the trains are running their selected routes, I can be using the controller to shunt trains in the goods yard knowing that the other trains will stop of their own accord. I can pause shunting, select points and lights, and go back to shunting whilst I have trains running their routes.

The switches used in the control box are Maplin N91AP SPCO locking switches. The LED's are Maplin CP52 Bi-Colour (red/green). The relays are from Maplin and ZTC.


· Registered
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry guys, lost the pictures earlier.

Talk about learning on the run. I am a tidy person, always cleaning up my computer, so I cleaned up my 'Freespace'.
It was not until I noticed that the pictures I had posted earlier were missing, that it dawned on me that the Forum does not store the pictures, they get them from the website.
Luckily, I managed to retrieve them from the bin box.


· Registered
264 Posts

Above is the plan for my layout. The area covered in the loft is 24.5' long and 12.5' wide (includes both rooms).
The longest route is out of platform 4, into incline in other room, out of room and up incline to turn right over the viaduct. The train then goes down the right hand incline, and into the other room to swing round and re-enter main room. It then travels along to re-enter platform 4. Total length is 102'.

The sequenced points shown in the passenger bay and goods yard are controlled by using a 'DIODE MATRIX'. I got the idea from the website of
It does need the ability to read circuits, and to design your own, as each layout is different in its requirements on the number of points.

Point numbers 3 and 4 are marked in the wrong order.

In the above picture is the setup on my train depot. I basically have two circuits - points 1-6 operates trains into and out of platform 2. Points 6-10 operate trains into and out of platform 3.
To get a train into Bay 1, it can be seen that points 1, 2, and 3 and 4 would have to operate - preferably together.
To get a train into Bay 10, points 7, 8, 9, and 10 would have to operate.

Each Bay is chosen by one switch, and this switch sets all the points required for that bay. This is achieved by diodes being fed from a CDU.

Note/ the LED's that can be seen beside points on the picture of the train bay are 12v LED's connected across the points to indicate when a point is against the direction set.
It gives me an instant visual indication which way the individual points points are set. So if I see a train coming out of platform 4 and the light on that side of the point is red, I can quickly change the point before the train hits it. (not prototypical I know, but then my layout is also not prototypical).
I could wire these lights back to the master control board, but it is a bit small, so I have left them on the board.

You may have noticed that if point 1 or 7 is set to the main line, there is no power to any of the bays. This is done on purpose, as removing all power switches off engines and coaches with lights, and also prevents accidental selection of a loco which then causes a hazard by moving. ( and believe me I had a number of accidents before I redesigned).
This is also the reason I do not use point clips.

The switches 1-10 operate each bay - the switches P2 and P3 reset points 1 and 7 back to main, and therefore have a green led to show all is safe.

The LED's in the control box are 5mm 12v (no resistor required) and get their power direct from the DCC voltage on the rails. They are not polarity sensitive.
Each one is wired at the end of the rails of each bay, so when a bay is selected, you know you have power all the way. Their current draw is very tiny ( a few milliamps) so thin alarm wire is fine. (I. use six core wire). and they do not affect the output of the controller.

To move a train, I select the engine number on the controller and its direction out of the bay with speed set to zero. I then press the switch for the bay that it is in, and then move the train into the station. If it was number 2 bay, then I would press P1 to reset to main line.


Below is the circuit diagrams drawn to build my 'Diode Matrix'

In the above drawing, the control box switches are at the bottom, and the relays to operate are on the right (1-6)
The relays coils are shown as 'N' and 'R'. I used 'N' to represent 'straight on' and 'R' to represent the 'turn off' off the points.
If you refer to the picture of the bay layout, you will see that to set bay one, the following coils need to be energised.
Point 1 ='R', point 2 = 'N', point 3 = 'R' and point 4 = 'N'.

This is shown on the above diagram where from switch 1, a diode is connected to each of the coils on relays 1-4.
You should be able to follow the idea from the others. The number of diodes required depends on the number of points you wish to switch each time.

You then need to produce a wiring diagram from the drawings above. The one below is a bit messy, but I am sure you can follow it.
The numbers in the middle represent the numbers marked on the diode drawings. One side you have the switch connections, and on the other side the point connection.
Remember at this point, that the common black wire on the points are all connected together, and a connection taken back to the negative side of the CDU. The positive side of the CDU is connected to the other side of all switches. So your positive power is connected to the coils via the diodes.

The cost of the diodes are 12p. the switches are 40p, (push to make) the 12v led's are 12p, and connectors 7p each. (bought in blocks of 12)

Total cost to operate 10 points is £1.77 per point.

This is a very cheap and simple way to have multiple control of points with the push of one button.

The points I have used are the old Hornby surface points. They are very quite in operation compared to the large existing points with the lineside huts. These points go over with a whacking thump. The old ones just click into place.

I have another diode board operating the seven points on my goods yard.


· Registered
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry Ben, I have tried but I cannot get them back.

I was using an upload program to put the pictures on my 'Freespace', but it suddenly decided to stop working. Kept saying 'disc is full' when it was not.

I later found that I could upload direct without any program. I deleted the other program from my computer, and reloaded the pictures direct.
The problem is that the Model Rail Forum system is not recognising them, although it is the same address.
The new Freespace works, as it posted the Bluebell Railway pictures o.k.

I have just made some major alterations to the layout, and done some further extension work, so I will repost some of the old pictures, and sections of the new layout in a few weeks.
Sorry about the problem,


· Registered
264 Posts
Pictures are back!!!

I have certainly learnt a lot more on how to work my computer by putting pictures on this site.

I suddenly remembered that when I was using the previous program, I had been typing 'loft 1' into the address line for the photo's.
This is why the site computer could not find them. (Twit !!)

So I moved all of the photo's into a folder titled 'loft 1', and uploaded this direct into my Freespace. Low and behold, it worked.

Wonderfull things computers - when you know how to use them !!

1 - 11 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.