Planning for multiple command stations


Requirements of the Track Switch

If possible the inner switched section "D" in figure 1 should be longer then the longest train on the line. If this is not possible due to limited space, at least all trains with possible current pick-up at the end have to fit fully into section "D". For other trains it is sufficient if they are not longer than the section "D" plus the shorter of sections "C" and "E". That is the hard limit.

Track power sections (3K)
Figure 1: Track power sections for the command station switch.

In addition to the switched section there are the sensor sections. As shown in figure 1 the sections "B", "C", "E" and "F" a supplied via sensors. The needed gaps in the track a usually done by opening the connection between modules. Therefore these sections are as long as a module. But they should be at least as long as the current pick-up base of the longest locomotive or car plus 3 cm for the switching time. This is enough for prototype speeds of 200 km/h.

The whole section from "B" to "E" has to be within one operational block, where only one train may be at any time. Even the outer sections "B" and "E" may not be occupied by switching moves. The yard limit sign therefore has a technical relevance as well. This may have to be paid attention to, as yard limits are not always taken that serious.

Apart from the needed length of the sections it has to possible to attach the sensors and the supply cables of the switch at the gaps. Therefore 4 mm banana plugs are needed at these connections. This is standard between modules, but with gaps within module groups like branches or large stations with the home signal on the station segments it may be different.

Requirements of the LocoNet Gateways

Figure 2 shows the connection of the LocoNet Gateway with the inner net of the LocoNet Gateway extending significantly over the sections of the track signal switch. To make the switch work as intended and to allow the engineer to control his train at any time, the throttle hat to be connected to the inner net when the switching takes place. Therefore the inner net should be so large that the engineer will plug automatically into it in time.

LocoNet Connection (3K)
Figure 2: Connection of the LocoNets to the LocoNet Gateway.

In figure 1 this large area for the inner net is indicated, which may extend into the neighbouring station or yard. In theses cases care should be taken of the integrated LocoNet boxes, which should be either disconnected and connected to the inner net or covered and replaced by standard LocoNet boxes. To connect the whole town to the inner net is not useful especially with larger towns, as all throttles in this town will require data rate on both command stations, defeating the aim multiple command stations are used for.

As the LocoNet-Gateway is unable to detect a missing LocoNet at the opto insulated LocoNet port 3 and therefore a missing LocoNet at this port will lead to faults, a command station should be always connected to this port. It is physically located in the middle of the three sockets at the bottom side as shown in Figure 2.

Double Track Lines

Double track lines require a separate track signal switch for each track, resulting in twice the equipment. For the LocoNet Gateway the number of tracks doesn't matter. Only one LocoNet Gateway is needed for any number of tracks. Separate LocoNet boxes for each track as used in Cloppenburg are no longer needed.

The same applies to places, where two track signal switches are in close proximity like in Alsfeld at Delthin. In these cases one LocoNet Gateway covers both switched sections. This is possible as long as a maximum number of three command stations are involved. In an extreme case of two switches at a double track branch up to four track signal switches may be covered by one LocoNet Gateway.

Additionally Needed Parts

The track signal switch and the LocoNet Gateways are packed with all special parts needed. However two common items are not included: the LocoNet cables and boxes as well as 230V cable to supply the plug power packs. Apart from the LocoNet cables connecting the LocoNet Gateway with the last boxes belonging to one command station, no more cables are needed then without the switch. It would be more then hard to make a useful estimation of 230V cables needed. The person responsible for the digital system should organise sufficient 230V cables.

Valid HTML 4.0!