Test Track Planning

With the move into the flat now completed the train automation testing can commence. I’ve taken advantage of some Black Friday deals to acquire the Digikeijs DR5000 which will be the main control part of the layout and once I have worked out all the connections to iTrain, the D44088 Sensors and the track and points I’ll post an schematic as that is one thing which whilst appearing to be very simple appears to be more complicated.

I’ve checked the availability of boards in the garage and had both a 2 by 4 and 3 by 4 foot board available, they were designed to butt up together to make a 5 by 4 but that was always a little big. I’ve played around with potential track plans and opted to use the 3 by 4 board. This appears to allow me to get 3 running lines into 4 fiddle yard roads and 3 sidings for both loading trains onto the layout and testing some more complex automation later. I wanted the outer siding as having decided for curved fiddle yards loading longer N gauge stock on a curve can be problematic and a stratight makes that easier. I may add an isolation section to the end at some point and use this as a connected programming track. I’ve gone for long block lengths which will allow some longer trains and also items like the Pendolino which whilst will have a lot less carriages than in use allows me to use both power units and some carriages. I know that I’m going to have to profile the speed of the locomotives for iTrain so will want to practice this as well.

Automation Test Track

I’ve used Anyrail for the planning and set track for the curves as I find this the easiest way of getting these right in the plan although I anticipate the build will all be Flexitrack, The outer curves are R1, R2 and R3 and ive used R4 on the right, don’t normally go this small on my layouts but smaller locomotives and wagons should be fine on this. The points are medium radius. I’ve included a lot, eleven, which I hope I have in the spares box from earlier layouts. I haven’t typically used old points on the exhibition layouts as they are such a pain to swap out if they fail . I’ve marked up the sections/blocks for the automation with 4 Fiddle yard roads, 3 sidings and an up, down and slow line on the left giving me 10 blocks to play with. I’m not proposing using power districts but may come back to that if I have any issues to consider. I think I’ll install the track onto a card base which will allow me to get wires underneath easier and help deaden some of the sound. I can also then profile the curves a little to improve running.


Whilst I don’t have any known plans to demo the layout I will build it with that in mind as I think it will be interesting to many people. Therefore like the Merg demos on the circuit all the wiring and electrics will be above board. I have cobalt Alpha point motors which I want to use on Kilsby Drift for the fiddle yard so I can reduce the height of the baseboard frames and will install horizontal fitted cobalts to the scenic section underneath on that layout. The Digikeijs boxes and Cobalt controllers will all be in the middle of the layout with the wiring, I may drop that below the board and then bring back up to the bus and isolation section break out boxes to make that a little neater. The space at the front will be able to host the PC and potentially a screen although I may keep a space towards the back to fit that. All Mains and PC connections will be below the boards so I need to figure that out once I get started

Next tasks then are to clean the top of the board and get on with the track laying. May even have pictures for that.

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